You Need To Act More Like An Interactive Agency…

Kyle McNabb

Two weeks have passed since our successful AD&D and BP Forums in Boston. I’m still struck by conversations we held there and continue to hold now with many of you on how your teams can help deliver to your firm’s ever-important customer experience outcomes. Following one tip can help you either get ahead of this issue or catch up to the expectations of your stakeholders…act more like an interactive agency!

Note I didn’t say “transform” into an interactive agency. No, at the end of the day you have responsibilities to your organization the agencies your business peers use often don’t – you have to manage, operate, and maintain what’s been delivered. What I did say was “act” like one, and in doing so you’ll need to:

  1. Revisit your talent. For those of you that haven’t outsourced big portions of development, make sure you have great, creative developers, build a high-performance development team, and up-skill your business analysts by putting personas and customer journey maps into their tool kit. Why? The agencies your peers use have and cultivate these skills. At minimum, you'll be in a better position to manage and maintain what they’ve put in place if you have complementary skills of your own. If you have outsourced development, we can help you make the case to bring back the right pieces.
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How Do You Sell BI To The Business Executives?

Boris Evelson

Whoa! Hold your horses. If this is indeed a key challenge that you’ve tried to address in the past without much success, consider switching jobs. This is not a joke. Business intelligence (BI) is an employee market right now; a key challenge for most BI employers is finding, recruiting, and retaining top — or actually any, for that matter — BI talent. Consider that IBM BAO alone added more than 4,000 (!) BI positions in just over a year! Every other major, midsize, and boutique BI consultancy I talk to is struggling to find BI resources. So if you’ve been fighting this uphill Sisyphean battle for a while, consider new channels for your noble efforts.

Now, some more practical advice — albeit not as exciting. Start from the top down. In a few minutes I am getting ready to talk to yet another large client whose CEO does not “get” BI. Can you rightfully blame him/her? Yes and no. Yes, because how can you manage any business without measurement and insight into your internal and external processes? So if your CEO didn’t learn that in his/her MBA 101, suggest that he/she look for another job. And if you’re still standing after that and have suffered only a mild concussion, consider that many BI projects have been less than successful, and ROI on BI — one of the most expensive enterprise apps — is extremely difficult to show. So can you really blame your CEO?

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Steve Jobs Is In All Of Us

Mike Gualtieri

Steve Jobs brought us the future. He did not cajole us with clever arguments or dangle shallow technology candy in front of us. He delivered the future quite literally to our fingertips. Millions reached out to touch that future. Millions more will.

Steve did not separate imagination from success.

More than anything else, Steve is a human being just like all of us. Our DNA is the same. If only a small percentage of the 6 billion people can find the Steve within themselves, a magical future awaits us.

Steve Jobs is an inspiration. He will be missed.

The Future Of Banking Is Mobile – Or Is It?

Jost Hoppermann

A few days ago at Oracle OpenWorld 2011, I attended a presentation from one of the major consulting companies. The topic: banking in 2020. I heard about big data, the need for real-time analysis of information (in particular from the Internet), and a few other trends. While many of these trends were not new, I could only agree that they would be important in the future, as they align with Forrester’s 2008 research on what banking will look like in the future. (If you are interested in details regarding Forrester’s research on this topic, please see “Financial Services Of The Future: Collaborative Competition Will Be The Norm” and “Banking IT In 2023 Updated,” keeping in mind that 2023 is a metaphor for a longer-term perspective.) However, there was one statement within the presentation that I seriously disagree with.

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A SharePoint Custom-Development Strategy Is More Crucial Now Than Ever

John R. Rymer

I prepared this research with Rob Koplowitz.

The stage is set for a big upswing in custom application development on Microsoft SharePoint. First, SharePoint Server 2010 adoption is very strong, and this version of the product has the strongest features yet for custom development. Second, with application backlogs growing, many organizations will find themselves taking on SharePoint "customization" projects to meet business demands. Custom application development is the riskiest of the six SharePoint "workloads." For organizations adopting SharePoint, this situation demands a careful strategy now to avoid problems later. This post delivers our latest assessment of SharePoint adoption and discusses its implications for app delivery professionals.

Our latest survey on customer experiences with Microsoft SharePoint shows a successful product moving crisply through a major upgrade, from Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007) to SharePoint Server 2010. SharePoint usage is strong in organizations of all sizes and in most industry sectors. The product's continued success has two conflicting facets for application development and delivery pros:

  • SharePoint can be a productive platform for business applications. SharePoint can help your teams deliver applications fast in three ways. First, with a little customization of the human interface, SharePoint's out-of-the-box applications can work for many situations. Second, SharePoint's basket of developer services for applications involving collaboration, social media, website creation, workflows, document management, information distribution, search, and reporting dashboards can speed completion of projects. Third, you can delegate simple sites and workflows, as well as content updating, to businesspeople.
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Don't Think BPM And Customer Experience Are Your Problem? Think Again

Kyle McNabb

Development leaders! Project leaders and business analysts! Application and solution architects! Want to move forward on your business technology (BT) journey and be viewed by your business stakeholders as a valuable team member? Take a tip from last week's Forums held in Boston. Embrace Business Process Management (BPM) And Customer Experience. Don't ignore them, embrace them. Why? They're essential to helping you achieve your business outcomes.

