On Tuesday, we were ready to publish our mid-2011 global IT market forecast. It projected 7.4% growth in the US IT market in 2011, and 10.4% in 2012. Global growth in US dollars was forecast at 10.6% in 2011 and 7.6% in 2012, with the dollar rebounding in 2012 from its weakness in 2011; measured in local currencies to eliminate currency fluctuations, growth was projected to be 7.8% in 2011 and 9.1% in 2012. Our definition of the IT market included business and government purchases of computer and communications equipment, software, and IT consulting and outsourcing services -- it did not include their purchases of telecommunications services, which are declining in the US and growing slowly globally.
Our forecast did recognize three threats to economic growth, and thus three risks to our forecast: 1) a failure to reach a sensible resolution to raise the US debt ceiling and start on a path to lower budget deficits; 2) a failure of European governments to reach a sensible resolution to the Greek debt crisis that lowered the Greek debt burden and reduced the risk of a broader debt crisis that included Italy and Spain; and 3) overreaction by China and India to rising inflation that reduced their growth.
In today’s fast-paced global economy, examples of how empowered customers and citizens use social technology to influence everything from brands to governments are all around us. The Arab Spring clearly shows the ability of technology to empower people. In this new digital age, marketing teams must react at the speed of the market: Product development life cycles that used to last many years are compressed into months or weeks; customer service expectations have moved from same-day response to instant response; public relations snafus must be handled in minutes rather than days; marketing campaigns are adjusted in real time based on instant feedback from social media. In this new era, mastering customer data becomes the key to success and, in my opinion, represents the biggest opportunity for IT to impact business results since the dawn of the Internet.
1. We published a new report called, you guess it, "Mobilize Your Collaboration Strategy." It describes eight collaboration apps that employees need, crave, want, and are getting (with or without your support) on the mobile devices.
2. We also make the argument that client/server is the wrong architecture to deliver mobile collaboration apps to a workforce already expert in iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry and trained by Angry Birds and Google Maps. The right architecture is the mobile app Internet -- read more about that here. See our complete analysis and a forecast of the size of the mobile apps & services market in a Forrester report here.
3. Our Content & Collaboration IT clients have found this report and presentation a good way to introduce mobile strategy and the mobile app Internet to their teams. (We've delivered it a half a dozen times in the past few weeks.)
Today, 22% of employees say that they have used a non-IT-provisioned service over the Web to perform their job function —not to update their Facebook accounts, but to do real work.[i] Many employees are no longer relying on IT to provision, manage, and run their technology because they feel IT is too slow and puts unnecessary restrictions on their use of technology. Many customers expect on-demand information, customized user experiences, and mobile apps that IT is expected to deliver quickly, cheaply, and reliably. Some CIOs have reacted to this shift by vigorously defending their turf from these encroachments. Others have ceded control to third-party service providers and business managers who now make their own technology decisions.
If you think your organization is already doing great things with social technology you may be right. If you are seeing measurable results, I encourage you to nominate your organization for a Groundswell award.
What's a Groundswell award? Josh Bernoff, one of the authors of Groundswell, explains the history of the award in his blog here. Each year we review multiple nominations across various categories of social technology use; we identify the examples we believe best demonstrate the criteria for winning each award. We have categories that include internal and external uses of social technologies, and we're especially interested to see examples of strong collaboration between IT and Marketing. This is the fifth year we are running these awards (you can see past winners here and a full list of award categories below).
My colleague Julie Ask has just published an important report, "The Future Of Mobile Is User Context," introducing how companies will use the new intelligence and capabilities of smartphones to deliver better customer experiences in their own context. I quote here from her report:
"In the future, improving the convenience of mobile services will be achieved via improving the use of context in delivering mobile experiences. Consumer product strategists must anticipate what their customers want when they fire up their phones and launch an application or mobile website. Intuit’s SnapTax, for example, must leverage a customer’s home state to file the appropriate tax forms.
"To help consumer product strategists get ahead of this evolving expectation, Forrester has defined a vocabulary to help consumer product strategists discuss, plan, and execute on the opportunity to deliver services, messages, and transactions with full knowledge of the customer’s current situation. Forrester calls this the customer’s 'mobile context' and defines it as:
"The sum total of what your customer has told you and is experiencing at the moment of engagement.
"A customer’s mobile context consists of his:
"Situation: the current location, altitude, environmental conditions, and speed the customer is experiencing.
"Preferences: the history and personal decisions the customer has shared with you or with his or her social networks.
Local governments continue to evaluate their short- and long-term objectives and the tools they need to achieve them. As they do, it is increasingly obvious that those tools include not only the technologies to transform their internal processes and external citizen programs and services. The business model – how the cities partner and purchase – is the most important enabler to a technology-driven government transformation. Governments no longer – if they ever really did – go out and purchase technology. Rather as governments increasingly turn to technology-driven solutions, they are pushing vendors to adopt business models that have long been popular in larger infrastructure-based public works projects – public private partnerships (PPPs).
The PPP model, however, has been a daunting proposition for many vendors. I’ve heard many technology vendor strategists state categorically:
“PPPs are not in our DNA.”
“We do them if we have to.”
“Our competitors are driving us in that direction.”
But more recently, particularly in the context of the smart city opportunities, tech vendor strategists are embracing alternative business models. They still, however, tend to avoid the term PPP – although the models chosen are all forms of “partnership” with the public entities they are serving. Here are four examples:
The promise of smart buildings is cropping up across the ICT industry lately. Our calendar of vendor briefings and events is crowded with announcements of new products, acquisitions, and partnerships as ICT suppliers seek to connect their digital and analytic systems with the physical world of HVAC, security, lighting, and other in-building systems.
There are a number of goals that smart building projects hope to achieve, including:
Improving customers' bottom lines by reducing energy consumption and expense.
Improving employees' physical surroundings and therefore productivity and satisfaction.
Improving sustainability metrics and perceptions by baselining and then reducing corporate carbon footprint.
It's been clear for some time that sustainability is moving from the periphery toward the center of many companies' strategic agendas, and that IT systems and software will play a crucial role in accelerating that movement.
But what's been missing -- until now -- is an overarching framework for understanding who the stakeholders (and buyers) of IT-for-sustainability (ITfS) systems are, what motivations and barriers they face, and which categories of products, services, and solutions can help them. With the research report that we will publish next month, Forrester takes a giant step towards providing that framework. Based on interviews with sustainability leaders at more than a dozen large global enterprises, we developed three company archetypes of sustainability adoption (see Figure 1):
• Marketer: Improving branding and transparency with advanced reporting. Companies that fall into this category are either early in their sustainability maturity or just do what they have to do when it comes to regulatory compliance.