Observations From IFA 2014

Dan Bieler

I recently visited the oldest and largest global consumer electronics trade fair, Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA), which took place in Berlin. IFA highlighted that the technology sector retains its appeal. On IFA‘s 90th anniversary, about a quarter of a million visitors attended, and orders for products worth about €4 billion were placed at the event. IFA’s floor space was sold out, despite a 3% expansion.

Electronics companies from around the globe showcased a wide spectrum of connected devices ranging from the smart stove to the latest smartphones and computerized wristwatches — just a few days ahead of Apple announcing its latest gadgets. Although IFA primarily focuses on consumer products and services, many themes are of increasing relevance for CIOs. Leading CIOs recognize that consumer electronics have an impact on their business and that:

  • Consumer electronics offer a new customer engagement channel. Traditional businesses are facing opportunities to use the emerging possibilities for closer customer engagement that consumer electronics in combination with social media channels offer. For instance, smart TVs allow media companies to communicate in real-time with their customers while they watching or listening to the “product.” However, this requires a dramatic rethinking of marketing and sales techniques — something most of the traditional companies are struggling with. This underlines the need to view the “consumer electronics” opportunity as part of the wider digital transformation process.
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Join Us At the eBusiness & Channel Strategy Forum in Chicago, October 28th and 29th!

Carrie Johnson

It’s a boardroom topic, it’s changing the way that firms do business, and it’s unleashing innovation at an unprecedented pace. No, it’s not the new watch from Apple, it’s digital business, and getting it right is crucial to the survival of nearly every business. Mapping Your Path To Digital Mastery is also the theme of our annual eBusiness Forum, which will take place in Chicago on October 28th and 29th. Come join us!

At the event this year we’ll be tackling this fundamental tension: According to our survey with partner Russell Reynolds, 73% of firms think that they have a digital strategy but just 34% of executives that think their digital strategy is correct, and only 16% believe they can deliver their strategy.

Danger Will Robinson! Firms are in trouble: Digital innovation isn’t slowing down and customer expectations are rising. And when you think it couldn't get any more difficult to pull off a digital business transformation, digital business success requires a new, even thornier element: the creation of ecosystems of value.

This means re-envisioning your business not as a standalone entity but as part of an ecosystem of suppliers that customers assemble according to their needs and an ecosystem of collaborating businesses sharing data and services.

Do ecosystems sound complicated? Don’t panic, we’re focusing the majority of our event content on how to create internal and external ecosystems. On the main stage, Forrester keynoters Bill Doyle, Martin Gill, Julie Ask and David Johnson will outline what it takes to become a digital business leader and to create partner ecosystems.  Speakers from Walgreens, 3M, Bank of America and others will share their firms’ digital business journey and transformation stories.

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Technology Jeopardy: Beat The Odds Of Project Failure With A Single Question

David Johnson

A version of this post originally appeared on Computerworld.

People are always asking me, “What can we do to help people do their very best work?”

Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that question. But I really do wish someone who stewards workforce computing for his or her company would — and I'd be over the moon if it were someone who really wanted to know the answer.

Spend a million bucks on security? Sure! Two million on a sales force automation system to get better reports and more predictable forecasting? Of course! Another million or so on private cloud automation to speed up provisioning? Sign me up! But how much would you spend to understand how technology impacts the most powerful driving force in your company: the intrinsic motivation of your people? The what? Yes, exactly.

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Throwback Thursday: Getting Executives Engaged In The CX Transformation

Megan Burns

One of the most common questions I get from CX professionals is this: “How do I get my executives to support the work I’m trying to do?” In 2009, when the CX space was just starting to gain traction at the C-level, I wrote a report on that topic. I pulled that report up earlier this week to share with a colleague and realized that its key takeaways are as true today as they were five years ago.  

Taking a page from the Facebook culture, I decided to make this Throwback Thursday and bring the report back into the CX conversation. You can read the full report here, but the key things that stand out to me after all this time are:

  • You don’t need buy-in; you need action. I think of CX as the “eat healthy and exercise” of the business world. Everyone “buys in” to the idea of treating customers well, at least in public. What they don’t do is change their behavior or encourage change in the people who work for them. CX professionals need to stop asking for buy-in and start asking specific executives to do specific things.
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Government CIOs And CMOs Unite! Governments Must Embrace The "Marketing" Function

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Here at Forrester we are busy planning our upcoming Forum For CIOs And CMOs.  With a theme of “Building A Customer-Obsessed Enterprise” the event explores the partnership between marketing and technology leaders. But what about our government clients?  The role of marketing is associated with the private sector. Companies employ marketers to identify their target markets and the opportunities for providing goods and services to them. Public-sector organizations don't typically have the luxury of  choosing their target market or their products and services. Or at least that’s what most organizations think. But even if that is the case, it doesn't mean that these organizations shouldn't get to know their "customers" and understand how best to meet their needs. While the service might be prescribed by legislation or regulation, public organizations can influence the customer experience, and the rising focus on citizen engagement mandates they do so.

