Where in the world?

Calling all tech industry marketing and strategy professionals!  We need some help with our current research on market opportunity assessement. 

"Where in the world are you?  And, how'd you get there?"

Strategists in the tech industry face a continuous stream of critical decisions in today’s complex global market. One of those is “where in the world?”  One the one hand, globalization expands the options available, making it “easier” to enter new markets.  However, those decisions aren’t always themselves easy.  To better understand how strategists are undertaking the tasks of identifying, evaluating and prioritizing technology market opportunities in new geographies, we have launched a short survey.  The survey questions include background on market presence and intended entry, data sources and factors that influence these decisions, stakeholders' involvement, and the process itself. This is where we need your help. If you are part of a team or team leader for strategic planning in global markets, we’re interested in your input.  The data gathered will be used for an upcoming report – Where in the World? Tech vendor strategists weigh opportunities (and risks) of expansion (working title). The report will also use public data and research interviews (where we'd also like your help).

Click here to take the survey

The survey should take no more than 15 minutes and participants who complete the survey will receive a complimentary copy of the completed report. Terms and conditions (the fine print): As always, we keep your individual responses confidential. 

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IT Is Industrializing – What Does That Mean To Me?

 

Like many movements before it, IT is rapidly evolving to an industrial model. A process or profession becomes industrialized when it matures from an art form to a widespread, repeatable function with predictable result and accelerated by technology to achieve far higher levels of productivity. Results must be deterministic (trustworthy) and execution must be fast and nimble, two related but different qualities. Customer satisfaction need not be addressed directly because reliability and speed result in lower costs and higher satisfaction.

IT should learn from agriculture and manufacturing, which have perfected industrialization. In agriculture, productivity is orders of magnitude better. Genetic engineering made crops resistant to pests and environmental extremes such as droughts while simultaneously improving consistency. The industrialized evolution of farming means we can feed an expanding population with fewer farmers. It has benefits in nearly every facet of agricultural production.

Manufacturing process improvements like the assembly line and just-in-time manufacturing combined with automation and statistical quality control to ensure that we can make products faster and more consistently, at a lower cost. Most of the products we use could not exist without an industrialized model.

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2010: The Year That Security Finally Gets One Step Ahead?

This is my first post as the new Research Director for the Security and Risk team here at Forrester. During my first quarter as RD, I spent a lot of time listening to our clients and working with the analysts and researchers on my team to create a research agenda for the rest of the year that will help our clients tackle their toughest challenges. It was a busy Q1 for the team. We hosted our Security Forum in London, fielded more than 443 end client inquiries, completed more than 18 research reports, and delivered numerous custom consulting engagements.

In the first quarter of 2010, clients were still struggling with the security ramifications of increased outsourcing, cloud computing, consumer devices and social networking. Trends have created a shift in data and device ownership that is usurping traditional IT control and eroding traditional security controls and protections.

We’re still dealing with this shift in 2010 — there’s no easy fix. This year there is a realization that the only way that the Security Organization can stay one step ahead of whatever business or technology shift happens next is to transform itself from a silo of technical expertise that is reactive and operationally focused to one that is focused on proactive information risk management. This requires a reexamination of the security program itself (strategy, policy, roles, skills, success metrics, etc.), its security processes, and its security architecture. In short, taking a step back and looking at the big picture before evaluating and deploying the next point protection product. Not surprisingly, our five most read docs since January 1, 2010 to today are having less to do with specific security technologies:

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SAP's Product Strategy and the TechniData Acquisition

This morning SAP announced the acquisition of one of its strategic partners TechniData, a Germany based company which provides a comprehensive set of sustainability services including process consulting, regulatory content, customized solutions, and implementation and managed services around SAP Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) application.

The announcement looks like the beginning of an answer to the question I asked in the latest blog post: Which strategy domains and roles will target an upcoming SAP strategy upgrade - growth targeting business executives or innovation targeting technical architects?

During the last three years, SAP has demonstrated strong commitment to the concept of sustainability. As software industry leader in the ERP market and in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the company is well positioned to leverage its insights, brand, and relationships into a source of competitive advantage. In particular the sustainability portfolio of solutions documented in the SAP sustainability library has the potential to become a major pillar of growth.

Besides being a go-to-market instrument, the SAP sustainability library is an excellent source of best practices for business process executives seeking to better understand sustainability. But for technical architects in search of product innovation visiting the library may be disappointing: its building blocks are based on SAP’s existing business suite and Business Objects platforms, with an exception being the on-demand Carbon Impact solution resulting from SAP’s 2009 acquisition of Clear Standards, Inc.

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Financial Reform And GRC

I was able to catch pieces of live testimony in front of the House Financial Services Committee yesterday on the Lehman Brothers collapse (covered via live blog by the Wall Street Journal). It was interesting to watch former Lehman head Richard Fuld reluctantly attempt to explain to an understandably skeptical audience, “We were risk averse,” in the period leading up to the company’s collapse.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs is back in the spotlight after the SEC leveled charges of fraud against the company last week related to alleged misstatements and omissions in the marketing of specific financial products. While this seems like a relatively small initial shot at the large financial firms, the SEC appears to be reasserting its authority after a series of embarrassing stories have come out about failures of oversight including Madoff, Stanford, and now Lehman.

