Asian Banks Are Adopting Cloud Computing, But Best Practices Are Scarce

Michael Barnes

Ahead of the publication of my full report in mid-April, I wanted to follow on from my recent blog post and expand on the topic of cloud adoption in the Asia Pacific (AP) banking sector. Despite some views to the contrary, all AP banks will ultimately leverage cloud-based services and capabilities; most already do. The real challenge is mapping workloads, processes, and data to the various flavors of cloud approaches — in other words, it’s still a portfolio management exercise.

Legacy application architectures and inflexible software licensing practices will certainly influence, and potentially hinder, cloud adoption. But while banking regulations will continue to heavily influence cloud strategies, they don’t forbid them. Senior technology and business decision-makers in the AP banking sector should therefore consider the following:

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Why eCommerce Needs A United eBay

Sucharita  Mulpuru

One of the biggest recent stories in the eCommerce media has been the talk of splitting eBay and PayPal, which was driven by activist investor Carl Icahn.  eBay maintains Mr. Icahn’s idea is not new, and that eBay’s board has rejected the notion based on its own previous evaluations of the best strategic paths for PayPal and eBay, saying now is not the time for separation.  Icahn has backed off his proposal for a full spin-off, now agreeing that a relatively small public offering of PayPal shares, say 20% would be sufficient after all. (eBay’s shareholders will vote on the proposal themselves on May 13.)  

For those of us in the eCommerce industry, there was largely a sense of head-scratching and general befuddlement as to why Mr. Icahn was targeting eBay and PayPal in the first place. Everyone in our industry knows that eBay’s purchase of PayPal back in 2002 is largely regarded as a categorical homerun and a textbook example of synergy executed right.  At its heart, PayPal gives eBay buyers a frictionless and trustworthy way to complete a transaction (perhaps THE single most important moment of truth in ecommerce) and eBay remains PayPal’s most important retail partner, a source of continued customer acquisition around the world, insight into the world’s most engaged shoppers and a funding source for innovation in payments. Those are the arguments on behalf of eBay shareholders, but the entire eCommerce industry in the US has an equally vested interest in keeping these two businesses together as the long-term impact on online retailers of a separate PayPal would be disastrous. Here are three reasons why: 

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A Confession: I Have A Crush On Candy Crush

Julie Ask

King had $1.9B in 2013 gross revenue with the majority coming from Candy Crush.

Wow.

I first heard of Candy Crush about a year ago. I was on vacation in Germany with my husband.  One of my friends – for context, she was a college roommate now a CTO at a Fortune 500 company in Silicon Valley – started chatting with me on Facebook. It dawned on me it was 2 am in California.  

Turns out she had worked late and was up playing Candy Crush.  I couldn’t get my head around what it was about this game that was keeping her from sleeping, but she explained, “It’s fun. It’s hard. The game keeps changing. It’s always challenging.”

I advised her to go back to sleep, but couldn’t stop thinking about the conversation. The analyst in me had to dig a bit further.

There are a number of publishers with big hits like Candy Crush. The business model for some lies in in-app revenue, which is why “free” downloads want your gender, age, mother’s maiden name and social security number. Others profit from a minority of users who make in-app purchases to do things like purchase more lives, buy weapons (other games), and send gifts to their friends and fellow players. What’s interesting?

1. It’s software on a connected device.

Users are able to continually update and expand the game. They can even personalize it to feed their particular addiction—keeping them coming back for more.

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Our Take On Lithium's Acquisition Of Klout

Kim Celestre

Today, Lithium officially announced its acquisition of Klout and its 60-plus employees. Klout has had its fair share of controversy over the years — primarily because its primary influence score tried to be a universal number, independent of context, and it provided limited offerings for marketers. So when the acquisition news leaked a few weeks ago, many of us who have been following both companies have been scratching our heads: Why would Lithium, a leading community platform vendor, spend hundreds of millions to scoop up Klout? Here is my and my colleague Zachary Reiss-Davis’ perspective on the acquisition:

  • Lithium claims that Klout will enable it to round out its social marketing offerings. Today, Lithium provides a robust community platform and a social engagement platform, providing marketers with solutions for establishing both depth and engagement. But the company lacks a solution to help marketers meet their reach objectives. According to Lithium, Klout will help it close this gap by enabling Lithium to implement future advocacy offerings and do so through Klout’s reach of 500-million-plus consumers. 
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Case Study Preview: Adopt Marketing Mix Modeling to Guide Future Investments

Tina Moffett

Consumers interact with brands across various mediums — their smartphones, computers, call center, in-store — just to name a few. Their interactions with brands — from viewing a TV ad to re-tweeting a promotion — are creating such a rich trove of data that marketers are left wondering: How do I glean relevant insights to optimize my marketing and media? Which channels should I optimize? How can I meet my growth goals while expanding into new, unfamiliar markets and channels? These questions keep marketers up at night; they are looking for best-in-class examples of measurement and analytics success. Well, look no further.

Our latest report, “Extract Business Value From Your Mix Model,” co-authored by Jim Nail, showcases USAA’s successful approach in leveraging marketing mix modeling to measure channel performance with greater precision and to identify and optimize future strategic investments, including marketing investments, product development, pricing structures, and organizational support. The report highlights USAA’s measurement and optimization challenges, how it used marketing mix to help refine metrics and identify the right levers to optimize business strategy and investments, and how it used the results to guide significant customer-driven changes at USAA. The case study is a good blueprint for firms that want to create a marketing mix model — and how to do it successfully!

We are thoroughly impressed by the analytics and marketing team at USAA; every decision made at the organization is driven by data and insights. Further, USAA is committed to using insights — including insights from its marketing mix model — to improve the overall customer experience.

