Business Capabilities Are The Strongest Foundation For Tech Strategy

In developing a technology strategy for your organization, what will be your basis for deciding which technologies to pursue, when to pursue them, and how to implement them? In other words, what will be the foundation for your technology architecture and strategy? In considering this question, I assume we agree that technology strategy should directly support improvement of business outcomes, both now and over the long haul. To provide for the long haul, your technology architecture and strategy must be crafted to support a continuous stream of business change, both small incremental steps and large radical shifts.

Your strategy could begin with a list of hot technologies — perhaps even ones that business colleagues are clamoring for — but how would you know which of them would lead to the most important improvements in business outcomes? You could begin with your top executives’ current business plans and strategies — which would clearly address today’s priorities for improving outcomes — but over the long haul, business plans change, sometimes dramatically, making them an unstable foundation for technology strategy.

Since the goal of technology strategy is to improve business outcomes, let’s refine the question with that as our focus: What basis for technology architecture and strategy:

(a) Aligns best with the ways that business leaders conceive, plan, execute, and measure improvements to business outcomes,

(b) Provides the best structure for building technology implementations that align with and facilitate the ways that businesses change both now and over the long haul, and

(c) Best guides the prioritization, planning, architecture, design, and usage of technology within business improvement projects?

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Adobe's CS5 Ups Ante For Editorial Workflow, Marketing Analytics, And Future Of Flash

Adobe's Creative Suite 5 launched today and offers dramatic advances in supporting creative editorial workflows, bringing together online review and approvals with the help of Acrobat.com as well as marketing analytics capabilities acquired from Omniture. These advances risk being overshadowed by the bigger drama resulting from Apple’s decision last week to ban developers from using rival programming tools like Flash for the iPhone 4. It’s too bad, because in CS5 Adobe compellingly pulls together its design tools to broadly support all mediums across all devices – with added workflow and analytics. Highlights of CS5 include:

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KIN -- Microsoft's Best Step In The Consumer Mobile Market To Date

This morning Microsoft announced its first KIN phones, devices targeted at young social networking enthusiasts. KIN phones will be manufactured by Sharp and available on the Verizon Wireless network in May, and on Vodafone's network in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK this autumn. These KIN devices — and the supporting software and services — are logical outcomes following Microsoft's February, 2008 acquisition of Danger, the inventor of the Sidekick. What's noteworthy about KIN?

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The Fed CIO Looks To The Cloud - Should You?

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s recent presentation to the Brookings Institution outlined how the US administration is moving to a “Cloud-first” approach to consolidating the US government technology infrastructure. Since the US government is the largest buyer of information technology in the world, spending over $76 billion supporting over 10,000 systems, we can be sure that a Cloud-first policy will have a major impact on technology vendors and the services they offer - not only to the US government but to all IT buyers.

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With 4.0, Apple Is Listening To Enterprise Concerns

Apple yesterday announced OS 4.0, it's latest iPhone and iPad operating system. This release confirms what we believed last year: that Apple is actually listening to what enterprise IT needs from iPhones. Let's review the history:

  • July 2007. Apple launches iPhone with OS 1.0 as a consumer device without anything that companies require.
  • July 2008. Apple releases iPhone 3G with OS 2.0 and introduces Exchange support, including remote wipe, but little else that companies need. Even so, some firms allowed their employees to bring their own iPhones and get email support.
  • July 2009. Apple releases iPhone 3GS with OS 3.0 and hardware encryption and enough policy-based control to give IT professionals the ability to more comfortably support the devices, particularly in non-regulated industries. The big remaining gaps in 3.0 from our 100+ conversations with IT pros? The inability to distribute applications wirelessly, to push software and policy updates to the device, and to manage iPhones or iPads in the same way that BlackBerry Enterprise Server (or Server Express, the $0-cost version) does.
  • July 2010. Apple will release OS 4.0 that includes wireless app distribution, better data encryption, more APIs for device management, and a significicant number of enterprise features that are outlined below. For other details, check out these Forrester posts on consumer functions and on mobile advertising.
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Apple's iPhone OS Upgrade Will Make Lots Of People Happy -- And Some Angry

 

Today Apple previewed the next version — 4.0 — of the iPhone OS, the software that powers the company's iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad products, a preview version of which it is unleashing on developers today. Apple will release the product to iPhone and iPod Touch owners this summer, and to iPad owners in the Fall. Apple's customers and partners will largely welcome the innovations in this new release, though there are undoubtedly segments who will complain vehemently. Specifically:

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Qubes OS: The Bento Security Model in Action

One of my favorite jokes about security people is that you can divide them into two types: Builders and Breakers. Builders like to make things, like web applications or identity management infrastructures. Breakers like to find holes in things. They tinker and hack. Usually, you gravitate towards one skillset or the other; it is extremely rare to find someone who does both well. It’s like running: you either sprint, or run marathons.

