Forrester Databyte: Application Platform Adoption Trends

As an analyst at Forrester I always look forward to December - not because it's the end of the year or that I have the balance of my vacation days to use up (best laid plans...); December is when we usually get a fresh batch of data from Forrester's annual Enterprise And SMB Software Survey. Each year our team gets to place a few questions into this comprehensive questionnaire, and IT decision makers who have organizational responsibility for custom software development give us some insight into what their shops are doing.

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Has Case Management Arrived At Last?

Interest in case management will climb higher and higher throughout 2010. The drivers are a mix of old and new an include.  The most important - there will be an increased need to manage the costs and risks of servicing customer requests — like loans, claims, and benefits. Customer experience has evolved to where fundamentals of the product are secondary. Its now about design and the personality of the experience. I tried to help my daughter buy a car the other day. The Ford Focus didn't make the cut.  Why? No lighted mirror.  I then knew I was in for a long process. 

There is also a greater emphasis on automating and tracking inconsistent "incidents" that do not follow a well-defined process.  Does homeland security come to mind? And lots of new pressure on government agencies to respond to a higher number of citizen requests.  But this next one is the killer.  We will see new demands from regulators, auditors, and litigants  on businesses to respond to external regulations.  After Bernie "made off" with 50B or so the SEC had an epiphany of sorts. Gee.Lets give the field agents more authority to investigate — and perhaps depoliticize the process. Brilliant. Lets let the folks that actually know the regulatory target actually make decisions. Well. Great. We think this will lead to a ramped up number of investigative inquires and guess what?  Each one is best handled as a case where consistent policies, audit trails, and analytics can apply.  Lastly, there is the increased use of collaboration and social media to support unstructured business processes.

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Is Lean A Barrier To Change?

As a growing number of executives learn how to apply Toyota’s famous Lean principles and tools to improve quality and reduce costs, Toyota is making headlines. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the company had to suspend sales of different models this week, and will halt production at their five North American factories next week, for quality reasons (see, this article for more).

The moral of the WSJ story is strikingly simple: Toyota was trying to get too big, and changed too fast. In doing this, its leaders obviously abandoned some of the principles of continuous improvement which made the Toyota brand and its Lean production system (TPS) so famous. These principles are about establishing a highly specified working environment based on mature norms to minimize quality-control variables. For example, never build a new product in a new factory with new workers.

Does this mean that Lean creates barriers to change? The answer is yes, and this is good news. Abiding by your Lean principles can protect your organization from moving too fast and making potentially unsustainable, even damaging changes. True business process transformation initiatives based on Lean focus not only on zero-defects and no-waste targets, but also look at how people work and interact to make processes and services flow. This means that for any change you plan, you will need also to allocate time and resources to build the organization and develop the skills that support the desired state of maturity.

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Forrester Tweet Jam Session: Top Challenges Facing Business Process Professionals In 2010 (#bpmjam)

Forrester analysts will host a “Tweet Jam” on February 10, 2010, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET to answer questions from Business Process professionals and App Dev professionals about top challenges facing their process improvement initiatives.  During this interactive Jam session, Forrester analysts will share the results of our groundbreaking “Business Process Professional Role Deep Dive” research that uncovered major trends and critical challenges facing aspiring process improvement programs.

Key questions we will tackle during this Tweet Jam include:

1. Which role(s) should lead your business process initiative?

2. What are the best practices for establishing your BPM COE?

3. Do yourtraditional business analysts have what it takes to drive BPM initiatives?

4. How heavily should you rely on your software vendor for project implementation?

5. How should you connect your EA and BPM initiatives?

6. Which process improvement methodology (Six Sigma, Lean, TQM) is best for your initiative?

7. How should you incorporate BPMN modeling into your process initiative?

8. How should you measure the progress or success of your process initiative?

9  What’s the typical sizeand composition of process improvement teams?

10. How should process improvement connect to master data management?

11. How do you think Social BPM will impact your organization?

The session will be hosted by Clay Richardson, Connie Moore, CraigLe Clair, Alex Peters, John Rymer, and Ken Vollmer. To join this interactive conversation, simply tune in to the #bpmjam hash tag on Twitter or follow the analysts that will host and moderate the session.

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800lb MDM Gorilla Obviously Not Looking For Weight-Loss Plan: IBM acquires Initiate Systems

As I mentioned in my blog post last week when discussing Informatica’s acquisition of Siperian, there was a rumor that IBM was on the verge of acquiring Initiate Systems. Well today, February 3, 2010, that rumor became reality when IBM announced their intent to acquire Initiate. Financial details were not disclosed, but estimates value the deal anywhere between $300-$450 million.

