Join Forrester’s New Online Community For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals

Being an infrastructure & operations (I&O) professional is tough. How do we know? Because you tell us in the nearly 5,000 inquiries the I&O team does each year. We hear your challenges on server, storage, and network technologies. We field concerns on whether you should buy, build, lease, or forgo a datacenter altogether. We get tough questions on mobile devices and how to empower your users. Not to mention all of the “O” challenges around IT service management, asset management, ITIL adoption. The list literally goes on and on. I&O consumes nearly half of the overall IT operating budget – so it comes with a broad set of responsibilities.

That’s why I’m excited to announce a new way for you to get your tough I&O challenges solved: Your peers. Starting today, Forrester is launching an online community for infrastructure & operations professionals. It’s a premier destination for leaders to exchange ideas, opinions, and real-world solutions to the myriad of I&O responsibilities. Of course, Forrester analysts will be part of the community as well. But our goal is to facilitate the discussion and share our views. This is the place for you to hear from your peers, not just Forrester.

We’re also committed to connecting you with as many I&O pros as possible, so the community is open to all I&O readers — not just clients.

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • A simple platform on which you can pose your questions and get advice from peers who face the same business or technology challenges.
  • Insight from our analysts, who weigh in frequently on the issues and point to relevant research. 
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Join Forrester's New Community For Consumer Product Strategists!

I'd like to invite you to participate in an exciting new forum for discussion: our community for Consumer Product Strategy professionals!

The community is a place for product strategists to exchange ideas, opinions, and real-world solutions with each other. Forrester analysts will also be part of the community, helping facilitate the discussions and sharing their views.

Right now, we already have discussions going on the topics of product co-creation, creating video content for your product or brand, and the effects disruptive technologies like the iPad have on product strategies. These vibrant conversations are just getting started, but they're already pretty exciting discussions.

In general, here's what you’ll find

  • A simple platform on which you can pose your questions and get advice from peers who face the same business challenges.
  • Insight from our analysts, who weigh in frequently on the issues. 
  • Fresh perspective from peers, who share their real-world success stories and best practices.
  • Content on the latest technologies and trends affecting your business — from Forrester and other thought leaders

I encourage you to become part of the community:

  • Ask a question about a complex business problem.
  • Start a discussion on an emerging trend that’s having an impact on your work.
  • Contribute to an existing discussion thread from a community member.
  • Suggest topics for upcoming Forrester research reports.
  • Create a community profile.
  • Share your perspective with others.

The community is open to both Forrester clients AND to non-clients.  Why not visit today?

The Six Thinking Hats

I want to introduce you to a book that will change the way you manage meetings and make collaborative decisions: Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono. One of my CIO clients told me about this book, and I bought it used on Amazon for $0.01 (plus shipping and handling of course) – now that is a deal. Though I can’t see sitting in a room of business executives and saying “Now everyone put on your white thinking hat,” this book presents a very clear explanation of why our typical “everyone present their viewpoint” type of discussion is so dysfunctional. The problem is that people come from different perspectives, so we end up arguing apples and oranges. Six Thinking Hats lays out a process where everyone can get their position on the table in a way that encourages a more holistic look at the issue and results in fewer arguments and more discussion. Here is how it works:

During a problem-solving session, the facilitator solicits input from six different perspectives. The key is that while the group is thinking in a particular perspective, only comments that fit that perspective are allowed. The six perspectives are:

  • White hat – An objective look at the issue based entirely on facts and figures. This thinking type focuses on what we know or at least on the best information available. This type of thinking often dominates most IT discussions.
  • Red hat – Provides the emotional view. Data and reality don’t matter. Everyone gets to talk about how they feel about the issue. What I like about this perspective is that it legitimizes what people are feeling. They don’t have to defend their position with data. To me, this is the most often ignored perspective in IT discussions.
  • Black hat – This is the devil’s advocate viewpoint. The focus is on issues, challenges, roadblocks, and anything that can go wrong.
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Join Forrester's New Online Community For Security & Risk Professionals!

Here at Forrester, we like to eat our own dog food. Hot on the heels of the book launch of Empowered, Forrester has launched an online community for security and risk professionals. The community is a place for security and risk professionals to exchange ideas, opinions, and real-world solutions with each other. Forrester analysts will also be part of the community, helping facilitate the discussions and sharing their views.

