Continuing Trend Of Data Exploration - Tableau Closes One Of The Remaining Gaps In Its Portfolio, Acquires HyPer

Boris Evelson
One of the reasons for only a portion of enterprise and external (about a third of structured and a quarter of unstructured -) data being available for insights is a restrictive architecture of SQL databases. In SQL databases data and metadata (data models, aka schemas) are tightly bound and inseparable (aka early binding, schema on write). Changing the model often requires at best just rebuilding an index or an aggregate, at worst - reloading entire columns and tables. Therefore many analysts start their work from data sets based on these tightly bound models, where DBAs and data architects have already built business requirements (that may be outdated or incomplete)  into the models. Thus the data delivered to the end-users already contains inherent biases, which are opaque to the user and can  strongly influence their analysis. As part of the natural evolution of Business Intelligence (BI) platforms data exploration now addresses this challenge. How? BI pros can now take advantage of ALL raw data available in their enterprises by:
 
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Get ready for BI/Analytics vendor landscape reshuffle

Boris Evelson

When I read articles like today's WSJ article on mutual funds exiting high tech startups and triangulate the content with Forrester client interactions over the last 12 to 18 months (and some rumors) I am now becoming convinced that there will be some Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics vendor shake ups in 2016. Even though according to our research enterprises are still only leveraging 20%-40% of their entire universe of data for insights and decisions, and 50%-80% of all BI/analytics apps are still done in spreadsheets, the market is over saturated with vendors. Just take a look at the 50+ vendors we track in our BI Vendor Landscape. IMHO we are nearing a saturating point where the buy side of the market cannot sustain so many sellers. Indeed we are already seeing a trend where large enterprises, which a couple of years ago had 10+ different BI platforms, today usually only deploy somewhere between 3 and 5. And, in case you missed it, we already saw what is surely to be a much bigger trend of BI/analytics M&A - SAP acquiring mobile BI vendor Roambi. Start hedging your BI vendor bets!

Your Customers Don't Want To Call You For Support

Kate Leggett

Your customers just want an accurate, relevant, and complete answer to their question upon first contact so they can get back to what they were doing before the issue arose. Our data backs this up: 53% of US online adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can't find a quick answer to their question; 73% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service. 

It's no wonder that customers increasingly leverage self-service and agent-assisted digital communication channels for customer service, as these channels have the least amount of friction. Our recent data from December 2015 shows that: 

  • Web and mobile self-service interactions overtake all other channels. For the second year running, survey respondents reported using web or mobile self-service more than speaking with an agent over the phone. Use of help or FAQs on a company's website increased from 67% in 2012 to 81% in 2015 among US online adults. 
  • Other self-service channels are also on the rise. We see a rise in adoption across all self-service communication channels — not only web or mobile self-service. For example, fo US online adults, online forum/community use jumped from 31% in 2012 to 56% in 2015.
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Four Rules To Build Successful Business Intelligence Business Cases

Boris Evelson

Rule #1. Don't just jump into creating a hefty enterprise wide Business Intelligence (BI)

Business intelligence and its next iteration, systems of insight (SOI), have moved to the top of BI pros' agendas for enterprise software adoption. Investment in BI tools and applications can have a number of drivers, both external (such as regulatory requirements or technology obsolescence) and internal (such as the desire to improve processes or speed up decision-making). However, putting together a BI business case is not always a straightforward process. Before embarking on a BI business case endeavor, consider that:

  • You may not actually need a business case. Determining whether a BI business case is necessary includes three main considerations. Is it an investment that the organization must make to stay in business, should consider because other investments are changing the organization's IT landscape, or wants to make because of expected business benefits?
  • A business sponsor does not obviate the need for a business case. It may be tempting to conclude that you can skip making a business case for BI whenever there is a strong push for investment from the business side, in particular when budget holders are prepared to commit money. Resist this impulse whenever possible: The resulting project will likely suffer from a lack of focus, and recriminations are likely to follow sooner or later.
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Vidyo, Xiaomi challenge Apple Facetime with multi-point VC

Nick Barber

Look out Apple, Xiaomi is coming for you.

China's smartphone juggernaut is using technology from Vidyo to bring multi-point video conferencing to the masses. In the age of the customer, AD&D pros need to take note because mobile is often the driver for business transformation. 

Xiaomi (pronounced shaow-me) is a device maker that up until recently has been driving huge sales, growing 227% in 2014. That number drastically shrank in 2015 so it appears that video conferencing is part of a differentiation strategy.

The calling app, Mi Video (seen left) will be pre-installed on the company's new flagship device, the Mi 5, but it's also available for free on iOS and Android devices. The difference with Mi Video is that it lets consumers do multi-point video conferencing. Every other consumer VC service only allows for point-to-point conversations on mobile. For example, with Apple's Facetime you can only videochat with one other person.