So it was with great curiosity that I read about the announcement of the Qubes OS by Invisible Things’ Joanna Rutkowska. Joanna is best known as the bête noire of the virtualization world; her “Blue Pill” hypervisor-breaking software was widely noted, even by us. Her Black Hat speeches are legend. She is clearly in the Breaker camp, and one of the best ones too.

Qubes is a new operating system based on Linux and Xen that divides up the operating system into multiple isolated VMs that work together. It allows arbitrary portions of the operating system, such as the web browser, to run in one VM while other portions run in other VMs. Certain functions, like networking and storage, run in their own VMs. The VMs share a GUI (again, compartmentalized from the other VMs) and can exchange files. I won’t attempt to describe it in detail — the architecture document does that well enough:

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The Tech Recovery of 2010 Is Underway

As I predicted in January 2010 (see January 11, 2010, "US and Global IT Market Outlook: Q4 2009"), a tech recovery has started in the US and around the world.  In my updated IT market forecast (see April 8, 2010, "US and Global IT Market Outlook: Q1 2010"), I point out that IT market indicators from Q4 2009 showed an end to declines, setting the stage for stronger growth in 2010.  Since IT market trends are playing out as I expected, I have made only modest changes to my 2010 IT market forecasts.  I now expect the US IT market to grow by 8.4%, a bit higher than my earlier forecast, because of better-than-expected performance in communications equipment.  My forecast for the global IT market in US dollars is a bit lower at 7.7%, with the unexpected strength in the US dollar (due to the weaker Euro after the Greek debt crisis) dampening dollar-denominated growth.  I continue to see computer equipment and software as the strongest product categories in 2010, with PCs, peripherals, and storage equipment leading the computer category and operating system software and applications setting the pace for software. Communications equipment purchases are looking up, especially for enterprise and SMB buying.  IT services will lag a bit, with systems integration project work waiting for licensed software purchases to rise. 

In this report, I provide our first look at 2010 IT purchases on an industry basis in the US.  Confirming past research, the largest US industry market for tech products and services is the professional services industry ($103 billion), followed by financial services ($81 billion), and government ($71 billion).  In terms of 2010 growth prospects, US manufacturers, financial services firms, utilities, and health care will see the strongest growth in 2010. 

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OpenText Getting Serious about Content Analytics

Analytics is getting a lot of attention these days for additional business insight, improving the customer experience, and understanding the online experience. But these exciting areas tell only part of the story. Analytics is after all a horizontal technology that can also help improve content management and transactional business processes by helping to classify documents, improve business processes, and enhance the value of packaged apps. Open Text is adapting to this trend with announced plans to integrate the content analytics capabilities of Nstein Technologies, acquired  on April 1,  that will drive additional value in a  number of areas including - regulated documents, email, social media, Web content, OCR-treated scanned images, and content in business systems, such as Microsoft, SAP and Oracle. While Open Text's first integration of Nstein technology will integrate content analytics with Vignette Content Management system, and the Media Management DAM solution, the bigger value will come from  integration with its Enterprise Library, the core repository,  and will be marketed as Open Text Content Analytics. I have three related research projects that touch on analytics – a review of the content integration market, top use cases for content analytics, and how analytics can take capture to the next level. Analytics will be a foundation component for the enxt generation of ECM - and OT is moving that direction.

The Mobile Security Threat is Overblown: the complete post

Earlier this week SC Magazine published my comments on mobile malware: why I believe there will not be mobile malware pandemic any time soon, and probably not ever. My reply exceeded their length limit, so some of the context was lost. Here are my comments in their entirety.

Security software vendors like to bleat about how mobile phones will be the next big target for malware writers. There’s a sense of inevitability about this, and the story goes like this: Mobile operating systems are becoming a lot like PCs. PCs have lots of malware. Therefore smartphones will have lots of malware — any day now. Security vendors are hoping this will become true so they can sell mobile security software. This idea has at least three problems:

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