For many, IBM's announcement to acquire Lombardi came as a little pre-Christmas surprise. Over the past 24 hours, I've heard several arguments for and against this deal being a game changer. Ultimately, if you look at this deal strictly as a software acquisition, then it presents many potential problems and hurdles for both IBM and Lombardi:
IBM's BPM portfolio is already confusing to customers, with customers and prospects struggling to reconcile whether they should buy Websphere Process Server or FileNet P8 (not to mention the peripheral workflow capabilities provided by Lotus). From a software perspective, this acquisition makes IBM's BPM maze even more intimidating to navigate.
For the past six months my team, and Forrester at large, has invested a lot of time in better understanding the different roles we serve with our research. On my team alone, we interviewed over 25 clients across industries and geographies about their careers, interests, aspirations, projects they work on, and who they work with. Having been an avid reader of Forrester’s research reports prior to joining the company in 2005, this was an interesting exercise. Why? Because when you manage technology programs inside a company, it’s very easy to assume that the rest of the world looks the same as it does within the four walls for of your organization. In fact, when it comes to information and knowledge management, there’s a great deal of difference across companies.
We spoke with a broad set of people including what I’d call IT business relationship managers, IT solution architects, library and information specialists, and records and retention management professionals. All of these people are involved in running or participating in initiatives involving content management, collaboration, search tools, portals, and enterprise 2.0 technologies. Among others, the themes that stuck out were:
SharePoint 2010 unleashed a host of improvements for line of business (LOB), security and compliance, developers, and the data center. But unlike SharePoint 2007 that grouped a set of diverse technologies into a single platform, SharePoint 2010 takes dead aim at improving business processes by connecing people more directly to them. Visual Studio, SharePoint Designer, social features, enhancements to Visio and improved enterprise content management (ECM) support all directly benefit LOB process execution. SharePoint 2010 platform is not going to replace core transactional business process management (BPM) or provide needed infrastructure for continue improvement, but it will bring social computing into business and connect information workers to formerly siloed business processes. The best news is Business Connectivity Services ehich allows -among other things - to more easily publish content from enterprise apps. and core transaction systems to SharePoint team sites and portals - and keep them live. This gets a rid of a host of non-value-added activity - copying, updating, moving to spreadsheets etc. that often plagued infromation workers. I've got a more indepth analysis of 2010 in the works for January publication.
Staples Technology Solutions - a separately managed part of the growing company - will outsource your desktops or address print management needs. So this means IT outsourcing as well providing Managed Print Services for printers, imaging equipment, copiers, and fax machines. They are strong in volume pricing and support coverage and will do well in the mid part of these markets. I would have liked to have seen more connection to their print and copy retail service centers. For example allowing jobs to be routed from a business to a retail center for special preparation - the type of things corporate print centers use to do.
This past summer, Forrester conducted a series of in-depth interviews of architects to further our understanding of their roles: how they saw the role in the context of their organizations, how they are evaluated by senior management, their key success imperatives and their information needs. We undertook this not just as research to publish, but also to inform how we support individuals in the EA role.
Our latest featured podcast is Clay Richardson's "Forge Your Lean Process Improvement Game Plan".
In this podcast, BP&A Senior Analyst Clay Richardson covers how to deliver the impact and bang of process improvement without the traditional bloat usually associated with process improvement. Clay covers his framework for aligning an organization’s BPM approach and strategic intent in order to improve business processes and maximize profits.
We look forward to your questions and comments.
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In September-October Forrester conducted its State of Enterprise Architecture survey – a broad look at EA in the context of the IT & business organization. We asked respondents questions ranging from where does the architecture function report, to the state of completeness of various architecture domains, the key technologies firms will be making significant architecture decisions about, and the degree of support for EA by various constituencies ranging from application developers to corporate business management. An upcoming series of reports from Forrester will discuss the survey results.
Last week, I conducted a webinar for the survey respondents – highlighting the results and discussing ‘what it means’. Webinar participants were very engaged in the discussion of the results – and with the broader question of the relationship and impact of EA to the larger business organization it is part of.
Two figures that really stood out and generated discussion:
We asked survey respondents – who were primarily architects in large enterprises – to identify the drivers for the EA program – essentially the mission and charter for the architecture organization.