Slower economic growth will become China’s “new normal.” To combat this, the Chinese government is launching a series of initiatives to drive tech market growth in 2015, including economic stimuli across industries, starting an Internet Plus project, and creating new free-trade zones. My latest report, China Tech Market Outlook: 2015, provides the drivers behind Forrester’s forecast that China’s tech market will reach $136 billion in 2015 — representing year-over-year growth of 9% in US dollars. What’s more, China’s share of total Asia Pacific tech spending is still growing; it increased to 25% in 2014 and will rise further to 27% in 2015.
Key tech market trends in China in 2015 include:
Purchases of computer equipment will remain the largest segment of China’s tech spending. The massive increase in the number of mobile consumers in recent months has led to an explosion in demand for digital content and personal cloud services. Online content and platform providers are investing heavily in cloud infrastructure to efficiently respond to this rising demand.
Communications equipment spending growth will be flat.The country’s three major telcos all started building nationwide 4G base stations in 2014. This momentum will continue in 2015, even though the growth in volume will be offset by the falling prices of communications hardware as technologies and markets mature.
Customer are mobile first. Is your website? Are all your webpages?
Google did something important for your customers today: it changed its ranking algorithm for searches on smartphones. If Google deems your web page mobile-unfriendly, then it will be devalued in the search rankings. Your page will be buried.
My colleagues Mark Grannan, Jennifer Wise, Deanna Laufer, Peter Sheldon, and I capture the problem and how to fix it in a new Forrester report: Don't let this good crisis go to waste -- use it to convince your company to make the mobile mind shift and invest in mobile-friendly experiences. I summarize the report here.
1. The digital world is web.
With 177 million active websites in the world and enterprises reporting 268 websites (with sometimes 10s of thousands of webpages), this amounts to 10s of billions of webpages that are either mobile-friendly or not. This is not a small problem. It's a problem with global scale and complexity.
2. Customers are mobile.
Our data is irrefutable: 2/3rds of the global online population uses smartphones. And 86% of US smartphone owners use Google to find websites.
On Monday April 20, 2015 the biggest security event in the USA, the RSA Conference, kicks off with the ever popular Innovation Sandbox event. This event brings in hundreds of submissions from security startup companies around the world all hoping to make the top 10 finalist list, and eventually be declared the winner. The Innovation Sandbox has been running for the last ten years resulting in a great quantity of security startup data to analyze along with some very notable winning companies.
Previous sandbox winners include SourceFire, Imperva, AlertEnterprise and most recently Red Owl Analytics. Many security companies have been declared finalists, fared well with additional funding, and found reasonable financial success, specifically acquisition. The graph to the left shows the acquisition trends for Innovation Sandbox finalists since 2009. Security start up success is on the rise and the Innovation Sandbox is there to build on that success.
Over the past decade, digital executives and teams at banks have made strides in digital selling by upgrading and improving their public websites — and more recently their mobile apps and sites. But conversion rates on many banks’ websites remain low — in some areas, well below 10% — even as consumers’ expectations for digital experiences rise.
To take their digital selling to the next level, digital marketing and sales teams at banks should look outside the banking industry for fresh thinking. One area to look for inspiration is retail: By adapting digital tactics that best-in-class retailers use, banking digital teams can make adjustments to their websites and mobile apps that boost conversion rates and sales overall. Forrester has just published a new report that outlines “What Banks Can Learn From Retailers' Websites.” Here are just three of the ideas we discuss in the report:
Merchandise around customers’ needs and journeys rather than product silos. Retailers have found success by merchandising entire site sections, and even microsites, around customer journeys and events. Yet our research finds that virtually all banks still use products as the organizing principle on their websites. In 2013, Wal-Mart created a complete "back to college" microsite with digital marketing on key landing pages. As a result of this and other digital merchandising efforts, Wal-Mart increased the number of back-to-school products sold on its website by 30% year-over-year.
Contact center agents have a huge impact on customer experience. Unhappy contact center agents equal unhappy customers. It's that simple. Contact center agents who feel disengaged, unhappy with their job or their lot in life, or are simply having a bad day can make a customer's contact center experience seem like root canal surgery. Given that, measuring how happy and engaged agents are and then improving the agent experience should be a priority for any company focused on driving improved customer experiences.
We’ve written before about the new breed of contact center agents and what types of tools they need to succeed at their job. Technology, however, represents just a piece of the puzzle. Firstly, not all contact center tools drive positive agent experience. For example, tools too focused on making the agent experience efficient risk allowing agents to just breeze through tasks and disengage their mind — and their judgment — from the processes of serving customers. Secondly, while tools are important, they are not the only issues that influence the agent experience.
