Windows Intune Gives A Glimpse At Microsoft’s Licensing Future

With Microsoft's fiscal year end coming to a close today, I wanted to spend some time focusing on future licensing direction. Windows Intune is a significant offering from Microsoft that blends cloud-based management, on-premises tools  from the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), and Windows – as a subscription service. Let’s put Intune aside for a moment.

Like all software vendors, Microsoft is keen on pulling customers into an annuity relationship for their offerings – a dependable revenue stream that isn’t as vulnerable to things like economic downturns or anything that might delay a purchase. When Microsoft first introduced the Software Assurance (SA) program, it was primarily just upgrade rights –  while a license was covered under SA, you had rights to deploy any new versions that came out during that time. Over the years Microsoft has refined the program, adding different benefits to incent customers into the program – but the primary focus of value has remained upgrade rights. Unlike other vendors, Microsoft included security patches and updates as part of a license, so their “software maintenance” program has always been something a little different.

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Are Former Employees Still Calling On The Company Dime?

Cutting telecom costs continues to sit as a top priority in most European and North American organizations. However, the proliferation of mobile devices poses numerous challenges when coping with telecom expense management (TEM). One such challenge I increasingly hear about during client inquiries is the difficulty in maintaining accurate, validated, and current inventories of company mobile devices.

It seems the bigger the organization, the more it struggles with accuracy. Many have numerous devices they can neither locate nor account for who has it in possession. In some cases, former employees are still using corporate devices, and there’ve even been situations where new phones are issued to expatriated, or worse, deceased employees. Such inaccuracies are both scandalous and costly for the organization. For example, a large Fortune 500 retailer, after implementing a TEM solution, found 3,500 monthly cell phone bills of former employees still being paid, costing the company in excess of a million dollars per year.

A recent briefing with Telesoft, a Nordic TEM provider, offered a rather simple means of getting a spot inventory of your organization’s mobile devices. Using a series of three mass text messages sent over a 3 week period, organizations can instruct users to respond with information that would identify themselves as an employee:

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Does Your CEO Care About Green IT? Not If You’re Stuck In The Data Center

To quote Forrester’s CEO and Founder, George Colony, during his keynote at Forrester’s IT Forum EMEA event: “CEOs only care about two things: revenue growth and profitability.” How should we interpret this? CEOs do care about green if it is able to drive revenues, reduce costs and mitigate risks — all of which are essential ingredients in delivering long-term profits and shareholder value.

Evidence is mounting around CEOs' rising interest in corporate sustainability initiatives. For example, the United Nations Global Compact-Accenture CEO Survey 2010 published in June finds that 54% of CEOs globally view sustainability as “very important” to the future success of their businesses. And the Economist Intelligence Unit backs this up by finding that companies that rated their green efforts most highly over the past three years "saw annual average profit increases of 16% and share price growth of 45%, whereas those that ranked themselves worst reported growth of 7% and 12% respectively."

So does your CEO care about green IT?

Not without some convincing. And here’s why: While your CEO might care about green, they may not necessarily care about IT. As an indicator of this, Forrester found that only 16% of the world’s largest companies mention green IT in their annual reports. And as a result, CEOs are most likely unaware of IT’s role in enabling their company's green ambitions. The good news, however, is that IT is playing an increasingly central role in planning and executing companywide green strategies which will lead to C-level visibility.

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James Staten IT Forum Keynote

In case you weren't able to join us at our Forrester IT Forum in Las Vegas last month, here is the video of my keynote session on how enterprises should be thinking about incorporating cloud computing into their IT strategy. Bottom line: consider cloud a new part of your overall IT portfolio and something that can help you cost optimize your business. 

I welcome your feedback on this content and learning how you are incorporating cloud into your strategy and how we can help you take the most advantage of this important shift in the IT landscape. 

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Help Us Benchmark “Social Maturity”

 We recently embarked on a Forrester-wide research project to benchmark the use of social technologies across enterprise organizations. Why is this important? Well as you may know, we cover social technologies from a wide range of perspectives — from roles in marketing to IT to technology professionals. We find each of these roles differ in their general "social maturity" and that most companies are experiencing pockets of success, but few, if any, are successfully implementing it across the board. In fact, full maturity in this space could take years, but there are clear differences in how some "ahead of the curve" companies are using social technologies for business results.

Infrastructure and operations professionals have not necessarily focused on how they can leverage social technologies but rather how they might have to support (or not support) these technologies. In some enterprises, the Security and Risk group has determined that IT operations must block access to social networking sites such as Facebook.

