Recently, I was invited to attend an analyst briefing event at IBM's TJ Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, NY to hear about their new Business Analytics and Optimization service line. The company is quite excited about this new service line, which they describe as one designed to use analytics to help companies “improve the speed and quality of business decisions.” They cite some underlying drivers of demand – like the fact that many business leaders say they don’t have enough information to make business decisions, or that many business decisions are based on gut feel – as pointing to the fact that more customers will look to IBM for a quantitative, data-driven analysis of their business situation and options.
Overall, I was impressed. I had a very nice lunch with Fred Balboni (the service line leader) in which, in addition to discussing his ambitious cycling regimen, he explained why the new service line is both important to the market, and consistent with IBMs existing capabilities. The company claims that while the service line is new, they have been doing projects in this area for quite a while as part of their services work.
For those who are used to seeing me post here, I have been writing more frequently to security vendor strategists rather than security & risk practitioners. I just posted on Forrester's Vendor Strategy blog about my impressions from RSA. You can read the unabridged version there, but here's the CliffsNotes:
The RSA Conference is now over, though by no means have I decompressed: it was a whirlwind of activity (I held 38 meetings in 5 days!). As evidence of how significant the RSA Conference is as the place to show your wares and to be seen, by my count there were over 350 vendors exhibiting - which is a bit less than half of the entire security vendor community. Notably, though, many of the booths were smaller than in years past. My colleague John Kindervag predicted in advance of the conference that cost-cutting and "cloud" were going to be the two big pitches coming from vendors. Credit John with a direct hit on that. But here's what I saw missing from the event:
Introducing a new partner-type Lingua Franca for the new era
By Peter O'Neill
We have been getting numerous inquiries from both vendor and user clients about the strange collection of terms used to describe partners in our industry. What is a "Preferred Partner"? Who prefers them and why should that be important to me the buyer. Or what does "Advanced Partner" mean? So we looked at the partner-taxonomy for 16 different IT vendors and, lo and behold, it is truly a mess!
Of course, compared with other industries, the IT industry is still relatively young and we are still more influenced by technology than business trends - so most decisions of this type are still made by technology experts with only occasional business-savvy. The partnerships that IT vendors develop and communicate tend to reflect their bias.
The blogsphere on the Oracle/Sun deal has been hot for the past two days and the Forrester team has just gotten off the phone with Ed Screven, Larry’s Chief Corporate Architect to learn more on the background. Actually Oracle’s commitment, the market reaction, and our analysis provides far too much content to cover in one report or even a quick blog. It will end up in various Forrester reports according to your role:
For infrastructure and operations professionals, James has already unveiled the impact on SUN’s installed base. Everybody operating a Sun hardware based data center is scared by the mere possibility that Oracle might sell the hardware part of Sun. See his blog here.
Everything as a service (XaaS) and Yet Another cloud! The cloud
is the buzzword du jour.
Unfortunatelyvendors are increasingly confusing customers as too many different
things are related to cloud computing. We’d like to start a public discussion
around the number and structure of cloud computing categories. Discussions with
Forrester clients and among Forrester analysts turned out that not only the
technical capabilities or the network topology is the major dimension for a
differentiator. It is also the role of the corresponding IT professional. A
specific technical cloud infrastructure for example, cloud be called by a
vendor strategist simply a “private cloud”, but might get two different names from
the IT operations professional depending on an internal or external sourcing
Forrester already explored various cloud trends, SaaS and
PaaS technologies and business application.
It has been a busy week or so in the mobile world.
The perpetual pressure on revenues has been ratcheted up a notch or three. Deutsche Telekom is battling to block the Skype application on the iphone that it sells in Germany. The never-ending regulatory battle to reduce call termination rates saw UK regulator Ofcom impose a 21% reduction with immediate effect. And the specter of satellite based competition reared it's head again as the European Commission is about to allocate S-band radio spectrum to enable the owners to potentially offer pan European Mobile services. Clearly sometimes bad news really does come in threes.
But the mobile operators are fighting back with action on new business and costs. Using mobiles as a substitute for credit cards has been growing in popularity in the east for some while. This week credit card giant Visa and Maxis announced a deal to offer this in Malaysia using Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. Looking at costs, recent moves by Telefonica and Vodafone in Europe to share networks, and Zain and Essar in Kenya to do the same, is all about sharing to reduce costs.
As many ISVs and vendors of business applications have
subscribed this vendor strategy blog of Forrester, I’d like to share two important
announcement of this week with you. Both will make business applications in the
cloud more attractive and enable ISVs to reach more people with their cloud deployment.
Welcome to my inaugural blog on Telecoms. For readers I don’t know I have worked in the industry for over 20 years, and over the past few years have been interviewed by a wide range of media in connection with market developments in the sector. Here at Forrester I cover Telecoms Strategy and write for Vendor Strategists.