Ever heard a senior leader in your organization proclaim “Everyone’s in sales!”? I have. In fact, it’s a phrase I’ve heard a lot in the last three years from executives at conferences, industry events, client meetings and more. To me, it’s right up there with “All hands on deck!” and “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” (only in a less evocative, corporate-speak kind of way).
Yet during the most recent recession, the phrase has taken on a more urgent tone and seems to mean: “Demand stinks. Drop what you’re doing. Advocate for the company.” Particularly among already hyper-efficient companies, stimulating demand with a whole-company response may just be one recipe for retaining existing jobs and creating new ones.
But are employees responding? Forrester’s most recent Workforce Forrsights survey suggests few actually heed this executive call to action.
As an extension of our Empowered research series looking at employee empowerment, we decided to measure employee advocacy by borrowing the methodology of Net Promoter. We surveyed over 5,000 information workers across five countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. We included 18 different professions and multiple industries. In the report, "Do Your Employees Advocate For Your Company" we use two questions to measure employee advocacy:
How likely are you to recommend your company’s products or services to a friend or family member?
How likely are you to recommend a job at your company to a friend or family member?
Forrester's recent report on Top 15 Technologies To Watch In 2011 once again proved that BI is front and center on everyone's agendas. We indeed continue to see unrelenting interest and ever-increasing adoption levels of BI platforms, applications, and processes. But while BI maturity in enterprises continues to grow, and BI tools become more function rich and robust, the promise of efficient and effective BI solutions remains quite challenging at best, and elusive at worst. Why? Two main reasons. BI is all about best practices and lessons learned, which only come with years of experience. Additionally, traditional BI technologies (ETL, data warehousing, reporting, OLAP) have not kept pace with the ever-changing business and regulatory requirements. In a work-in-progress research document, building on a last year's relevant blog post on next-gen BI, we plan to review top best practices and next- generation BI technologies for our clients to watch and adopt in 2011 to improve their chances to deliver successful BI initiatives. Here's the proposed document outline and major themes:
BEST PRACTICES TO ADOPT IN 2011
Emphasis on business ownership and data governance
Combining top-down performance management, with bottom-up approaches
On November 16, Accenture and BMC announced the expansion of their already existing relationships with joint development and delivery agreements plus additional technology services for the ongoing BSM journey. Beyond gaining additional delivery consultants to BMC’s Professional Service organization, this will also allow both companies to focus on developing solutions which allow IT organizations to optimize and streamline their operation while taking advantage of technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing.
I am talking to you, business process change agents and architects, who drive business transformations and continuous improvement initiatives. Sometimes our conversation starts from methodologies and technologies like Lean, Six Sigma, ERP, CRM, or BPM, but it almost always ends up with questions about organizational design, governance, change planning, and execution.
I believe that each process change initiative should start with a readiness assessment of the target organization. With that in mind, Forrester has developed an online self-assessment and survey toolthat can help you get a feeling about where your organization stays with respect to four must-have process change capabilities: 1) strategy; 2) process execution; 3) structure; and 4) culture of performance. For Forrester, the primary objective of this survey is to get a better understanding of how companies drive business process change initiatives to success. Please take 10 minutes to get your maturity score.
Your responses will be kept strictly confidential and will only be examined in aggregate with the others who complete this survey. If you provide valid answers to all questions, you will receive the results summary. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.
If you have insights, comments, or questions relating to the survey, please add them in the comments to get additional perspective from the community.
Environmental concerns like climate change have not yet become the primary driver for businesses to define, implement, and execute a dedicated sustainability strategy. Rather, sustainability initiatives are driven today by cost and efficiency opportunities.
However, many companies are realizing that sustainability is increasingly important to advance their brand and competitive differentiation, respond to rising customer and regulatory pressures, attract new generations of talent, and enter or even create new markets. While the growth side of sustainability seems to be generally recognized, it is much more complex to measure and, hence, to manage, than the cost side.
Thus, we see widely varying approaches to corporate sustainability, and many companies are still reluctant to pursue sustainability at all.
A recent Accenture study of 766 CEOs, conducted in cooperation with the UN Global Compact, found that brand, trust, and reputation is the most frequently-cited driver for pursuing sustainability, followed by potential revenue growth/cost reduction, and personal motivation. Interestingly, CEOs rank pressures from governments/regulatory and investors/shareholders at the low end of their motivation scale (see Figure 1 below).
