I still get a lot of client inquiries on “Web content management.” In fact, the past few months have been the busiest I’ve had since I joined Forrester almost four years ago. Many clients are investing in technology for their online, public-facing initiatives, and we’ve been having some great conversations about what technologies will best fit their needs.
But those technologies include a lot more than just “Web content management.”
In fact, I was recently working with a client on what was purportedly a “WCM” selection project and what struck me was how relatively few requirements actually had to do with traditional content management. Instead, the client wanted to talk about things like content targeting, analytics, multivariate testing, social media, and mobile. That goes way beyond just managing content, doesn’t it?
The best-of-breed WCM vendors have understood this for several years, focusing a good chunk of their development efforts on the actual delivery of content, and how to engage customers, partners, and prospects in the online channel. And the big boys — notably Microsoft and IBM — are getting into the act as well, repositioning and repackaging products and enhancing them with additional modules and adjacent technologies to support engagement.
Security Forum 2010 is upon us, and the stage has been set. After my welcome remarks this morning, Forrester’s own VP & Principal Analyst Khalid Kark kicked us off with a fantastic keynote: “Maturing The Security Organization.” Next up, Malcolm Harkins, CISO of Intel, spoke about the misperception of risk as “The Most Significant Vulnerability We Face." After Malcolm, Forrester was happy to welcome a quartet of IBM security experts and customers for a panel discussion on “Smart Security." Daniel Barriuso, CISO of Credit Suisse, finished up our morning keynotes with a presentation outlining the essential steps to build a “Holistic IT Security Management organization”.
Even though each of these presentations addressed different security challenges, in the end they delivered many common recommendations. For example, the need for strong governance and oversight and the ability to objectively identify and assess future risks. There were a few other key points that I want to highlight:
Over the past few months I’ve been interviewing companies that have successfully applied social to their BPM initiatives. As part of this research, we’re identifying best practices for combining social with BPM and identifying specific patterns on how BPM and social are coming together. The patterns identified thus far include:
Collaborative Discovery – Extending process discovery and design to include interactive real-time involvement of business users, customers, and partners.
Shared Development – Extending process development methodology and tools to support development collaboration between business and IT roles.
Process Guidance – Provide real-time suggestions and guidance for completing a particular activity based on real-time analytics and/or social network analysis (e.g., crowdsourcing techniques).
Your service processes must be the same across all communication channels – traditional and social – in order to deliver a consistent experience and value proposition to your customer base. At the moment, this is downright hard to do, as almost no company offers a solution that tightly integrates the social and traditional communication channels. RightNow saw this need and has delivered a solution that allows customer support agents to engage with customers on Facebook.
Facebook has 500 million registered users that spend more than 3 billion hours a month on their site, says Nielsen. It’s a veritable interaction hub, where many businesses have a significant presence. Some have hundreds of thousands of fans. Other businesses have smaller, yet very loyal followings.
RightNow’s CX for Facebook product, to be released in November, will allow companies to install an app that creates a “Support” tab on their wall. Once a user (customer or prospect) clicks on this tab, they will be able to find answers from community content or from the corporate knowledgebase, ask the community questions, follow, participate and track discussions, propose an idea, ask an agent (either in a public or a private conversation), and more without leaving the Facebook site. Agents as well will be able to monitor and respond to wall posts: RightNow’s SmartSense sentiment analysis will be able to detect the tone of posts and flags high-priority comments for immediate follow-up.
The other day I was just reminiscing with a friend who works at HP about all the good times I had there with my ProCurve family. When I left for a once in lifetime opportunity, I had so much hope for HP’s networking division. Like many of my inquiries from global customers looking for a Cisco alternative, I’m concerned about the division and its long-term viability. I’m not worried if HP will continue to exist without Mark Hurd. Companies are more than a single leader. There is plenty of research, books, and online debates about the effect of a single person: Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, John Chambers, etc. The issue at hand is the existence of product lines within enormous companies, like networking within HP. One of my mentors always said, “If you look at networking over the last twenty years, no major IT company or voice vendor has been able to pull off being a serious networking vendor if networking wasn’t its first priority.” Fundamentally networking is one of the few technologies where a vendor has to be all in. The networking graveyard is full of headstones: Nortel fell off the face of earth, IBM sold off its assets, and Dell hobbles along.
Ah, you might say, what about HP? That brings me to my three observations that every IT manager should consider when including HP in their network architecture:
Rarely does vendor consolidation reflect such fragmentation of a market.
Picking up on the recent acquisition trend of independent market leaders, IBM today announced plans to acquire long-time GRC heavyweight OpenPages to strengthen its business analytics offerings, including Cognos and SPSS. It's a good fit for both companies and certainly won't surprise anyone who has been following the space... the OpenPages platform leans on Cognos for its reporting capabilities, so they already have a head start on product integration. The two have also proven successful in the past by combining forces on large risk management implementations, so there are already established use cases to reference.
This deal is most interesting, however, when you consider the other acquisitions of top GRC vendors. Less than two years ago, Paisley was acquired by Thomson Reuters to strengthen its tax and accounting business and content delivery, while EMC acquired Archer Technologies earlier this year as a dashboard (at least initially) to pull together IT risk data and processes as part of its RSA security offerings. While OpenPages has historically competed with Paisley in financial controls management and has recently been moving more into Archer's core IT risk and compliance domain, this acquisition will likely turn the company more toward higher-level corporate performance and enterprise risk management. The GRC vendors will still compete regularly, but their unique selling propositions are starting to look more and more unique all the time.
I will be joining Forrester's Tweet Jam on Cloud Computing today to add some commentary on the differences we're seeing in attitudes toward "cloud" as a delivery model and in adoption across countries. Interest and adoption differs significantly across countries. While in most countries the primary drivers of both Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are around speed and flexibility, in others the primary drivers are cost. Interestingly, in India and Russia, the No. 1 driver for IaaS is "improving disaster recovery and business continuity." IT decision-makers in those markets prefer to rely on those focused on delivering infrastructure than on their own datacenter, for certain projects.
As for inhibitors, the main concerns are pretty common across countries: security and privacy issues, integration with existing infrastructure and applications, and uncertainty around to total cost of ownership. While many are driven by the desire to move from fixed cost to rotating costs (capex to opex), they remain concerned about the total costs in the long-run.