Gelsinger Brings The "H" Word To VMware

 

The long-rumored changing of the guard at VMware finally took place last week and with it came down a stubborn strategic stance that was a big client dis-satisfier. Out went the ex-Microsoft visionary who dreamed of delivering a new "cloud OS" that would replace Windows Server as the corporate standard and in came a pragmatic refocusing on infrastructure transformation that acknowledges the heterogeneous reality of today's data center. 
 
Paul Maritz will move into a technology strategy role at EMC where he can focus on how the greater EMC company can raise its relevance with developers. Clearly, EMC needs developer influence and application-level expertise, and from a stronger, full-portfolio perspective. Here, his experience can be more greatly applied -- and we expect Paul to shine in this role. However, I wouldn't look to see him re-emerge as CEO of a new spin out of these assets. At heart, Paul is more a natural technologist and it's not clear all these assets would move out as one anyway. 
 
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B2B Meets Cloud Based Integration (CBI)

B2B communication, with its original form of EDI messages, is the oldest and unfortunately the least flexible form of integration between systems and different enterprises. Many enterprises run B2B gateways on-premises or have managed service contracts for “their instance of their B2B Hub.”

I’ve received over the past months an increasing number of inquiries from Forrester clients asking for the future of this approach and the market trend. This is what I usually explain:

Your future cloud/legacy integration should cover your business partner and your SaaS applications. Cloud computing is disrupting the integration space! Why? Traditionally, you had two very distinguished integration scenarios. Either, it was about the integration between multiple systems within your enterprise — middleware software, with product categories like EAI, ESB, CIS, and BPM, was the matching solution, as all systems have been on premises in the past. Or, it was about the integration with your business partners — the well-established B2B/EDI gateways and managed services were the matching solution over the Internet (or VANs). However, cloud computing disrupted the space already: Suddenly parts of your business unit’s applications are in the cloud on packaged SaaS applications, and they needed to be integrated with your on-premises legacy. Or, you and your business partners even use the same SaaS applications, and B2B traffic is as simple as moving data from one tenant to the other tenant on the same cloud platform. To face this trend of an increasing variety of integration, a good cloud integration strategy should look at synergies between the cloud/legacy integration scenarios with your business partners and the SaaS tenants of your own enterprise holistically!

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Optimize Your IT Services Planning, Sourcing & Management

Services budgets represent 10% of annual IT operating and capital budgets[i], but Forrester sees considerable evidence that the influence of these IT Services vendors is proportionally higher — and growing dramatically. While there are several reasons for the rising importance of your services partners, at the most fundamental level Forrester sees that:

  • Business professionals need immediate access to tech-enabled innovation. Most strategic business initiatives now have an underlying technology component. Service providers come to the table with the tech savvy, vertical market expertise, and best practices to make these initiatives work.
  • IT professionals can’t keep pace with business demand. The volume and complexity of technology demands from business professionals means that traditional IT organizations have difficulty keeping pace. They too need to work with the best mix of IT service providers to meet the demands of their business. Effective supplier management is quickly becoming the most essential skill in IT organizations.
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Compiling CIO Insights From IBM’s CEO Study 2012

 

When I opened IBM’s CEO Study 2012 for the first time, I was quite disappointed. Headlines such as “CEOs are building analytical muscle” and “technology takes top spot” echoed like traditional vendor-speak in my ears.

But I was wrong. If you are a CIO thinking about your current and future role, take a few minutes of your time to read this document! Here are three takeaways for my CIO customers:

1)      Prepare to think differently about complexity. The CEO Study 2012 brings an obvious, yet counterintuitive, solution to the complexity gap, described in the previous CEO Study 2010 as: “Eight out of ten CEOs anticipate significant complexity ahead, less than half feel prepared to handle it.” IBM recommends that CEOs address this gap by empowering employees and encouraging collaboration, instead of a regulated, top-down approach based on controls. In the digital world, developing such a culture of openness goes far beyond traditional HR practices. While the CEO and HR will continue to be in charge of fostering a culture of transparency inside the organization, they will need you to manage the platforms and processes that inspire engagement on a massive scale, including for example facilitating communities and ideation.

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Build A High-Performance EA Practice

As the pace of change continues to accelerate in an increasingly complex business environment, organizations need to thoroughly understand how their business operates and plan the technology-fueled business transformation they'll need in the future. Establishing this understanding and enabling the transition to the future state have always been the concerns of enterprise architecture programs, and EA has emerged as a critical practice for managing an enterprise's evolution.

But EA programs have existed for more than a decade, and most of them have fallen short of these lofty goals. Why? Old-school EA has been too tactical, too technology-centric, or too disengaged from business priorities to have significant impact. Enterprises need a high-performance approach to EA that is laser-focused on driving business outcomes. To plan their future, organizations have the following alternatives:

  • Try to get there without a formal EA program.Enterprises that have yet to initiate an EA program — or have abandoned their effort — are operating without a coherent plan to evolve toward a clearly articulated future state. The lack of an EA program may not derail business as usual, but business change is likely to occur in a siloed, uncoordinated fashion.
  • Stick with the status quo EA program.Highly skilled and knowledgeable architects typically staff EA programs. But resources are typically focused on project-level activities. Strategy work is likely to be about technology road maps — not business capabilities. Isolating technology planning from business planning maintains the old-school, arms-length relationship between IT and the business.
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OBS Could Have A Comprehensive Smart City Strategy; But They Don't, Yet

Orange Business Services has all the pieces to have a comprehensive smart cities services offering. But they aren’t telling that story, or maybe just not yet. Given the interest in smart cities in the market and the need for services, it is certainly time they did.

