Q&A With Greg Swimer, VP IT, Business Intelligence, Unilever

Kyle McNabb

In advance of next week’s Forrester’s European Business Technology Forums in London on June 10 and 11, we had an opportunity to speak with Greg Swimer about information management and how Unilever delivers real-time data to its employeesGreg Swimer is a global IT leader at Unilever, responsible for delivering new information management, business intelligence, reporting, consolidation, analytics, and master data solutions to more than 20,000 users across all of Unilever’s businesses globally.
 

1) What are the two forces you and the Unilever team are balancing with your “Data At Your Fingertips” vision?

Putting the data at Unilever’s fingertips means working on two complementary aspects of information management. One aspect is to build an analytics powerhouse with the capacity to handle big data, providing users with the technological power to analyse that data in order to gain greater insight and drive better decision-making. The other aspect is the importance of simplifying and standardizing that data so that it’s accessible enough to understand and act upon. We want to create a simplified landscape, one that allows better decisions, in real time, where there is a common language and a great experience for users.

 

2) What keys to success have you uncovered in your efforts?

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Google Apps Versus Office 365: How To Decide

Mike Gualtieri

Deciding between Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps is not easy, because it’s not an apples-to-apples comparision of apps and features. It’s more like a fruit basket containing some apples, some pears, and a few exotic fruits. Not to worry — Forrester’s expert on collaboration software, TJ Keitt, is here to help you understand how to decide.

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How Are Organizations Supporting Digital Customer Experience Delivery?

Anjali Yakkundi

This post originally appeared on destinationCRM.

Forrester recently surveyed 233 digital customer experience professionals with decision-making roles in digital experience (DX) technologies, asking them about priorities, sourcing decisions, and strategic direction. In this survey, we debunked a few widely held exaggerations: that IT is declining, marketing is the new king, and mobile applications have completely replaced the Web. Instead, we found a much more muddled picture, where many different stakeholders are balancing many different priorities. Here’s what we uncovered:

  • Organizations prioritize the Web. Mobile applications are still very important (44% of respondents said they were prioritizing tablet apps and 42% said they were prioritizing mobile apps for phones and other mobile devices), but this doesn’t mean that Web concerns are disappearing — quite the opposite. When we asked respondents to cite the top three prioritized channels for digital experience delivery, Web initiatives remain a top priority. 80% of respondents said that traditional (e.g., desktop) Web initiatives were a top priority, while 59% said mobile Web for tablet and 56% said mobile Web (excluding tablets) were a priority.
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Survey Shows Mobile Web Gets Priority Over Mobile Apps In 2013

David Aponovich

As companies work hard to deliver multichannel digital experiences (DX) to their customers, questions persist. A big question: Which channels (and, by extension, which development strategies) should we prioritize for our DX initiatives? Recent Forrester survey data provides some guidance by indicating which channels DX professionals say are top of mind in 2013.

A focus on traditional web sites remains the highest priority, cited by 80% of organizations, according to data in Forrester’s March 2013 Global Digital Experience Delivery Online Survey. (Forrester colleague Anjali Yakkundi dives deep into the survey data and its implications in her The State of Digital Customer Experience Technology, 2013 report.)

But when it comes to addressing the mobile imperative, respondents indicate two distinct layers of prioritization.

The focus on building mobile web experiences is measurably higher than the focus on developing purpose-built mobile applications. See the accompanying chart to witness the gulf between organizations extending a web experience to tablets and smartphones, over those creating specific web apps typically developed to support more specific tasks or functions.

Many organizations tell us that they’ve shifted their mobile strategy away from creating specific apps built for iOS and Android devices, unless and until they have a compelling reason to create a custom app experience.

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When Digital Experience Becomes The Product: Examples From Three Brands

David Aponovich

When people at your company talk about wanting to create great digital customer experiences (DX), do they quickly venture into the land of the abstract by talking about technology platforms and features?  

If so, you’re not alone. I see this every day in my research on web content management and related software that supports digital experience strategies. It’s easy for technology, marketing, and business people to embrace the concept of creating delightful multichannel digital experiences. But far too many organizations still find it difficult to actually create DX that matters to customers and helps their brand gain a competitive edge.

Fortunately, inspiration isn’t far away. We’ve reached an inflection point in the evolution of digital experience where companies and brands are now selling the digital experience as much as they focus on what they're actually selling.  

Suddenly, technology-enabled experiences have morphed into the product. This should be a wakeup call for application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals everywhere to grasp this challenge. The same goes for digital experience agencies and partners that service brands. When digital experiences become the product, technologists have the opportunity to help bridge the DX vision and DX technology planning and project execution inside organizations. Tech capabilities and features matter most when you interpret them for the business and show people what’s possible. 

