Step Up To Digital Leadership

Martin Gill

No industry is immune to digital disruption.

Globally, executives acknowledge the disruptive influence that digital technologies have on their businesses. In fact, in a recent Forrester survey fielded in conjunction with Russell Reynolds, 41% of business and IT executives believed that their industry had already been moderately or massively disrupted and over half expected to see more disruption over the next 12 months.

You don’t have to look far to find evidence to back this belief up. In fact, you don’t even have to look globally — digital disruption is happening right in your back yard. Just take the UK as an example:

  • The UK government is transforming its public services to deliver “digital services so good that people prefer to use them.”
  • Retailer John Lewis is offering a £50,000 cash investment to the winner of its tech incubator “JLab.”
  • British Airways is driving for operational excellence in baggage handling by RFID tagging luggage.
  • Movie streaming service Blinkbox, owned by retailer Tesco, is expanding into music.
  • PruHealth is partnering with wearable technology firm Fitbug to offer rewards for active health insurance customers.
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Microsoft Leads The China Cloud War Into Episode II

Charlie Dai

Microsoft is officially launching the commercial operations of its cloud offerings in China today. It’s been only nine months since Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, made the announcement in Shanghai that Windows Azure — now renamed Microsoft Azure — would be available for preview in the Chinese market.

I call that Episode I of the China Cloud War. In the report that I published at the time, “PaaS Market Dynamics in China, 2012 To 2017”, I made three predictions — predictions that are now being fulfilled. More global players are joining the war; customers have gotten familiar with cloud concepts and are planning hybrid cloud implementations for their businesses; and traditional IT service providers have started to transform themselves into cloud service providers.

I talked with Microsoft and Citrix last week, and I strongly believe that Episode I has ended and Episode II has just begun. In the battle for partner ecosystems and real customer business, here are the three major plots that enterprise architects and CIOs in China should watch unfold:

  • The thrree kingdoms will fight with the gloves off. In my blog post last year, I described three kingdoms of global vendors in Chinese cloud market: Microsoft, Amazon, and vendors behind open source technology like OpenStack and CloudStack.
    •  Microsoft is leading the market as the first company in China to provide unified solutions for public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud across infrastructure (IaaS) and middleware (PaaS). This builds on its deep understanding of enterprise requirements, its massive developer base, and the ease of use on the Windows platform.
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What does Business Intelligence integration with R really mean

Boris Evelson

“A little prediction goes a long way” wrote Eric Siegel in his popular Predictive Analytics book. True, predictive analytics is now part and parcel of most Business Intelligence (BI), analytics and Big Data platforms and applications. Forrester Research anecdotal evidence finds that open source R is by far the most ubiquitous predictive analytics platform. Independent findings and surveys like the ones by KDNuggets and RexerAnalytics confirm our conclusions (and I quote) “The proportion of data miners using R is rapidly growing, and since 2010, R has been the most-used data mining tool.  While R is frequently used along with other tools, an increasing number of data miners also select R as their primary tool.”

To jump on this R feeding frenzy most leading BI vendors claim that they “integrate with R”, but what does that claim really mean? Our take on this – not all BI/R integration is created equal. When evaluating BI platforms for R integration, Forrester recommends considering the following integration capabilities:

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Q&A With Simon Fleming-Wood, CMO, Pandora

Melissa Parrish

Marketers have more channels to choose from than ever before. But in the age of the customer, people distrust push-style marketing methods that interrupt and intercept them. In fact, 49% of consumers don't trust digital ads; 38% don't trust emails; and 36% don't trust information in branded apps. What consumers want is genuine value from their interactions with brands, but most marketers fail to deliver it.

Simon Fleming-Wood, Chief Marketing Officer at Pandora, is working to crack the code. As he notes, “There is a phrase that I have repeated many times to members of my teams at all of [my previous] companies. Simply put, ‘the product is the marketing.’ First and foremost, products (and companies) succeed if they inspire usage because they effortlessly address a consumer need, even if the consumer did not know they had that need.”

In the run-up to Forrester’s Forum For Marketing Leadership Professionals in San Francisco on April 10-11, Simon was kind enough to answer some questions that we posed to him. I hope you enjoy his responses as much as I do, and I look forward to seeing many of you in San Francisco.

Q. You’ve led marketing efforts at a wide variety of companies from big and established like Clorox and Cisco to disruptors like Pure Digital and now Pandora. Are there key things that all brands—regardless of size and industry—should be doing today to stay relevant and top of mind in our hyper-connected world?

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Can Pricing Actions Make Google’s Cloud Platform Worth A Look?

James Staten

Usually when a product or service shouts about its low pricing, that’s a bad thing but in Google’s case there’s unique value in its Sustained-use Discounts program which just might make it worth your consideration. 

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Oracle's Q3 falls short of market expectations (again). So expect to get a call from your Oracle sales rep sometime soon.