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If You Are Thinking About Paying Your Influencers...Stop

Kim Celestre

Paying influencers, which Forrester defines as independent bloggers, industry analysts, and mainstream journalists, is a bad idea.

Public and analyst relations professionals have been managing influencer programs since long before the first utterance of the words "social media." They know how to strike the right balance of keeping influencers informed while gently motivating them to engage with their brand through 1:1 relationship building. Unfortunately, social media has ignited a population of "influencers" who are in it for the financial rewards more than for developing their personal brands. This has led to many brands jumping on the "pay for play" influencer program bandwagon, which, for some, has led to terrible results. For example, Microsoft learned the hard way back in June when its agency blasted out a paid blogging campaign invite to a large audience of influencers. And other brands that have been caught paying bloggers and influencers to write positive product reviews have also paid the price.  

Paid influencer programs diminish the authenticity of the message you are trying to amplify, have legal implications (if not carefully implemented), and can really irritate influencers who detest pay-for play-programs. Yet over 35% of marketers still use financial incentives. My simple advice: Don't do it!

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Analyst Spotlight Podcast With Renee Murphy

Stephanie Balaouras

Each month we use our newsletter and a podcast to highlight one of the many talented and hardworking analysts and researchers on Forrester's Security & Risk team. If you're not signed up for our newsletters, I highly encourage you to do so; please email srfl@forrester.com for additional details. In the meantime, click below to listen to our analyst spotlight on senior analyst Renee Murphy, one of our leading analysts on governance, risk, and compliance. You'll hear some great insights from Renee on clients' top challenges and requirements, surprising research findings, and upcoming research and vendors to watch. To download the MP3 version of the podcast, please click here

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From Intel Developer Forum – New Xeon E5 v3 Promises A Respite For Capacity Planners

Richard Fichera

I'm at IDF, a major geekfest for the people interested in the guts of today’s computing infrastructure, and will be immersing myself in the flow for a couple of days. Before going completely off the deep end, I wanted to call out the announcement of the new Xeon E5. While I’ve discussed it in more depth in an accompanying Quick Take just published on our main website, I wanted to add some additional comments on its implications for data center operations, particularly in the areas of capacity planning and long-term capital budgeting.

For many years, each successive iteration of Intel’s and partners’ roadmaps has been quietly delivering a major benefit that seldom gets top billing – additional capacity within the same power and physical footprint, and the resulting ability for users from small enterprises to mega-scale service providers, to defer additional data spending capital expense.

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WLAN Vendors Differentiate By Business Value And Market Focus, Not Technology

Andre Kindness

Forrester brought the wireless Forrester Wave™ back from the grave after an end-of-life announcement of it in 2007. Too many wireless innovations and changes in the vendor landscape have emerged not to dig it up and examine today’s solutions. The Forrester Wave: Wireless Local Area Network Solutions evaluated 10 wireless systems — Aerohive Solution, Aruba Mobility-Defined Networks, Cisco Aironet, Cisco Meraki, Fortinet Secure Wireless LAN, HP FlexNetwork WLAN, Meru Networks WLAN, Motorola Solutions WLAN,Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi products, and Xirrus Wireless— using 300 criteria asked in 58 questions . Besides the photo finish at the top, the wireless Forrester Wave reinforced what we were seeing and the reasons why the Forrester Wave needed to be resurrected:

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Quality, Trusted, Fit for Purpose Data?

Michele Goetz

Often lagging in priorities when it comes to data strategy, it appears that data quality is coming back in favor. As organizations expand beyond data exploration and discovery to putting real action in place organization wide based on these insights, the risk of getting the answer wrong or having dirty data is higher.  

But, this may be anecdotal supposition, even in light of the wide conversations I've had with clients.   What we do know quantitatively is:

1) Data quality is the most important topic for information governance according to our recent Business Technographics research for data and analytics.  In fact,

2) We see an uptick in data quality inquiries from last year.  

3) Vendors are introducing data preparation tools that infuse data quality and governance into analytic and BI processes

Anecdotal evidence and quantiative evidence leads me to the thought that there is a bigger shift happening in how we think about data quality, how we act upon it, and what doing so does for our buisnesses.  When things are a-changing it always make my brain itch to get more data, more stories, and more evidence.  And, while I'm curious, I'm assuming you are too. It is great to see that something in influencing change - and we want to know what that is in order to determine if we too need to change.  However, what is more important is what are organizations doing and which are standing out in terms of success and improved ways of thinking and execution?  In the end, do we need to write a new playbook* for data quality?  Has the bar been reset and we need to rebenchmark?

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