I was in London last week, delivering the opening keynote at the Green IT Expo conference. I had previously spoken at this event back in 2008, and it was nice to see a bigger crowd of perhaps 400-500 delegates, a lively hall full of vendor exhibitors, and a larger and plusher venue (the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in the shadow of Big Ben). In my estimation, the U.K. continues to be the country at the leading edge of innovation and implementation of IT for Sustainability. Why there? At least three factors:
1. Public awareness of climate change. Unlike here at home, there is little debate in the U.K. about the reality of climate change and the need for urgent action to monitor and reduce carbon emissions to slow its effects.
2. Government mandates for carbon reporting and reduction (the Carbon Reduction Commitment or CRC). The public awareness is reflected in governmental policy. Despite the reporting and reduction requirements of the CRC being pushed out in time, the U.K. still has the most teeth of any country or region in its mandate for companies to monitor, report, and reduce (or pay taxes on) their carbon emissions.
3. Leading companies' efforts to improve their sustainability posture. Whether it's Astra-Zeneca in pharma, Tesco and Marks & Spencer in retailing, BA in transportation, or the U.K. Ministry of Defence in the public sector, leading U.K. institutions are making the commitments and investments to transform their business processes in a more sustainable direction.
No, I’m not wasting Forrester’s blog space for yet more coverage of the royal engagement. I think Ariba’s proposed acquisition of Quadrem, that it announced today, is much more interesting. http://ht.ly/3bPei
Forrester has been predicting, and advocating, consolidation in the procure-to-pay market for a while:
While I’m unqualified to comment on whose investors do better from the $150m purchase price for a company with about $50m revenue, I do believe the merger is good news for both sets of customers and suppliers. Firstly, Ariba reinforces its place as one of the four or five large supplier networks that will eventually dominate the market. Its customers now get access to a wider stable of suppliers. Quadrem originated as a marketplace for mining companies, so it is particularly strong in MRO categories and in natural-resource-rich regions such as Africa and Latin America where Ariba is under-represented.
Oracle recently announced the availability of Solaris 11 Express, the first iteration of its Solaris 11 product cycle. The feature set of this release is along the lines promised by Oracle at their August analyst event this year, including:
Scalability enhancements to set it up for future systems with higher core counts and requirements to schedule large numbers of threads.
Improvements to zFS, Oracle’s highly scalable file system.
Reduction of boot times to the range of 10 seconds — a truly impressive accomplishment.
Optimizations to support Oracle Exadata and Exalogic integrated solutions. While some of these changes may be very specific to Oracle’s stack, most of them are almost certain to improve any application that requires some combination of high thread counts, large memory and low-latency communications with either 10G Ethernet or Infiniband.
Improvements in availability due to reductions on the number of reboot scenarios, improvements in patching and improved error recovery. This is hard to measure, but Oracle claims they are close to an OS which does not need to come down for normal maintenance, a goal of all of the major UNIX vendors and long a signature of mainframe environments.
Like the polar ice caps, the traditional edge of the network — supporting desktops, printers, APs, VoIP phones — is eroding and giving way to a virtual edge. With the thawing of IT spending, growth and availability of physical edge ports isn’t keeping up with devices connecting to the network; 802.11 and cellular will be the future of most connections for smartphones, notebooks, tablets, HVAC controls, point of sale, etc.
When thinking about their 2011 IT initiatives, many firms I've spoken with are continuing to build out their virtual server environments. My colleague Gene Leganza has written an excellent report entitled The Top 15 Technology Trends EAs Should Watch that includes system management as a driver of continued virtualization. In addition, it is now becoming apparent that public and private cloud computing architectures are becoming more and more intertwined due to the intersection of virtualization platforms and management tools. From a technology standpoint, I believe that management is one of the key enablers of virtualized and cloud infrastructure. Therefore, as you're making your 2011 plans and virtualization or cloud computing inevitably pops up, think about how the following system management capabilities will influence your strategy:
Integration of public and private cloud management. Management tools for managing virtualization platforms will integrate with cloud services. In the beginning it will be about monitoring or provisioning. Later on, your system management infrastructure will orchestrate the movement between internal and external resource pools.