Planning For Failure

We are excited to announce "Planning For Failure," the first collaborative report in a series of new research taking a closer look at incident management and response. 

  • A look back at the year's headlines isn't encouraging. Many companies have experienced security breaches, and their bottom lines and brand reputation have suffered. You might not have considered it, but your organization is a likely target. In fact, your intellectual property could be exfiltrating your network even as you read this blog; you must be prepared. Once the airplane is going down, it is too late to pack the parachute.
  • Preventive security controls will fail, and you should operate under the assumption that if you are not already breached, you will be. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of remediation, and the sooner you can detect and respond to a security breach, the more likely you will be able to minimize the impact and scope of the incident. The proper execution of a well-thought-out strategy can reduce your remediation costs and protect your brand reputation.
  • "Planning For Failure" takes a look at why an incident management strategy is critical to the success of your business and provides recommendations on how to implement or improve your plans. 

If you have questions or comments, please let us know. We would love to hear your feedback.

Win-Win Tech Curriculum Collaboration: Vendors Contribute To Solve Skilled Labor Shortages

A few months ago I wrote about my first trip to Rio. One of the observations that had jumped out at me at the time was the repeated message from IT services firms: Lack of skilled labor was their biggest challenge. Forrester's Forrsights survey findings confirm: Education and skilled labor is the No. 1 constraint to technology implementation globally, particularly in emerging markets. In Brazil, 58% of respondents in our Forrsights Budgets and Priorities Tracker, Q4 2010 survey reported concern about insufficient skilled technical labor or relevant technical training as an obstacle to implementing IT solutions. That compares with only 16% reporting skills as an obstacle in the UK.

That message has been repeated to me several times since during trips to emerging markets. On my visit to Orange Business Services' (OBS's) Major Service Center (MSC) in Mauritius last month, the OBS team emphasized that they had selected Mauritius as a strategic location in part because of the availability of skilled labor. Mauritius, with an emphasis on information and communications technology (ICT) as the third pillar of its economy, has a goal of doubling its ICT labor force in three years. The government recently announced an ICT Academy with industry partnership to train 1.3 million young people and promote the software and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries in the country. ICT vendors and services providers such as OBS are participating in that initiative.

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Customer Service Done Right In 10 Easy Steps: Step 3

Here’s the third tip in my 10-part blog series on how to master your service experience in order to better align your capabilities with customer demand and do it at a cost that won’t kill your business. Step 3 highlights the need for multichannel integration.

Step 3: Don’t offer silos of communication choices

Your service experience should allow customers to start an interaction in one communication channel and complete it in another. For example, they should be able to start an interaction over the phone and follow up with an email containing more detailed information. Each interaction should convey consistent data and information to the customer. The agents that support each communication channel should follow the same basic processes, like asking for authentication at the same point in the service process. Each interaction should build on the prior one so that the customer does not have to repeat his question each time. This is more difficult to do than it seems, and companies have struggled for years to offer this type of seamless experience.

To allow for this, channels can’t be implemented in silos, but must be integrated so that agents have a full view of prior customer interactions over traditional channels like phone, email, chat, and SMS and social ones like Facebook and Twitter. Agents use this information to understand what conversations the customer has already had with you and can then better personalize the interaction and add value.

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Huawei Analyst Summit 2011: Extending The Competition To Mobile Devices And Enterprise Solutions

During its European Analyst Summit in London, Huawei provided details regarding two crucial elements of its expanding market positioning: It outlined its intention to launch mobile devices and enterprise solutions. Although Huawei has been engaged in these activities in China for some time, it is a new and exciting step for its European strategy. Competitors should not underestimate Huawei’s ability to take business away from them in these areas.

Huawei’s mobile device range for Europe is small, but very effective. The company targets the low-end smartphone segment with a €100 device (Blaze), the mid-market (Vision), and high-end (Honour), in addition to a tablet (Media Pad). The marketing strategy is to position these devices as affordable, easy-to-use, and reliable (i.e., the “Volkswagen of the mobile devices”). All devices are touch, have fast processors, crisp screens, and retail at about €100 below competitors’ offerings. Timing is good for Huawei, given the relative weakness of the competitive landscape, especially RIM and Sony Ericsson. Initial customer feedback on sites such as Amazon.com reflects positive customer experiences.

The fact that Huawei has no consumer brand in many European countries should not be a great obstacle. Rather, Huawei could use this factor in order to involve its emerging customer base to build a brand using social networking and viral marketing. Traditional big-board advertising campaigns would be pointless: Nokia will dominate the traditional channels with its Lumia campaign in the coming months. The main channels for Huawei will be MVNOs like Fonic, consumer electronics outlets like Phone4U, as well as selected larger operators.

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What Is The Value Of Agile In Your Organization?

From: Forrester Analysts Tom Grant and Diego Lo Giudice
To: App dev and delivery practitioners, especially ones with Agile experience
Re: It’s time for us to take another look at the value adoption, and we’re inviting you to join our survey

Starting around 2009, Agile moved into the mainstream of software development methodologies with startling speed. Today, Forrester’s data shows approximately 38% of developers have adopted Agile across a wide range of industries. The demand for Agile is so great that it has broken through many potential barriers, including ones such as compliance. As year-to-year growth of Agile adoption continues, it’s clear that a lot of teams are seeing a lot of value in Agile. But what kind of value? In some of our earlier surveys about Agile, it was clear that velocity was only one of several perceived benefits.