We have come across a couple of progressive IT operations groups that are thinking about social as part of a larger help desk strategy. How?

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Office 2010 Will Continue To Succeed With Consumers

Many product strategists are, like me, old enough to remember software stores like Egghead. Those days are gone. Today, consumer packaged software represents a very limited market – the software aisle has shrunk, like the half-empty one at the Best Buy in Cambridge, MA (pictured).

 

Only a few packaged software categories still exist: Games. Utilities and security software. And Microsoft Office – which constitutes a category unto itself. Some 67% of US online consumers regularly use Office at home, according to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics PC And Gaming Online Survey, Q4 2009 (US). Office is the most ubiquitous – and therefore successful – consumer client program aside from Windows OS.

Office 2010, Microsoft’s latest release, will continue to succeed with consumers. On the shoulders of Office 2010 rests nothing less than the defense of packaged software in general. It’s also the most tangible example of Microsoft’s Software Plus Services approach to the cloud – a term that Microsoft seems to be de-emphasizing lately, but which captures the essence of the Office 2010 business goal:

To sell packaged client software and offer Web-based services to augment the experience.

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Are You Ready To Strategically Rightsource Your IT Portfolio?

It's time for IT to get out of the business of running everything itself and move into the role of delivering technology value to the business. This is a core theme that runs through a large majority of Forrester's research and our advice to clients. But exactly how do you make this transition? Well, a good example can be found in Amylin Pharmaceuticals.

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Speech Analytics Does Not Replace Quality Monitoring

I have been getting several inquiries asking if speech analytics is a replacement for quality monitoring software in contact centers. Speech analytics is a valuable tool for monitoring your customer’s experience when dialing into your contact centers or using the IVR, as it provides the ability to mine, analyze, and understand customer conversations. It is a valuable tool for companies to quickly identify and understand what is on their customer’s mind. However, it serves a different purpose than quality monitoring that records customer conversations and is used for coaching agents or for compliance and recording of customer calls. Quality monitoring is best used for improving the agent’s performance, and speech analytics is optimized for understanding customer concerns and attitudes. They are complementary applications, and one does not replace the need for the other.

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The Evolution Of Green IT: A Forrester Video Series, Part 2

[Scroll down to view Forrester’s "The Evolution Of Green IT" video… don’t worry, it’s only ~6 minutes.]

As a quick recap, part one of this video series walked through how corporations and governments are using green strategies to achieve their financial and political ends. From there, I gave a handful of examples around how green IT is helping leading organizations — like Sprint, AT&T, and Tesco — save $20m, $12m, and achieve a 17% reduction in fuel consumption, respectively. 

So what can you expect in part two? In ~6:00 minutes, part two of this video series will discuss green IT's quickly expanding scope and approach. What do I mean by this? In short, green IT's scope is evolving beyond the data center into distributed IT and broader business operations. Forrester calls this the green IT 1.0 ("green for IT") and 2.0 ("IT for green") transition. Likewise, the approach to green IT is expanding beyond procuring more energy efficient equipment to also include software, services, people, and process. And the savings from these new approaches are impressive:

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Microsoft Licensing, June 2010 — The Perfect Storm

Last week I recorded a podcast on what has recently become a very hot IT research topic at Forrester right now — Microsoft licensing. June 2010 signifies an extremely active and very hectic month for a large number of businesses because it's not only the last month of Microsoft’s fiscal year but also the last month for a large portion of Microsoft's three-year contracts.

The reason for this pileup of Microsoft licensing activity partially stems back to 2000: Microsoft refreshed their volume licensing program and introduced Software Assurance. Microsoft Enterprise Agreements are typically for three years. Facing the initial June deadline in 2001, many businesses switched over to this offering and since then, every three years their licensing agreements need to be reassessed and renegotiated. Now fast forward nine years to June 2010 and factor in several significant new products releases — and  here we are again witnessing what is truly the perfect storm of activity, discussion, and negotiation for businesses and their Microsoft licensing, decision-making personnel.

As you might expect, we receive an ever-increasing number of inquiries related to this subject as we continue to get closer to the aforementioned June 30th deadline. Clients bring a range of questions like whether or not they should renew their enterprise agreement (EA), if Software Assurance holds enough value to justify the commitment, or what IT upgrades and migrations impact their decisions. My first response to these questions is. . . there is no easy answer. Each company has their own set of requirements, cost limitations, and future strategic plans that affect which decision is right for them.

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