Recent TV commercials here in the US from Geico, AutoTrader, and La-Z-Boy each shine the spotlight not so much on their products (auto insurance, cars, and furniture, respectively) but on sweet digital experiences that focus on the needs of their customers. Specifically:

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The Who, What, Where, And Why Of Marketing Technology Groups

Anjali Yakkundi

This post originally appeared on destinationCRM.

We’ve heard a lot in the past year about the future role of marketing technologists as solvers of the “IT/marketing clash of the titans” (as one Forrester client put it to me recently). These technologists are more than just your basic webmasters. Instead, they are professionals with deep knowledge of how technology can deliver on marketing strategies in order to bring about better digital customer experiences. At Forrester, we’ve started to see an emerging trend of shared services groups whose goal is to bridge the marketing technology divide. Our latest research found that organizations have turned to this model — which we call the marketing technology group — to foster tighter integration between IT and marketing and between strategy/design professionals and technologists. Defining characteristics include:

  • Who? These groups tend to be made up of a diverse lot of professionals, but in general are staffed by a combination of marketing strategists, creative design professionals, and technologists with design and business savvy. We found some of the most sought-after technologists were mobile- and data-literate developers and higher-ranking IT leaders, like enterprise architects, who can coordinate an ever-growing number of digital experience technologies (e.g. CRM, Web content management, commerce platforms, analytics, etc.). The key is to give these groups direct tie-in to C-level executives. As a vice president of strategy at a digital agency told us, “The problem with shared services is that too often it’s staffed by only powerless workers.”
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TechnoPolitics Podcast: Consensual Impersonation - Frisky Or Risky?

Mike Gualtieri

Forrester TechnoPolitics, Eve MalerShame on you if you share your password. The consequences can ruin your sterling reputation, violate legal terms of service, promote fraud and identity theft, and give ex-lovers weapons of mass digital destruction. We all do it, despite the risks. Share your Netflix password with your BFF so she can watch House Of Cards and season 4 of Arrested Development. Reveal your Amazon password to your teenage son so he can rent college textbooks using your account. The list of examples goes on.

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TechnoPolitics Podcast: Smart Body, Smart World

Mike Gualtieri

Sarah Rotman EppsCustomers are becoming hyper-connected. Sensor-laden devices on our bodies, in our homes, in our cars, and virtually everywhere else are creating new opportunities firms large and small. Products such as Google Glass, the Nest home thermostat, and the Nike+ FuelBand are the latest cool kids on the block. Not many people have these yet, but remember that every smartphone and tablet is full of sensors such as accelerometer, GPS, microphone, cameras, temperature, and more. 

Smart Body, Smart World

Forrester Senior Analyst Sarah Rotman Epps says that sensors will power the next wave of innovation and disrupt many industries. We could not agree more. That's why we are thrilled to interview her on this episode of TechnoPolitics. Listen to hear Sarah discuss her Smart Body, Smart World research about how sensors, big data predictive analytics, and psychology will power the next wave of innovation.

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Google I/O 2013 Developer's Conference: A Great Time To Be A Developer

Mike Gualtieri

Google sets amazing new standards when it comes to web, mobile, and cloud technologies. That's why we are here at Google I/O 2013 in San Fransciso to find out what new technologies and tools developers can expect on all technology fronts. See this special edition of Forrester TechnoPolitics to experience the energy of Google I/O.

About Forrester TechnoPolitics

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CIOs and Mobility: Present Concerns Still Trump Future Vision

Michael Barnes

 

I recently hosted an Executive Roundtable in Singapore along with my colleagues Dane Anderson and Tim Sheedy. The theme of the session was “From Systems of Record to Systems of Engagement - Understanding the New Mobile Imperative for IT Leaders".

The discussion centered on the fact that mobility doesn’t simply mean another device for IT to support. Instead, mobility is driving a clear and permanent link between virtual services and physical activities. In other words, mobility is part of a broader set of technologies – including social, cloud, and advanced analytics – that are creating ubiquitous and information-rich Systems of Engagement.

The above broad themes made for great discussion. And there was general agreement among the CIOs present that mobility would drive significant business transformation. But there was also a common set of concerns that emerged among the group:

·         Deploying new technology (including mobile apps) with limited budget or relevant skills. And more broadly, how to prioritize mobile strategies relative to other IT (and business) initiatives. Ultimately the challenge for CIOs is how to align business requirements with budget realities, particularly as user expectations continue to rise and change management becomes a critical issue due to condensed release cycles. A critical first step is to better define your mobile strategy using a simple framework for prioritizing mobile applications and features.

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