Are You Re-Thinking Facebook?

Facebook is currently the world's most popular social media site, with over 400 million users. Long-plagued by accusations of security leaks and lackluster privacy practices, the corporation is currently defending itself against a barrage of new criticism. CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave an interview earlier this year arguing that privacy is no longer a "social norm." Facebook privacy policies have been rapidly shifting to reflect this position.

The latest firestorm centers around a new feature called "instant personalization," a targeted advertising service that supplies personal user data to advertising partners like Pandora and Microsoft Docs. All Facebook accounts were included in this service when it was rolled out, and opting out is a convoluted, multi-step process. In a move that some users are calling deliberately deceptive, simply clicking an "opt out" check box does not protect your user data from being shared.

So far, the beta service is limited to three corporate partners — all of whom have promised not to behave inappropriately with the shared user data — but the feature is slated to be expanded over time. This puts millions of user accounts and their personal information at the mercy not just of Facebook, but of the ethics of every company that becomes an instant personalization partner in the future.

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The Move To Platform BPO Continues

Late last week, ExlServices acquired PDMA, Inc., maker of the LifePRO Insurance Policy Administration System. In his discussions with Forrester, Yogendra Goyal, VP & Global Head - Insurance Practice, was very clear on how the deal will help theBPO provider. He said the LifePRO platform will enable the company to move to a more sophisticated outcome pricing model as well as enable it to to cut costs and drive higher value and up the process stack. It's another clear example of how the BPO market is moving to have a standard software platform underpin its process work (see my report Platform BPO: Process Outsourcers Take A New Approach To Traditional BPO for more information).

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Accenture Sets Up Software Division

Yesterday at its annual analyst meeting, Accenture unveiled its new software group.  Yes, the company has formally set up a software organization to sell packages and SaaS offerings. The group was internally established back in September 2009, but publically launched this week.  The group has 48 products, 36 of which are vertical packages that Accenture has done on its own; the remainder are enhancements to existing packages from vendors like Oracle and SAP. The vertical packages include freight and logistics, hotel property management, and a claims components solution. Sample “enhancements” cover P&C billing with SAP, banking with both SAP and Oracle, and a human capital management offering with SAP. The numbers on the group: the offerings cover 8 industry segments and it has 2,000 people and claims that it has signed 600 deals where there is an explicit software license. There are 12-15 software factories in support of 48 products. This is an extreme example of the standardized offerings that services vendors will bring out as the market evolves.

What Survey Questions Should We Ask IT Infrastructure Buyers?

Every spring I’m faced with the wonderful opportunity – and challenge – of choosing the best questions for Forrester's annual 20 minute Web survey of commercial buyers of IT infrastructure and hardware across North America and Europe.

Clients can see the 2009 survey instrument here. In that survey, we learned that only 3% of firms were using cloud-hosted servers and that 79% of firms prioritized IT consolidation and virtualization but only 23% prioritized internal/private cloud efforts.

As technology industry strategists, what themes or hypotheses in IT infrastructure do you think we should focus on? What are the emerging topics with the potential for large, long term consequences, such as cloud computing, that you’d like to see survey data on? Please offer your suggestions in the comments below by May 21!

This year, I’m proposing the following focus areas for the survey:

  • New client system deployment strategies– virtual desktops, bring-your-own-PC, Win 7, smartphones, and tablets
    • Hypothesis:  Early adopters are embracing virtual desktops and bring-your-own-PC, but the mainstream will proceed with standard Win 7 deployments
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BI Implications Of SAP-Sybase Deal -- Plenty

In this podcast Principal Analyst Boris Evelson discusses SAP's recent announcement on their intention to acquire Sybase. From the business intelligence point of view, Boris breaks down the obvious and not so obvious effects the acquisition will have on SAP's BI and data warehouse capabilities.

 

http://www.forrester.com/role_based/images/author/imported/forresterDotCom/Podcasts/BPA/Evelson_Kobielus_Richardson_Le%20Clair_Transform%20Business%20Processes%20Through%20Business%20Analytics_050510.mp3

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Who's Ready For Office 2010?

This week Microsoft officially launches Office 2010. While the final release version has been available for download  by customers with software assurance for a few weeks, the “official” launch means the marketing machine will really crank up as Microsoft tries to create excitement for the 14th version of the world’s most popular productivity tools suite. Given there were more than 7 million downloads of the beta version, it’s evident there is interest in the latest version, and early user feedback has been positive.