I know, I know. You read the above and now think "Gee Kyle, what's next? Going to enlighten me on some new BPM or customer experience management technology that's going to transform my very existence, my company's future?"

Nope. Let me explain....

Last week we hosted more than 250 of your application development and delivery and business process peers in Boston and focused on how to succeed in the new world of customer engagement. The most impactful discussions I heard were the side conversations we held with attendees, sometimes occurring over dinner and cocktails. We didn't discuss technology. We discussed the skills your peers were developing in two fundamental areas:

  1. BPM - no, not the technology but the Lean and Six Sigma based methods, techniques, and tools organizations use to focus on business processes and not functions; to strive for continuous improvement; and to focus on customer value. 
  2. Customer experience - defined more eloquently by my peer Harley Manning, but I'll summarize as the methods, techniques, and tools used to understand how customers perceive their interactions with your company.
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Forrester’s Tech Radar Assessment Of 24 Contact Center Technologies For Customer Service

Kate Leggett

The contact center technology ecosystem for customer service is a nightmare of complexity. At a high level, to serve your customers, you need to:

  1. Capture the inquiry, which can come in over the phone, electronically via email, chat, or SMS, and over social channels, like Twitter, Facebook, or an interaction escalated from a discussion forum.
  2. Route the inquiry to the right customer service agent pool.
  3. Create a case for the inquiry that contains its details and associate it with the customer record.
  4. Find the answer to the inquiry; this can involve digging through different information sources like knowledge bases, billing systems, and ordering databases.
  5. Communicate the answer to the inquiry to the customer.
  6. Append case notes to the case summarizing its resolution and close the case.
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CSC Acquires AppLabs - Building Bench Strength In The Testing-As-A-Service Market, Especially If CSC Looks At The Bigger Picture

Margo Visitacion

CSC announced today that it is acquiring AppLabs, a US-based IV&V testing vendor. At first glance, it's a win, maybe a win for both sides. CSC states that one of the reasons that it acquired AppLabs is to augment its horizontal application strategy - due to AppLabs' presence in the US and UK (both vendors have firmly rooted practices in both markets) and to leverage AppLabs' testing strength in both custom and package applications. It's clearly a win for CSC:

  • This acquisition brings the larger vendor something new - a foot into the ISV market. AppLabs has had a pretty successful track record in testing software products. Historically, CSC's focus has been supporting internal IT for both private and public sectors. 
  • AppLabs is one of the vendors that has been consistently successful in adapting both iterative and Agile practices to its test methodology. This allows it, if it can transfer AppLabs' approach into its current testing practices, to better poise itself to support testing continuous build and integration environments.
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The Relationship Between Dev-Ops And Continuous Delivery: A Conversation With Jez Humble Of ThoughtWorks

Jeffrey Hammond

If you've been reading the research I've been writing over the past year, you know that I'm a fan of implementing an application life-cycle management strategy that focuses on increasing development flow and supports high-performance teams. You don't need to religiously implement all 22 CMMI processes or deliver dozens of intermediate development artifacts like some leading processes advocate. Rather, there are certain important processes that you should spend your time on. We wrote about change-aware continuous integration and just-in-time demand management in last year's Agile Development Management Tools Forrester Wave™. They are two of my favorite areas of focus, and they are great areas to invest in, but once you have them working well, there are other areas that will require your focus. In my opinion, the next process where you should focus on flow is everything that happens post build and preproduction. Most folks think about this process as release management or configuration management, but I think there's a better term that focuses on how quickly software changes move through both processes. It's called continuous delivery. When you focus on establishing a process of continuous delivery, you'll find that your capacity to release changes will increase, your null release cycle will shrink, and a larger proportion of the productivity gains you've seen from your Agile development efforts will flow through into production.

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Salesforce Embraces The Social Customer — Deploying This Business Model Will Be Harder Than Deploying The Software

Kate Leggett

The statistics that broadcast at Dreamforce last week are impressive: a $2.2 billion annual run rate; 104,000 customers; and 35 billion transactions per quarter (see Benioff's keynote slides here). The conference was attended by 40,000 users, with a further 35,000 joining online.’s cloud messaging is mature and no longer a focal point. However, what was most interesting from a customer service/CRM standpoint was the focus on the “social customer” and the way that CRM applications need to adapt to accommodate them.

Traditionally, CRM software has been anything but focused on the customer. It has been positioned as software aimed at the business user to increase their productivity and efficiency as they interact with customers, clients, and sales prospects.’s new CRM messaging spotlights the customer and the way that customers interact today using the new social channels and loose social processes to research and select products to purchase and get answers to their questions. Customers are also company employees and want to use these channels to collaborate with other employees at work in the same way they use these channels in their personal lives. This means that these social channels and processes need to also extend inside the enterprise. Check out’s interaction map for the social customer:

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