By Matt Brown, Erica Driver, Mike Gilpin, Kyle McNabb, Rob Koplowitz, and Colin Teubner
We’ve been getting lots of questions about what the Oracle/BEA acquisition means in the Information Workplace platforms market. Here’s our take:
Oracle has made assurances to BEA customers
Oracle has assured us that they will be very mindful of protecting the interests of existing BEA customers, just as they have been for customers of Peoplesoft and Siebel – and we find their assurances credible. It’s not in Oracle’s interest to aggravate these customers, and in many cases BEA customers are already Oracle customers, anyway.
There are six main areas of synergy we’ve identified:
In the research business, it's important to have data. However, to be credible, you also need transparency.
If you're a Forrester client, you have access to the data we collect for our research. Obviously, that helps you maintain confidence in the advice we give. However, transparency is as much about community as it is about confidence.
In academia, you'll often hear the expression research community. That phrase describes an active discussion among those involved about (1) what needs to be studied, (2) how these topics should be studied, and (3) the conclusions individual researchers reach. Subjects, methodology, results--whether you're a physicist or an historian, a lot of people always have a lot to talk about.
Forrester already invites you, Dear Reader, to tell us what questions you'd like to see us answer. You can see the current list of planned research here. My research topics will appear on that page soon; meanwhile, you can always talk to me directly through this blog.
I was just talking with Suresh Vittal on my team about how to project interactive marketer investments in technology. In some cases in the US Interactive Marketing Forecast, we include technology investments in our projections of marketer spend on a given channel (for example, email marketing spend includes investment in email message delivery). But for the most part, the IM forecast is based on current and projected media spend.
So the conversation Suresh and I had was to think through enough assumptions, to estimate how much marketers invest in technology.
In October of last year, I published "Give DOM its Due" and argued that for years, document output management (DOM) had been pegged as a back-office operation that produces customer statements and bills. And that now, customer experience demands will thrust DOM into a major software category supporting the growing and diverse content that enterprises must assemble and deliver to customers. A few weeks ago EMC purchased Document Sciences. And now on January 22, HP has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Exstream Software, a privately-held provider of document creation and publishing software for print, mail and online channels. HP expects to close on this transaction in the second quarter of HP's 2008 fiscal year.
Exstream continues to be a leading choice for the high-volume segment of the DOM structured market and will greatly strengthen HPs document automation capability. Initially targeting service providers — a tough crowd — Exstream followed an object-oriented development model to allow re-use of document components, which was quickly adopted by service providers to provide similar applications to many customers. Today's focus is heavily in the interactive and on-demand DOM segments with strong direct sales. While revenue numbers were not available, Exstream has 300plus employees.
Why listen to Forrester for product management advice? To answer the question, let's return, for a few minutes, to our salad days as college undergraduates.
In at least one introductory course (Philosophy 101, Western Civilization 101, etc.), we were all introduced to Plato and Aristotle. In the small section of Raphael's The School of Athens shown here, Plato is to the left, pointing upwards to the realm of the ideal. On the right, Aristotle is gesturing down, to the realm of the real.
Plato thought that the important questions, such as what is the best form of government, could only be answered through contemplation of abstract concepts. Aristotle, on the other hand, thought that scientific inquiry was the better path towards useful knowledge.
It’s the start of the new year and my phone is ringing off the hook as CRM professionals and technology solution providers call to debate the impact of that burgeoning new phenomenon: the social Web. Does it matter to the CRM community? Big time.
The social Web, a.k.a. Social Computing¹ among my colleagues here at Forrester, includes the fast-growing peer-to-peer (P2P) activities like blogging, RSS, file sharing, open source software, podcasting, search engines, and user-generated content. These technologies have seen a rapid adoption — 22% of adults now read blogs at least monthly, and 19% are members of a social networking site.² Even more amazingly, almost one-third of all youth publish a blog at least weekly, and 41% of youth visit a social networking site daily. Technology and social changes are creating a potent mix of forces that will transform the way all businesses operate, create products, and relate to customers.
CRM is being redefined, with a torrent of new acronyms and labels spilling forth from consultants and pundits: “Social CRM”, “Collaborative CRM,” and “CRM 2.0.” Traditional CRM solutions will continue to be important to enable organizations to aggregate customer data, analyze that data, and automate workflows to optimize customer-facing business processes. But, changing consumer/customer buying behaviors and new Social Computing technologies are spurring the idea that new generation CRM solutions will, and must, emerge.
My clients are looking farther afield in their search for solutions to help them manage their relationships in the new world of the social consumer. They are looking beyond the traditional solutions vendors like Oracle (Siebel), SAP, Microsoft, Consona (Onyx), and even the newer software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers like salesforce.com, and RightNow, in their quest to collaborate with customers in new ways.³
Every research project must start with a precisely-worded hypothesis. During an earlier stint in academia, I certainly saw attempts at hypothesis-free research. Not surprisingly, it went nowhere. (Never underestimate the power of academics to turn the interesting into the tedious.)
Therefore, it’s not enough to say, “We here at Forrester are looking into how to help product management.” You have to say why it’s worth helping them, and what the problems they face really are. Based on the impressionistic experience of being a product manager, here’s my thesis, step by step.
1. TI is immature The technology industry may not be in its infancy, but at best, it’s in its adolescence. The shift from information technology (IT) to business technology (BT) is the industry’s growing pains. (For more details, click here.) Companies are under increasing pressure to build technology that’s immediately useful for specific users and tasks.
As a new Forrester analyst, starting a blog is great way to think aloud about my research, which focuses on product management in the technology industry (TI). That’s a careful choice of words, since I’ll be writing both for product managers and about product management as a key business process.
This blog will give you another window into our role-based research here at Forrester. As a research organization, we want to make sure that we’re focused on the right questions, and make it easy for you to give feedback on our work. In other words, you’re a colleague, whether or not you’re a customer (yet).
To put it another way, my mission is to be BFF4PM—best friend forever for product management. That’s how I’ll measure success; please tell me how I’m doing.