Themes From Management World 2011: Innovation And Collaboration Are Keys To Telecom Vendor And Service Provider Success

Last week I attended the TM Forum Management World 2011 conference, which was held for the first time in Dublin, Ireland.  Over 3,500 attendees including nearly 200 service providers participated in the event, the largest group ever to attend the conference, which is sponsored by the TM Forum, a global industry association focused on helping simplify the complexity of running a service provider’s business. For me, the highlights of the event were in the renewed positive energy and focus of the delegates, vendors, and service providers in identifying opportunities for communication service providers to innovate and collaborate in new ways in order to address emerging opportunities in the communications industry.

Keynote presentations during the forum highlighted the diverse perspectives from traditional telecom operators and new participants in the communications industry. For example, Kevin Peters, Chief Marketing Officer of AT&T Business Solutions highlighted the network as a critical asset that is global, efficient, and robust with the ability to connect billions of smartphone devices and the growing number of machine-to-machine (M2M) end points. These connected devices use the network to provide intelligence and insight into the status of objects, items, and people. Stephen Shurrock, Chief Executive Officer, Telefonica O2 Ireland, highlighted the ability to deliver a wide variety of new mobile applications and services.

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What The New White House Cybersecurity Proposal Means For The IT Security Industry, Businesses, And Consumers

The White House released a proposal for cybersecurity legislation today. The fact sheet can be found here. This is a proposal for legislation – a framework for a bill. What final bill emerges and gets voted on, and ultimately becomes law (if anything does), is yet to be determined. I have only read through the fact sheet, so here is my preliminary analysis.

Noteworthy elements:

1.       This goes beyond CIP (critical infrastructure protection).

The proposal focuses primarily on critical infrastructure protection. But it also extends to the area of data breaches in general – which can hit organizations in any industry sector. Related to that, it also addresses consumer protections regarding data breaches. This added focus on consumer protection really has nothing to do directly with CIP. But the cybersecurity proposal is probably Obama’s best chance to get something like this through. However, I put the chances of these consumer protections surviving the legislative journey at less than 50%.

2.       DHS is taking a lead role in security information sharing.

According to the fact sheet:

“Organizations that suffer a cyber intrusion often ask the Federal Government for assistance with fixing the damage and for advice on building better defenses…[This proposal] provides [organizations sharing information with the DHS] with immunity when sharing cybersecurity information with DHS. At the same time, the proposal mandates robust privacy oversight to ensure that the voluntarily shared information does not impinge on individual privacy and civil liberties.”

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Forrester Welcomes Springboard Research

We’re thrilled that Springboard Research — a firm that's expert in technology adoption in emerging markets — joined the Forrester fold today, becoming part of our Vendor Strategy organization, which predicts and quantifies tech industry growth and disruption. We hear it every day: Emerging markets are the fastest-growing opportunities in the tech industry, yet the least understood. Springboard was born in Asia and has been providing quality data, research, and insights for clients for the past five years, expanding their presence in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. It brings analyst feet-on-the-street in Singapore, India, China, Japan, and the UAE. Check out our new collaborative research report on the evolving heterogeneity of the Asian market and the huge opportunity that gives to vendors selling there. Also, check out past Springboard research on our site.

The Springboard-Forrester combination ignites our research efforts in Asia Pacific. Together, we will enhance strategists’ understanding of the Asia Pacific (and other emerging markets) opportunity at the intersection of the software, services, and connectivity arenas. Emerging markets often leapfrog developed markets in adoption of technology, and we see that clearly in Asia Pacific, with mobility, public cloud adoption in infrastructure (IaaS), and software (SaaS). Further, because so much of the Asia Pacific customer base depends on robust channel partners, the Springboard-Forrester marriage brings additional deep channel data, experience, and analysts.

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Forrester Research Acquires Springboard Research

It is with significant pleasure and great excitement that Forrester today announced the acquisition of Springboard Research.

By acquiring Springboard, we further our commitment to serving Technology Industry leaders — especially those in the Vendor Strategy role — with rich data and in-depth analysis of key emerging markets, particularly those in Asia Pacific. Springboard builds upon our Vendor Strategy team’s mission to help our clients predict and quantify tech industry growth and disruption.

As an established brand and well-respected firm with primary offices in Singapore, New Delhi, and Beijing, Springboard’s experienced team of professionals brings valuable insight, a rich body of IP, and a culture of innovation. We are thrilled to be bringing Dane Anderson, Springboard’s CEO; Chris Perrine, Springboard’s COO; and the rest of the team into the fold. Combining Forrester and Springboard will enable us to:

  • Expand our global coverage.
  • Strengthen our presence in the region.
  • Improve our ability to support our TI clients with successfully planning, marketing, and selling globally.

Forrester’s Tech Industry clients are making decisions on when — and how — to tackle Asia Pacific and other emerging markets. The acquisition of Springboard allows us to speak with much greater depth, authority, and intimacy regarding these decisions. In keeping with our vision of “Every Leader, Every Decision,” we are now able to provide greater client value in a wider range of regions: North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

To learn more about this exciting development, including the establishment of a Forrester entity in mainland China, read the press release here.

Microsoft Acquires Skype – What Is It Really Worth? A Vendor Strategist's View

The acquisition of Skype puts Microsoft into a commanding position in the consumer UC as a service market. To date, Microsoft has had little to say when Skype, Yahoo, AIM and others talked about enabling IM and adding voice and video. Their Microsoft Messenger voice services were less well known and less widely adopted. Today, Microsoft turned the tables, paying $8.5 billion to acquire Skype and its 170 million customers who value the “free” in free voice/video services so highly that they are willing to accept variability in quality of service and a service level agreement that specifically spells out, “Skype cannot guarantee that You will always be able to communicate with other Skype Software users, nor can Skype guarantee that You can communicate without disruptions, delays or communication-related flaws or that all Your communication shall always be delivered to other Skype Software users. Skype will not be liable for any such disruptions, delays or other omissions in any communication experienced when using Skype Software.” So, what did Microsoft get?

·         170 million customers whose online communications connections were one of the first social communications communities, and who are loyal to the Skype experience

·         A worldwide peer-to-peer network that is proving increasingly able to deliver usable voice and video streams to PCs and increasingly mobile devices

·         A portfolio of P2P technology media encoding algorithms with proprietary, non-public specifications

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Outlook On Management Consulting Services Spending And Adoption In 2011

First of all, thanks to everyone who contributed to my "What Constitutes A Management Consulting Firm 2.0?" discussion in The Forrester Community For Vendor Strategy Professionals. This discussion has driven quite a bit of traffic (more than 3,600 views), but we’ve gotten just six replies so far, all of them very valuable. Please be sure to contribute to receive a copy of my planned update report on the consulting market.

The identification of future business models is one of the top questions I regularly discuss with consulting leaders. The other, and more tactical question, is about the spending and adoption patterns for management consulting services this year. In Q4 2010, Forrester surveyed 2,691 business decision-makers globally and found that:

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