Mark Bartrick

Oracle has missed revenue expectations for three quarters in a row now as its Q3 results fell short of market expectations. The company blamed currency fluctuations and the strength of the US dollar for this latest miss.

The company reported third quarter earnings of $2.6 billion on revenue of $9.3 billion. Wall Street expected to Oracle to report fiscal third quarter revenue of $9.36 billion.

To be fair, Oracle did deliver some good data points. For instance, hardware system product revenue for the third quarter was $725 million, up 8 percent from a year ago. Software license and support revenue was up 5 percent to $4.6 billion and new software licenses and cloud subscriptions were up 4 percent from a year ago to $2.4 billion. Oracle says its outlook for the fourth quarter was solid. Safra Catz, Oracle co-president, said revenue growth in the fourth quarter will be between 3 percent and 7 percent.

Oracle won’t want to miss Quarterly earnings expectations again and will expect their sales teams to outperform in the next couple of months. All of which bodes well for an exciting run up to Oracle’s fiscal year end on May 31st.

Here are three quick tips to bear in mind as you prepare to negotiate with Oracle:

1.        If you have an Oracle contract up for negotiation this quarter, then you should leverage the pressure Oracle sales are under to hit market expectations by squeezing an extra point or two of discount in return for a signed contract.

2.        If you have a support renewal coming up, remember you have a choice now and third parties like Rimini Street, Spinnaker Support and Alui can give you real leverage at the negotiating table.

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Retailers And Mutual Insurers Lead In The Customer Experience Index, France 2014

Joana van den Brink-Quintanilha

By now, you have probably seen the first in a series of reports we are publishing about the state of customer experience in Europe — "The Forrester Customer Experience Index, UK 2014." The second installment — "The Forrester Customer Experience Index, France 2014," paints a similar picture of how French companies are mostly disappointing their consumers. In both the UK and France, no brand was given an “excellent” score, and in France, the majority of consumers rate their experiences as “very poor,” “poor,” or “OK.”

By asking some 2,000 French consumers if their experiences with leading brands met their needs, were easy, and were enjoyable, we are able to provide a benchmark of the quality of customer experience for 38 French brands across eight industries — including airlines, banks, electronics manufacturers, hotels, retailers, TV service providers, wireless service providers, and insurers.

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What Asia Pacific Firms Must Learn From The Data Privacy Breach In Australia

It was recently revealed that the personal details of 10,000 asylum-seekers housed in Australia were accidently leaked via the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website. This has damaged asylum-seekers’ trust in the Australian government and, according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, potentially put lives at risk. Such incidents represent significant breaches of local regulations and can result in heavy penalties.

Recent amendments to existing privacy laws in Australia and Hong Kong allow each country’s privacy commissioner to enforce significant penalties for repeated or serious data breaches. Countries like Japan and Taiwan, where new privacy laws have been passed and/or existing ones are being enforced more strictly, also assess penalties for noncompliance.

You must treat the protection of sensitive customer data as a core responsibility essential to your enterprise’s success. Help earn and retain customer trust by formulating a comprehensive strategy for complying with local privacy regulations that includes the following action items:

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More Than 6% Of S&P 500 Firms Have A Chief Customer Officer (CCO) Type Of Role

Paul Hagen

Every year, Forrester collects and analyzes data about "chief customer officers" (CCOs) to understand who they are, where they come from, and which companies appoint them. Whether they are called "chief customer officer" or have some other title, these leaders occupy positions of power in a diverse range of companies. Our data shows that CCOs exist at some of the world's biggest companies, including at more than 6% of the S&P 500. The role remains largely experimental at this point — the vast majority of the CCOs we researched hold the position for the first time at their companies and have no previous background in customer experience. However, as companies pivot to adapt to the age of the customer, Forrester believes CCOs have the potential to play a critical role as they have: 1) a deep understanding of changing customer needs and expectations; 2) strong professional brands required for leading change; and 3) experience breaking down operational silos across the CX ecosystem.

For more data about CCOs, check out my latest report, "Chief Customer Officer Snapshot, 2014."

You're Mitigating The Security Vulnerabilities In Authentication - But Ignoring The Usability Vulnerabilities

Eve Maler

Security and risk professionals know what to do with security vulnerabilities: we mitigate the risk directly as best we can, and put in place compensating controls when we can't change the underlying dynamic. But in the age of the customer, upping our game in authentication strategies has forced us to take a harder look at an area that, generally speaking, is not our specialty at all.

User experience.

Last summer, Forrester published a Customer Authentication Assessment Framework that leveraged some exciting academic research called “The Quest to Replace Passwords: A Framework for Comparative Evaluation of Web Authentication Schemes” out of the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. (Gunnar Peterson has a recent post highlighting the arc and nature of these researchers' work, and even has a nice back-and-forth in the comments with contributor Cormac Herley of Microsoft Research.)

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