In that blog post, I suggested the following reasons IBM might consider Initiate:

  • Initiate has an extremely strong presence in Healthcare with a growing presence in Public Sector. Both of these verticals are expecting major federal stimulus funding, with IT spending and data management as a high priority. Initiate could help IBM take ownership of these verticals.
  • By acquiring Initiate as a defensive move, IBM will eliminate the risk of another vendor (EMC, HP, Microsoft, SAP) from strengthening or entering the MDM market as a tough competitor.

While I wouldn’t expect IBM to validate my 2nd assumption, they did in their announcement validate my first. In their announcements, they stated “IBM has announced plans to acquire Initiate Systems, a market leader in data integrity solutions for information shared among Healthcare and Government organizations”.

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IBM’s Growth Markets grow…and get smarter.

IBM_smarterplanet A couple of weeks ago IBM announced its 4th Quarter and Full-Year 2009 results.  Their Growth Markets Business Unit which includes 140 of the 170 countries that IBM operates in – grew 14% in Q4 compared to 3% decreases in the Americas.  For the quarter, Growth Markets represented 20% of IBM’s revenue.  For the year, Growth Markets were 19%, up just slightly from 18% of total IBM revenue in 2008.  The signs are clear: Growth Markets are growing, even as other markets fell.  Much of the success in Growth Markets has come from “Smarter Planet” solutions which are gaining traction among governments, utilities and private sectors.

NOTE: IBM’s growth markets are those that show increased potential for them.  They do not equate to emerging markets according to the financial world’s and economic discipline’s definition.  But, there is much overlap.

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MiFi Pwned!

Wireless hacking Guru, Josh Wright,has just announced that he has created havoc with a MiFi personal access point.MiFi is a little device that turns 3G wireless signals into WiFi.  The cool thing is that the wireless signal can be shared with other nearby computers.  According to Josh, he has found a way that, "An attacker can recover the default password from any MiFi device." This is big news because anyone who is involved with wireless ne

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How Your Service Requirements Impact Desktop Outsourcing Pricing

Recently I’ve been working with my colleague Wolfgang Benkel, to analyze the pricing trends for desktop outsourcing, and look again at how different service requirements and service level choices affect the final price of a contract.

 

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Who Owns Information Architecture? All Of Us.

Fellow analyst Gene Leganza wrote an excellent overview of Information Architecture, available for free via this link: http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/topic_overview_information_architecture/q/id/55951/t/2

Gene briefly explores the misunderstanding between “Enterprise IA” and “User Experience IA.” This tension was well characterized by Peter Morville almost 10 years ago (See “Big Architect, Little Architect.” Personally I think it’s clear that content is always in motion, and unsupported efforts to dominate and control it are doomed.  People are a critical element of a successful IA project, since those who create and use information are in the best position to judge and improve its quality. Many hands make light work, as the saying goes.

For example, if you want a rich interactive search results page, you need to add some structure to your content. This can happen anytime from before the content is created (using pre-defined templates) to when it is presented to a user on the search results page. Content is different than data, a theme Rob Karel and I explored in our research on Data and Content Classification. For this reason, IA is both a “Back end” and a “Front end” initiative.

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The changing nature of governance, risk, and compliance

In my ongoing work with clients, I try as often as possible to stress the importance of flexibility in GRC programs. Internal processes and technology implementations must be able to accommodate the perpetually fluctuating aspects of business, compliance requirements, and risk factors. If GRC investments are made without consideration for likely requirements 1 to 2 years down the road, decision makers aren’t doing their job. And if vendors don’t offer that flexibility, they shouldn’t be on the shortlist.

News outlets over the past year have given us almost daily examples of change in the GRC landscape. The recent stories coming out of Davos have been no exception... giving us some truly fascinating debates on the necessity and detriment of regulations. As quoted in a Wall Street Journal article on Sunday, Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Josef Ackermann argued against heavy-handed regulation, saying, "We should stop the blame game and we should start looking forward... if you don't have a strong financial sector to support the this recovery... you're making a huge mistake and you will regret that later on," he said. French President Nicholas Sarkozy summed up the opposing argument in his keynote, explaining, "There is indecent behavior that will no longer be tolerated by public opinion in any country of the world... That those who create jobs and wealth may earn a lot of money is not shocking. But that those who contribute to destroying jobs and wealth also earn a lot of money is morally indefensible."

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