Use Your Creativity To Find Sources Of Innovation

I’ve just participated in two webinars about innovation.  Claire Schooley and I hosted How To Foster, Manage, And Sustain Innovation. And Forrester alumnus, Navi Radjou, who is now with the Center for Creative Leadership and author of  Jugaad Innovation just gave a webinar on that topic. Navi talked about “doing more with less”—a big concept sweeping through emerging markets like India and Brazil.  Navi argues that improvised ingenuity has taken a backseat to structured innovation, leading to high R&D costs and stifled creativity.  And he took a swing at Six Sigma, arguing that it gets 99.999% sameness, or “better sameness” in Forrester’s view.

Forrester defines innovation as:

the transformation of a business process, market offering, or business model to boost value and impact for the enterprise, customers, or partners.

It’s time to think creatively about ideas for innovation. Look to:

Read more

What Will The Future Of IT (And Technology) Look Like?

At a CIO roundtable that Forrester held recently in Sydney, I presented one of my favourite slides (originally seen in a deck from my colleague Ted Schadler) about what has happened r.e. technology since January 2007 (a little over five years ago). The slide goes like this: 

Source: Forrester Research, 2012

This makes me wonder: what the next five years will hold for us? Forecasts tend to be made assuming most things remain the same – and I bet in 2007 few people saw all of these changes coming… What unforeseen changes might we see?

  • Will the whole concept of the enterprise disappear as barriers to entry disappear across many market segments?
  • Will the next generation reject the “public persona” that is typical in the Facebook generation and perhaps return to “traditional values”?
  • How will markets respond to the aging consumer in nearly every economy?
  • How will environmental concerns play out in consumer and business technology purchases and deployments?
  • How will the changing face of cities change consumer behaviors and demands?
  • Will artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and capabilities completely redefine business?
Read more

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?

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.
Read more

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!

Read more

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.

Read more

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. 

Read more

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.

Read more