How Mature Is Your Mobile Strategy?

Among the biggest strategic questions facing eBusiness & Channel Strategy executives are how to make use of the growing potential of the mobile channel, how to integrate mobile phones into their company's multi-channel strategy, and how to meet customers' rising expectations for mobile services.

We have argued that, for most companies, mobile's time has come. Every company needs to have a mobile strategy in place, even if that strategy is to wait until specific things happen before making serious investments.

Most of the eBusiness & Channel Strategy executives that we work with are either directly responsible for, or closely involved in, their company's mobile strategy.  So we would like your perspective -- and we'd like to help you benchmark your mobile strategy against that of your peers. 

We invite you to take part in a short survey about your company's mobile strategy, your objectives, the metrics you use and the challenges that you face. You can take part in the survey here.

  • The survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete. 
  • Individual responses will be kept strictly confidential and results only published in aggregate.

In return, we will give you a free executive summary of the survey results.

We're keen to get as wide a sample of industries and geographies as we can, so please feel free to forward this survey through your networks. If you are not familiar with your company’s mobile strategy, but know who is, please forward this survey to them.

I look forward to your perspectives. Thank you in advance for your time.

Google Needs To Decide Which Side Of The Music Industry Fence It's On

Yesterday saw an interesting coincidence of stories hit the wires: on the European side of the Atlantic, the BPI announced that it had sent a cease-and-desist notice to Google in regard to links to copyright-infringed music files. Meanwhile, Stateside, the Wall Street Journal reported on (further) rumours that Google was planning to launch a music download store and subscription service to initially run on Android handsets.

A cynic might argue that the music service "leak" was bad news management from Google, aiming to portray itself as a doer of music industry good, not bad. Whether that was intended or not, it raises an important point. Some time or another (and it looks like it’s going to have to be sooner rather than later) Google is going to need to decide whose side it is on. If it's serious about throwing its weight behind becoming a major digital music player, it's going to need to start making concessions to its label partners. And of course it will start seeing more of a business rationale for doing so: How long will it be before ad revenues from keywords alongside P2P links start to look smaller than potential lost Google music revenue? (Remember we’re not talking about cutting the keyword inventory, just ensuring that legitimate links appear in searches for keywords to appear against).

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A Fifth PC Form Factor: Computing Wallpaper?

I spoke last week at The Big Money’s Untethered 2010 conference in NYC. I couldn’t stay for the whole event, but I really enjoyed seeing Phil McKinney, CTO of the Personal Systems Group at HP, interviewed by James Ledbetter. He wowed the audience with a little show-and-tell: a flexible screen display printed on a mylar scroll that’s bi-stable (meaning that, like an E Ink screen, it can use very little power to display text) but can also display video at 60 hertz.

Phil McKinney shows mylar flexible display

[Photo courtesy of ZDNet UK (not from Untethered, but it’s the same demo)]

According to McKinney, we’re about 24 to 36 months away from seeing this display make it into products on the market. Imagine walls papered with the stuff, furniture covered with it. Your “device” would be your portable connectivity, which would trigger your data to appear on one of these screens in your home, office, or public space as you approach. I’m envisioning something that looks like the world in “Splinter Cell,” which my gamer husband has been playing on our Xbox 360:

Splinter Cell projected display

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Help Us Benchmark "Mobile Maturity" — Take Part In Our Survey And Get A Free Executive Summary

Like my colleagues who serve Interactive Marketing professionals and are working on a study to benchmark social media maturity in organizations, we’re also conducting a new research project to benchmark how companies define and implement their mobile consumer approach.

Taking a step back, mobile phones have changed the way we live and communicate in the past 10 years. They’ve had a deep effect on society. At Forrester, we believe they’ll change the way companies do business in the next 10 years. Back in 2007, the iPhone created a market catalyst, not only in the way consumers use and perceive mobile phones but also in the way companies engage with their customers in the mobile environment. Since then, a growing number of companies have launched a mobile consumer presence and started to define a road map for their mobile products and services. Some of them are still testing and learning, while many companies are starting to integrate mobile in their corporate strategies, and others have already created dedicated mobile business units and plan to generate millions of €/$ per month in direct revenues. They follow different objectives — whether building brand loyalty, delivering added-value services in a multichannel experience, reducing costs, or acquiring new customers. 

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Online research: Who are we talking about here?

There has been a lot of discussion and chatter around social market research (SMR) lately, fueled in part bythe social sessions at the MRA conference a couple of weeks ago. We’ve had social on our radar here at Forrester for awhile and my colleague Tamara Barber has done a great job looking at social market research and its opportunities and challenges. Some of the issues around social MR are hot topics for online research in general, representivity being one of the key ones. Just who are we gathering data on? Whether we’re talking about new social methods or tried and true online panels, the question is still relevant.

The topic of representivity in online panels surfaced a few years ago as MR professionals began to examine and question the data coming back from online surveys. Vendors began to address client concerns through a variety of approaches like MarketTools' TrueSampleand Peanut Labs’ Optimus initiatives. Some clients seemed appeased by the measures, but the debate has continued to rage within the MR industry -- and rightfully so.