For example, Scrum is far and away the most widely adopted flavor of Agile. Scrum focuses on how teams organize themselves and how they organize their work. For teams that have struggled to make accurate estimates or adapt to changes to the backlog, the attraction of Scrum isn’t just velocity.

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Customer Service Done Right In 10 Easy Steps: Step 2

We all know that the gap between a customer’s expectations and the service they receive is huge. Customers are increasingly knowledgeable about products and demand value-added, personalized service. Businesses struggle with understanding which initiatives will move the needle in a positive direction and are thus worth investing in. Here is the second tip in my 10-part blog series on how to master the service experience.

Step 2: Is your customer service aligned with your company brand?

Meeting the needs of your customers are important. However, it’s just as important to stay true to your brand and design a service experience that supports your value proposition. Customers need to know what your company represents — which is especially important in the message-cluttered social media world that we live in — and have this brand reinforced every time they interact with you during the sales process, and for every interaction after the initial sale.

These companies have aligned their service offering to help reinforce their brand with their customers:

  • Apple. Its products are high-style and priced at a premium. Apple’s customer service is very much in line with its brand. The firm delivers customer service on the customer’s terms — you can arrange a phone call with an Apple Expert who specializes in your exact question and can talk with them now or later at your convenience. They’ll even call you. You can email Apple or browse its extensive knowledge base.
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The New Productivity Platforms: Your Solution To The AD&D Crunch

For fast delivery of new business applications, conventional Java and .NET coding is usually no longer your best choice. Instead, a generation of new productivity platforms holds the potential to speed initial application delivery and ongoing updates. These platforms abstract away configuration chores, repetitive coding tasks, and long testing and quality assurance (QA) cycles. Some allow application development and delivery (AD&D) teams to delegate application delivery — in part or in whole — to business experts. AD&D teams under pressure to deliver more with less should evaluate these platforms. This research outlines this emerging category's benefits and risks. Full report URL: http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/new_productivity_platforms_solution_to_ad%26d_crunch/q/id/58576/t/2. (Note: Pay wall.)

Most application development and delivery teams have simple marching orders: "Do more with less — and fast. And when you've done more with less, figure out how to do even more with still less on your next set of projects. And deliver even faster."

We've not met a single application development and delivery professional during the past two years who isn't struggling to meet this imperative. Why? Competitive markets, business models, and consumer preferences change so quickly, and keeping up requires either making changes to existing software or writing entirely new applications.

Clients react to the AD&D crunch in a variety of ways, but one of the most common responses is to search for new development processes and tools. And right now, AD&D teams will find that a bumper crop of new development-productivity tools has arrived for their consideration. We call these products the new productivity platforms and define them as:

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Increased Demand For MFT Is Being Driven By Enterprise Compliance Requirements

Over the past couple of years, we have noticed a significant uptick in inquiries from clients on the subject of MFT to support external data exchanges. In fact, one survey listed MFT as the primary area of planned enhancements to their B2B program (see the graphic).

But what is driving this need? Our discussions with clients indicate that the primary push for MFT is coming from the business side and is related to the increasing number of compliance regulations that organizations must deal with. For example, information security provisions are extensively covered under HIPAA regulations in the US healthcare sector and Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel II laws covering financial reporting. Similar regulations have come up in other sectors as well.

Another factor is the number of highly visible security exposures that have resulted in the compromise of company and employee information over the past several years. This has captured the attention of both senior management and auditors in forcing a review of existing file transfer processes that typically reveal many shortcomings that can be overcome with the use of a robust MFT tool.

We expect that security and privacy demands will continue to grow, so expect MFT to be an increasingly hot topic for some time to come.

Turning Your Suppliers Into "Trusted Advisors": A Conversation With Gary Wimberly, Sr. VP and CIO, Express Scripts

If you're with us here in Miami, you spent day one of Forrester's Sourcing & Vendor Management (SVM) Forum hearing about the business value SVM can deliver to the business. Stephanie Moore provided a blueprint for the SVM organization of the future — and the skill set needed for it — and Kerry Bodine told us that SVM is vital to the customer experience. Toward the end of the day, Navi Radjou urged you to partner with your suppliers and vendors to innovate. That's the thread we'll continue to explore today.

SVM can provide strategic value to your business. When I first spoke with Gary Wimberly, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Express Scripts, what struck me was his attitude toward suppliers, one that permeates through his organization. Gary believes in creating a true partnership with suppliers and developing them as “trusted advisors.”

I had a chance to catch up with Gary before the event, and he provided a preview of his keynote:

Paul Warren: Express Scripts has experienced significant growth in the past decade.  How has  Express Scripts balanced IT priorities?

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Public Clouds Prove I&O Pros Are From Venus And Developers Are From Mars

Forrester just published parts I & II of its market overview of the public cloud market and these reports, written primarily for the Infrastructure & Operations (I&O) professionals, reveal as much about you – the customers of the clouds – as it does about the clouds themselves.

As discussed during our client teleconference about these reports, clearly the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market is maturing and evolving and the vendors are adapting their solutions to deliver greater value to their current customers and appeal to a broader set of buyers. In the case of pure clouds such as Amazon Web Services, GoGrid and Joyent, the current customers are developers who are mostly building new applications on these platforms. Their demands focus on enabling greater innovation, performance, scale, autonomy and productivity. To broaden the appeal of their cloud services, they aim to deliver better transparency, monitoring, security and support – all things that appeal more to I&O and security & risk managers (SRM).

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