CGI’s plan to acquire Logica for approximately $2.6 billion, amounting to the combination of two distinctly regional entities into a single “global” provider, offers further proof of a consolidating globalized service industry — as if we needed any after the series of service industry consolidations during the last few years. This acquisition makes sense for several reasons:
Geographic synergies: In terms of complementary regional strengths, the two entities could hardly be better paired. CGI is well established in selected vertical domains such as government, financial services, telecom/utilities and others, but it remains a mystery to many customers outside of its native Canada and the DC beltway. Although present in several European locations, CGI registers only 6% of its revenues from Europe, while Logica does not play in the North American market. Not only is Logica strong in its native UK and in governmental circles like CGI, but it also has strong Pan-European presence. Once complete, CGI can legitimately claim to be a global player, although presence in Asia/Pacific remains limited for both entities.
Competitive benefits: With strong capabilities in both ADM and infrastructure services, Logica’s ongoing financial weakness made it an attractive acquisition candidate. Part of this was due to the unique challenge facing European services players that must fend off not only global players, but also the India-based suppliers, who are active primarily in the English-speaking nations such as Logica’s native UK. Existing Logica customers can take comfort that it will not likely face intensifying financial challenges, while CGI’s customers can take comfort from a generally positive reaction from the investment community.
We regularly get inquiries from companies that feel the need to restructure their access controls to support extended enterprise user populations: firms have to support employees, contractors, business partners, customers and keep them contained to be able to access resources (applications, data, etc.) that they have a business need to access. Technology and protocols are catching up here: companies (and vendors too!) are moving to finally support SAML, OAuth and OpenID Connect in bulk.
The real question, however, is not just access control, but it's also identity administration and attestation. How do you extend your internal provisioning of entitlements to your employees to your business partners or customers? What is the lifecycle of a data asset or piece of intellectual property in the broader ecosystem of identities? OAuth, Claims-based authorization or SAML attribute value injection will provide the infrastructure for enforcing policy decisions, but how do you extend your identity and access governance to the extended enterprise?
We see companies being interested and starting to build on the following to solve these challenges:
1.) Don't solve the problem but ingest a much richer context in your access control solutions (risk based authentication used for internal workforce user access, context variables being passed on to federated Relying Parties to understand that you're at a coffeehouse in a rogue country vs. you're logging in from your normal office and open up the general ledger with read/write access only if you're in your office).
2.) Providing increased delegated administration and attestation services from the cloud so business partners can also participate in these processes. This has been around for some time and will gain more popularity as firms need to remain compliant in the era of the extended enterprise.
Unfortunately, I will not able to deliver the keynote presentation at Forrester’s upcoming Infrastructure and Operations Forum in Paris as planned. The theme of the conference is “Redefining your greenfield,” and I was looking forward to sharing my observations of “greenfield” in the context of smart cities. So I thought I’d share some of my thoughts here.
A “greenfield” presents the opportunity to do things differently, to innovate. We often think of a greenfield as the clean slate, the ability to start from scratch, to create without the baggage of history, without existing infrastructure, without meddling stakeholders. We often hear of greenfields these days in the context of new cities – the massive infrastructure projects cropping up in the deserts of the Gulf region, or in Asia. In the IT world, we think of the entrepreneurial start up building out their infrastructure from ground up. Or even an emerging market with no technology legacy. But greenfield opportunities aren’t just for startups or emerging markets, and moreover, their grass isn’t always greener.
That’s not to say the promise isn’t appealing. The new, technology-enabled greenfield cities provide a clean slate, and the ability to test new technologies and practices. Think about:
Networking across the city to facilitate home entertainment, telecommuting, remote diagnostics, eLearning, and eGovernment.
Smart grids to respond more quickly to vagaries in electricity supply and demand, and to enable self-repairing networks.
Enterprises of all sizes like the low upfront costs, usability, flexibility, and time-to-value of CRM software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. Solutions I see enjoying increasing popularity include salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, and Oracle’s cloud CRM products: Oracle CRM On Demand and RightNow (now called Oracle RightNow CX Cloud Service). The Sage CRM products for the medium-size organization market (Sage SalesLogix and Sage CRM) have been also retooled to include “on-demand” options and SugarCRM is also available in variety of on-demand deployment configurations.
There are many advantages to moving your CRM solution to “the cloud.” But follow these best practices to avoid the pitfalls that can trip you up:
Dig deep to understand total costs. Understanding the true cost of a SaaS solution is important. The cost elements are software license fees, internal labor implementation costs, professional services fees, and user training costs. Additional SaaS cost drivers include fees for extra features like mobile and offline access, industry-specific functionality, storage capacity beyond a preset limit, and premium help desk support.
Spotlight the risks. Vet your CRM vendor carefully to make sure it will be around for the long term, and be sure that you have contract provisions that protect your company if the vendor is acquired or goes out of business. Additional risks for SaaS solutions include loss of control, weaker integration, limited virtualization, and more restricted customization capabilities compared with on-premises solutions. Buyers also worry about physical and data security.