But are businesses ready to upgrade to Office 2010? What about at home? A lot of firms recently went through an upgrade to Office 2007 – 80% of firms surveyed by Forrester last month say they support Office 2007. For many information workers the pain of adjusting to the Office 2007 Fluent UI is still fresh. And a lot has changed in the market since 2007 when Google was just launching Docs & Spreadsheets. So what do you need to know about Office 2010 to inform your upgrade decision? To start:

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SAP Acquires Sybase – What’s The Strategic Intent Behind The Deal?

SAP today announced an agreement to acquire Sybase, Inc. for $5.8billion. Sybase has a broad portfolio of solutions, so the question comes to mind: what is the strategy, the driving force behind the deal? What are the Sybase crown jewels that SAP is after?

The main three assets Sybase brings to SAP are obviously a database, a mobile infrastructure and real-time analytics. Is it the combination of all of these assets or is there a distinct difference between those portfolio elements? Here are some first thoughts from my side on SAP’s strategic intention for the deal:

This deal is not focused on Sybase’s database assets. Why?

  1. The Sybase market share on databases is too small to make a big difference for SAP. Most SAP applications are currently running on Oracle, and there is little appetite in the market for replacement projects.
  2. SAP is Oracle’s biggest database reseller and makes significant business out of this and won’t shoot itself in the foot. Thus they will of course continue to sell and support Oracle, DB2, etc…  Anyways it’s an important element of SAP’s strategy to support multiple databases, but first it means investment to extend this support to the new family member (Sybase’s database is currently not supported!). In the long run, however, it won’t hurt to have in-house database expertise as the market changes and new opportunities will come.
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The Lion Roars. 2010 Ships. Productivity Cheers.

Okay, so I'm a sucker for nostalgia. But being on the same stage as Gilda Radner and John Belushi and John Candy and Tina Fey was a thrill. And being in the same studio where Elvis Costello and the Attractions stopped "Less Than Zero" after a few bars and jumped into "Radio Radio" in defiance of NBC's wishes brought a rebellious, empowered smile to my face.

NBC's Studio 8H, home of Saturday Night Live, is where Microsoft launched SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 yesterday. It was a short, punchy, customer-filled event. These products are the latest in the "Wave 14" product set, a ginormous (as my 9-year old says) overhaul of the Office product line. And they're beauts. Here's my (admittedly enthusiastic) analysis of what Microsoft has accomplished with this product.

  • The lion awakens and roars.

    Microsoft's Office business has taken a battering in the press as journalists chase stories about the important innovations from nimble startup competitors, open source alternatives, and Web-based productivity tools. But let's face it. Microsoft doesn't have 500,000,000 people using its tools for no reason. And while three years is a long time to wait for a product release (especially in this era of instant innovation via the Internet), Microsoft has re-confirmed its position as the most important driver of business productivity on the planet. This launch will crush the dreams of a 100 entrepreneurs and force another 1,000 to rethink their companies. That's okay. It's what happens when Microsoft turns a niche product for a geeky few into a global feature that anybody can use. As an economy, we need it.

  • The empowerment is real.

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New Forrester Wave Published For Agile Application Development Management

After almost a year of work, Jeffrey Hammond and I finally published the Agile Development Management Tools Forrester Wave™ evaluation. So I thought I would share some of the observations from this report.  Agile has changed the way in which development teams work, and this changed motivated the Forrester Wave. A change that has meant not only new ways of working, but also new vendors have entered the traditional application life-cycle management marketplace.  The Forrester Wave focused on the following main areas:

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Sybase Acquisition Won't Plug SAP's Integration Gaps

Today's announcement that SAP will acquire Sybase is a major event in the software world, but it will not fill key gaps in SAP's integration capability.  If the $5.8 billion deal goes through SAP will gain strong mobile integration and database features, but the existing shortcomings of NetWeaver PI in the areas of application and process integration in heterogeneous environments remain. 

NetWeaver is a credible solution for integration challenges between numerous SAP business applications, but it has proven to be inadequate for solving integration between SAP apps and apps from other sources (both home grown and other commerically available business applications).  The Sybase acquisition does not alter this fact.

For a deeper look into the challenges faced by SAP customers when trying to rely on NetWeaver for their non-SAP integration needs, refer to our May 5th document entitled, "It's Time To Tame The ERP Integration Beast".

As always, your thoughts are welcome.  Drop me a line at kvollmer@forrester.com.

Thanks,

Ken