Interested In Open Source Integration Tools Or Cloud-Based Integration? Take Our Survey.

All indications are that the use of open source integration tools and cloud-based integration are hot topics in many organizations. We are in the process of capturing current interest statistics and invite you to take our short survey that covers these issues.

Here's the link: http://deploy.ztelligence.com/start/index.jsp?PIN=164GHK2QZYYKN

Thanks in advance for your participation!

Ken Vollmer

Are CRM Solutions Soon To Be Displaced By Dynamic BPM?

As I mentioned in a blog post last April, in the midst of the buzz in the CRM technology world about “social” and “mobile,” I continue to see rising demand for customer management solutions that have a strong core of workflow and business process management capabilities. I call this phenomenon “CRM meets BPM.”

I have just launched a research cycle to delve into the topic more deeply and would very much like get your perspective on this trend.

This emergence of process-centric customer management solutions is being driven by an increasing recognition by companies, particularly in services industries, that if they want to deliver great customer experiences, they must learn how to get control over their “untamed processes” that touch customers.

My colleague at Forrester Craig Le Clair, who coined the term, says “untamed business processes form in the seams and shadows of the enterprise, require a balance of human and system support, and cross department, technology, information, and packaged application silos to meet end-to-end business outcomes.”

Classic untamed processes that touch customers in the financial services industry include all types of service requests, such as product change requests, customer onboarding, negotiated documents, proposals, product support, claims, underwriting, and loan origination. Another type is incident management — for example, dispute resolution, complaint management, and order exception management.

Here is the hypothesis that I am testing:

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Agile Software Is A Cop-Out; Here’s What’s Next

Never has a new trend annoyed me as much as Agile. Right from the get-go, the Agile Manifesto revealed the weaknesses and immaturity of the founding principles. The two most disturbing: “Working software is the primary measure of progress” and “Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.” These are

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You Need To Act More Like An Interactive Agency…

Two weeks have passed since our successful AD&D and BP Forums in Boston. I’m still struck by conversations we held there and continue to hold now with many of you on how your teams can help deliver to your firm’s ever-important customer experience outcomes. Following one tip can help you either get ahead of this issue or catch up to the expectations of your stakeholders…act more like an interactive agency!

Note I didn’t say “transform” into an interactive agency. No, at the end of the day you have responsibilities to your organization the agencies your business peers use often don’t – you have to manage, operate, and maintain what’s been delivered. What I did say was “act” like one, and in doing so you’ll need to:

  1. Revisit your talent. For those of you that haven’t outsourced big portions of development, make sure you have great, creative developers, build a high-performance development team, and up-skill your business analysts by putting personas and customer journey maps into their tool kit. Why? The agencies your peers use have and cultivate these skills. At minimum, you'll be in a better position to manage and maintain what they’ve put in place if you have complementary skills of your own. If you have outsourced development, we can help you make the case to bring back the right pieces.
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Holistic Integration Is A Top Tech Trend...But What Is It?

Forrester has identified holistic integration as one of the top ten technology trends for the 2012 to 2014 timeframe. But what is it?

Holistic integration is a strategy that promotes a combined approach for meeting the application, B2B, process, and data integration needs of the enterprise. The process begins with a comprehensive planning effort that analyzes the specific demands of each area and identifies common approaches that can improve integration efforts across these former functional silos.  

In the past, organizations have shied away from a common approach to their integration needs, as the available tools generally focused on a single area. But that is changing rapidly. Today’s integration solutions can provide application, B2B, and process integration in a single integrated stack. And some vendors are also adding data integration functionality into the mix. This means that holistic integration is more than just a planning exercise; it is also an implementation strategy. Bottom line, a holistic approach to integration is becoming more feasible with every passing day.

We will be writing more on this trend in the coming months, but for now refer to the recent tech trends report for more details. Here is a link: http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/top_10_technology_trends_ea_should_watch/q/id/60921/t/2

How Do You Sell BI To The Business Executives?

Whoa! Hold your horses. If this is indeed a key challenge that you’ve tried to address in the past without much success, consider switching jobs. This is not a joke. Business intelligence (BI) is an employee market right now; a key challenge for most BI employers is finding, recruiting, and retaining top — or actually any, for that matter — BI talent. Consider that IBM BAO alone added more than 4,000 (!) BI positions in just over a year! Every other major, midsize, and boutique BI consultancy I talk to is struggling to find BI resources. So if you’ve been fighting this uphill Sisyphean battle for a while, consider new channels for your noble efforts.

Now, some more practical advice — albeit not as exciting. Start from the top down. In a few minutes I am getting ready to talk to yet another large client whose CEO does not “get” BI. Can you rightfully blame him/her? Yes and no. Yes, because how can you manage any business without measurement and insight into your internal and external processes? So if your CEO didn’t learn that in his/her MBA 101, suggest that he/she look for another job. And if you’re still standing after that and have suffered only a mild concussion, consider that many BI projects have been less than successful, and ROI on BI — one of the most expensive enterprise apps — is extremely difficult to show. So can you really blame your CEO?

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Steve Jobs Is In All Of Us

Steve Jobs brought us the future. He did not cajole us with clever arguments or dangle shallow technology candy in front of us. He delivered the future quite literally to our fingertips. Millions reached out to touch that future. Millions more will.

Steve did not separate imagination from success.

More than anything else, Steve is a human being just like all of us. Our DNA is the same. If only a small percentage of the 6 billion people can find the Steve within themselves, a magical future awaits us.

Steve Jobs is an inspiration. He will be missed.

The Future Of Banking Is Mobile – Or Is It?

A few days ago at Oracle OpenWorld 2011, I attended a presentation from one of the major consulting companies. The topic: banking in 2020. I heard about big data, the need for real-time analysis of information (in particular from the Internet), and a few other trends. While many of these trends were not new, I could only agree that they would be important in the future, as they align with Forrester’s 2008 research on what banking will look like in the future. (If you are interested in details regarding Forrester’s research on this topic, please see “Financial Services Of The Future: Collaborative Competition Will Be The Norm” and “Banking IT In 2023 Updated,” keeping in mind that 2023 is a metaphor for a longer-term perspective.) However, there was one statement within the presentation that I seriously disagree with.

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A SharePoint Custom-Development Strategy Is More Crucial Now Than Ever

I prepared this research with Rob Koplowitz.

The stage is set for a big upswing in custom application development on Microsoft SharePoint. First, SharePoint Server 2010 adoption is very strong, and this version of the product has the strongest features yet for custom development. Second, with application backlogs growing, many organizations will find themselves taking on SharePoint "customization" projects to meet business demands. Custom application development is the riskiest of the six SharePoint "workloads." For organizations adopting SharePoint, this situation demands a careful strategy now to avoid problems later. This post delivers our latest assessment of SharePoint adoption and discusses its implications for app delivery professionals.

Our latest survey on customer experiences with Microsoft SharePoint shows a successful product moving crisply through a major upgrade, from Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007) to SharePoint Server 2010. SharePoint usage is strong in organizations of all sizes and in most industry sectors. The product's continued success has two conflicting facets for application development and delivery pros:

  • SharePoint can be a productive platform for business applications. SharePoint can help your teams deliver applications fast in three ways. First, with a little customization of the human interface, SharePoint's out-of-the-box applications can work for many situations. Second, SharePoint's basket of developer services for applications involving collaboration, social media, website creation, workflows, document management, information distribution, search, and reporting dashboards can speed completion of projects. Third, you can delegate simple sites and workflows, as well as content updating, to businesspeople.
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