Rethinking Hybrid Development

John M. Wargo

A few weeks back I published a report entitled New Tools Make Hybrid Apps A Safer Bet. It’s my first report at Forrester, a brief on some of the changes happening in the hybrid application space and what they mean for application development and delivery (AD&D) pros. The topic is something I was noodling on before I joined Forrester and it was a natural topic for my first report.

I’ve been a contributor to the Apache Cordova project and written 4 books on the topic, and while a lot of developers are building hybrid apps using Cordova, broad adoption of the approach has been lacking. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of developers are using the framework, and there are a lot of apps out there, but we haven’t seen a lot of big name adoption. Developers eschew the hybrid approach for reasons both valid and invalid; recent changes in the hybrid space address some of those issues and should set the stage for broader adoption of hybrid. Check out the report and I would love to hear your feedback.


John M. Wargo

As a recent addition to the Forrester Application Development and Delivery (AD&D) team, I thought I’d use my first post here to introduce myself.

I’ve been a professional software developer, in one capacity or another, for the entirety of my professional career. Like many others on this team, I’m a geek (not a nerd; yes, there is a difference) and very interested in anything related to software development, gadgets and especially mobile.

As part of the AD&D team, I’ll be focusing on Mobile development topics alongside my colleagues Jeffrey Hammond and Michael Facemire. Because of my experience with open source software, described below, I will be focusing some of my efforts on that space as well. Currently I’m working on updating some of the existing reports in the Mobile App Dev Playbook, the first of which will be published soon.

Before coming to Forrester, I was a product manager at SAP responsible for part of the SAP Mobile Platform (SMP) SDK. I owned the SMP Hybrid SDK (called Kapsel) and the SAP Fiori Client, a native mobile runtime for SAP Fiori. In the last ten years, I’ve held positions at BlackBerry, BoxTone (now part of Good Technology) and AT&T. While at AT&T, I focused primarily on mobile application platforms, achieving developer certification for several products in this space.

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Where Are You On The BT Transformation Journey?

Leonard Couture

The age of the customer offers a unique opportunity for CIOs to own their destiny.  The role of technology and information in helping enterprises win, serve and retain clients has never been more important.  As the leaders of the digital agenda for their enterprises, CIO and CTOs are the key drivers in improving how customers engage with your enterpriseWe call this focus the Business Technology (BT) agenda and there is a major shift going on to invest in both human and technical capital to address it. 

There are some simple guidelines to help measure where you are on the journey:

  • Where is your innovation happening?  Innovate at the point of customer interactions – digital value is determined by how used the innovation is.  There is no better way for CIOs to be part of the age of the customer than to deliver digital innovation when and where the customer needs it.  The complexity of how to build enterprise-wide digital engagement can only be answered by having a strong BT agenda powered by BT professionals who think and act in an agile, iterative manner.  Your customers will engage your enterprise in many different ways: if you are not building an adaptive experience for them they will move on no matter how good your products may be.  This type of measurement approach is critical to realizing the effect of the digital experience you are building. In the end, the only thing that truly matters is how your customers are engaging your enterprise.
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Everyone’s Talking — About Your Digital Experience (DX) Delivery Ability

Dominique Whittaker

There’s no denying the importance of delivering an excellent mobile experience. As the pace of technology quickens, delivery cycles approach zero-day releases, and mobile moments reign supreme more than ever so now is the time to invest in the right priorities.The results from our 2015 DX Survey provided a vivid picture of digital experience technology organizations’ interesting insights. More specifically:


  • Enterprises manage an average of 268 customer-facing websites. When you compare this to the number of websites on the Internet, it is no surprise. However, having too many cooks in the kitchen is, so to speak. Many large enterprises we’ve spoken with have stated they have as many as 10,000 content creators and users using their digital asset management system. Being able to manage the extensive portfolio and volume of content creators has been a challenge for DX organizations.

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Customer-Obsessed Technology Platforms: If You Don't Know, You're Doing IT Wrong

Michael Facemire
"I don't know about you people, but I don't want to live in a world where someone else makes the world a better place better than we do."
-- Gavin Belson, Silicon Valley
Writing software to make the world a better place -- that's a lofty goal, even for Gavin Belson on the HBO hit comedy, Silicon Valley. Yet why is it that we've spent years doing the exact opposite with software in enterprise IT? We've built applications to simply show data living in our data centers. Have a lot of products to sell? Put them all on a web page! Myriad of services you offer to your customers? Throw them all on that web page too! If they really want our help, they'll figure out what it all means, right?
Unfortunately this is a terrible way to create applications, regardless if it's on the web, mobile, or any other emerging digital channel. The data is good, but we cannot start with our data in mind -- instead we must start with our customers' needs in mind. But why this change and why now? Our customers (and increasingly our employees) are being presented with so many more options from your competitors, both those known today and tomorrow's digital startups. Simply put, the barrier to creating new software solutions is approaching zero. Making this transformation is central to the BT Agenda -- applying technology to win, serve, and retain customers.
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The Customer Success Vendor Ecosystem Shows Signs Of Consolidation. Zuora Acquires Frontleaf

Kate Leggett

Our world is quickly moving to a subscription economy. In a subscription economy, the economic value of a customer is realized over time, instead of up-front at the initial sale. This means that the duration of the customer relationship has an increasingly large economic impact on the company’s financial health. Being successful in this new economy requires that companies actively manage their customers during their engagement relationship to ensure that they are realizing the economic value of their purchase.  Why? Because if you don't, customers churn. 

