Last week we conducted an experiment of sorts – a “jam session” of five teleconferences, each involving a panel of Forrester analysts.The tone of each call was to get beyond a “hunker down” mentality and to use this climate as an opportunity to make lasting improvements to how we run IT.
Seventeen analysts in all took part, addressing topics of lean IT, value and vendor management, innovation, and improved communications – topics of particular interest in this economy and what’s sure to be a period of tighter IT budgets.
If you haven’t yet heard the latest news on the American political scene, let me fill you in: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and soliciting bribery. Among the alleged offenses is that the Governor planned to sell the Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama to the highest bidder, or, if no offers met his expectations, to take the seat for himself for personal gain. One is reminded of the remark, often attributed (perhaps incorrectly) to Mark Twain, that the United States has “the best politicians money can buy.”
I was on a conference call with my Research Director, Mike Gilpin and colleague Charles Brett the other day discussing complex event processing and business rules when suddenly Mike and Charles starting talking about "horses for courses". Say what? We went from talking about events and rules to horses and courses? I never heard this expression before so I asked. And, for those of you who think that I am provincial, I asked several other people in our Cambridge, Massachusetts office and they were dumbfounded as well.
Keep an eye out in the next week for Forrester’s GRC Trends 2009 report, which will take a look at how a decidedly rocky end of 2008 will impact those responsible for various aspects of corporate governance, risk management, compliance, audit, and finance... as well as the product and service firms that serve them.
One trend that we call out in the report is the impending consolidation of the GRC technology landscape, which is a top-of mind issue for many leading vendors in the space.
I had an inquiry recently from a Forrester client who wrote that they believe the telecom industry has matured to the degree that there won’t be a new “next big thing.” They cited things like deregulation, the internet, cable, etc., as all disruptive events in the industry and wonder if anyone sees anything new coming on the horizon. I talked to other analysts in the I&O team and we totally disagree with this view. This is how I responded to the client:
On December 4, 2008, RSA and Microsoft jointly announced the imminent release of a collaboration that integrates RSA's Data Loss Prevention (DLP) product into Microsoft’s enterprise offerings. Initially, this means an integration between RSA's DLP 6.5 and Microsoft’s Active Directory Rights Management Server (AD RMS). The DLP product identifies and classifies sensitive information and RMS automates policy enforcement based on a company's existing AD structure. The integration is admittedly relatively basic to start, but in the long term the two companies expect DLP to be tightly woven into the fabric of Microsoft's enterprise products — identity-enabled data protection sitting deep within a company's Microsoft infrastructure.
What it means: All things considered, this is good news for every CISO. Microsoft has the broadest technology base by far; teaming up with a true security front-runner like RSA mitigates the fact that Microsoft has also had arguably the largest selection of security challenges in the past. The partnership addresses today's prime security challenge: By and large, firms tell us that the need to protect sensitive information leaking to people and places inside and outside the corporate perimeter is the single biggest obstacle they face.
In our conversations with many information and knowledge management professionals, it's clear that their distributed and multicompany teams need better extranet collaboration tools.
And they feel the problem is only getting worse as companies go virtual, global, distributed, outsourced, green, travel-less, and partnered, thus driving the need for ever-better collaboration tools that work outside the firewall.
Trouble is, the messaging and collaboration services that companies have implemented are designed primarily for internal teams.
For example, it's bloody difficult to set up a secure instant messaging connection with every partner you might want to work with. Such interoperability between IM platforms is technically possible, but operationally nightmarish.
So clever employees do what they must: Use public IM and calendaring services, cobble together conferences from piece parts, and fall back on endless scheduling and sharing emails and voice conferencing. Ugh. Ugly. And scary.
Well, the solution's just around the corner say vendors new and old. After all, many are on the cusp of major product releases that promise much better extranet connections and capabilities:
IBM Bluehouse promises a new extranet collaboration platform.
Google already offers an extranet collaboration toolkit in its Google Apps Premier Edition.
Cisco is adding extranet collaboration capabilities to WebEx.
Microsoft is moving its services into the cloud for easier extranet access.
So it’s that time of year for holiday cheer and pundits to tempt fate and pontificate. I'm going to throw out some ideas that may make it in the next Forrester report. So here are some very very draft predictions for 2009 in order of most likely to least likely to pan out:
When I started in software development writing Cobol, sitting in an office with my humming green monitor. I was part of an IT department that was linked to a business department.The work I did was in direct response to my customers requests for new features or changes to existing features.We planned work at the start of the month and worked through that list during the month.Yes, there were cross department projects, but that was handled by everyone involved sitting in a room and saying ‘if you do this, we can do that’.It was a simpler time, a time when you could leave your screen unlocked and you had a real lunch hour.
Forrester wants to help you get beyond the usual suspects of simply "doing less with less" in tough economic times.
Forrester will conduct a series of five, 60-minute teleconferences, one on each day of the week. The goal of this week-long "jam session" is to help you deal with what's likely to be tightening IT budgets in your organization. Each teleconference takes on a particular topic of interest to multiple IT disciplines, involves a panel discussion of analysts, and provides clients with creative tactics for not just coping but thriving within today's fiscal constraints. Sign up for any or all of the sessions: