Application Delivery Must Enter The Age Of The Customer

To succeed in today's turbulent business environment, enterprises must drive deeper customer engagement, connecting empowered customers to the valuable services they want across multiple touchpoints. This crucial shift to an outside-in focus, however, brings new demands and challenges to the application development and delivery organization. On June 13, 2011, Forrester convened a group of expert analysts to discuss:

  • How application delivery should partner with marketing to drive deeper customer engagement through the entire life cycle across multiple touchpoints.
  • Best practices for application development to design and deliver improved customer experiences.
  • How to reconcile the need for stronger design with agile processes and continuous delivery.
  • How to optimize your mobile application strategy to serve empowered customers.
  • How to exploit emerging application platforms, including cloud, to empower customers and the business to enable rapid change.
Read more

Steve Jobs Is A Market Systems Master

I'll let others wax on wax off about Mr. Jobs' courage, taste, focus, vision. I'll merely point out that under Steve Jobs, Apple has been a brilliant systems thinker. The story starts with a whooping and winds up with market systems brilliance. Let me explain.

The vendor with the best market system wins. It's why Microsoft whooped Apple in the PC market. While Apple under Steve Jobs focused on its Macintosh closed system of hardware, software, and applications, Microsoft built an open market system on Windows: any hardware, any application, many ways to make money.

Mr. Jobs and Apple mastered the lesson: it's the market system that matters. A successful market system includes all the players, all the pieces, the end-to-end solution, the business model, the flow of money, the attractors, blockers, hardware, software, content, and services all wrapped into what we in 2006 called a single digital experience (what we now call a "total product experience").

With the launch of the iPod in 2001, Apple's market systems mastery shone through. Others had built great MP3 players. Only Apple built a great music market system.

Read more

Apple's New Leadership and the Enterprise PC Market

No other name in technology carries as much reverence as Steve Jobs. His departure as CEO of Apple combined with HP investigating a spin-off of their PC division has a lot of companies wondering what changes are in store. A few points:

1. In the face of the major market shifts, a strong case can be made for multi-sourcing your enterprise PCs. Recent events highlight the risks that enterprises face -- risk that will be more apparent in 1-2 years. Apple’s product roadmaps have already been planned for the next 15-18 months (depending on the product line), so I don’t expect to see any significant downside for Apple until this current roadmap is past. But when Apple's current roadmap is refined under new leadership, we’ll start to see the effects on Apple’s enterprise strategy. In addition to this news, more certainty exists with HP's spinoff of their PC division, and Dell will show their hand in how they plan to move forward in the face of these developments. The landscape in 2-3 years will be drastically different.  Diversifying your PC suppliers via multi-sourcing can help mitigate that risk.

Read more

What Steve Jobs' Resignation Means For Product Strategists

First off, let me say this: I hope that Steve Jobs' health improves, and that he comes out of whatever challenges he's going through in the best of health. He's an amazing, visionary leader of a dynamic company -- and he's also a person with a family. Let's all wish him well.

While famously a CEO, Steve Jobs is also, it should be known, a product strategist par excellence. He's clearly been involved, in a deep way, in the development of Apple's product ideas, product designs, business models, go-to-market strategies, and responses to competition. These are the job responsibilities of product strategists. In his (and Apple's) case, product strategy has risen to the very top of the organization.

Product strategists of two different flavors are wondering how they might be affected by his resignation as CEO (and concomitant request to become chairman):

  • Product strategists who compete with Apple. Product strategists at companies like Microsoft, Google, Samsung, HP, Dell, HTC, and similar firms wonder if Steve Jobs' change in role might benefit them. They actually shouldn't wonder: His departure from the CEO spot won't benefit them -- not for a very long time, at least. Apple's product development road map stretches into multiple years ahead and has been shaped both by Jobs and by the organization he built. Jobs' departure won't affect Apple's product portfolio, quality, or competitiveness for a long time -- if ever.
     
Read more

Optimizing Software Development Sourcing To Drive More Customer Value

The past few years haven’t been kind to software developers. Having the equivalent of a US master’s in computer science and having spent the first 20+ years of my professional life developing mission-critical software products and applications, I have had a hard time adjusting to the idea that developing software applications is a cost to avoid or a waste of time for many CIOs and application development leaders. It seems to me that we have been giving more emphasis to contracts, legal issues, SLAs, and governance concerns but forgetting about how IT can really make a difference – through software development. 

Nevertheless, outsourcing kept increasing, and packaged apps exploded onto the scene, and software developers “outplaced” from enterprises. People started to believe they could get more value and good-quality software cheaper…but could they really?

With BT, digitalization, and customer centricity exploding, today is the perfect moment for application development leaders to review their application development sourcing strategy and align it to their BT strategy.

Why? Many reasons, including:

  1. Software is the most important enabling technology for business innovation.
  2. Clients use software every day. It’s become part of their life, and they enjoy the experience. Better software makes a better experience.
Read more

May Force.com Not Be With You

Lack Of Infrastructure Portability Is A Showstopper For Me

Salesforce.com bills Force.com as "The leading cloud platform for business apps." It is definitely not for me, though. The showstopper: infrastructure portability. If I develop an application using the Apex programming language, I can only run in the Force.com "cloud" infrastructure.

