MNCs Are Trying To Uncover The Value And Vendor Options For 'Global' Mobility Management

I've had several conversations with Forrester IT clients in sourcing and vendor management and infrastructure and operations roles during the past few months about how-when-why-who to outsource mobility management. The top drivers identified are: 1) concerns over perceived and detected escalating international mobile roaming costs and how to avoid/stop/reduce them; 2) corporate-level sourcing strategies to consolidate vendors in order to reduce the burden on stretched IT and administrative resources responsible for telecom services contract negotiations, and invoice processing and chargeback; and 3) a need to understand whether a move to more individual-liable user (ILU) mobile services to respond to consumerization and user demand for more choice in smart connected devices (including personal) would erode corporate contract price benefits and also increase IT support burden. I generally recommend they start by conducting an audit of their mobile spend using a third-party service, and then poll heavy users and their managers about interest in, and support and subsidy expectations in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs. Next, firms should reach out to two or three of their main mobile service providers, like Vodafone, AT&T Mobility, Verizon, Orange, Sprint, and Telefonica about their telecom expense management (TEM) and mobile device management (MDM) capabilities, and about ILU programs that might even benefit rather than erode the company's price discounts for corporate-liable user (CLU) accounts, and even contribute to meeting overall telecom revenue commitments under a Master Service Agreement that includes fixed-line services (if they have any). There are several dozen (albeit mostly small and privately held) pure-play TEM providers that offer telecom audit consulting, either specifically focused on single-country or regional mobile services or more broadly on multicountry fixed-line and mobile telecoms. The large global systems integrators

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President Obama’s Call To Action: A Serious Boost For Domestic Outsourcing . . .

Forrester clients are looking for more options when it comes to IT service and outsourcing providers, and there’s a new option available to them: domestic outsourcing.

For many years, India has been the answer for large companies that need to save money and increase their IT bandwidth. Indian vendors, in fact, revolutionized the IT services industry by delivering higher quality, lower cost services with a never-let-the-client-down mentality. Now, however, the market has “overcorrected” in terms of outsourcing IT work. Companies, whether they work with a pureplay Indian vendor such as Infosys or a US-based vendor such as IBM, have to buy the bulk of their programming talent from India.

Unfortunately, today, India is not the best delivery location for all IT work or for all companies.

First of all, India is overworked — some might even say tapped out. The excess demand for Indian labor has meant that clients are less satisfied with their offshore IT services:

  • Costs are escalating and narrowing the gap relative to US costs.
  • Employee turnover is too high.
  • Time-to-market is impacted by rework and time zone issues.
  • C-Player and “fresher” syndrome reduce quality and productivity further.
  • It is increasingly difficult to land offshore resources onsite using H1B and other visas.
  • Communications challenges persist and are exacerbated by the increasing use of Agile methods.
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Growing The Long Tail Of Constituent Engagement

The promise of new citizen-centric government services enabled by social and mobile technologies and often access to government data is fast becoming reality — and has changed the way in which government organizations and their constituents engage.

Open 311 initiatives have spread across the US, and the equivalent non-emergency access initiatives have gained traction in other geographies as well. However, citizen engagement is not just about potholes and power outages; it is increasingly about the long tail of needs and interests. Public access to data and the ease of application development have facilitated the development of new applications and services. As a result, specific groups, however large or small, can develop an application to serve their purposes. Or applications can be developed for a specific project and may only be used for a couple of months, or may only be used by a niche audience.

I have had several lively conversations this week with vendors working to enable open data and new tools for constituent engagement. As an example, ESRI brings maps and the value of GIS to this explosion of citizen services. People like to visualize things, and seeing data represented on a map helps identify patterns and create a context for the data. That makes it easier to understand and easier to act on. ESRI and their partners have worked with a wide range of government organizations on creative ways to engage constituents — both citizens and businesses.

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Are You Sleepwalking Through Twitter?

In September 2009 I wrote a "blog" called "Great ITSM and ITIL People to Follow on Twitter." In stumbling upon it again yesterday I couldn't help wonder:

  • What had happened to some of the Tweeters on the original list?
  • Who do I now follow that I didn't way back then?

In doing this I couldn’t help feel that, while I value Twitter as both an information resource and a workspace, I have been somewhat sleepwalking through it the last two years.

Why am I sleepwalking through Twitter?

It seems a strange thing to admit to, doesn’t it?

I literally “work” in Twitter these days and I would lose a dimension of my capabilities and “personality” without it (or a similar social environ). But the fact that I still place a heavy emphasis on the Tweets of the people below, that an updated list would not include that many more Tweeters, and that I didn’t realize that a few of the Tweeters listed are no longer actively Tweeting is quite scary to me.

My conclusion is that I have been very lazy in my use of Twitter (heaven forbid that people think that “number of Tweets” is a sign of Twitter proactivity).

So what should I do?

My original thinking from nine months or so ago (when I realized that Twitter was becoming a little incestuous in terms of my following of people) was to follow more Tweeters. I think I have nearly doubled the number of people I follow but I am still in the same place in many ways.

