What Should IT Do If Empowered BT Increases In Popularity?

An empowered BT model includes the idea that end users will take on some functions that are typically performed within an IT organization. These may include selecting and deploying applications, buying mobile devices, and contracting with services firms.

With factors such as increased availability of cloud applications, more IT-savvy businesspeople, and IT shops buried in maintenance of existing applications, there’s a lot on the side of increasing IT functions outside of IT. However, security and compliance concerns, the need to integrate apps and data, the complexity of these applications, and cost are just some of the constraints that are holding back this approach.

Whether there will be a trend towards functions moving out of the IT organization or the reverse, with IT taking on more control, empowered BT will happen in some organizations. When it does, there are things that CIOs can do to exploit this and minimize potential damage:

  • Shift senior IT people from “doing” to consulting and overseeing. Architects, for example, spend a significant amount of their time on projects (doing). Some of their time needs to be freed up to provide advice to businesspeople on how to make these functions scalable, secure, and integrated where necessary. Similarly, vendor managers need time to help businesspeople in the selection process for vendors.
  • Select for and build up negotiations skills. The leader of apps that speaks in technical terms, the security expert who generates every possible scenario as an argument for not doing something, and the architect who hoards information while making pronouncements on what the business should and should not do are working against you in an empowered BT world. With technically sophisticated end users and tools that can quickly build functionality, business requests leading to IT responses now become negotiations.
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A Gem of a Deal: SuccessFactors and Plateau Come Together

A major announcement in the human capital management (HCM) world occurred on April 26, 2011. SuccessFactors, a top vendor in performance management, announced its intention to purchase Plateau Systems, a leading learning management system (LMS) vendor. Although both vendors have competing products in the talent management space, Plateau had something SuccessFactors needed: an LMS. With the loss of GeoLearning, SuccessFactors’ former LMS partner, which was acquired by SumTotal in January 2011, SuccessFactors was left with a gaping hole in its solution set. Although SuccessFactors executives believe that the future of learning is more in the informal and social realms, organizations need and want LMSes to manage their increasing compliance training needs while keeping a close eye on the whole social and informal learning market. Organizations also have formal courses and simulated and role-play learning that the LMS tracks and reports on. The word is that SuccessFactors’ sales staff have been bemoaning the lack of an LMS to help them close deals. Today, organizations are much more interested in getting multiple HRM functionality from one vendor. Often this suite approach includes performance, compensation, learning, and even recruiting (for more details, see my “Four Pillars of Talent Management” research report). SuccessFactors now has a very strong and complete “four-pillar” solution.

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Empowered BT: A Road Map For CIOs

As you may know, I recently was named the Research Director for our CIO team — a team of highly accomplished and experienced analysts at Forrester. One of our first tasks as a team was to define the current changes in the technology and business landscape and develop a cohesive view of what this means for the role of CIO. What will it mean to be a CIO in the “empowered” world? As you can imagine, this led to a healthy debate and many different perspectives on what the future CIO role would look like. Here are some highlights from our discussion so far.

What is changing for the CIO?

  • Technology plays an increasingly critical role in business success. In Forrester’s Forrsights Budgets And Priorities Tracker Survey, Q4 2010, 52% of the business decision-makers strongly agreed with the statement “Technology is fundamental element of our business model.” Many companies are starting to use technology as a business differentiator, and many businesses rely on technology to provide critical information for making strategic business decisions.
  • Empowered technologies make it easy to bypass IT. The empowered technologies — social, mobile, video, and cloud — are rapidly transforming the information landscape. Increasingly, these technologies are easy to acquire and bring into the corporate environment, and many can be sourced and managed outside of IT’s control — making it easy for the business and employees to bypass IT.
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How To Make The CFO A Buyer For Sustainability Solutions

Most of the suppliers of IT-for-sustainability (ITfS) solutions that we work with have one path to finding a buyer in their customer organizations: through the IT organization. Whether giants, such as SAP and HP, or newcomers, such as Hara and ENXSuite, vendors of energy management, carbon reporting and other ITfS products are typically starting their sales motion with customers' traditional buyers of software sytems: IT.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. We have long maintained that IT organizations and the CIOs that lead them will increasingly be the owner and operator of environmental systems of record, just as they are for financial, HR, and customer data systems, among others. But, ITfS suppliers will want to develop multiple pathways into customer organizations. For most, decision-making around sustainability processes and technologies is diffuse, spread across IT, facilities, operations and CSR. Finding the buyer for sustainability is oft-times the proverbial needle in the haystack.

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"Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch"

A couple of weeks ago I saw an amazing presentation by the CIO of Caterpillar, who keynoted at IBM’s Impact event. His presentation was riveting because you could see glimpses into the company’s manufacturing-focused, earth moving/engineering, “git ’er done” culture.

He also talked about business and IT transformation, and the depth of Caterpillar’s partnership with IBM. When he finished, I thought, wow, customers like that are worth their weight in gold.

But the most striking thing I heard is that one Caterpillar exec has a framed copy of this sign in his office: Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch.

Wow! This truism grabbed my attention because Claire Schooley and I have just completed a signature research report on business change management, titled “Effective Business Change Management Requires More Than A Wait-And-See Attitude,” to be published next month. We will also present this topic at Forrester’s IT Forum 2011. The full title of our presentation is “Cut Through The BS To Tackle Change Management For Customer-Centric BPM,” and we are currently planning a business change management keynote panel for Forrester’s Business Process Forum 2011 in Boston on September 22 and 23. I guess this means we are really taking business change management seriously!