This is a guest post from Anjali Yakkundi, a Researcher at Forrester Research. It originally appeared on destinationCRM.
By now, everyone knows that engaging and dynamic customer experiences are a key competitive advantage, and “business as usual” will no longer suffice to support these engaging digital experiences. Organizations that don’t embrace this customer-focused thinking will risk missing out on important opportunities and will lose strategic advantages.
From a technology standpoint, the key to success will be integrated, best-of-breed customer experience management (CXM) solutions. This includes technologies such as Web content management (WCM), CRM, eCommerce, digital asset management (DAM), site search, and Web analytics.
We recently completed an evaluation of the DAM market. DAM is a key process-based solution that focuses on managing rich media content (e.g., videos, images, graphics, and audio). Despite the well-documented importance of rich media in cross-channel customer experiences (consider the amount of video and images on the Web or in marketing content now versus just five years ago), DAM solutions have long been overshadowed by other CXM technologies. These solutions have traditionally been relegated to niche, rich-media-heavy industries such as media, publishing, and entertainment. But as more and more organizations understand the importance of a cross-channel rich-media strategy to improve customer experiences, DAM for customer experience is experiencing a revival in interest across verticals.
I attended the third annual Canonical Model Management Forum, May 14-15, 2012, hosted by DigitalML at the hip Washington Plaza Hotel again this year. I saw even more signs than last year that canonical models are key to API layers that many firms are building to promote integration. But first, let me share some data from Forrester’s last survey on canonical modeling adoption that I presented at the forum:
As our data shows, this practice is becoming increasingly widespread in firms publishing services that deliver information. Some of the trends I highlighted in last year’s forum post are even more evident this year, such as canonical models’ increasing use in data access layers, as I depicted with this slide:
Knowledge management for customer service has always been a difficult proposition. It’s not that knowledge management fails to work; it does its job well, as proven by the numerous case studies that show real ROI, as well as the maturity of vendor solutions. The historical difficulty with knowledge management is that many buyers and users don’t understand the difference between knowledge management and content management — and typically view knowledge management as a heavyweight solution that’s laborious to use.
Perhaps it’s time to lose the too loaded term knowledge management and focus on what it is that customer service agents need to do their job — to answer customer questions in a complete, accurate, and reproducible way. They need access to up-to-date content that is aligned with customer demand and which is created in a collaborative way. This content must also be available to call center agents, as well as agents dedicated to the email, chat, and social communication channels. A subset of this content must also be available to customers via a web self-service site. All these requirements translate into a collaborative content hub.
Here are the main capabilities that make up a collaborative content hub:
Easy content capture. You should be able to flag information from any source (email, discussion forum thread, social media interaction) and effortlessly kick it off to be included in your collaborative content hub.
Democracy. Everyone within an organization (and customers as well) should be able to recommend information to be included in the content hub.
Uli Kalex from Alfabet, whom many of you know, has provided us with a guest post addressing one key fallacy which underlies much of IT’s work with their business. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to comment.
As a mathematician and product manager, I strongly prefer the reliability of analysis over the uncertainty of gambling. That is why I like to go to Las Vegas . . . at least for the annual Forrester CIO and EA Forums. Thought and industry leaders from around the world get together and discuss the driving forces and challenges in IT management. As such, I experienced this year’s event as a real catalyst for discussions around the increased requirements and frustrations in IT planning — and a call to arms for IT leaders everywhere.
Dwight D. Eisenhower once famously said: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” He was talking about armed conflicts, but the statement holds a lot of truth for today’s businesses as well. In the business world, an unforeseen change can make even the most sophisticated plan obsolete overnight — be it a change in regulation, a budget cut, or a company acquisition. To survive and thrive in this increasingly complex and dynamic environment, businesses need an IT organization that shows a path to meet business objectives while being flexible and responsive enough to adapt as needed. Ultimately, the best route is always changing.
Just three months after SAP acquired SuccessFactors, a cloud leader for human capital management solutions, for $3.4 billion, it has now announced the acquisition of Ariba, a cloud leader for eProcurement solutions, for another $4.3 billion. Now, $7.7 billion is a lot of money to spend in a short amount of time on two companies that hardly make any profit. But it’s all for the cloud, which means it’s for the future business opportunity in cloud computing services. So far, so good; SAP has invested and acquired quite a number of cloud companies over the past years: Frictionless, Clear Standards, Crossgate, etc. The difference in this most recent acquisition is the big overlap with existing solutions and internal R&D.
Following the first wave of cloud acquisitions, SAP was sitting amid a zoo of cloud solutions, all based on different platforms: ePurchasing, CRM-OnDemand, BI-OnDemand, Carbon Impact, ByDesign, Streamwork . . . They all used very different technology, resulting in big integration and scale challenges behind the scenes. The market welcomed with open arms SAP’s announcement 1.5 years ago that it would consolidate its cloud strategy on the new NetWeaver platform for both ABAP- and Java-based cloud solutions.