I just spent a few days in Paris at an analyst event in which OBS presented the state of its business and strategy going forward.  The three main pillars of their 2011 achievements were growth of services revenue at 6.4%, sustaining their core networking business with 1.9% growth, and launch of a smart cities program. Given that top billing, I expected to hear more about the strategy. While there was mention of smart city activities throughout the event, details of an overall strategy were surprisingly missing. That absence was all the more marked as Orange named a new lead for the company’s Smart Cities strategic program back in October. And, frankly, I’ve been anxious to hear the story. 

But more importantly, the story could be much more than what was presented. What did we hear? The major accomplishments highlighted were last year’s launch of m2o city — a joint venture between Orange and Veolia to provide remote environmental data and water meter reading services — and a relationship with a major car manufacturer to enable collection of data directly from cars. Few details of either were provided. 

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What's Your Take On RfP Versus RfS?

Hi everybody. I'd like to get your opinion on the discussion about RfP versus RfS (Request for Solution). How do you see the difference?

I am always using the term RfP for the activities to invite a vendor to provide an offer for solving business issues. So as part of an RfP, we at Forrester describe the problem, the current state (CMO = Current Mode of Operation) and the to-be-expected future state (FMO = Future Mode of Operation). Despite the fact that we may describe the client's intention of the future state, we always ask invited providers to propose alternative solutions to the problem.

In this respect, I am currently reluctant to accept that we need another term besides RfT, RfI, RfQ, or RfP. From my experience, RfQ and RfP are the two things that differentiate between a commoditized service where you describe what the supplier has to deliver and an RfP in which you ask for a more "solution-oriented" proposal from the supplier. Rather than complicating things by adding new acronyms, I think it would be much better to use existing, well-established terms to differentiate between what we are looking for as a supplier's response.

Thanks for your comments.

 

Lutz

Are you opportunistic or strategic with your cloud investments?

Our latest survey on IT budgets and priorities shows that 35 percent of enterprises have a big focus on cloud computing (calling it a high or critical priority), but do we really know how best to apply that investment? 

We continue to see a large disconnect between what the business wants from cloud services and what the IT department wants to offer and support. The short story is the business wants public cloud services (or something very, very close to this value proposition) for delivering new services and capabilities to market. Yet IT wants to offer private cloud solutions that improve operational efficiency and drive down overall IT costs. IT doesn't have its head in the sand about business' demands, they just have to balance these desires against what IT is measured on - the cost and security of services provided. And frankly they don't trust the public cloud.

Knowing the psychology above, how best can an enterprise set a winning cloud strategy? if it invests purely against the business care-abouts it may win time to market but risks investing ahead of its ability to support and protect the business. If it invests against the IT priorities it risks alienating the business, increasing circumvention and being a laggard competitively. The answer lies in striking an appropriate balance between these conflicting priorities and choosing a strategy that encourages the most collaboration between business and IT and accelerating everyone's experience level with these new technologies. And that balance will be different for every firm based on their competitive market, regulatory environment and geography. But in general, most enterprises are being far more conservative than they should.

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Advanced Data Visualization - A Critical BI Component

As one of the industry-renowned data visualization experts Edward Tufte once said, “The world is complex, dynamic, multidimensional; the paper is static, flat. How are we to represent the rich visual world of experience and measurement on mere flatland?” Indeed, there’s just too much information out there for all categories of knowledge workers to visualize it effectively. More often than not, traditional reports using tabs, rows, and columns do not paint the whole picture or, even worse, lead an analyst to a wrong conclusion. Firms need to use data visualization because information workers:

  • Cannot see a pattern without data visualization. Simply seeing numbers on a grid often does not convey the whole story — and in the worst case, it can even lead to a wrong conclusion. This is best demonstrated by Anscombe’s quartet where four seemingly similar groups of x/y coordinates reveal very different patterns when represented in a graph.
  • Cannot fit all of the necessary data points onto a single screen. Even with the smallest reasonably readable font, single-line spacing, and no grid, one cannot realistically fit more than a few thousand data points on a single page or screen using numerical information only. When using advanced data visualization techniques, one can fit tens of thousands (an order-of-magnitude difference) of data points onto a single screen. In his book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward Tufte gives an example of more than 21,000 data points effectively displayed on a US map that fits onto a single screen.
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Thrive In The Age Of The Customer: Forrester's Playbook for CRM

 

We've entered a new era that Forrester calls the age of the customer. The new power of customers means that a focus on the customer now matters more than any other strategic imperative.

To help clients thrive in this new era, I recently published the executive overview of Forrester’s Playbook for CRM. The CRM playbook outlines four steps for you to follow to transform customer-facing business processes to deliver differentiated customer experiences: 1) discover the value of CRM; 2) plan the right strategy; 3) act to execute the strategy with precision; and 4) optimize your results.

Despite high CRM solution adoption rates, as organizations strive to succeed in the age of the customer, business and IT professionals responsible for customer-facing processes struggle with how to define CRM strategies, re-engineer customer-facing business processes, acquire and deploy the appropriate supporting technologies, and lead and sustain the organizational changes required to make the transition to new ways of working. To make savvy CRM decisions, you must understand and navigate a number of important trends:

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