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Report From HP Software Universe: Is HP Software Going To Boldly Go Where No One Has Been Before?

By Peter O'Neill

Last week, I was in Washington working for HP at their Software Universe event. I moderated their customer press conference, had several strategy meetings with HP execs, continued my preview of a new product they’re planning, and even got to play golf with three of their execs. Life can be tough as an analyst!

In the press conference, attended by around 40 journalists from all continents, I encouraged five HP customers to talk about how they were innovating within IT: Neuberger Bergman, Seagate, McKesson, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, and CollabNet. My challenge as moderator was to help these spokespeople bring across their messages (not everyone is a public speaker) and ensure that there was some “news” for the journalists to write about. So I kicked off the session with a Forrester slide with these five trends/challenges in IT. Each customer then spoke to the trend that affected them the most:

  • Virtualization and "cloud" adoption adds to complexity of IT management
  • Continued pressure to prove the business value of IT
  • Automation of optimized processes within IT
  • Understand and measure IT delivery in business terms
  • Agile development brings Business, AppDev and IT Operations closer together and coordinated

 

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What EMI's Repositioning Means

On Friday EMI announced some major reshuffling to its org structure and additionally a repositioning of the company as a “comprehensive rights management company serving artists and songwriters worldwide.” Underpinning this is a closer alignment of EMI Recorded Music and EMI Publishing (which may have possible implications on EMI Publishing being sold as a standalone business).

The repositioning is the result of an internal strategic review, so it pays not to pass it off as consultant-speak window dressing for the re-org. Indeed Terra Firma has something of a track record of repivoting the structural focus of EMI.

So what does being a “comprehensive rights management company” mean? In principle it shouldn’t be that much different from what EMI and other labels and publishers already do (i.e., they create revenue for artists and songwriters by exploiting their works across multiple products and formats). Of course this core task is a much more complex one now than it was 10 years ago. As recorded music revenues continue to free fall, the importance of alternative revenue streams with brands, telcos, and device companies has risen exponentially. Add to that the numerous digital music formats, and you’ve got a complex mesh of revenue streams. And that’s without even considering other key revenue streams such as traditional synch and of 360 deals. The days of record labels just being record labels are long gone. 

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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 led by my colleague Sean Corcoran. Why is this important? Well, as you may know, Forrester covers social technologies from a wide range of perspectives — from roles in marketing to IT to technology professionals. We find that each of these roles differs in its general “social maturity” and that most companies are experiencing pockets of success, but few, if any, are successfully implementing it across the board. 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. The one question we know that our clients — across roles — are interested in is: “Where is my organization compared to others in the use of social media?”

To help answer that question for our various roles, we're conducting a survey and doing interviews to understand:

  • How do you define “social maturity,” and why is it important to get there?
  • Which companies are ahead of the curve in implementing social technologies for both external use (i.e., for customers/consumers) and/or internal use (i.e., for employees/partners)?
  • What have been the biggest drivers of success?
  • What are the biggest challenges?
  • What steps do most organizations need to take and why?

 

The point of all of this is that we'd like your help. If you're interested, here's how:

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The Data Digest: What Makes Leisure Travelers Feel Valued?

The recent recession has changed consumers' mindsets. They are more careful and prudent about how they spend their money on everything, including travel. But can price drive loyalty? What makes consumers feel valued? Forrester's Technographics® research shows that price and transparency of costs are indeed very important elements for travel companies to make their clients feel special, but these are followed by support statements like “Make me confident that any arising issues will be fixed.”

To increase loyalty and make consumers feel valued, travel companies should see beyond deals and extend their focus to include support. In a recent report on this topic 'Why Travel eBusiness Misses The Mark By Only Emphasizing Price' my colleague Henry Harteveldt gives an example of how a travel seller can use the recent Icelandic volcanic eruption to show affected customers they care, by offering them a special deal when they log into their account.

As Henry says, travel sellers must remember that they don't own the traveler; they earn the opportunity to serve the traveler from one purchase to the next. Fail and the traveler will consider your competitor — and price will likely provide the motivation to switch.

Steve Ballmer Is Right: The PC Market Is Getting Bigger

At The Wall Street Journal’s D8 conference in June, Apple CEO Steve Jobs compared the PC to a farm truck, saying that when America was an agrarian economy: “All cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on the farm. Now trucks are one in 25 to 30 vehicles sold.” Whether you think PCs will shrink or grow in importance seems to depend partly on semantics. During the same conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer countered: “I think people are going to be using PCs in greater and greater numbers for years to come. . . . The PC as we know it will continue to morph form factor. The real question is, what are you going to push.” 

Jobs may not view the iPad as a PC, but we do.

Our view is that the consumer PC market in the US is indeed getting bigger: Over the next five years, PC unit sales across all form factors will increase by 52%. In fact, desktops are the only type of PC whose numbers will be fewer in 2015 than they are today — and even desktops will benefit from innovation in gaming and 3D. We detail our findings in a new report, The US Consumer PC Market In 2015. Clients can read the full report on our Web site, but here are a few key takeaways:

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