Agile Commerce: Three Questions For Paul Papas, Global Leader Of Smarter Commerce At IBM

I recently had the chance to catch up with Paul Papas, Global Leader of Smarter Commerce at IBM, to understand what impact the transition to agile commerce is having on IBM, its business strategy, and its organizational structure.

Forrester: Paul, thanks for taking some time out to talk to us about agile commerce. We have been continuing to talk to clients about the evolution of their business from channels to touchpoints that span mobile devices, social networks, advertising, marketing, traditional channels, and various places online. How are you looking at this and what does it mean for your business?

Mr. Papas: Our view is that there’s a very strong and consequential change taking place as the result of the huge surge in the use of social networks and mobile devices. It’s this, customers expect to do business on their own terms, and most organizations are unprepared for this today. This is not only changing how companies and their customers interact, it is thoroughly changing what customers value and expect from companies. One example is this notion of immediacy. People are turning to their smartphones, tablets, and online communities for instant satisfaction -- finding discounts and recommendations, based on their current location -- all available to them at the instant they decide to buy. This is adding intense pressure for businesses to adapt to provide value, personalized and sensitive to the moment or instant, anywhere -- and to do so continuously. 

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Painting The IT Industry Landscape

All of us in the technology industry get caught up in the near-term fluctuations and pressures of our business. This quarter’s earnings, next quarter’s shipments, this year’s hiring plan . . . it’s easy to get swallowed up by the flood of immediate concerns. So one of the things that we work hard on at Forrester, and that our clients value in their relationships with us, is taking a few steps back and looking at the longer-term, bigger picture of the size and shape of the industry’s trajectory. It provides strategic and financial context for the short-term fluctuations and trends that buffet all of us.

I am lucky to co-lead research in Forrester's Vendor Strategy team, which is explicitly chartered to predict and quantify the new growth opportunities and disruptions facing strategists at some of our leading clients. We will put those predictions on display later this month at Forrester's IT Forum, our flagship client event. Among the sessions that Vendor Strategy analysts will be leading:

  • "The Software Industry in Transition": Holger Kisker will preview his latest research detailing best practices for software vendors navigating the tricky transition from traditional license to as-a-service pricing and engagement models.
  • "The Computing Technologies of 2016": Frank Gillett will put us in a time machine for a trip five years into the future of computing, storage, network, and component technologies that will underpin new applications, new experiences, and new computing capabilities.
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