Digital Customer Experiences: The Next Frontier For AD&D Pros

 

Forrester analysts Stephen Powers, Ron Rogowski, and I collaborated on this research.

Digital customer experience has become a key business differentiator, and application development and delivery (AD&D) leaders of front-office, web, mobile, and digital development must step up to support their firm's initiatives. A broad focus on digital customer experiences carries great risks for your firm: too much experimentation for not enough return; too much duplication and waste; and too little use of data to drive and measure business results. To overcome these risks, marketing, eBusiness, and AD&D pros must collaborate on a comprehensive strategy. Today, AD&D pros rarely help lead their firms' digital experience efforts; interactive marketing pros call the shots. Worse, interactive marketing pros see AD&D pros as obstacles to great results. To partner with marketing and business leaders in digital customer experience strategy, AD&D pros must transform their organizations, platforms, and processes. This research describes this opportunity for AD&D — and how to create an AD&D digital customer experience strategy that supports marketing and business counterparts, from vision to implementation to ongoing optimization.

Most firms still don't treat the design, creation, and execution of digital customer experiences as strategic but rather as a special category of marketing-led projects. Digital customer experience practices require a set of competencies that take tactical projects to the next level — requiring leaders of software development, web development and architecture, solution architecture, front-office applications, and project management offices (PMOs) to take on new obligations.

Even leading-edge consumer-brand companies struggle to get the full measure of benefits that a focus on the quality of digital experiences can provide:

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Application Development In The Cloud: Let’s Go Deep

 

Developers are driving cloud computing in new directions and toward deeper enterprise adoption. We see a new pragmatism in our research: Developers favoring collections of cloud-based application services rather than the comprehensive platforms labeled “PaaS.” Growing use of development services attached to SaaS offerings to speed delivery. And developers using cloud environments to respond to the opportunity of mobile apps.

We also see contradictions in our research. Why, for instance, do so many developers demand control of thread and memory management when cloud platforms can shield them from those details?

If we understand where developers are taking cloud computing, we’ll be able to plot better strategies to use cloud for the flexible and efficient application delivery business leaders expect. We talk with many hundreds of developers working in cloud computing environments every year, and so we’ve got a great view of the market. But it is time for us all to gain an even deeper understanding because things are changing.

So we’re reaching out to developers for the industry’s most comprehensive survey on cloud application development. We’ve put together a set of questions that will yield a clear picture of application development in the cloud today – the good, the bad, the ugly, the elegant. Which cloud environments developers use, and why. What kinds of applications they are delivering using cloud, and why. Which languages and application services they prefer, and why. How much code and which kinds of data they host in clouds, and why.

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Playbook: Achieve Cloud Economics For Operations And Services

Cloud computing has reached an inflection point for enterprises — a comprehensive strategy for its use is now required. Until now, most companies had adopted cloud services in an ad hoc fashion, driven mostly by business leaders and developers looking to deliver new systems of engagement they felt could not be delivered by corporate IT — or in the time frame required. These ad hoc experiences prove that cloud solutions are now ready to be strategic resources in enterprise business technology portfolios. Only CIOs can help the business strike the right balance between the agility, efficiency, security, compliance, and integration that's required for a successful cloud strategy.

This research introduces our Playbook approach to our cloud research, describing how to execute an enterprise cloud strategy from vision to planning to implementation through to ongoing optimization. It is the Executive Overview to our Playbook on achieving cloud economics, setting the context for 12 reports by Forrester analysts that address each major phase of the transformation.

Cloud computing in its various forms is helping many CIOs drive greater business responsiveness. Enough so that most enterprises have adopted cloud computing in some form — usually a collection of software-as-a-service offerings. But cloud solutions now offer cost optimization, security, and quality of service for the full range of enterprise requirements, not just tactical needs. Thus, it is time to make cloud strategic, rather than a disconnected set of initiatives. How? CIOs need a playbook to create, implement, and optimize an end-to-end cloud strategy. This cloud strategy must achieve three goals:

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