Little Servers For Big Applications At Intel Developer Forum

I attended Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco last week, one of the premier events for anyone interested in microprocessors, system technology, and of course, Intel itself. Among the many wonders on display, including high-end servers, desktops and laptops, and presentations related to everything Cloud, my attention was caught by a pair of small wonders – very compact, low power servers paradoxically targeted at some of the largest hyper-scale web-facing workloads. Despite being nominally targeted at an overlapping set of users and workloads, the two servers, the Dell “Viking” and the SeaMicro SM10000, represent a study in opposite design philosophies on how to address the problem of scaling infrastructure to address high-throughput web workloads. In this case, the two ends of the spectrum are adherence to an emerging standardized design and utilization of Intel’s reference architectures as a starting point versus a complete refactoring of the constituent parts of a server to maximize performance per watt and physical density.

Read more

Security Forum 2010: Day 2 Keynotes-At-A-Glance

Last week, I wrote a blog post summarizing the Day 1 opening keynotes at Forrester’s Security Forum.  This week, I’d like to recap the Day 2 opening keynotes. The second or last day at any event is always a challenge; attendees are always tempted to leave early or to stay in their hotel rooms to get some work done or if the event is in Vegas, squeeze in some craps (my favorite) or drop a few coins in a nearby slot. Luckily, we held the event in Boston and the lobsters have nowhere to run, so most attendees were happy to stick around until the end of the day. Not only did we have great attendance on Day 2, but there was a palpable buzz in the air. The audience asked tough questions and no one was spared — Forrester analysts, industry guest speakers, and vendors. While the main topic of Day 1 seemed to focus on risk and overall strategy, governance, and oversight, Day 2 focused on coming up with the specifics — the specific plans, the specific policies. As Andrew Jaquith stated in his keynote, to provide better data security, “you don’t need more widgets, what you need is a plan.”

Below are some of the highlights from the Day 2 keynotes: 

Read more

Disconnect In Customer Service Language - Activities Vs Outcomes

Contact centers are data and metrics driven. If you are an agent, you worry about your average call handle time, the number of calls/emails/chats you are completing per hour, how you are doing compared to your peers, how satisfied customers are with your answers. If you are a call center manager, you keep an eagle eye in real time on your group metrics.

But what is it that C-level executives care about in the boardroom? They are concerned with the quality, cost, and effectiveness of service, and the measurement of the outcome of their strategic decisions – for example, measuring the success of a service strategy like outsourcing operations. They need data to accurately forecast performance and monitor performance trends over time. They need to make strategic technology decisions that support their key business goals.

There’s a first order disconnect between customer service agents and supervisors who talk in the language of activities - AHT, SLAs, or number of emails handled - and C-level executives who care about outcomes - company performance, overall customer loyalty, and churn. What is needed is a bridge, a mapping between the language of agents and the language of the boardroom.

Take for example the request for a service manager customer to add a headcount to help edit content for their knowledgebase. To get buy-in, frame this request in the outcome of this program, not in terms of activities, for example: “We need to evolve our knowledge management solution to provide a better quality of knowledge to our agents. This will ultimately lead to a quantitative, measurable increase in our net promoter score, an increased first time fix rate, and lower operating costs.”

Have you started to link operational metrics to top-level business outcomes? What are effective examples that you use? Has this worked for you?

IBM Buying Netezza, Sending Clear Shot Across Oracle’s Bow

IBM’s acquisition of Netezza was a must for both vendors if they wish to grow their shares of the data warehousing (DW) market. They have a common archrival, Oracle, that is fielding an increasingly formidable appliance-based product portfolio, threatening both vendors’ long-term positions in this dynamic market. This announcement comes the same week as the annual Oracle OpenWorld conference, and we await word this week from Larry Ellison, Mark Hurd, and company on how they intend to respond (and you better believe they will).

First, here are the facts we have so far on IBM’s acquisition of Netezza. Big Blue is buying the publicly traded Marlborough, Massachusetts-based pure play for $1.7 billion. The deal, which represents $27 a share, 9.8% over Friday’s closing price and a near 85% premium over its 3-month trading average—is set to close in the fourth quarter. Netezza was founded 10 years ago, has around 350 customers in all major vertical industries, and employs around 500 personnel. Netezza has extensive partnerships with complementary technology providers, including, most notably, with IBM, which provides the hardware underlying its TwinFin DW appliances.

Read more

What Can Proginet Users Expect?

TIBCO completed the acquisition of Proginet on September 16, 2010. What does this mean for users of Proginet's file transfer products? We see four key areas of interest related to this acquisition:

  • Increased vendor stability. Proginet was a small firm that had good products but was still facing difficult financial times due to its limited product lineup. Now that Proginet is part of a larger, more successful organization, its users will no longer have to be concerned about the ongoing viability of the product.
  • Improved product support. Proginet users will now have access to 24x7 support via TIBCO's product support team.
  • Product rebranding. All of the Proginet products including the CyberFusion MFT product and the Slingshot, RocketStream, and AnyFileNow file transfer products will be rebranded (as TIBCO MFT, TIBCO Slingshot, TIBCO RocketStream, and TIBCO Silver MFT, respectively).
  • Higher prices. Proginet users will be migrated to the applicable TIBCO products over time at the prevailing TIBCO prices.

In addition, TIBCO will be embedding the Proginet MFT features into its BusinessWorks product and will also continue to support the extensive OEM arrangements that Proginet had with other software vendors.

What's your take on the value of MFT in your organization? Is MFT an important component of your integration landscape? Is its usage growing? We would like to hear your opinion. Please give us your feedback by commenting directly or by sending me a note at kvollmer@forrester.com.

