Today the rumor mill is churning with chatters that the current CEO Leo Apotheker will resign after the bell. The new person tipped to step in is the former eBay CEO, tech heavyweight Meg Whitman.
HP desperately needs an inspiring leader; Meg may just be the person to fill that role. In recent years, HP has been taking on confusing identities - is HP a consumer hardware company, or is HP a IT services company like IBM, or is HP an enterprise software company? HP cannot be all things to all people, it must decide which course of action to take to boost their shareholder value and prevent their 30,000 employees from defecting to Google, Facebook, and the tech newcomers. HP was once that tech newcomer that everyone aspired to work for. Is Meg the person to bring back the old glory? What do you think?
We're announcing the first set of winners of the Forrester Groundswell Awards -- the management division winners, with applications aimed at employees. These awards are being announced today at the Forrester Content & Collaboration Forum in Boston. Congratulations to the winners and finalists -- with 205 entries this year, being selected for one of these awards is a real accomplishment.
The Australian affiliate of Deloitte, the global services company, deployed Yammer in 2008 with no plans for mass adoption. But usage rapidly exploded, spreading to 5,000 of the company's staff and 12 national offices. Yammer users have lower staff turnover (2% vs. company average 15-20%) and Deloitte says Yammer has reduced costs, broken down silos, and accelerated innovation. It also builds culture, improves connections for mobile workers, and makes it easier to leverage knowledge and expertise.
Brocade isn’t the loudest networking vendor on the block, but more than two weeks ago it released a subscription switching service that should have sent a shockwave through the industry. With Brocade Network Subscription,customers pay for their network infrastructure on a monthly basis. Sadly, the new service was not some new xfabric or new-fangled technology, the industry was quick to dismiss the news as anything more than another cloud announcement, and so Brocade’s subscription program registered only a murmur. What was missed was that the service helps to solidify I&O as a business unit on the same level as manufacturing, services, energy, and other businesses.
I’ve written extensively about how networking solutions need to support two business realities: 1) Enterprises are embedding themselves in their customers’ lives, and 2) businesses are forming symbiotic relationships with their vendors. In regard to the latter, businesses want to ensure that their vendor is creating products and solutions that are in the best interest of that company, and so there is an expectation that their partners will carry some of the financial risk and burden, ensuring that they will stay committed. On the vendor side and with respect to embedding themselves, the reasoning is twofold. First, Wall Street rewards recurring revenue streams, and this is more likely if the vendor can create something the customers can only get from that particular source. Second, vendors know it costs ten times as much to find new customers and would prefer to have a customer keep coming back to keep their operating costs as low as possible.
As a result, there has been a shift to a subscription service model. Take for example three distinct markets that support this strategy:
Yesterday, SAP announced its intention to acquire business-to-business (B2B) integration provider Crossgate http://www.sap.com/index.epx#/news-reader/?articleID=17515. This was no great surprise, as SAP was already a part-owner and worked closely with the company in product development and marketing and sales activities. SAP will be able to offer a much better ePurchasing solution to customers when it has integrated Crossgate into its business, because supplier connectivity is currently a significant weakness. As I’ve written before (So Where Were The Best Run Businesses Then?), many SRM implementations rely on suppliers manually downloading PO from supplier portals or manually extracting them from emails and rekeying the data into their own systems. Not only does this cost the suppliers lots of money, it creates delays and errors that discourage users from adopting SRM.
SAP doesn’t intend to use Crossgate only for transactional processes; it also wants to develop support for wider collaboration between its customers and their supply chain partners, both upstream and downstream. That’s a sound objective, although not an easy one for SAP to achieve, because its core competence is in rigidly structured internal processes and it hasn’t done a good job to date with unstructured processes, nor with ones that go outside the enterprise’s four walls. Buyers who think they can force suppliers to comply with their edicts, just like employees do, soon end up wondering why no-one is using their ePurchasing solution.
What does the acquisition mean for sourcing professionals who are wondering where Crossgate or its competitors fit into their application strategy? My take:
Perhaps no one understands better than Dan Ranta, Director of Knowledge Sharing at ConocoPhillips, that the challenge of sharing knowledge is very real — while the potential payoff can be large. Seven years ago, ConocoPhillips launched a large initiative to create internal communities of practice that would enhance knowledge sharing within the firm. With operations in more than 30 countries, encompassing job sites often in remote locations, the international energy company knew that to continue on its success trajectory, it needed to rapidly and effectively harness the knowledge of its highly skilled but geographically distributed workforce.
