People Make All The Difference: Optimize Your Talent With The Right Processes And Technology

Claire Schooley

As businesses work to differentiate their products or services, grow the bottom line, and expand globally, they need to think seriously about the important role that their employees play in helping the business achieve successful outcomes. Businesses must invest in processes and technology to recruit and onboard the best people, address performance gaps with key learning activities, provide career development plans, and align pay with performance. Activities like human resource management (HRM) deployment in the cloud and the use of mobile and social technologies for HRM processes catapult HR to the cutting edge of innovation.

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The Power To Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, Or Die

Mike Gualtieri

If you want to learn more about predictive analytics, you have to read Eric Siegel's new book as reviewed on my Intro To Predictive Analytics Reading List. Eric is a former Columbia University professor and the founder of Predictive Analytics World. I caught up with Eric at Predictive Analytics World in Chicago. Eric says that data “encodes experience” and that firms use predictive analytics to ferret out what it means — “Who will click, buy, lie, or die.” Watch to hear Eric describe it (< 3 minutes).

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Microsoft Gets A New Java License, Oracle Gets A Cloud Channel

John R. Rymer
Microsoft’s cloud partnership with Oracle gives the Redmond, WA giant a new license to distribute Java technology — something it hasn’t had since 2004. With this license, Microsoft can finally offer Java as a preinstalled, first-class environment on Windows Azure as well as its Hyper-V virtualization software. Microsoft and Oracle announced their cloud partnership on June 24.
 
Developers can and do run Java applications on Azure, but strictly as a “bring your own” exercise; they were not able to get usage rights to and support for the technology from Microsoft. Without a license, Java would always be a second-class denizen of Windows Azure. Now enterprise customers can get the legal air cover they require for crucial technologies. As a result, we expect to see much wider usage of Windows Azure for a wider range of Java applications. 
 
For both Microsoft and Oracle, life is about the enterprise. And Java is a foundation of enterprise applications. In Forrester’s Forrsights Developer Survey, Q1 2013, Java support was a top-five reason to select a cloud platform. Enterprise C# developers will naturally come to Windows Azure, but Microsoft needed to attract the Java shops as well. The most popular cloud platform — Amazon Web Services — has no problem with Java; neither does Google. And in the real world, most large enterprises use both .NET and Java, so why should developers need different public clouds for each?
 
 
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Instant Insight: What Is Mobile Device Management?

Mike Gualtieri

You must invest in a mobile device management (MDM) solution especially to implement a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program. This essential technology allows IT pros to support multiple mobile platforms and form factors, extend management and security policies to both corporate-owned and employee-owned devices, and automate service desk support. In this Instant Insight, Forrester analyst Christian Kane explains what MDM is and where it is going.

About Forrester Instant Insight

Navigating the fast-changing world of business technology is a constant challenge. Forrester Instant Insight aims to provide simple, complete answers to some popular questions. Our goal: You will watch the video and be enlightened in 5 minutes or less.

This Forrester Instant Insight was produced and edited by Mike Gualtieri.

Cisco's Acquisition Of Composite Software Brings Data Intelligence To The Networks

Noel Yuhanna

Cisco’s acquisition of Composite Software is unique compared with the ones it’s done in the past. This acquisition makes networks more knowledgeable about data — a piece that’s been missing from Cisco’s framework.

Today, digital information that flows through networks is not data-aware. To networks, data is just represented as bits and bytes. There’s no built-in intelligence that tells the routers that some data needs higher priority when routing or needs to travel to another location before reaching its destination. The data intelligence piece is missing. This is where Composite Software comes in. Composite Software is a data virtualization company that knows what data is being used, how the data needs to be transformed and routed, and what data has higher priority.

Data virtualization deals with an abstraction layer of information from many disparate data sources — so it can integrate with applications, databases, files, virtualization, clouds etc.  Composite Software is one of the leading data virtualization companies that is often shortlisted by customers largely because of its strong product offering. It supports some of the most complex data virtualization deployments in existence — in part because it’s been active in this market as long as, or longer than, any other player. A key component in any large data virtualization implementation is the network that ensures consistent performance while accessing all of the disparate data, especially if the data is located across many servers, clouds and virtualized platforms.

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How Well Are Your IT Groups Supporting Digital Experiences?

Anjali Yakkundi

Your customers have been dazzled by the customer experiences they see from firms like Google or Apple. How are you going to keep up? Do you have the right IT culture and people in place to deliver on this new imperative? Are your IT objectives based on deep customer understanding? Do you have strategic scenarios to achieve your goals that are cross-business and take into account important strategic elements like governance and change management? Do you have the right provisioning policies and technology tools in place?