The community is open to all security and risk professionals, whether you’re a Forrester client or not. Do you want to know if your peers plan to support new consumer mobile devices in the workplace? Do you want to know how your peers are promoting cyber awareness? You can post these and other questions, thoughts, and ideas to the community.

I’m excited to announce the launch of this community. At our recent Security Forum in Boston, the topic of better information sharing and collaboration — among security and risk professionals and between the public and private sector — came up on numerous occasions. In this new era of advanced threats from well-organized and well-funded crime and state sponsored agents, together with the rapid pace of innovation from mobile to social to cloud, I believe the active exchange of best practices and solutions is a critical need for the security community.

Here’s what else you’ll find in the community:

  • A simple platform on which you can pose your questions and get advice from peers
  • Insight from our analysts, who weigh in frequently on the issues.
  • Fresh perspective from peers, who share their success stories and best practices.
  • Content on the latest technologies and trends  — from Forrester and other thought leaders.
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What Does Your Organizational Weave Look Like?

Firms are often challenged to undertake transformation at a grand scale — to sustain and scale BPM programs across the organization. All firms are at subtly different levels of maturity, with different histories, unique cultures — and while there are many commonalities, every organization needs to approach the BPM and transformation agenda in subtly different ways.

Enterprisewide transformation involves a large number of people doing some pretty special things. The reality is that each organization will need its own subtle blend of skills, methods, techniques and tools. In a sense, the organization needs to weave its own proprietary method framework — to create its own fabric — a unique approach that reflects its special needs, the maturity of the different business units, the history of change, culture, and political challenges.

There will be people inside the organization that need to own that framework and set of methods, monitor its efficacy, and improve it over time. And while external resources can complement those employees, the executives at the helm should understand that they cannot abrogate responsibility for change. Too often, I hear the transformational objective stated and then followed by something like " . . . and we are looking for an outsource provider to do it all for us.” That sort of attitude is likely to end up in a courtroom (as things go sour down the line).
Coming back to the weave — populating that framework is always a challenge (since you only know what you know you know). What methods, techniques, and approaches does your organization need? For the organization to answer those questions effectively, it needs to understand the likely challenges it will encounter and assess the skills and capabilities required to overcome them.

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This Is What We Have To Endure Every Week

Analysts suffer get the benefit of dozens of briefings per year from hopeful vendors trying to convince us that they are the next big thing. Here’s a typical example of marketing-speak messaging that is an amalgam of all the mistakes that will ensure a vendor goes on our "not with a barge pole" list.

“Exvezium[1] is a leading provider[2] of Purchasing and Supply Optimization (PSO)[3] solutions, focused on the automotive, retail, financial services, and government sectors[4]. Customers such as Mutt Publishing, Shania Entertainment[5], and the Steiner Wig Corporation[6] have chosen Exvezium for its very unique[7] requisition automation, online tendering and award optimization capabilities[8]. Leading analyst firm Milometer[9] classed Exvezium as a Strong Challenger in its Sourcery Square 2009 evaluation.

"The four best practices[10] for implementing PSO are getting executive buy-in, choosing a configurable solution, supporting constraint-based awarding, and maximizing event activity," said CEO, President and Founder[11] Mark Ettingbabble. "Exvezium supports these through our combination of cutting-edge technology and best-in-class services[12]."

What’s wrong with this? Here are my dirty dozen analyst pet hates:

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Tom Seaver On Performance Management

OK, a bit of a stretch here, but I did spend 15 minutes one-on-one with the great hurler last week at the Xerox analyst conference at Citi Field in New York. And thankfully, the Mets were not playing. Tom signed my baseball as I toyed with asking him about Roger Clemens, steroids, and Hall-of-Fame-type questions, and the best I could come up with was simply asking how hard he threw the ball in his prime. He scowled and looked at me as if talking to a 5-year-old and said, "There are three important things about pitching — and yes velocity is one, but location, and the ball's movement are the others, and speed is the least important." So I thought about this, and it occurred to me that we focus on speed — in this case — only because we have radar guns that can measure it well. Movement and location are more difficult, so we just ignore them. And perhaps this is a problem with performance management in business today. We focus not on the more important metrics, but the ones we can conveniently grasp. Contact center call duration, as an example, is much less important than the time or the number of successful customer encounters. So thanks, Tom, for this insight, and perhaps we should spend a bit more time taking an outside in approach to metrics.