From Our EA Community — Boiling Down Your BT Strategy To A Single Page

Last fall, a member of our enterprise architecture community asked a simple question — how do you represent IT strategy on a single page? What resulted was the most read and commented discussion to date. That got our attention! But what really piqued our interest was when another community participant challenged us to go beyond our usual publishing process to co-create a report with the community.

For those who have been following the discussion, it has been slow going, but I'm glad to say that we are done! What's more, we have decided to make this report available to everyone since much of the content came directly from the community. Please follow this link (www.forrester.com/btstrategyonapage) to request your copy if you are not a client (free site registration is required). Clients should go to our normal site to download the report.

In the research, we took the community contributions and created a toolkit in PowerPoint form containing seven examples of business technology (BT) strategy representation on a single "page." The lesson we learned is that there is no one right way to do it and you will probably need several one-pagers for different audiences.

Why title it BT and not IT? We started out with the notion of pure IT strategy, but quickly realized that the best one-pagers married business strategy with technology strategy. Ideally, these two should be co-created by business and technology leaders. Why? Because "aligned IT" can no longer keep up with the blinding pace of business change; it takes a business technology approach. Consider:

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Working On A Hosted Private Cloud Wave

Last year, my colleague, James Staten, and I published evaluations of the (internal) private cloud and public cloud markets — this year we’re going to fill in the remaining gap in the IaaS space, by publishing a Forrester Wave evaluation on Hosted Private Cloud Solutions. Vendors participating in this report will be evaluated on key criteria, a demo following a mandatory script, and customer references for validation of the solution. Throughout the research process I’ll be providing some updates and interesting findings before it goes live in early Q4 2012.

So, what is hosted private cloud? Like almost every product in the cloud space, there’s a lot of ambiguity about what you’ll be getting if you sign on to use a hosted private cloud solution. Today, NIST defines private cloud as:

The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization comprising multiple consumers (e.g., business units). It may be owned, managed, and operated by the organization, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.

Hosted private cloud refers to a variation of this where the solution lives off-premises in a hosted environment while still incorporating NIST's IaaS service definition, particularly where “[t]he consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, and deployed applications.” But there’s a great deal of variation in today’s hosted private cloud arena. Usually solutions differ in the following ways:

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Indian CIOs Are At A Business Technology Crossroads

 

Indian CIOs are at the risk of losing business credibility if they do not improve their understanding of business technology (BT). This is the key finding from the latest report that John Brand and I just published. For this report, we surveyed 130 companies in India, using Forrester’s BT Leadership Maturity Model as a baseline for gauging the BT maturity and readiness of Indian organizations. Our survey revealed a surprising level of consistency and positivity about BT among Indian firms, regardless of organization size, type or industry.

This was especially surprising given that BT is a relatively new concept in emerging markets. When we asked CIOs at Indian organizations to define BT in their own words, the responses displayed an overwhelmingly enthusiastic and optimistic view of BT; the most common theme centered on the value of BT as a general principle. However, many topics that were widely cited in self-assessments from CIOs in more mature markets like North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand were all but ignored by Indian CIOs, including time-to-value, market differentiation, communication, and governance.  As Indian CIOs have not long been exposed to the general concepts of BT, Forrester believes that inflated self-rankings are mainly attributed to a lack of understanding of just how comprehensive BT is.

The report helps answer key questions such as:

·         Why are Indian CIOs remarkably consistent in their BT views and attitudes? And is this really just due to a common tendency to inflate their own BT maturity?

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BT Strategic Planning: Upcoming Events

For many traditional IT organizations, BT Strategic Planning is a new approach to developing technology strategy. As such, it often raises more questions than answers. If you’d like to know how to get more answers then this blog post is for you (if not you can skip the rest).

To help you get stuck in and apply the strat planning framework in your environment, we’re scheduling a couple of webinars and a two-day workshop for this September. In the first webinar on Sept. 11, we’ll go into the best practices CIOs put in place in order to set up their teams for success in developing business technology strategy. In the second webinar on Sept. 14, we’ll explore the levers of BT value and how to successfully communicate BT value. While both webinars are connected, you don’t need to attend the first to get value from attending the second.  

And if you are interested in rolling up your sleeves some more, I’m facilitating a two-day workshop on BT Strategic Planning on Sept 25th and 26th in San Francisco. This open workshop builds upon the successful custom workshops we deliver for clients looking to apply Forrester’s planning framework. Over the course of two full, mind-bending days, you will go through the entire strategy planning framework and learn how to apply it in your organization.

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COTS Vs. Home-Grown BI Apps

Wanted to run the following two questions and my answers by the community:

Q. What is the average age of reporting applications at large enterprises?

A. Reporting apps typically involve source data integration, data models, metrics, reports, dashboards, and queries. I'd rate the longevity of these in descending order (data sources being most stable and queries changing all the time).

Q. What is the percentage of reporting applications that are homegrown versus custom built?

A. These are by no means solid data points but rather my off-the-cuff – albeit educated - guesses:

  • The majority (let's say >50%) of reports are still being built in Excel and Access.
  • Very few (let's say <10%) are done in non-BI-specific environments (programming languages).
  • The other 40% I'd split 50/50 between:
    • off-the-shelf reports and dashboards built into ERP or BI apps,
    • and custom-coded in BI tools

Needless to say, this differs greatly by industry and business domain. Thoughts?