Don't Lock Me In

Q: What is worse than being locked-in to a particular operating system?

A: Being locked-in to hardware!

In The Era Of Cloud Computing, Infrastructure Portability (IP) Is A Key Requirement For Application Developers

Unless there is a compelling reason to justify hardware lock-in, make sure you choose a cloud development platform that offers infrastructure portability; otherwise, your app will be like a one-cable-television-company town.

Bottom line: Your intellectual property (IP) should have infrastructure portability (IP).

Virtualization And Storage Must Go Hand In Hand To Achieve Efficiencies

For the past few months, I’ve been heads down talking to our clients about storage refreshes. There have been some technology refreshes, primarily from some product coming up on end of life. However, for the most part, I’ve been consistently hearing the pain that I&O professionals have been suffering, which is from the storage capacity overload of server virtualization. Many today, however, are suffering even more, because not only do they have the server virtualization storage growth problems, but now it’s compounded with VDI, AND the overall private cloud initiatives many organizations have in place. Not only has their storage grown by 50% in the last 12 months, but it’s now projected to grow another 50% in the next 12 months. Before another million dollars plus investment is made, many are asking (as should you) the question: Is throwing more hardware going to really solve the problem? 

These three BIG initiatives have a significant impact on how storage architectures change. But the reality is that storage has been an afterthought for a long time, and today, there is much change that has to happen. Features such as thin provisioning, deduplication (for primary environments), and compression have all been available for some time now and must be a part of common practice and procedures for managing storage that is supporting virtualization environments.  And this is key.  Having tools and solutions in place that understand your virtualization environment are critical to the overall success of your private cloud initiative, because storage is one of the integrated foundational blocks of establishing a private cloud environment in your data center. Today, it’s difficult to manage your storage without understanding what’s happening in the network as well in your server virtualization environment.

Read more

50 Best Practices For Implementing Mobile CRM

“Mobile CRM” is a hot topic with my clients. The emergence of ubiquitous high-speed broadband connectivity, smartphones, and tablet devices with enormous computing power and longer battery life, along with increased employee adoption of touchscreen devices in every sphere of life, are all trends that serve to liberate IT from the desktop.

However, the state of mobile CRM solution support is fragmented. While there are platforms and solutions that cater to specific industries, no mobile CRM vendor currently offers out-of-the-box cross-industry functionality. The gap between the functionality available via desktop and mobile CRM applications is far from being bridged. And vendors sometimes adopt a single-device or single operating system (OS) strategy, limiting the range of devices and OSes available to companies.

To help define a path for navigating this complex landscape, I interviewed 25 CRM solution vendors, systems integrators, mobile solutions developers, and user compananies. My findings are summarized in a new report: Best Practices: The Right Way to Implement Mobile CRM.

A guiding principle for getting value out of “mobile” is to look for situations where you can integrate an mobile application into the normal execution of the day-to-day business processes of managers and frontline workers. Here are some additional tips:

  • Understand the opportunity to improve CRM and drive adoption. For example, will enabling workers to update the CRM system and tasks in real time throughout the day when they’re in the field — rather than doing it once they get back to their desks at the end of the day — make them more productive?
Read more

Champions Of Change: The App Dev & Delivery Role In 2020

Can you remember what life was like 10 years ago? How were your personal life and professional life different than they are today? Here are a few reminders about life in 2001:

  1. Smartphones weren't nearly as smart or ubiquitous, and the iPad, iPod, iTunes, and App Store didn't exist yet.
  2. Social media wasn't very social — Twitter was a verb, not a social media outlet, and Facebook was an odd way to refer to a photo album.
  3. The World Trade Center twin towers still stood in Manhattan.
  4. The financial meltdown over subprime mortgages hadn't yet occurred.
  5. East Timor, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo were not yet independent nations.
  6. To even conceive that the Arab Spring revolutions could occur in one country, let alone several . . .
Read more

Is Social Software Relevant To Information Workers?

I'm not saying anything shocking when I say enterprise social software, has been a hot topic over the last five years. The set of technologies designed to flatten corporations have spawned dedicated blogs, press, and conferences. And our surveys of content and collaboration professionals show businesses are embracing these technologies: 42% of firms are making new investments in Enterprise 2.0 software, and 46% are investing in team workspaces (on which social technologies often ride into the enterprise). So, obviously we're over the hump and well into this new social era of business, right? Well...not so fast.

I'll go out on a limb here and say that businesses are not more social - at least, not in the broad-based fashion people envisioned when we first started talking about Enterprise 2.0 in the heady days of the mid-2000s. How could it be? According to our recent survey of 4,985 US information workers, 28% of the workforce uses a social technology. While you may be thinking to yourself this is a good start, allow me a moment to point out some key differences between Enterprise 2.0 users and the rest of the workforce:

  • They're your highest paid employees. Over half of this group earns more than $60k a year, compared to just 36% of non-users.
  • They're the most educated members of the workforce. Sixty-five percent of this group has completed at least a 4 year college degree compared to 55% of the rest of the workforce.
  • They're the leaders in your office. It's not surprising to see 49% of this group are managers are executives given management's enthusiasm about social technologies. Just 31% of non-users are in similar positions.
Read more