Most firms we speak with still have application development and delivery (AD&D) pros focused on keeping systems stable and secure. That’s no longer enough. In our recently published Digital Experience Delivery Maturity Assessment, we outline more than 100 essential practices for organizations looking to act on their digital transformation strategies. Keep in mind this is an emerging space so no one has figured everything out, but our assessment outlines four major areas to begin with:

  • People.  IT’s culture, leadership practices, collaboration methods, and skills and staffing are important factors that affect the delivery of digital customer experiences. Organizations strive to have IT groups with an agile, customer-first culture; collaborative organizational structures and metrics that foster collaboration between marketing, lines of business, and IT; and the appropriate skills and staffing that support both back-end development (e.g., mobile application developers, data-literate architects) and solution management (e.g., web content management specialists, digital asset managers).
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Which Cloud Platform Is Best?

John R. Rymer
To evaluate public cloud platforms, you have to look at the breadth of cloud services developers use, which means including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Windows Azure, and salesforce.com’s Heroku in the same comparison. 
 
That’s right — there’s a mix of IaaS and PaaS products in our evaluation. Why? Our job is to help AD&D leaders select the right platform for their public cloud deployments. Developers seek utility where they can find it. Thus, the most widely used public cloud platform in our surveys is not a PaaS, but rather AWS, which is commonly labeled an IaaS.
 
Public cloud platforms  unlock the flexibility, productivity, and economic advantages of cloud computing. Our just-published Forrester Wave™ on enterprise public cloud platforms evaluates the 14 leading providers of platforms  for the enterprise. We included AWS, CloudBees, Cordys, Engine Yard, GoGrid, Google, IBM, Mendix, Microsoft, MioSoft, Rackspace, salesforce.com, SoftLayer, and Verizon Terremark in the evaluation.
 
In conducting this research, we learned that cloud platforms don’t fit into neat product categories. AWS is much more than an IaaS; Microsoft and Google now provide both PaaS and IaaS products. This finding (previewed in this blog) is vital to helping AD&D leaders sort through a veritable explosion of new products labeled “PaaS”.
 
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Behind The Scenes Of The WCM Wave For Digital Customer Experience

Stephen Powers

David Aponovich and I recently published a Forrester Wave™ on web content management for digital customer experience. In this videocast, David and I talk about how we did the research that went into the report, how the market has evolved since the last version of the report, the biggest surprises from our findings, and highlights (and lowlights) from customer references for the evaluated products.

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Ratcheting DX Platform Heat Up To 11: salesforce.com Acquires ExactTarget; SAP Acquires hybris

Mark Grannan

Two days, two major acquisitions.

On June 5, salesforce.com announced its intent to acquire ExactTarget for approximately $2.5 billion. On June 6, SAP announced its intent to buy hybris for an undisclosed sum.

Salesforce.com is pushing its way into the CMO’s office (and budget) with its buy of ExactTarget, one of the largest providers of marketing automation solutions. This move helps salesforce.com keep pace with the likes of Oracle (with its purchase of Eloqua late last year) and add significant momentum to its smaller purchases of Radian6 and Buddy Media in the past two years. However, we remain dubious that this will produce the fabled “CRM 2.0” that has been promising a 360-degree view of the customer for many years. Could salesforce.com have built its own ExactTarget solution? Maybe. But this move places Marc Benioff in many CMOs’ offices and wallets today. And that speed-to-credibility is valuable enough to downgrade earnings expectations and pay a 53% share-value premium.

Clearly, SAP is looking to buy its way into the commerce leader category, potentially leveling the playing field in the B2C commerce space against fellow heavyweights IBM and Oracle. At the corporate level, IBM has a head start against SAP, given that it beat SAP to the punch with Sterling Commerce in 2010 (SAP following with hybris this week) and Emptoris in 2011 (SAP following with Ariba in 2012). Interestingly enough, even though hybris has broadened its offerings with increased content management capabilities, the term “digital experience” wasn’t mentioned during SAP’s investor/analyst conference call on June 6.

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Say Hailo To Big Data

Martha Bennett

Where customer experience and analytics meet, in real time

For a while now, I’ve been using Hailo as a European poster child for innovation in the context of big data analytics. Due to the level of interest generated by this example, and the number of questions I’ve received along the way about Hailo, its technology and business model, etc., I decided to put together this blog post rather than write loads of separate emails.

Ironically, I’ve not actually been able to use Hailo myself (much as I would like to), as I have neither an iOS or Android-based smartphone. I have, however, met lots of people who’re using Hailo as customers, and I’ve also spoken to taxi drivers about it. I have yet to meet anybody who isn’t a fan.

For those of you who don’t know Hailo, it’s an app that allows you to hail a registered cab from your smartphone; as it was started in London, it’s often also called “the black cab app.” With the company founders being three London cabbies (black cab drivers), the entire service has been uniquely focused around the needs of the two main participants in a taxi ride: the customer and the driver.

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