Thank You, Steve Mills. I'll Take Your Second Call.

Ted Schadler

Steve Mills is the most important software executive you never heard of. He's so important that I've sometimes wondered whether I should write a book about him. Steve Mills retired in December 2015 as the executive vice president of IBM Software & Systems after 43 years. He invented IBM Software. You can read Fortune's story here.

In 1995, Steve saw something important: Software was becoming more important than hardware. He convinced Lou Gerstner, CEO of IBM, to launch a Software business. That might sound obvious now, but at the time it was radical. Hardware companies had tons of software (still do). But they didn't sell software; they gave it away to sell hardware.

Steve's the guy that convinced a business machines company it could still dance even as software was eating the world. To do it had to wrestle lots of code and control away from the hardware and independent businesses and get it marching in lockstep. He was the right guy for the job.

Steve was also a unique personality. He was as Big Blue as any IBMer I've ever met, and he fiercely protected IBM's interests. But he did it using software. Here are some Steve-isms that shine light on the things he believed in most about software:

  1. Software is a high-growth, high-margin business. That's why Steve left his cozy sales job to convince the firm that Software should be its own busniness. When I first met him in 1998, he astounded me by marching a room of hard-boiled industry analysts through a three-hour tour de force of his entire software portfolio. He knew all the facts, numbers, and code releases. I think even his leadership team sat in awe. It was impressive, especially for the only history major in a room full of engineers.
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Chipotle Used Video To Address Its Entire Workforce. Could You?

Nick Barber

What happens when your business is food and it sickens 500 people? If you’re Chipotle you close your stores and produce an all-hands video address with your executives.

The company closed its 1,971 US stores on Monday for four hours so that employees could attend a company meeting hosted by its co-CEOs Monty Moran and Steve Ells.

The setup was elaborate with studio lights, multiple cameras and a teleprompter. Chipotle took this seriously and while the content of the address was for employees the pomp and circumstance was for the public.

 

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Selecting Professional Service Provider For Your Business Intelligence/Information Management/Analytics/Big Data Projects

Boris Evelson

You've done all the right things by following your enterprise vendor selection methodology. You created an RFI and sent it out to all of the vendors on your "approved" list. You then filtered out the responses based on your requirements, and sent out a detailed RFP. You created a detailed scoring methodology, reviewed the proposals, listened to the in-person presentations, and filtered out everyone but the top respondents. But you still ended up with more than one. What do you do?

If you shortlisted two or more market leaders (see Forrester's latest evaluation)  I would not agonize over who has better methodologies, reference architectures, training, project execution and risk management, etc. They all have top of the line capabilities in all of the above. Rather, I'd concentrate on the following specifics
 
People
  • The vendor who proposed more specific named individuals to the project, and you reviewed and liked their resumes, gets an edge over a vendor who only proposed general roles to be staffed at the time of the project kick off.
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Zuckerberg’s VR Baby Videos Signal Challenges For OVPs

Nick Barber
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to use 360-degree video to capture his daughter Max’s first steps. VR video will immerse family members into the scene, but leave traditional online video platforms scratching their heads. 
 
Virtual reality, or 360 video is video that is shot in all directions at once, typically with two or more cameras. The resulting footage is stitched together and then viewers can scroll around the scene and focus on their points of interest. Hardware for capturing the content ranges in price from $350 to $60,000 or more. 
 
[Image: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg with users on the 12th anniversary of the social network.]
 
VR video can certainly be useful outside of the obvious media and entertainment vertical. Nescafe used it to show the farms where their coffee comes from and Qantas made a tourism pitch for Australia. IBM used 360 video to show it’s data bunker during the US Open tennis tournament last year. 

 

Some of the biggest challenges for Application Development & Delivery pros supporting 360 video include:

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Forrester's Top CRM Trends For 2016 And Beyond

Kate Leggett

In the age of the customer, executives don't decide how customer-centric their companies are — customers do. And while good customer experiences can help control costs, executives are more interested in the potential for sustainable top-line growth. 

Forrester defines CRM as:

The business processes and supporting technologies that support the key activities of targeting, acquiring, retaining, understanding, and collaborating with customers.

CRM is the foundational building block of a company's customer experience strategy to win, serve, and retain customers. It allows empowered consumers and connected employees to do business in ways we just couldn’t conceive of just a few years ago.

Here is a snapshot of 3 of our top 10 trends that you should pay attention to in 2016 and beyond. You can access our full report here.

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Salesforce Announces New Pricing And Packaging -- What It Means To You

Liz Herbert

After more than a decade of keeping its published pricing largely unchanged, Salesforce today announced new pricing and packaging for its core products.