A new organizational role, called customer success, has emerged which is dedicated to actively managing the post-sale journey that a customer has with a product or service that they have bought. One measure that customer success organizations use to track a customer's success is a "health score." The health score is a composite number created from product usage data (who's using the product, how is the product used), customer interaction data (support tickets, customer feedback) and contractual data. This data is pulled from systems like CRM, ERP, billing, customer survey solutions. It is tracked at a user and company level and the way it trends, and sudden changes to the score are used to understand a customer' health.

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Gainsight's Pulse Conference Underlines The Importance Of Customer Success In A Subscription Economy

Kate Leggett

I attended Gainsight’s Pusle conference on customer success, held in San Francisco, on May 12 and 13. This conference, which focused on the economic value of customer success, actionable customer success best practices and insight from customer success practitioners, drew over 2000 attendees across 20 countries. This was more than double the size of last year's conference. The speaker list read like a who’s who in the world of young B2B SaaS companies: Apttus, Box, Zuora, Yelp, Satmetrix, MindTouch, Zendesk, Influitive, InsideSales, Docusign, Atlassian amongst others, as well as more established companies such as SAP,  ATT, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Workday. It also drew a long list of VC luminaries including Roger Lee from Battery Ventures, Jason Lemkin from Storm Ventures and SaaStr, Tomasz Tunguz from Redpoint Ventures and Ajay Agrawal from Bain Capital Ventures,. 

So why the interest in customer success? 

  1. Our world has moved to a subscription economy. Categories like media and entertainment and telecommunications have fully embraced this model. Other industries like  publishing, computer storage, healthcare, are moving in this direction. This shift is most notable in B2B software.  
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Get your customer service ready for the digital-first generation

Ian Jacobs

This is a guest post by Danielle Geoffroy, Research Associate on the AD&D team who helps with our customer service and unified communications research.

Do you hear that swooshing sound of a tweet being sent in the middle of a Google Hangout? It’s faint, but strong, and it means they’re coming.  Generation Y—a generation raised entirely in a technology-driven world.  This new breed of consumers demands more from companies and government agencies, with particularly high expectations for friction-free customer experiences. They’re prepared with knowledge of your company, and your top competitors. In fact, they often have more information about you and your products than your own employees.

This new generation should matter to you, because by 2018, the millennials will surpass the spending power of baby boomers. Remember: there is a dollar value to every positive and negative Yelp review, tweet, and Facebook status they target at you. With so much information at consumer’s fingertips, there is some give with the take. People don’t want to retain all of the information they receive on a daily basis. Striking a balance between the knowledge of your customers, and the methods deployed by your customer support agents, will lead to an enjoyable service experience, and keep you far away from the dreaded viral video of a support request gone wrong.

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Seeing is believing for financial services firms as they increasingly embrace video as a sales and service channel

Art Schoeller

When we think of obstacles financial services firms need to overcome in order to win, retain, and serve customers, one of the largest ones that come to mind is trust and transparency.  For financial services firms these attributes are key to boosting deeper customer engagement with wealth management clients and grow share of wallet in retail banking.

Those that have successfully done this in the past need to adapt to the mindset and needs of the modern digital customer.   In our recent report, we explore the effectiveness of using varying video channels to not only pull customers in, but build the relationship of the financial partner. “Hey, we’re in this together” is what we all want to hear from the person holding our money, right?

Three ways financial firms are finding customer success through video:

1.       Instant access to a human. One of the realities with serving the modern consumer is that they will want immediate access to you, and sometimes a quick balance check is not going to cut it.  Consider deploying a video chat solution for your high net worth customers.

2.       Assure them of your knowledge and understanding of the market. Your customers don’t know what they don’t know, that is why they are turning to you.  A best practice video on choosing the right home insurance policy creates the empathy people crave, much more than a text filled webpage.

3.       Brand videos.  Financial firms know our cousin’s husbands name.  Showing us what you are about, what your values and promises are, create a valuable but often lost connection with the customer.

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Here Come The Insights Ecosystem (s)

Ted Schadler

In doing research on why big data is not enough and customer insights teams are disconnected from business operations, Brian Hopkins and I came across three hugely important things happening:

  1. Firms are adopting systems of insight -- insights teams with business, data, and developer skills using an insights-to-execution process and taking advantage of a new insights architecture. This is what our new big idea report is about.
  2. Service providers are building insights practices with reusable technology, reusable insights models (including some with cognitive capabilities), and reusable engagement models for an industry or business function. Deloitte Digital and now IBM specialize in this, but many other service providers are recrafting their analytics practices to jump in.
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