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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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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Contact Center Agent Turnover Is A Fact Of Life That Must Be Tracked And Managed

Kate Leggett

Agents turn over in contact centers, and managing your turnover rate is a fact of life. Low agent turnover rates are those that are below 20% a year, and some contact centers have turnover rates as low as 5%. Turnover rates higher than 50% are considered high, and some contact centers have attrition rates of more than 100% a year. Turnover impacts organizations because of recruiting and training costs, and ongoing agent morale issues which can impact customer satisfaction. As turnover costs must be built into overall contact center plans, its important to have an attrition benchmark and manage your operations to that number.

Not all turnover is the same. It is useful to quantify each turnover event as voluntary or involuntary, and understand the causes of turnover so that you can address them, especially if your metric far exceeds the benchmark that you have set for the organization. Common causes of turnover are:

  • Involuntary turnover: This is attributable to a mismatch between the contact center agent and the expectations of the position for which the agent is hired. Examples include poor hiring and training practices; poor job descriptions; effort required for the job that were miscommunicated during interviewing; poor toolset that causes overly-long training times.
  • Voluntary turnover: This is attributable to the contact center organization not meeting long term job expectations of the contact center agent. Examples include job monotony; better pay elsewhere; lack of career advancement; poor management; over- supervision;  lack of empowerment to solve customer issues; lack of control of personal schedules; frustration with the toolset; stress of dealing with irate customers.
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COBOL Application Development: (Still) Not Dead Yet

There is a scene in the Broadway hit Spamalot in which a peasant jumps up from a cart of corpses and vigorously complains that he's "not dead yet".  It's a humorous side-story to the main theme of the search for the Holy Grail. One might be accused of thinking of COBOL in the same way, as a side-story to the current major themes of mobile and web development, or perhaps as a historical footnote to the current narrative.  IBM's recent announcement of major upgrades to its COBOL compiler technology provides a good reason to pause in our headlong pursuit of the latest technology to reflect on the value of COBOL applications in enterprise software portfolios.

While mobile and web technologies often garner everyone’s attention, the reality is that most organizations that have been around for more than 30 years still run their core business processes using systems that were written in COBOL. Anything that makes these apps easier to evolve and extend is a very good thing. The reality is that evolution and extension of these apps is critical to business success. In order for the flashy-new-social-networking-enabled mobile and web Systems of Engagement to succeed, the workhorse Systems of Record and Systems of Operation are going to have to evolve apace. This means that they must take advantage of the latest architectures as well as being refactored and modularized to align with a service delivery model.

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