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Do You Need An IT Execution Plan For Social Business Strategy?

Social technology is coming into every organization whether IT wants it or not. The adoption of social technologies to support business and customer needs has been fastest outside of IT — often with IT playing catch-up and struggling to provide value. CIOs are at a crossroads where they can either choose to lead IT toward social business maturity or sit back and watch as the rest of the organization pushes ahead, leaving IT in social business obscurity. The choice is easy, but the execution is difficult. A new report — Social Business Strategy: An IT Execution Plan — suggests CIOs should assess the organization’s current social maturity and implement a plan that positions IT to successfully support a social business strategy.

Organizations are broadly categorized as social laggards, internally mature, externally mature or enterprise mature. The approach recommended for CIOs differs based on the maturity level. For example, CIOs in organizations with strong internal maturity should focus on developing a partnership with marketing in order to extend the use of social strategy out to customers and business partners.

Understand your social maturity

While very few organizations are already at the enterprise maturity level, CIOs in these organizations can take an active role in developing social business strategy by supporting the creation of a social business council and dedicating staff to support social strategy.

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Russian Cities Will Get Smarter... By Law.

Russian IT decision-makers are optimistic about their prospects for the next 12 months, according to Forrester’s Global Budgets And Priorities Tracker Survey, Q4 2010 – and, surprisingly, much more so than those in other countries -- 67% reported that their prospects are good versus only 52% in the US and 35% in the UK.  On my recent trip to Moscow to deliver the keynote speech at Cloud Russia 2012, I looked for that optimism, and the root sources of it.  There are certain obvious sources.  The price of oil is high, and Russia is an oil exporter.  The 2014 Winter Olympics are bringing significant investment to the region.  But most importantly the political dialogue is focused on innovation and technology.  That, in Russia, counts for a lot. 

Given my own research agenda, I investigated the interest in public sector technology adoption and “smart city” initiatives.  The answers were mixed.  As elsewhere vendors are pushing solutions to improve transportation, energy efficiency and municipal administration.  But many of those technology vendors did not share the optimism of the IT decision-makers for their own prospects in Russia. They did not see Russian cities as highly motivated, or incented, to get smart. 

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Running Pamplona: ICT Drives City Initiatives (Not The Bulls)

Twenty three years ago I arrived with a backpack and my best friend.  Last week I went back.  The city was as welcoming this time as it was the last, although the circumstances of my visit – and certainly my accommodations – were vastly different. 

Pamplona is a city of about 200,000 inhabitants in Navarra, in the North of Spain.  It is best known for the running of the bulls or, as it is known locally, the Festival of San Fermin, which many of us were first introduced to in Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.

The bulls were not what brought me to the region this time (although they were the principal reason for my first visit).  Last week I participated in e-NATECH, a tech industry forum organized by ATANA, an association of local ICT companies in Navarra.  From what I saw in both the audience and across the city, Pamplona is clearly a front-runner in terms of ICT (and bulls as I recall from my first visit).

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What Can CIOs Learn From Marketing?

Play House at Forrester Marketing Forum 2011This week I was the lone IT analyst attending Forrester's Marketing Forum (Twitter #fmf11). Although I was there because much of my research overlaps with my colleagues covering marketing roles, I can't help feeling CIOs are missing out by not attending this event.

For many years I have believed that a successful CIO must understand marketing -- especially if he/she ever aspires to the CEO or COO role. Although today's marketing professional is more dependent upon technology than ever before, marketing is too often the part of the business least understood by IT.

With awareness comes understanding: which is why I think it is essential for IT professionals, and especially CIOs, to attend conferences like the Marketing Forum. These events help develop a much greater understanding of the challenges faced by the marketing professionals in your organization -- and will no doubt stimulate many new ideas about how IT can help.

Here's just a sampling of some of the thinking heard at the Marketing Forum this week in San Francisco:

We heard from Practice Leader David Cooperstein that CMOs are suffering a crisis of confidence: most feel they don't have enough budget, executive support, or marketing technology to meet the new digital challenge. (The CIO message: your CMO shares your pain.)

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How IBM And HP Are Strengthening Their IT-For-Sustainability Offers

How IBM and HP are Strengthening Their IT-for-Sustainability Offers
 
Over the past few weeks, computing giants HP and IBM have made significant new thrusts into the market for sustainability software and services. At first look, both companies are strengthening their commitment to "IT for sustainability (ITfS)" -- the use of information technology to help their customers meet their sustainability goals.

Both are prominently featuring "energy" in their messaging in keeping with the current customer focus on that side of the consumption/emissions coupling. And both are emphasizing a combination of software products and consulting services, the two segments of the market that we at Forrester have been tracking for some time now, as regular readers of this blog know by now.

But under the surface there are more differences than similarities in the approach that these two suppliers are taking to ITfS; differences that illuminate divergent strategies, philosophies, and experiences between them. Let's take a closer look.

HP is going broad; IBM is narrowing its focus. With its initial "Energy and Sustainability Management Services" entry, HP is leveraging its data center design and implementation expertise into buildings and other assets across the enterprise. It is stressing a holistic, top-down approach, starting with assessment workshops and other methods to help customers get their arms around the size and shape of the energy/carbon/resource issues.

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