At Forrester we get a lot of questions about the use of social technology within the enterprise.IT organizations are trying to uncover successful ways to apply social technology for their business customers – looking for the new solution will be the “Facebook for the enterprise”. We also know that many technology companies think this will be a crucial development in the market:a recent survey indicated that 74% of technology marketers and strategists believe web 2.0 tools will be important or very important to their business strategy over the next 1-3 years.
I personally believe that innovation tools have the best potential in the application of social technologies within businesses.What is innovation if not the ability to source ideas from disparate sources, manage those ideas through a commercial development process, and evaluate their success?
In today's post at The Heretech, I come out of the closet. Yes, I am a bigger history geek than you can possibly imagine. Hello, my name is Tom, and I play wargames.
However, by playing a lot of games designed to simulate historical events, I've learned a couple of things that apply to designing products in the technology industry. Specifically, how do you create a design teeam that can overcome some of the common pitfalls, such as unnecessary complexity? To read more, follow this link.
[P.S. Thanks for pointing out the problem with the link. Typepad is intermittently eating the hyperlinks I enter. From now on, I'll just have to test them before I publish.]
For my latest report -- Innovating Corporate Strategy Services -- I analyzed services providers' (from classical management consulting firms to traditional IT providers, from very small to very large organizations) track record in the innovation of lead themes or paradigms.
Thought leadership efforts play a highly significant role, especially in consulting services (they grant you access to the big guys, they drive new services and engagements, and generate recognition in an IP- dominated environment), however I was surprised about the small number that I found in the end.
All the smart people, all the dedicated research organizations, and obviously all the great client engagements have not really led to more sophisticated forward-looking thinking and "next big things"
Two key conclusions I came up with:
1. Most IT providers lag the vision thing: In a world shifting from IT to BT, providers must become not only tech but business visionaries. They tend to assimilate to trends and paradigms rather than innovate or shape them.
At its green summit event last week, IBM brought together a powerful collection of vendor partners to address customers' sustainability challenges and opportunities. The Green Sigma Coalition is notably different from other vendor partnerships in the green IT space, for three reasons:
I received a comment from a Forrester client about ITIL and BSM, and their respective potential influence on each other. Most notably whether BSM was the only mean to implement ITIL.
My background is in process control automation and software engineering, two disciplines firmly grounded in technology and reality. For me, the word "process" invokes a very specific meaning and definition such as CPRET.
CPRET is a mnemonic for the basic definition of process in process engineering: it stands for Constraints, Product, Resources, input Elements and Transformation which are the basic components of a process. In process engineering, a process is a suite of transformations of elements into a given output (product) given a set of constraints and resources. From this definition, we can see that technology has a strong influence on the process: the transformation part is a clear function of the technology available as input and resources in IT are strongly influenced by the technology used. As we mostly deal with information and data in IT management processes, the type of data available is either helping or impeding the transformation part.
During a briefing from Microsoft's xRM team, the question of how to integrate structured and unstructured data arose. If xRM (the Dynamics platform) is good at the structured stuff, and SharePoint is good at unstructured content, what's the right way to bridge the two?
Back in my Oracle days, we faced exactly the same question. At a technology level, there's no obvious answer. Bring together two development teams (the structured and unstructured specialists), and you'll first get a lot of technical-level discussions. How should security work? What API changes might be needed? How will metadata span the two kinds of information?
Unfortunately, there's no immediately obvious answer to these questions. In fact, the options are so broad, and the risk of technological quagmires so great, that the endeavor might easily grind to a halt. People ponder the options, argue over which one is best, go back and ponder some more...
Stepping out of the shadows, the Cranky Product Manager and I talked about the sources of crankiness in the technology industry in this week's Heretech podcast. The conversation also ranges from the reasons why product management is a "wretchedly awesome" job, to how overzealous Agile advocates hurt their cause.
To maintain anonymity, I masked the CPM's voice. A couple of listeners have already compared the effect to the Cylon voice effect in the old Battlestar Galactica series. I'm not sure if the CPM would be flattered or mortified by that comparison.
In the same podcast, I also review a movie that you've never heard of, but which has a lot of relevance for a recent hot topic in the PM blogs.
Vendor Strategy Professionals have been discussing the difference between product and solutions for as long as I have been in the industry. And I would like to claim that those 30 years of experience gives me the right to state that most vendor product launches still do not actually reflect that difference. So, it is al the more refreshing to observe HP Software's annoucement of their new IT Finanancial Management solution earlier this week in Las Vegas.
They have got it all extremely right: the right message, the right development process and the right package of technology and services.
In our March 2009 report, "Market Overview: IT Financial Management Software", where we described this emerging segment, see http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/0,7211,54520,00.html, we were quite clear about the challenges of providing solutions in this segment. The buying center will be complex and the probable users will be a mix of IT experts who know little about financial analysis and finance experts who know little of IT details. The proof of IT financial management project success will be getting good role-based reporting and ensuring all the plumbing of data sources are in place.
Many thanks to Israel Gat at The Agile Executive for posting my thoughts on how Agile is following the same path that many revolutions take. After you've had some initial successes, and take your new programme seriously, what now?
I've worked on both SaaS products and on-premise ones. While the challenges may be different, I was never at a loss for things to do in product management and product marketing. In fact, some of these tasks became more challenging, not less so, in a SaaS world.
Which makes me wonder, why on earth would someone who purports to be an expert on SaaS say that PM is not necessary in SaaS applications? To get my complete reaction to this recent post on SaaS University's house blog, click here.