For AD&D pros there are a few important points to note:

  • Forrester research encourages organizations to use tools like video conferencing to enhance day-to-day interactions. There is more value than just cutting travel expenses. 
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Xamarin Acquisition Amplifies Microsoft's Comprehensive Mobile Development Strategy

Jeffrey Hammond

Today Microsoft announced that it is acquiring Xamarin. Terms were not disclosed. Our lead mobile app dev analyst Mike Facemire was on a plane somewhere near Buffalo at the time of the announcement, so I've posted the team's combined thoughts here. Our take: This move makes Microsoft a must-consider option throughout the stack when it comes to mobile development. For those not familiar with Xamarin, here’s what Microsoft is getting:

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Virtual reality video is doomed, unless...

Nick Barber
Virtual reality and 360 videos continue to gain momentum, but one obstacle that could stop them in their tracks is the lack of an analytics standard.
 
Virtual reality or 360 video (synonymous for this post) deliver immersive experiences. If you have never consumed VR video, imagine standing inside a globe with content flowing all around you. 
 

 

Video analytics can be robust, but 360 introduces new challenges. Instead of a “lean back” experience, viewers of VR video take an active role in deciding where to focus. This means that success can’t be defined by views alone. Application Development & Delivery professionals will either need to develop their own analytics scheme or partner with a third party firm. 
 
In order to understand 360 analytics, we first need to understand the format. 360 video is captured by multiple cameras and stitched into a common resolution like 1920 by 1080 pixels. The flattened (or equirectangular) video allows you to see everything at once. In order to create an immersive VR experience, that flattened video is then wrapped around a sphere using special metadata. Viewers can focus on a sliver of the video at a single time. 
 
If your team is looking to deploy VR video, Application Development and Delivery professionals need to figure out how to define success. A few options might include:
 
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Announcing John Bruno: A Sales Pitch

John Bruno

Welcome to my Forrester blog. My career has been a blend of business strategy and technology, whether it was preparing people and processes for new technology eras as a consultant or diving deep into the technology while working in business operations and application development for a CRM vendor. What may surprise many of you reading this is although my blog is new, I am not new to Forrester; I’ve been with Forrester for close to two years working with Application Development & Delivery leaders as an Advisor with Forrester’s Leadership Boards. In that role, I worked directly with 50+ enterprise-level leaders from across all verticals to help define their customer-obsessed strategies and identify the best and next practices to give them a competitive edge. It was this connection with clients around solving critical business problems and using technology to gain an edge that attracted me to research and more specifically, diving back into the world of CRM.

 

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CRM Success Requires Focus On People, Not Only Technology

Kate Leggett

There’s a very large graveyard of failed CRM projects. There’s more CRM initiatives that have spiraled out of control to become multimillion-dollar investments that negatively affected large numbers of customer-facing employees and didnt deliver any real results.  The cost of poor CRM adoption is twofold: underutilized investment and unmet business objectives.

We recently ran a survey in partnership with  CustomerThink to understand the risks and pitfalls that CRM professions need to navigate to achieve a successful CRM technology project. We surveyed 414 individuals who had been involved in a CRM technology project as a business professional in sales, marketing, customer service, or technology management within the past 36 months. Not surprisingly, we found that successful CRM technology projects are not only about choosing the right software. They demand a balanced, multifaceted approach that addresses four critical fundamentals: 

  • People issues. Nearly two-fifths (38%) of respondents stated that their problems were the result of people issues such as slow user adoption, inadequate attention paid to change management and training, and difficulties in aligning the organizational culture with new ways of working.
  • CRM Process. One-third (33%) of respondents faced problems because of poor or insufficient definition of business requirements, inadequate business process designs, and the need to customize solutions to fit unique organizational requirements.
  • CRM Strategy. One-third (33%) of respondents had challenges related to CRM strategy, such as a lack of clearly defined objectives, a lack of organizational readiness, and insufficient solution governancepractices.
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After The Unicorn Carnage, Does Digital Disruption Take A Holiday?

Ted Schadler

We are seeing significant devaluation for startups and maturing unicorns (startups that soared above $1B in valuation). Valuation deflation was not just inevitable; the correction was overdue.

Evidently, not everybody needs a shiny new GoPro. Not every brand is ready to advertise on Snapchat. Not every regulator is ready to give Uber or Zenify a free ride. Not every company is ready to move its file system to Box.

Consumers and businesses do not have insatiable appetites for everything. That slice of reality was left out of entrepreneurs’ pitch decks and investors’ funding decisions. In a classic herd mentality driven by the fear of missing out, venture capitalists, private equity investors, even mature money managers funded 152 digital startups at valuations more than $1 billion (according to CB Insights as of February 16, 2016). That’s up from 39 unicorns in November 2013. Do the math: There are almost four times as many billion-dollar startups today than two years ago.

The desire to replicate the results of the best companies drove these giddy investments. But when investors start valuing startups based on the best imaginable metrics -- Facebook-quality price-earnings ratios, smartphone-level adoption of every new gadget, or Salesforce or Amazon levels of SaaS valuations -- the valuations en masse soar beyond credibility.

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