VMware Doubles Down On Heterogeneity With Nicira Acquisition, Steers Course To The Software Defined Datacenter

Following on the heels of a very busy couple of weeks, VMware announced its acquisition of Nicira yesterday. This comes after the virtualization leader bought DynamicOps, then followed that with a management shakeup, which James Staten wrote about yesterday. Taken together, this flurry of activity is designed to make a strong statement: VMware wants to lead the way to the software-defined datacenter. In this brave new world, not only are compute workloads created, managed, and reclaimed automatically (through server virtualization), but their accompanying network, storage, security, and related components are as well.  

At the core of the software-defined datacenter is an abstracted and pooled set of shared resources. But the secret sauce is in the automation that slices up and allocates those shared resources on-demand, without manual tinkering. This is how the largest public clouds work today, but it’s not how the bulk of large enterprise datacenters work. VMware recognizes that and has been extending its reach beyond the compute stack for a while.

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Go Beyond Technology To Build An Effective Security Practice

It’s common knowledge that the security landscape has shifted over the past few years and the once-strong perimeters that CISOs relied upon have become stretched, fragmented, and overrun by increasingly mature attackers. There are many reasons for this change — from the increasing value of intellectual property and ideas to the business’ desire for agility and flexibility  — but it comes down to the fact that the technology controls that CISOs are so used to deploying simply can’t stay ahead of the threats.

Increasingly, Security & Risk (S&R) Professionals are being asked not only to protect the organization from hackers but also to protect their organization’s brand and competitive advantage whilst enabling efficient and agile business processes. In this environment, we need to realize that technology is just one piece of an increasingly complex puzzle, and it’s a puzzle we have to solve without ever saying “no.” As one security expert Forrester interviewed put it, the right question is “How do I make sure this boat doesn’t crash?”; it isn’t, “How do I make sure this boat doesn’t even reach the ocean?”

It’s essential that CISOs shift their focus beyond technology to the wider spectrum of responsibilities that comprise an effective security practice. By redefining the situation and evolving their role, S&R professionals can:

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A Peek Into Capgemini's Future Global Offerings Strategy

During a recent global analyst event in Paris, Capgemini presented its strategy to a panel of market and financial analysts. It hinges on two main objectives: improving the resilience of the organization in an uncertain economic environment — especially in Europe — and finding new levers for margin improvements.

From an operations point of view, Capgemini intends to continue leveraging the usual suspects: industrialization, cost cutting, and accelerating the development of its offshore talent pool. It also aiming to optimize its human resource pool via a pyramid management program aimed at, among other things, allocating the right experience level to the right type of work.

More interestingly, the company showcased some of the global offerings it has put together or refined over the past 12 months. Capgemini’s strategic intent is to develop offerings addressing three major client-relevant themes – customer experience, operational processes, and new business models. The offerings will be enabled by a combination of cloud, mobile, analytics, and social technologies. Among the set of offerings managed globally, I found the following of particular interest due to their emerging nature and Capgemini’s interesting approach to developing them:

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Innovative Tech Literacy Programs Fill The Skills Gap And Push The Move From IT To BT

[Written with Enza Iannopollo, a Research Associate in Forrester’s London office] 

During last month’s Forrester Forum in Paris, Enza spoke with a client who shared some thoughts about his business. Aware that technology is everyday more critical for business to be successful, his main concern as an enterprise architect was the shortage of skilled IT labor.

Many people can juggle multiple devices or can use various software and applications, but very few know how to write an application or how to publish digital content. For the client, recruiting valuable employees was a major concern. “The origin of the problem lies in the education system, where technology literacy is not present at all or, if it exists, ICT and science teachers are often poorly equipped,” he pointed out.

If it’s true that “company in distress makes sorrow less,” our client will be at least comforted by the idea that a growing number of business people experiences the same difficulty — lack of skilled labor is the No. 1 obstacle to implementing tech solutions. And maybe, he will be relieved to know that tech vendors, new companies, and creative partnerships are looking to fill this gap.

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Another "Google Gets Mobile Engagement" Story, Featuring The Sparrow Email Client

I saw this morning through Michael Hickins' succinct and savory CIO Journal Morning Download that Google acquired Paris-based email experience aggregator Sparrow. Sparrow's software runs on iPhone and Mac to aggregate your different email accounts into a single experience. I haven't used the app, so I can't vouch for it. But I do think this acquisition signals Google's growing understanding of the importance of mobile engagement and the role of the app Internet technology architecture in delivering an engaging experience.

Quick level set. We all get mobile. But we haven't all yet grokked the fact that mobile engagement changes the way we design business services to serve customers in their every moment. Instead, we tend to treat mobile as small Web or as an adjunct channel. It's not. Mobile is or will be the most important channel for direct service engagement. We call that mobile engagement -- empowering people to take the next most likely action in their moments of need. Mobile engagement will have vast repercussions on service design, app design, experience design, even business design. (Taxi service Uber couldn't exist without the app Internet and mobile engagement.)

Three quick comments on Google's mobile engagement trajectory for mobile collaboration:

  1. Google's acquisition of QuickOffice and now Sparrow indicates that it will invest in apps and mobile engagement. That's a good thing. But Gmail Web on the iPhone is still awful.
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