Of course, improvement begins with measurement and benchmarking. Our research shows that, to date:
Agent surveys have not provided contact center pros the insight into agent experience they need. Using HR-style surveys turns up the usual array of woes: bad bosses, bad coworkers, or bad coffee. Contact center pros cannot tackle these issues, even though they may be important to the overall work environment. On the other hand, targeting surveys to technology issues provides actionable insights on how to improve the contact center experience.
Today we released an update to our Forrester Wave™ on social relationship platforms. Forrester defines social relationship platforms as technologies that help marketers publish organic posts to social networks as well as monitor and respond to customer posts on social networks.
We identified the 11 most significant vendors in the category — Adobe, Expion, Falcon Social, Hootsuite, Oracle, Percolate, Salesforce, Shoutlet, Spredfast, Sprinklr, and Sprout Social— and researched them, analyzed them, and scored them on 41 criteria. Clients can find the full report, including some very detailed product reviews and scores, here.
One of the things we looked for in our evaluation was vendors’ ability to automate key SRP functions. We know — automation remains a dirty word in social media. No brand wants to repeat the automation-driven mistakes of Coca-Cola or Bank of America. But marketers say one of their top social challenges is hiring and training enough qualified staff. In this environment, the greatest value that social relationship platforms can offer their clients is lightening their workload.
One week ago today, we Bostonians enjoyed a picture-perfect opening day at Fenway Park. The sun was shining, temps finally warmed up after an abysmal winter, opening ceremonies paid tribute to local heroes like the Richard and Frates families,* and our beloved Red Sox beat the Washington Nationals 9 to 4.
What I love about opening day at Fenway is the optimism, the sense that anything is possible. A new season means a clean slate; the less-than-stellar 2014 baseball season is all but a distant memory.
The biggest change in our new approach is the way we judge CX excellence. To hit a home run, the 299 brands we studied had to do more than make customers happy. They had to design and deliver a CX that actually helps the business by creating and sustaining customer loyalty.
This is a guest post by Samantha Merlivat, a researcher serving B2C Marketing Professionals.
Programmatic advertising is revolutionizing the way online display is traded. It is set for high growth in 2015 across all of Europe and is a top item on marketers’ list of tech to investigate this year. After an initial take-up limited to direct-response, brand marketers are showing growing interest in programmatic buying and dedicating larger budgets to programmatic display campaigns. They embrace the ability to leverage first-party data to reach customers online and understand that therein lays their competitive advantage in the world of online display.
At the same time, European publishers – eager to meet brand marketers’ demand for more targeted, automated deals – are increasing the amount of premium inventory available through exchanges, primarily through private marketplaces. “In Europe, we see inventory and programmatic deals that are becoming more premium – even more so than in the US at moment,” notes Jerome Underhill, vice president of services and operations EMEA at AppNexus. These trends will fuel the growth of online media advertising spend, which will continue to expand at an annual rate of 12% in Western Europe until 2019.
Empowering a central team to set digital strategy, provide common platforms, and provide specialist resources can help business units develop their digital maturity by embracing a set of common standards while still tailoring their customer experience to their specific market needs. Yet many central teams run into difficulty. They fail to clearly communicate their purpose and remit, they struggle to navigate the realities of corporate politics, and they forget to demonstrate their successes through clear metrics. CIOs looking to accelerate their firm's digital journey by building a digital acceleration team should first assess their organization's readiness and appetite (see Figure).
Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent have entered into a memorandum of understanding under which Nokia will make an offer for Alcatel-Lucent in an all-share transaction. The deal values Alcatel-Lucent at €15.6 billion: Alcatel-Lucent shareholders will own 33.5%, with Nokia shareholders owning 66.5%.
Is this a “marriage of desperation” or two network solution vendors coming together to work on a broader vision for an increasingly connected world? The combination of two relatively small network solutions vendors won’t automatically translate into the formation of a new network solutions powerhouse. Most importantly, will the new Nokia truly differ from its main rivals Huawei and Ericsson as an end-to-end carrier network solution provider? Nokia’s competitors will not only face a larger new competitor but also experience the formation of a different one. This deal will mean that:
Nokia joins the small club of converged network solutions vendors. Customers expect experiences that support multiple screens and applications; equipment vendors must deliver solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT) and industrial Internet requirements by offering next-generation network technology and services. Nokia can’t cater to this market demand alone.
Nokia rejoins the premier league of network solutions providers. The deal means that Nokia’s total pro-forma 2014 revenues will more than double to €25.9 billion. The new Nokia will be the second-largest provider of carrier-grade telecoms networking solutions, with revenues in this segment of €25.0 billion, just behind Ericsson (€25.1 billion) but ahead of Huawei (€23.5 billion). With its newfound size, Nokia will gain access to scale benefits.