What you need to know:

  • Pricing will go up for core editions. New Sales and Service Cloud Lightning Editions will come in three flavors: Professional Edition (PE) -- $75; Enterprise Edition (EE) -- $150; Unlimited Edition (UE) -- $300. The pricing will now be identical for Sales and Service subscriptions. (Previously, Sales Cloud was cheaper than Service Cloud and was a subset of the functionality that came with Service Cloud. More on the functionality implications below.)
  • The new "Lightning" packaging comes with enhanced functionality. PE adds Workflow, Console Light, Profiles, Record Types, Unlimited Apps & Tabs. EE adds Full Console, more Sandboxes, two-factor mobile identity, Unlimited Apps & Tabs. UE has more Sandboxes than before. You can see the announced pricing and packaging for all editions in the graphics below.
  • The “Russian doll” model will go away. In the past, Salesforce packaging was analogous to Russian dolls: Service Cloud encapsulated Sales Cloud, which encapsulated Force, which encapsulated Chatter. The new packaging breaks this model and means that a Service Cloud buyer will no longer get full access to Sales Cloud. Instead, there will be a bundled price for customers who choose to buy Sales and Service Cloud seats together. Both Sales and Service Cloud will still come with Force and Chatter.
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Backend-as-a-Service: Bring Out Your Dead!

Michael Facemire

Appcelerator was acquired by Axway. Parse (once acquired by Facebook) closes up shop. It’s been a busy week in the BaaS world. It all reminds me of the “Bring out your dead!” sketch in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, except this time it’s mobile development shops driving the cart looking for the last remnants of BaaS companies to throw on the pile! Yet it was only 3 years ago that the BaaS space came into the mainstream — what happened?

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Online Self Service Dominates Yet Again. Why? Its An Effortless Way To Get To Your Answers

Kate Leggett

Customers demand accurate, relevant, and complete answers to their questions upon first contact - served up as painlessly as possible -  so they can get back to what they were doing before the issue arose.

Forrester data backs this up: In our December 2015 "Customer Lifecycle Survey," we found that 53% of customers are likely to abandon their online purchases if they can't find quick answers to their questions. 73% say that valuing their time is the most important thing companies can do to provide them with good customer service. We also found that older customers are just as, if not more, intolerant to friction in their customer service interactions as younger consumers.

Customer service organizations have to deliver easy and effective service. If they don't, customers will leave the brand. They will also complain to their networks about their experience. These emotions can get rapidly amplified in the world of social media and ultimately lead to brand erosion.

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Hadoop Is Data's Darling For A Reason

Mike Gualtieri

Hadoop thoroughly disrupts the economics of data, analytics, and data-driven applications. That's cool because the unfortunate truth has been that the potential of most data lies dormant. On average, between 60% and 73% of all data within an enterprise goes unused for analytics. That's unacceptable in an age where deeper, actionable insights, especially about customers, are a competitive necessity. Enterprises are responding by adopting what Forrester calls "Hadoop and friends" (friends such as Spark and Kafka and others). Get Hadoop, but choose the distribution that is right for your enterprise.

Solid Choices All Around Make For Tough Choices

Forrester's evaluated five key Hadoop distributions from vendors: Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM, MapR Technologies, and Pivotal Software. Forrester's evaluation of big data Hadoop distributions uncovered a market with four Leaders and one Strong Performer:

  • Cloudera, MapR Technologies, IBM, and Hortonworks are Leaders. Enterprise Hadoop is a market that is not even 10 years old, but Forrester estimates that 100% of all large enterprises will adopt it (Hadoop and related technologies such as Spark) for big data analytics within the next two years. The stakes are exceedingly high for the pure-play distribution vendors Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR Technologies, which have all of their eggs in the Hadoop basket. Currently, there is no absolute winner in the market; each of the vendors focuses on key features such as security, scale, integration, governance, and performance critical for enterprise adoption.

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I'm Shocked, Shocked That GoPro Missed Its Number

Ted Schadler

GoPro's stock, the gadget darling IPO of 2014, laid off 7% of its workforce and took a big hit in the stock market when it announced it had missed its revenue projection.

All I have to say about that is, "duh."

How big did you think they would get last year? GoPro is now in the very tough early majority phase of adoption, where fewer people in that cohort are interested in the product.

And you can't forecast early majority adoption based on early adopter purchases. Early adopters are a breed apart. They love tech. They take more risks. They try things out and abandon them with ease. Early majority customers are none of those things. And mainstream customers are even less so. 

If you want to play armchair prognosticor about a new technology (Apple Watch, anyone?), start with 15 points and take away points by asking four questions:

  1. If you own a GoPro, when was the last time you used it? If it wasn't in the last month, then take away a point. If it wasn't in the last year, then two points. If you don't own one and don't plan to, then take away three points.
  2. Could you imagine your neighbor using a GoPro? If not, then take away two points.
  3. Could you imagine a lot of people at the airport, truck stop, Starbucks, and Disneyworld using a GoPro? Take a point away for each venue where most people won't.
  4. Would your mother, father, and baby brother or child want to use a GoPro? Take away one point for each that won't.
  5. Could you imagine a lotta lotta people in China or India or Brazil using a GoPro? If not, then take away three points.
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