Getting Smarter? Yes. Public Sector Does Expect To Spend More On Technology.

Last week I was in Dubai and got a chance to visit GITEX, the largest IT event in the Middle East.  I was very interested and impressed to see the “Government” pod.  I’ve participated in many IT events including biggies like Mobile World Congress, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pod dedicated to governments’ use of IT.  But, the event in Dubai clearly was showcasing how governments were using IT to address public sector concerns.  I spent time in the UAE Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) booth hearing about their “e-Project” portal, which streamlines processes such as bidding and awarding of MoPW contracts, as well as the prioritizing, managing, and launching of specific projects.  The portal also facilitates the registration, licensing and evaluation of vendors.  The Ministry of the Environment and Water also recently launched a new version of its Web portal, which welcomes suggestions or complaints from citizens and employees, allows for public inquiries about all conservation and environmental projection issues, enables licensing for agricultural business activity or use of pesticides, and even includes a “contact the minister” feature.  I also spoke to teachers affiliated with the Dubai Ministry of Education who were thrilled to have just received new iPads from which they could take attendance, record grades and manage classroom schedules.  Many ministries and government agencies from across the UAE were represented.  Clearly Emirates cities understand the imperative of addressing public issues with technology solutions.  As populations grow – UAE population will increase 75% between 2010 and 2050 – and development continues, Emirati governments are getting “smart.”

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Who Should Lead Strategic Investment Planning?

Mike Gilpin poses this question in the most recent post to his blog.  This question was sparked at Forrester’s Business Process & Application Delivery Forum during a conversation during the session “Using The Next Generation PMO To Promote Innovation.” What’s interesting is that the question came from an attendee -- presumably aligned with their firm’s PMO -- who said that in their firm, strategic investment planning is led by their enterprise architecture team, which is responsible for the strategic planning and business architecture processes. 

There are multiple ways to come up with the “best answer” to this question. Nigel Fenwick discusses the answer in terms of the CIO’s responsibility to own strategy development -- and the coordination of functions necessary to carry out strategy. I’d like to answer this from the perspective of “what does it take to have an effective strategic investment planning process?”, examining the value the EA function and the PMO can provide. 

My colleague Craig Symons, who is Forrester’s expert on IT governance, defines effective governance as ensuring the best answers to these questions:

Effective governance answers the "4 Ares"

 

 

 

What EA can provide

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Who Should Lead Strategic Investment Planning?

By Mike Gilpin

I was in the audience at our recent “Business Process & Application Delivery Forum” for the track session “Using The Next-Generation PMO To Promote Innovation,” which was delivered by Margo Visitacion. The premise of the session was that leading-edge PMOs (project management offices) are evolving to a more strategic role, focused on portfolio management of business investment rather than just IT projects or programs.

I know this phenomenon is real because I, too, have talked with multiple Forrester clients, PMO leaders, who have elevated the mission of their PMO to this level -- often to the extent that they no longer report into the CIO but are outside IT, reporting into a business exec like the COO or CEO. In so doing, they have refocused their efforts on everything from guiding business leaders through building a business case for the investments they want to make, to guiding decision-makers through selection from the portfolio of investment proposals, to tracking benefits realization and ROI after the fact. PMOs with this kind of business-focused, strategic mission have greater business impact and are often close partners with executives leading their firm.

During the session, one of the attendees asked an interesting question: “At our firm, the functions you describe are led by the enterprise architecture team as part of the strategic planning and business architecture process. Which is better suited to doing this function, EA or the PMO?

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Should CIOs Have A Role In Strategic Investment Planning?

Strategic Investment PlanningAt Forrester’s recent Business Process And Application Delivery Forum, there was a very interactive session on “Using The Next-Generation PMO To Promote Innovation,” led by Margo Visitacion. The premise of the session was that leading-edge PMOs (project management offices) are evolving to a more strategic role, focused on portfolio management of business investment rather than just IT projects or programs.

Many clients have suggested their PMO mission is already elevated to this level. They now focus their efforts on everything from guiding business leaders through building a business case for the investments they want to make, to guiding decision-makers through selection from the portfolio of investment proposals, to tracking benefits realization and ROI after the fact. PMOs with this kind of business-focused, strategic mission have greater business impact and are often close partners with executives leading their firm.

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Unlock The Value Of Your Data With Azure DataMarket

If the next eBay blasts onto the scene but no one sees it happen, does it make a sound? Bob Muglia, in his keynote yesterday at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, announced a slew of enhancements for the Windows Azure cloud platform but glossed over a new feature that may turn out to be more valuable to your business than the entire platform-as-a-service (PaaS) market. That feature (so poorly positioned as an “aisle” in the Windows Azure Marketplace) is Azure DataMarket, the former Project Dallas. The basics of this offering are pretty underwhelming – it’s a place where data sets can be stored and accessed, much like Public Data Sets on Amazon Web Services and those hosted by Google labs. But what makes Microsoft’s offering different is the mechanisms around these data sets that make access and monetization far easier.