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Microsoft Bets On Its Digital Platform And Sheds An Outdated Industry Focus On Operating Systems

Frank Gillett

Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella just finished his first event, announcing Office for iPad, the Enterprise Mobility Suite, and a renewed commitment to Windows. Finally Microsoft has realized two key things:

- Office should be on any device or web site that customers are using to get work done. See my colleague Phillip Karcher's take on Office for iPad.

- the cloud service platform (OneDrive, Office 365, and Azure), not the operating system (Windows), is now the focus of the platforms wars. 

I'd like to elaborate on the second point. The measure of a person's commitment to a particular platform or ecosystems should be the user accounts that they have, the content they store in those cloud service, and whom they trust with stored credit cards. So you can't tell if someone is an Apple customer just because they use an iPhone - you have to look inside the device to see who's apps they use most, and what cloud services they use. Many iOS customers are in fact more involved with the Google digital platform than they are with Apple's and many Android customers have little to no engagement with Google because they use the apps and services that the device maker or service provider put on their home screen. Microsoft's challenge is to get more customers engaged on their digital platform - using Outlook.com email, OneDrive for file storage, and Office 365 for productivity. So Microsoft can win in the digital platform, regardless of who's operating system is on the device. 

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Office For iPad Adds Another Reason To Go Office 365

Philipp Karcher
Today Microsoft starts shipping Office for iPad, finally plugging the gap in its portfolio that’s been filled by popular document viewers and editors like QuickOffice and SlideShark.
 
Does this come too late for Microsoft?
As much as naysayers like to proclaim Office is dying, people still overwhelmingly use it at home and at work. Office is supported at virtually every organization. Our survey of Forrester clients at the end of last year showed strong strides by Google Docs with 13% of firms using it.* However, the caveat is companies that have gone Google are using Docs to complement Office with collaboration features and mobile support, not to replace it.
 
You could argue how much incremental revenue Microsoft lost out on, but I don’t think the lack of native Office apps has caused Microsoft to cede ground to other office productivity suites on the PC, where the vast majority of content is still created. Keep in mind that out of the 20% of information workers in North America and Europe that use a tablet for work, 60% of them use some office productivity software on it.** Half of tablets used for work are iPads. So immediately just 6% of information workers will be considering the Office apps as an alternative to what they are using on their tablets today. 
 
Is Microsoft really multi-platform now?
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Internet Finance Is Disrupting The Banking Business In China

Yuebao is a hot topic in China, and has even gotten international attention. But what is it? Yuebao is a value-added service that customers of Alipay (China’s version of PayPal) can use to earn interest and to make payments and transfers. An individual can start a Yuebao account with as little as RMB 1 (US$0.17).

The Alibaba Group launched Yuebao in June 2013. By mid-February 2014, 61 million people had invested money in Yuebao, and total fund skyrocketed to RMB 400 billion (US$65 billion) – making it the largest fund in China.

People are drawn to Yuebao because of its:

  • High yield. The average annualized return is around 6% — much higher than similar funds and banks’ financial products.
  • Good liquidity. Yuebao offers great flexibility; investors can deposit and withdrawfunds anytime. Other financial institutions require lock-in periods and much higher initial investments.
  • Ease of use. Yuebao offers a much easier way to invest. People can see the value of their assets anytime, anywhere on their smartphones.
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Turning Customer Information Into Actionable Insight: B2B's Date With Big Data?

Laura Ramos

Here at the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City, one announcement that’s creating buzz among the 6000-plus attendees is a new customer profiling feature. Called Master Marketing Profile (MMP), Adobe says this new capability gives marketers a view of customer data that spans a broad range of third-party systems, real-time analytics, and behavioral sources. (First of its kind in the industry? Not sure; Demandbase may care to differ, but I’ll let them settle that score separately.)

Dynamic customer profiling is something all marketers should get excited about.

It’s the type of technology evolution, when coupled with the right marketing practices, that is closing the gap between the amount of data available to us as marketers and our ability to get value from it. From my perspective, B2B marketers need to make a date with their big data destiny, and the time to schedule this appointment is now.

Empowered business buyers — sporting digital devices giving them information about and access to the products they want as consumers — now bring these always-on, always addressable expectations into the office. This presents big problems to B2B marketers, content to lead with products and features, who now find they need to fulfill these expanding digital expectations by getting closer to customers and knowing much more about them — a tough problem if access to, quality of, and practices around using customer data are underdeveloped.

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Welcome Brendan Witcher to the eBusiness & Channel Strategy Team

Peter Sheldon

I’m delighted to announce that Forrester has hired a new Principal Analyst, Brendan Witcher, to bolster our coverage of commerce technology. Brendan joins Forrester from a retail background, having most recently held several leadership positions in eCommerce, CRM and strategic planning at Guitar Center. Prior to Guitar Center, Brendan also held senior eCommerce and direct marketing roles at Harry & David. Brendan will be based in Forrester’s headquarters in Cambridge, MA.

With the addition of Brendan to the team, Forrester is making an investment to grow our coverage of commerce technology across the four stages of the customer lifecycle (discover, explore, buy and engage). Vendors and clients alike have already been asking how we’ll be dividing research coverage across our ever growing team. The answer is that we will intentionally be collaborating on much of the research, so expect to see some or all of us on inquiries, briefings as well as authors of much of our respective research. Each of us on the team will also be specializing in certain areas in addition to collaborating on core commerce technology research. The 1000 ft view looks like this:

  • I will continue to lead Forrester’s research on commerce platform, mobile commerce, digital experience management (DXM) and order management technology.
  • Adam continues to research and write about the digital retail store and will lead our research on the commerce service provider landscape in addition to order management, site merchandising,  and omnichannel logistics and fulfillment.
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