In 2010, your clients will care about more than just cutting costs

Ask any business professional whether, as they look to 2010, they care more about cutting internal costs or whether they care more about driving new business-focused innovations, and you’re likely to get the response “yes…to both”.  In the wake of the 2009 recession, companies are struggling with these sometimes conflicting objectives – on one hand they know that cost cutting and operating efficiently is a mandate.  On the other, they must develop new technology –enabled product, service, and business model innovations or they risk falling behind. 

For vendors in the B2B technology marketplace, this means balancing the need to communicate the cost-effectiveness of your product or service with messages that stress the business value you provide.   I believe that far too many vendors think that only the lowest-cost provider can succeed right now, when proving strategic business value is still a critical priority for all professionals - particularly IT professionals.

For a company that gets it, look to GlobalLogic, the offshore product development firm.  Their Vice President Milind Patwardhan recently told me “cutting costs for clients is the ‘table stakes’ right now.  The best technology companies focus on reducing costs, but also seek to partner with clients to enable business results.”  While many vendors talk this talk, one of their client references confirmed the value: He told me that GlobalLogic worked with business executives on strategic planning, was willing to take on risks in order to strengthen the relationship, and proactively looked for ways to create innovation. 

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Open house on tech industry Agile adoption this Thursday

Welcome back from your long weekend of tryptophan-induced torpor! This Thursday, December 3, we're hosting our second open house for product managers and product marketers at Forrester's office in Foster City, CA. These are monthly informal discussions in which the usually blabby analysts take more of a supporting role, kicking off the discussion and dropping, where appropriate, insights from our research on the topic du jour.

This month, the topic is Agile adoption in the technology industry. Specifically, we're going to discuss the effect that Agile adoption in the development team has on the rest of the company. A few examples of the questions that we often hear include...

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MTN, Belgacom, and Swisscom in unique 3x3 Telecoms Wholesale Deal

Yesterday MTN - the African mobile operator - completed the purchase of 20% of Belgacom International Carrier Services (BICS) for € 74 million. BICS is the telecoms wholesale joint venture (jv) owned by Belgacom and Swisscom the incumbent operators in Belgium and Switzerland respectively. BICS future revenues will be reported by Belgacom (the majority shareholder with 57.6%) unlike the past where the partners had allocated proportionately.

This is ground breaking on three fronts. Firstly,an African telco buying into European incumbents is unheard of. Investment is usually in the opposite direction - Europe to Africa (e.g. France Telecom, Vodafone). Secondly, a wholesale operator with a three-way ownership is unique - the BICS jv was novel.. This model could realize the true value of the the wholesale function in the future. Thirdly, this makes the new version of BICS entity the leading wholesale operator in Africa.

Last month we published a paper titled The Changing Face of Telecoms Wholesale where we said (amongst other things) that wholesale operators are changing from national to trans regional and global entities, from standalone to collaborative partnership models, and adopting new business models out of commercial necessity. This deal ticks all three of these boxes. In a blog in September we also referred to the new "Scramble for Africa", so BICS including MTN is well placed in this race too. In short, we told you so.

This deal is a sign of the changing times we live in, and quite possibly a signpost of things to come. I am happy to discuss as ever.

Forrester's New Navigation Tool for Tech Marketers

We announced today that Forrester is acquiring a business some of you already know called Strategic Oxygen. From where I sit, this deal is a great fit for both organizations. For those of you who don't know the Strategic Oxygen offering, it's a data-driven tool that gives marketers rich, detailed insights to inform their marketing mix and spending decisions across markets and media. Given the shift to social, the return to tech spending growth, and the explosion of channels available to marketers, this is the kind of data tech marketers can use to make more confident decisions about how to maximize the return on their marketing spending. I am interested in any comments or questions the Forrester and Strategic Oxygen deal bring to mind for you, so feel free to post a comment and I will respond.