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Discussing The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Data Quality Platforms, Q4 2010

I’ve just published my comprehensive analysis of the enterprise data quality platforms market in my Forrester Wave report and provided a deep-dive assessment of the technologies, strategies, and market presence of the six vendors that, in my opinion, provide the most mature, robust, and comprehensive data quality and data profiling solutions available. The evaluated vendors include DataFlux, IBM, Informatica, Harte-Hanks Trillium Software, Pitney Bowes Business Insight, and SAP BusinessObjects. 

DQ Market Overview

A fair question some may ask when they see this research is “Why evaluate only six vendors?” The reason is a simple cost/benefit analysis. As any vendor that has participated in this process can confirm, the Forrester Wave research methodology is at minimum a 6+ month, in-depth product and vendor strategy evaluation and the more vendors that are included only adds to the effort. So when determining my inclusion criteria, I had to ask — as always — who is the target audience for this research? The answer, of course, is the data management professionals that work for Forrester’s clients, who for the most are large commercial enterprises and public sector organizations that often support global operations.

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Walking The Walk – Mobile Devices And The Infrastructure & Operations Group

Recently I’ve been living a double life. By day a mild-mannered functionary for Forrester Research, helping I&O professionals cope with the hurly-burly of our rapid-paced world. By night I have been equipping myself with an iPhone, iPad and trying out any other mobile devices I can get my hands on, including Dell Stream, Android phones, and the incredibly appealing new Apple Macbook Air. While my colleague Ted Schadler has been writing on these devices from a more strategic perspective, I wanted to see what the daily experience felt like and simultaneously get a perspective from our I&O customers about their experiences.

So, the first question, is the mobile phenomenon real? The answer is absolutely yes. While the rise of mobile devices is a staple of every vendor’s strategic pitch, it also seems to be a real trend. In conversations with I&O groups, I have been polling them on mobile devices in their company, and the feedback has been largely the same – employees are buying their own consumer devices and using them for work, forcing I&O, security and email/collaboration application owners, often well outside of plan, to support them. Why can’t IT groups “just say no”? The answer is that IT in rational companies is fundamentally in the fundamental business of enabling business, and the value and productivity unlocked by these devices is too much to pass up.

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How Is Desktop Videoconferencing Being Used In Your Business?

For those of us who following the collaboration software space, video in business has been a hot topic: We have seen year-over-year growth in videoconferencing implementations, a majority of businesses are interested in or implementing video streaming technology, and the emergence of vendors offering "YouTube for the enterprise" services that allow information workers to create and share business-related videos. What's driving all of this interest in video? From a business leader perspective, you could argue that video enables more efficient and effective communication and collaboration for increasingly distributed workforces. For rank-and-file information workers, exposure to consumer services like Skype, Facetime (the video chat capability on Apple's iPhone) and YouTube have made them comfortable with the idea of video communications, which brings me to the subject of this blog post: how is desktop videoconferencing -- communications via a video unit on the desk like a Webcam -- being adopted by businesspeople?  

In our most recent survey of information workers (those who use a computer to do their job), we find that while 29% of workers use videoconferencing technology, only 15% have access to desktop video technology. The bulk of those using this tool are not the rank-and-file, but the managers and executives who have historically been the users of videoconferencing services. Considering the increasing acceptance of this more personal form of video in the consumer realm, these light adoption numbers raise the question about how this technology can spread throughout businesses. I'm currently working on a report on this very topic and I'm interested in hearing from you. Has desktop videoconferencing found its way into your business? If so, who led the charge and what was the rationale? If not, what is hindering implementation and adoption?

Let's have a conversation about this.

Windows Azure Crosses Over To IaaS

At its Professional Developers Conference this week, Microsoft made the long-awaited debut of its Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution, under the guise of the “VM-role” putting the service in direct competition with Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and other IaaS competitors. But before you paint its offering as a "me too," (and yes, there is plenty of fast-follower behavior in today’s announcements), this move is a differentiator for Microsoft as much of its platform as a service (PaaS) value carries down to this new role, resulting in more of a blended offering that may be a better fit with many modern applications.

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Change Is Good!

I can't believe that I've been with Forrester for three weeks.  I am still learning cool new things every day but also feeling more at home as each day passes.  I've been very fortunate to have already had many interactions with so many sourcing and vendor management professionals.  I've really enjoyed getting to know so many of you and I'm totally psyched about all the questions you are asking and the things you want to talk about.  Keep them coming!  And speaking about psyched, I'm a huge fan of the TV show "Psych."  Shawn and Gus are the best!  Thank heavens for the invention of the DVR and the ability to watch the episodes I missed, all at once.  But I digress . . .

Despite being so psyched, I also have to deal with a lot of changes in my life:  leaving my previous company after nearly 28 years; moving from an office in downtown Minneapolis to a home office out in the suburbs; traveling more than working from home; working with a new team and meeting many new colleagues; switching to an iPhone after using a Blackberry for over 8 years; learning a whole new set of company applications, benefits, policies, procedures, tools and templates; and becoming a writer and a researcher.  But I'm still psyched.

Amidst all of this change, some key things in my life remain the same.  I’m still focused on offshore outsourcing, global delivery, and vendor management. These key areas of concentration have been my passion for the past 11+ years.  The thought of being able to focus on these areas full time is very exciting.  I’m so anxious to work with all of our clients.  I was in your shoes, I know what you are going through, and I know that I have a lot I can share with you and your company.

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