Thanks,

Ken Vollmer

InfoWorld/Forrester EA Award Winners Announced

Readers of this blog are all likely to agree that EA is important, but it's also true that EA teams struggle for influence, laboring mightily in the shadows, out of the limelight. Forrester and InfoWorld have teamed up to end all that. Well, OK, we may not be able to do a lot about the struggling and laboring mightily, but we can certainly do something about the limelight thing.

InfoWorld and Forrester are working together to publicize EA programs that are making a difference to their businesses. A distinguished panel of judges, including Forrester analysts and real-world EA leaders from our EA Council, vetted detailed entries to the InfoWorld/Forrester EA awards contest, and we have picked five winners. These winners show different aspects of high-impact EA programs – but a review of their stories shows some things they have in common as well, including the insight to prioritize the right direction for EA at the right time.

The winners are, in alphabetical order:

  • Aetna: Capability maps
  • Barclays Bank: Road maps and strategic architectural alignment
  • Discover Financial Services: Driving value with EA
  • Skandia UK & International: Transformation delivered through EA
  • Wells Fargo: Living target architecture

We can all learn about the application of EA best practices from these companies’ stories. I strongly encourage you to read the write-ups here. As always, we’re very interested in your comments and ideas!

The Rise Of Cloud Sourcing

Enterprises are increasingly turning toward cloud deployment models (including SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, etc.), attracted by promises of fast deployment, lower upfront costs, and greater elasticity in pricing and consumption models. This trend has been further fueled by resource constraints (capital and people); cloud solution maturity (sophisticated functionality, customization, and integration); and “empowered” workers (seeking DIY technologies to drive business results). However, the growing use of cloud technologies creates new challenges and questions in areas like TCO, security, support, and vendor management.

Enter cloud sourcing. Cloud sourcing typically refers to a model where third parties play a broker and consulting role in helping firms leverage the cloud strategically across business applications.

Cloud sourcing provides alternatives to traditional outsourcing, packaged application implementation, and application development. Cloud sourcing spans applications, utilities, and services. Cloud sourcing strategies include both the use of cloud applications such as salesforce.com and Workday to deliver business applications as well as the sourcing of complete managed processes via cloud applications plus associated services, such as offerings from Capgemini and Wipro.

Forrester will be part of an upcoming panel at Global Sourcing Forum in New York City on October 13 that discusses key elements of and considerations for cloud sourcing, including:

• How strategic sourcing decisions can include cloud-based solutions.
• What SaaS, Paas, IaaS, and BPO mean in the cloud context.
• Practical lessons and best practices for adopting cloud solutions.
• Challenges with cloud sourcing and how to overcome them.
• Emerging providers and solutions for cloud sourcing.

Read more

Market Moves Toward Integrated Performance And Learning

I attended the Taleo customer conference last week in Chicago where CEO Michael Gregoire in his opening session speech boasted about Taleo’s recent acquisition of Learn.com, a $26 million private learning company that Taleo had just bought for $125 million. (Wow!) He admitted he had never been pro learning management systems but that Taleo’s customers’ expressed learning needs had made him a convert to the importance of having an LMS.

Throughout the first day of the conference, many Taleo executives talked about how the acquisition made Taleo a complete talent management company with strong recruiting, which is their heritage along with performance, compensation, and now learning to round out their offerings. This is exactly what I recommend in my research, "The Four Pillars Of Talent Management".

If we are going to have organizations that put a premium on skilled, knowledgeable, and happy employees, there must be a seamless integration among these essential components. Recruiting and onboarding become a process of hiring the right people, ramping them up quickly to full productivity while integrating them into the company culture and putting new hires into an employee performance management plan linked to appropriate learning activities. By linking performance to compensation and non-monetary rewards, employees are more likely to feel that they are valued members of the company team.

Read more

Forrester Is Hiring — Join Our Global Enterprise Architecture Team!

You know how technology is changing how businesses operate — how they engage with their customers, deliver products and services, and understand their markets. The burgeoning importance of technology is changing how IT operates in these businesses. Forrester has termed this transformation "BT" for business technology. And in our recent book, Empowered, Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler describe how IT must support empowered businesspeople who are using emerging technology to solve their business problems. 

Enterprise architecture is a critical discipline for IT as its business relationship changes. Our clients have asked us to help them better understand emerging technology in a business and architecture context — and so we’re looking for a senior analyst to address these questions. This is a plum job, because it will put you right in the center of transformation that's happening with business technology. 

You'll spend your time speaking with people in companies that are actually implementing emerging technologies like mobile solutions, social networks, and even telematics and remote sensor technologies — gathering information about what works, what doesn't, and where the industry is going. You’ll write reports on these topics and work with clients on their technology strategies.

Our current analysts on this team are working in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Foster City, California; New York; London; Paris; and Amsterdam — or from their homes. For this position, we're inclined to hire an analyst who can work in one of our research locations.

Read more

The Cloud Is Here To Stay – Summary From Forrester’s Vendor Strategy TweetJam On Cloud Computing

On September 15th between 11am-12pm EDT Forrester held an interactive TweetJam on the future of cloud computing including Forrester analysts Jennifer Belissent, Mike Cansfield, Pascal Matzke, Stefan Ried, Peter O’Neill , myself and many other experts and interested participants. Using the hashtag #cloudjam (use this tag to search for the results in Twitter), we asked a variety of questions.

We had a great turnout, with more than 400 tweets (at last count) from over 40 unique Tweeter’s. A high level overview of the key words and topics that were mentioned during the TweetJam is visualized in the attached graphic using the ManyEyes data visualization tool.

 

Below you will find a short summary of some key takeaways and quotes from the TweetJam:

1. What really is cloud computing? Let’s get rid of 'cloud washing!'

Read more