So what does all this mean for governance, risk, and compliance professionals?

It’s hard to tell what might come of the fraud charges against Goldman Sachs, but if anything, this appears to build a case for more rigorous compliance policies and manual oversight. It’s hard to see how automated controls could have helped here, but the case could involve substantial e-discovery to determine how certain marketing decisions were made.

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Set Business Architecture Goals BEFORE You Start

Starting a business architecture initiative with the goal of creating business architecture is the surest path to failure. Before you take your first step into business architecture, think long and hard about your goals, what value you are trying to create for the company, and your current ability to execute. The successful business architects I work with have a crystal clear view of the problems they are attempting to solve and the primary stakeholders for that problem set. They typically start with a narrow focus on a specific business problem and widen their approach as they make progress. While the more theoretical architects out there make strong arguments about what business architecture “should be” - the reality seems to be quite different. Business architecture success is creating an architecture that works – not one that adheres to an idealized business architecture model.

Forrester has identified seven business architecture goals along with their primary stakeholder. Business architecture practices can attack multiple goals simultaneously, but keep in mind that a narrower focus leads to faster value delivery.  

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IBM's Q1 2010 Results In Align With Our Expectations -- A Bellwether for Other Vendor Results To Come

TECH DEVELOPMENTS: Like half a dozen Forrester colleagues, I have been stuck in London since last week due to the Icelandic volcano's disruption of air travel.  So, this allows me a UK perspective on IBM's results for Q1 2010.   These turned out to be very much what I expected (see "US And Global IT Market Outlook: Q1 2010 -- The Tech Market Recovery Has Begun").  I thought IBM's revenues would grow by mid-single digits; in fact, they grew by 5%.  I expected its software revenue growth to be in low double-digits; its hardware revenues to be around 3%-5%; its outsourcing revenues up about the same; and its consulting and SI revenues down by 5% to 10%.  Again, actual results came in pretty close: software revenues were up 10.6%; systems and technology revenues up 4.9%; outsourcing (GTS outsourcing) up 6%; and IT consulting and systems integration services (Integrated Technology Services and Global Businesses Services) flat with the year before. 

Based on the results we have seen so far from IBM, Oracle (quarter ending February 28), Accenture (quarter ending February 28), and Atos Origin, here's what I think we will see for vendors for the rest of the quarter:

  • Software will be strong, up 10% or more growth in US dollar revenues for most vendors.  Microsoft will do better than this, thanks to strong sales from Windows 7.
  • Hardware will also be strong, with PC vendors posting 15% growth and server/storage vendors coming in around 5% to 8%. 
  • IT consulting and systems integrations servies will still be down, lagging the upturn in software investment.
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Spiff Or Rif - The Key To Effective Negotiation With Software Vendors

I haven’t been blogging or tweeting recently because I’ve been on an unprecedented two-week vacation, but didn’t want any potential burglars to know that. Now, thanks to Eykanmuckyourlifeup or whatever its called, that vacation has turned into an extended business trip states-side (see #ashtag). So I’m taking the opportunity to meet more clients on the smoke-free side of the pond, to help them with their software negotiations.

This is a busy time of year, particularly for Oracle and Microsoft deals in front of their financial year-ends of May 31st and June 30th respectively. One of software buyers’ frequently asked questions is, “what extra leverage does a vendor’s year-end really give us?”

The answer is in the title above. On the one hand, if your deal would give your sales rep a Spiff, an extra bonus for selling specific products, then he’ll be very keen to prevent your order slipping into next quarter, when the spiff may not be available. Even better, he’ll be desperate to close your transaction now if he needs it to make his annual target, to avoid becoming part of next quarter’s reduction in force (RIF) program.

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More detail surfaces about the attack on Google

John Markoff’s article yesterday in The New York Times reveals that Google’s authentication system, code name "Gaia," was one of the targets of attack.

The target wasn’t Google users’ passwords, but the authentication system itself (Markoff refers to it as a “single sign-on” system; I’m reluctant to do that, since my own experience shows it to be a rather confusing mesh of both interconnected and disconnected authenticators… seems like Google could do a lot more to help users link and manage their IDs under one master account of their choosing). Why not the passwords? It’s far more valuable to gain access to the code and learn the intricacies – and weaknesses – of the system itself, rather than gain access to a few (or even a few thousand) accounts. My own theory is that this is why Adobe and various antimalware companies were targeted by the same network of attacks: the former, to find more weaknesses in Flash and Acrobat to exploit, and the latter, to learn how to bypass security mechanisms designed to defeat such attacks.

Markoff has several other excellent articles on the cyber attacks made public by Google in January, most notably this one.

SAP's Product Strategy - What's Next For Business Process Professionals?

In this post I am linking two research projects performed in the first quarter of this year:

  • The March 21st SAP Jam Session, where Forrester analysts Bill Band, Paul Hamerman, Mike Gilpin, John Rymer, Roy Wildeman, and I discusses SAP’s product  strategy.
  • The March 5th report with Connie Moore on the evolution of the business process professional role .

Paul Hamerman provided a crisp summary of the Jam Session, which he structured as follows:

  • Business growth - including support, analytics, SME solutions, CRM and sustainability
  • Technical innovation - including product releases, agile development, in-memory computing, SaaS, mobile and interoperable components
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