Dell's acquisition of Perot Systems is a good move but won't be enough

Together
with some of my Forrester analyst colleagues earlier today I listened into the
conference call hosted by executives of both - 
Dell and Perot Systems - to explain the rationale behind Dell's
announcement to buy Perot for US$ 3.9 billion cash. There has been some
speculation lately about Dell possibly making such a move, but the timing and
the target they finally picked came as a bit of a surprise to everyone. The speculation was rooted in some of the statements made by Steve
Schuckenbrock, President of Large Enterprise and Services at Dell, earlier this
year where he pronounced that Dell would get much more serious around the
services business. Now, you would of course expect nothing less from someone
like Steve - after all he has spend much of his professional career prior to
Dell as a top executive in the services industry (with EDS and The Feld Group).
To this end Steve and his team finally delivered on the expectation, even more
so as this had not been the first time that Dell promised a stronger emphasis on
services.

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The PM playlist

Forrester colleague Oliver Young left last week to join Jive as a product manager. Oliver is a big music fan with eclectic tastes, so I thought I'd put together, in his honor, the product management/marketing playlist. If you were to make a musical version of what it's like to be a tech PM, here's what you'd put into the soundtrack. (Suggestions for additions welcome.)

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Vendors: Prepare For The Rise Of Machine To Machine (M2M) Opportunities

CSC looks well positioned for current spending patterns

I recently attended a CSC analyst event in which they described several of the wins and initiatives that they have experienced over the past year.   Like many services companies Forrester speaks with, the company is taking a heavy vertical (industry-specific) market strategy and positioning itself in hot markets related to government spending, healthcare, and energy.

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Adobe's Omniture acquisition: a TI perspective


While other Forrester analysts will pronounce judgment on Adobe's acquisition of Omniture, I'll give a quick bit of perspective from the Technology Industry (TI) Client Group's side of Forrester. From this angle, the acquisition is a very interesting case study in how a company that has mastered working with a very technical audience feels the need to address the needs of business users, too, in their product portfolio.


Adobe has done a great job of addressing the needs of their two core audiences, graphic designers and web developers/web designers. These two groups are technical in different ways. Photoshop and Illustrator are highly specialized tools for people with highly specialized tools. "The suits" might approve their work, but they're not deeply involved in it.


Web developers—the target audience for Dreamweaver, ColdFusion, Flex, and the like—are technical professionals of a different sort. However, their work isn't nearly as divorced from business users as the graphic arts people. The web site is where marketers launch campaigns, track visitors, and repurpose the same content for different contexts (languages, regions, media, etc.).

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Hot off the presses: wargames, PM in the recession


Two of my research documents just went live on the Forrester web site:

  • Wargaming for business leaders. Not the same as the kind of serious gaming that colleague TJ Keitt and I have discussed before, wargames are a more structured exercise that try to simulate possible business outcomes. The output is different than serious games, role-playing exercises, and other game-like tools. For example, in many cases, the goal is to help make smarter company-level decisions, not just product-level ones.

  • Product management/marketing during the recession. A very short document that points to other research that we've done about the recesssion, and then puts it into context for PMs. What changes do PMs need to make in product strategy and positioning? Which markets are likely to bounce back first, and what do you need to know about them?

The Heretech, episode 21: Steven Haines on PM as a profession

This week, Steven Haines, author of The Product Manager's Desk Reference, discusses the growth of PM as a profession, and the harmonic convergence that led him to found Sequent Learning. Plus, if you don't know who Karl Popper is, maybe you're in the wrong job. (c) 2009 Tom Grant

Do I hear 500? ... Do I hear 600? .... Nortel sold for $900 million

After a long week-end of sleepless nights, hurried hotel arrangements, and slow court proceedings, Nortel has the court’s blessing to sell their Enterprise and Government Systems Groups as well as DiamondWare assets) to Avaya for $900 million plus a $15 million fund for retention of key employees.  Nortel’s Enterprise Solutions group posted latest quarter revenue of $464 million  -but even with corporate gross margins near the 40% range, Nortel overall posted a loss for the quarter.  Avaya assumes negligible liabilities from debt and none from pensions.  The deal is expected to be accretive to earnings well within 24 months.  Business leaders (and accountants) must find a way to make the Enterprise assets profitable in the short term.   

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Introducing the blog challenge on innovation trends


Dear readers and friends of our blog,

Recent
conversations with CEOs and managing partners of innovation consulting
specialist firms inspired me to write a piece on trends in the
innovation consulting services market. This report is nearly done and
will be published in a couple of weeks.

You have the chance to
receive a free copy of this 10-pager before its official publication.
What do you have to do? Simply share your view on trends in innovation
with us. My colleague Chris Andrews and I will then select the best
three responses from all your comments. The timeline? This challenge
will end on Monday 21 September, 2009 at noon EST.

As a starter, let me give you a sneak preview on two of the key trends that I am outlining in my report:

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The Heretech, episode 20: Luke Hohmann on serious gaming

This week, Luke Hohmann of Enthiosys tells us why people in the tech industry should take games seriously as a way of generating ideas and understanding customers. Or would you rather roll the dice and hope you're building the product that people want to use and buy? Copyright (c) 2009 Tom Grant.