Ringing In The New Year With A Fresh Look At Software Requirements

via Mike Gilpin

It's a real pleasure for me to be able to bring you some insights that emerged from the Forrester Leadership Board's Application Development & Delivery Council during 2010. My colleague Julia Spencer, an Advisor to the council, has written up these insights, which I have pasted in below, but we are inviting you to enter the discussion as well. Thanks, Julia, for bringing us this wisdom and for helping us get a peek inside this exclusive community of application delivery leaders:

From Julia Spencer:

During 2010, the Forrester Leadership Boards’ (FLB) Application Development & Delivery Council (AD&D Council) tackled many issues, including that of defining and managing requirements for more-effective application delivery. As a Council Advisor, I receive many questions about requirements, such as “How do you define a quality requirement?” I’d like to share some best practices revealed during our Member Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Lisbon, Portugal, and our highly interactive CouncilTel (FLB group discussion) on software requirements.

I’d love your feedback: Which best practices have worked for you? What is missing from the list?

First: What are requirements, and why do they matter?

I have learned that the word “requirements” means different things to different people, and some struggle to define the word altogether.

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Application Portfolio Management - Are You Doing It? Using Tools? Doing Without Tools?

  • If so, did you buy one?
  • What features did you find compelling? Lacking?
  • Was price a barrier to entry?

Are you using any form of APM tool today?

A First Look At 2010’s Global Banking Platform Deals

Similar to the past few years at this time of year, we have received a number of global banking platform vendors’ 2010 banking platform deals submissions. While evaluation and analysis will still take some time, a first look at the survey responses shows three interesting aspects:

  • The number of survey participants increased. The 2010 survey has more participants than in prior years. A number of more-regional players such BML Istisharat, Cobiscorp, Intracom, and SAB participated for the first time, while CSC and InfrasoftTech rejoined after some years of absence.
     
  • Some vendors preferred not to participate. Open Solutions decided not to participate anymore after a few years of participation. And, similar to the past, Accenture, Fiserv, Jack Henry, all invited Russian players, as well as a few others chose to not participate for various reasons.
     
  • Success is regaining momentum. A few vendors have been able to retain their 2009 success, while a few others submitted remarkably high numbers as far as new named deals and extended business are concerned.

We still have to see what the detailed deal evaluations will show. However, right now it seems that the banking platform market has at least regained some of the momentum it lost in 2008 and 2009. As always, let me know your thoughts. JHoppermann@Forrester.com.

 

 

Understand The Customer Service Specialty Solutions Vendor Landscape To Plug Capabilities Gaps

In 2011, organizations will ramp up their multichannel customer service initiatives. This will be harder to do than in the past, as customers now expect more: They are increasingly online, want self-service options, and demand responses in real time, often through their mobile devices. Social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, has also grown to be an important new channel for interacting with customers and engaging in innovative ways.

 Navigating the complex customer service solution ecosystem is difficult, as there are many good solutions available. One category of solutions to consider is the customer service capabilities provided by leading CRM suite software solutions providers. These vendors provide core customer service transactional and data management capabilities. There are also many specialty solution providers that provide best-of-breed capabilities that are good options to fill specific gaps in your customer service technology infrastructure.

To help you sort though the choices, I recently investigated 24 specialty customer service solution providers that offer solutions for cross-channel interaction management, knowledge management for customer service, business process management for customer service, customer communities, and customer feedback management, both traditional and via social listening platforms. In summary, I found that:

  • eGain, Genesys, Moxie, Parature, and RightNow offer mature and comprehensive solutions for multichannel management. LivePerson and FrontRange also provide multichannel communications capabilities, if your needs match their offering.
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To BW Or Not To BW - 2011 Update

I get lots of questions from clients on whether they should consider (or continue to rely on) SAP BW for their data warehousing (DW) and business intelligence (BI) platform, tools, and applications. It’s a multidimensional (forgive the pun) decision. Jim Kobielus and I authored our original point of view on the subject soon after the SAP/BusinessObjects merger, so this is an updated view. In addition to what I’ll describe here, please also refer to all of the DW research by my colleague, Jim Kobielus.

First of all, split the evaluation and the decision into two parts: front end (BI) and back end (DW).

  • Back end – DW
    • Strengths:
      • Best for SAP-centric environments.
      • Agile tool that lets you control multiple layers (typically handled by different tools) such as ETL, DDL, metadata, SQL/MDX from a single administrative interface.
      • Unique BW accelerator appliance (via in-memory indexes).
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Forrester's Top 10 Trends For Customer Service In 2011

With 2011 still bright and full of hope for most of us, what are the key trends that customer service professionals need to pay attention to as you plan for success this year?

Here are the top trends that I am tracking. My full report will be published in January.

Trend 1: Organizations Standardize Customer Service Across Communication Channels

In 2011 and beyond, customer service management professionals will continue to work on standardizing the resolution process and customer service experience across communication channels (e.g., web self-service, chat, email, Twitter, phone).

Trend 2: The Universal Customer History Record Becomes A Reality

Management of the universal customer history record will evolve to include customer communications done over traditional and social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. This will involve mapping of, at times, multiple social identities to a traditional customer record.

Trend 3: Knowledge Management Becomes The Linchpin For Outstanding Service

Companies will be either offering for the first time or realigning their customer- and agent-facing knowledge management offerings with best practices. The focus will be on contextual, personalized knowledge delivery during the service resolution process, as well as leveraging customer input to evolve knowledge to make it more in line with customer demand.

Trend 4: Business Process Management Extends Its Reach To The Front Office

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