For information, my current ratio for @stephenmann is:

  • Following = 767
  • Followers = 2119
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2012 Predictions – Technology Will Shape Who We Are As People And Businesses

In the first phase of the information age, technology helped us achieve new levels of productivity. In the next phase, technology will shape who we are. Why? Because technology is everywhere – and savvy businesses are paying attention. I did a check on a recent trip and noticed that, on average, 80% of the people around me were nose down in their technology. That’s amazing if you stop and think about it….(pause for thinking)…When you spend that much time using something, it ceases to be a helper and starts to shape who you are.

I think 2012 will be a watershed year for the global business environment as technology moves from being “out there” to “part of us.” In 2020, we will look back on 2012 not as the year the world ended but as the year it changed for good. Check out the TED video We Are All Cyborgs Now. Here are four predictions about business in 2012 that all start with the fusion of business and technology and the impact that it will have on shaping business. I hope will add some new thought food to your mental garden:

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The Ten Potential Developments That Could Shape The Tech Market In 2012

At the end of December 2011, I wrote about the top ten tech market events of 2011. Last Friday, we published our global tech market forecasts for 2012 and 2013 (see January 6, 2012, “Global Tech Market Outlook For 2012 And 2013 — Eight Themes Will Shape Vendors' Prospects Over The Next Two Years”) . With that report now live, I would like to share the top ten things that I will be monitoring in 2012 because of their potential impacts on how the tech market will perform in 2012. Some of these things are macroeconomic developments that could hurt or help tech market demand. Others are supply-side or vendor-related events or trends that will define winners and losers in whatever tech demand does emerge. As with my top ten 2011 tech market events, these are counted down in reverse order of importance:

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Transform Business Processes For Breakthrough Customer Experiences

I’ve just finished up several months of research digging into the best practices of how leading organizations aspire to implement outside-in, customer-focused, cross-functional processes that transform the organization and set it on the path toward continuous improvement. At the core of this trend is a desire by these organizations, especially in services industries, to domesticate their “untamed” or “invisible” processes that touch customers.

In talking with nearly 30 organizations, consulting companies, and solution vendors, I found that instead of deploying slow-to-change packaged applications or building difficult-to-change custom solutions, leading organizations are embracing business process methodologies — supported by process-centric IT platforms. They are striving to drive rapid process change, increased business engagement in IT projects, and achieve dramatic improvements in worker productivity.

In my new report, I define more than 30 best practices that organizations can use to support their transition to process-centric customer CRM. Here are few of them:

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Agile Development And Robots: Are You Smarter Than A 10th Grader?

One of the counterintuitive things that we observed early on in the days of object-oriented programming was that developers with no previous programming experience often picked up concepts like inheritance, encapsulation, and polymorphism much more quickly than seasoned programmers and became productive earlier than their more experienced counterparts. Today I feel like I'm on the other end of this learning challenge as I try to adapt to new programming concepts in JavaScript or Python. I think the biggest reason for this phenomenon is that experienced folks have to unlearn what we know, and it's hard to give up certainty and the mechanisms that allowed us to achieve success in the past. I think the same principle is at work when you look at toddlers that instinctively "get" how to use the iPad - they expect everything to work that way. It should be so easy for all of us.

Does this same sort of thinking apply to software and systems development processes? I'll tell you why I think it does. For the past three years I've been a mentor for a US FIRST Team (Team 811, the Bishop Guertin Cardinals). During this time period, I've seen high school students with little to no technical experience instinctively adopt many principles that experienced Agile teams would recognize. For these kids, Agile development is like using an iPad - they take to it naturally because it just makes sense given the context of what they are trying to do.

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Stuck In Cement: When Packaged Apps Create Barriers To Innovation

My “Stuck in Cement” research is up on Forrester.com today. I have to say, I really wrestled with the title. It’s just incorrect to say “stuck in cement,” because technically cement is only the active ingredient and needs to be mixed with sand and water to make concrete. So it should be “stuck in concrete,” although somehow this doesn’t quite sound right. But really, who but a chemist would lose sleep over this or even catch the distinction? The real issue is whether packaged apps really are a barrier to innovation at this point — or does our research just reflect the high level of frustration that our clients feel trying to manage technology in a world changing so quickly?

The basic idea is that industry-specific or packaged apps — and these are currently mostly on-premises applications — aligned with organizational silos have worked well for well-defined, highly structured processes where volume, scale, and straight-through processing dominate system design. But these apps are difficult to change, appear increasingly less relevant, and form a barrier to innovation for companies in fast-moving industries like energy, healthcare, and financial services now facing advancing consumer technologies that threaten business as usual.

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How Do You Value IT Service Management Tool Verification Or Certification Schemes?

In response to a number of Forrester client inquiries and as part of the #Back2ITSM activities, before Christmas I polled a number of IT service management tool vendors about their views on IT service management tool verification or certification schemes such as PinkVERIFY and the OGC ITIL Software Scheme (others are available but these are the main two I receive inquiries on). I have still to analyze the vendor responses having given a response deadline of the 16th January 2012 but thought it wise to get the customer point of view on the value of such schemes.

So where do you stand on the worth of such schemes?

So:

  1. Do you know what the PinkVERIFY and the OGC ITIL Software Scheme schemes are?
  2. Do you place little value in a tool being verified by such a scheme?
  3. Is verification helpful but the lack of it is not a concern in a tool purchasing decision?
  4. Do you consider verification a key part of ITSM tool selection?
  5. Would you not even consider an ITSM tool without such an “independent opinion” on tool capabilities?
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