Today, the ConocoPhillips' knowledge-sharing program — built upon 150 global "networks of excellence" — is ranked as best-in-class across industries, and has documented hundreds of millions of dollars in estimated cash flow from its start in 2004 to the present. To learn more about how firms can drive business excellence with formal, global networks, I spoke with Dan in preparation for his keynote this week at Forrester’s Content & Collaboration Forum.
1) Can you explain the reasoning behind the proactive and reactive components of your networks of excellence?
The security group at Forrester has been handling a steady stream of client inquiries regarding EU data privacy laws, from both EU and North America clients. While there are many good legal sources out there, we thought it'd be a good idea to compile a list of common Q&A questions about EU privacy laws into a report, to serve as a definitive information source for Forrester clients.
The report, titled: “Q&A: EU Privacy Regulations,” is now live on Forrester's website. It is not our intention, by writing this report, to give legal advice. Rather, we envisioned this report to be a repository of the most important information regarding EU privacy laws, updated every 18 months or so. The report has a wealth of information, including links to actual information sources – be that EU's data protection directive web site or interesting studies/analysis done by external parties. For example, one noteworthy study on US Safe Harbor is by Chris Connelly from Galexia consulting. He looked at 2,170 US companies that claimed to be Safe Harbor compliant. Out of these, 940 do not provide information on how to enforce individuals' rights; 388 were not even registered with the US Department of Commerce.
The report also contained information on Model Clauses and Binding Corporate Rules, for which we are beginning to see increased interest. We also discussed new and pending privacy laws in the report, including the EU “cookies” directive and EU's view on geo-location privacy.
I’ve always looked at technology not just for technology’s sake, but for what it can enable for the business across the board. While speeds and feeds are important to some extent, I need to understand how technology adds to the top line, plain and simple. In today’s enterprises, your technology platform is part of your competitive advantage. It’s been a challenge to link business and IT together, but we’re starting to see it happen.
There’s no other place I’m starting to see it more and more than in the area of "Big Data." Although already a hyped term, whatever you want to call it, big data, small data, ANY data, the reality is that it’s exploding. Consumers are empowered by social media and sharing honest feedback. Sales and marketing organizations are hungry to analyze, as close to real time as possible, all this sentiment and feedback, and other external data from blogs, wikis, online surveys, Twitter, Facebook and the tons of other consumer sites. This in turn allows them to re-iterate, revamp, revise and/or further tailor their products and offerings for a more targeted audience. Other areas, such as finance and HR, also want to analyze their own internal data from enterprise applications and internal collaboration tools, in order to better service their employees/customers and maintain employee satisfaction. The reality is that there is data coming from everywhere, in every way shape and form.
As readers of my blog will remember, we were all ready to publish our mid-2011 update to our global economy report (see July 28, 2011, "Forrester Will Lower Its Tech Market Forecast By One-to-Two Percentage Points, Depending On Federal Debt Ceiling Outcome") when the US deficit ceiling crisis, renewal of the European debt crisis, and other developments raised questions about the strength of the economic recovery. Given the deterioration in the economic outlook, we stopped publication to rework our forecast to reflect those changes. The delay did have a some side benefits, including getting Q2 tech market data for Canada, adjusting our US data on computer equipment, communications, and equipment for Bureau of Economic Affairs revisions, incorporating new data sources for our US projections for IT consulting and outsourcing services, and taking advantage of the better data on Australia, China, India, and Japan from Forrester's acquisition of Springboard.
A growing number of workers own personal smartphones that they might want to use for work. However, IT support costs and security implications for personal mobile devices connected to the corporate network are unclear.
As a result, sourcing and vendor management (SVM) professionals need tools to improve visibility into the real costs of their firm's mobile program. Moreover, this challenge will grow as most firms expand their bring-your-own mobile programs during the next three years.
SVMs also want tools that improve transparency and accountability around mobile work apps for things like enterprise software license compliance by personal device users. Smart SVMs at firms with many or a fast growing population of mobile information workers have already studied or are studying ways to mitigate mobile cost and security risks associated with allowing employees to use personal devices like smartphones and tablets for work.
Enterprise Architecture is a challenged role in IT. While more than 50% of all IT shops – and all large IT shops (greater than $100M budget) – have an EA practice in some form, most EA teams struggle with defining a mission that is relevant to their business and executing on this mission to produce the benefits their business needs. This struggle leads to frequent re-organizations, struggles for credibility and influence, and often an EA focus on the low-hanging fruit of technology standardization.
But this is changing.
Last year, Forrester teamed up with InfoWorld to select five EA programs that were having a measurable impact on their businesses. Our purpose for this awards program was to spotlight highly effective programs that embodied practices that we could all learn from. We found EA programs that were producing results ranging from saving millions of dollars per year in IT expenditures, to guiding IT transformation into business partners, to guiding business planning.