Staffing For IT Service Delivery Success: Think Employee, Think Customer, Then Repeat

People-related IT service management (ITSM) blogs seem to be popular. Two based on the ABC of ICT work of Paul Wilkinson and his GamingWorks colleagues are amongst my most popular and more recently one detailing future ITSM roles (stolen from the Forrester Service Management And Automation Playbook writings of Glenn O’Donnell) is also proving to be very popular (it is also a good pre-read to this blog).

Hence I’m now stealing some people-related guidance from Eveline Oehrlich’s “Evolve Your Service Management And Automation Skills And Staffing” report to look at staffing for ITSM success, starting with career development.

Architect a service management and automation (SMA) career development plan

Read more

The Future Of Videoconferencing Is Everywhere-Access And Seamless Connectivity — But How Do You Get There?

 

In a work culture dominated by meetings, organizations continue to look to videoconferencing to cut travel by replicating the in-person experiences that employees prefer — or at least make voice conversations more engaging by fostering the trust and improved communication that comes with being able to read the other person’s body language. Today, we published our first Forrester Wave on room-based videoconferencing, evaluating seven vendors: Cisco, Huawei, LifeSize, Polycom, Radvision, Teliris, and Vidyo. The Forrester Wave positions vendors according to their ability to deliver a complete portfolio of videoconferencing solutions and their strategy in the face of several key trends.
 
Read more

The Future Of Digital Customer Experience Is More Than Mobile

Stephen Powers and I wrote this research together. The full report is available to Forrester clients at this link. The research is part of Forrester’s playbook to advise application development and delivery professionals on how to support their organization’s digital customer experience strategies.

Today’s rush to reach customers on their smartphones and tablets is just the beginning of an explosion of software-fueled digital touchpoints. Smartphones, tablets, eReaders, games, smart TV, goggles . . . there’s no end in sight. As Internet-connected devices spread and people adopt them, companies can reach and engage with their customers wherever they are and in new ways not possible through brick-and-mortar stores, television advertising, and catalogs. Each of these digital touchpoints enables continuous relationships between enterprise and customer.

But digital touchpoints cannot be islands. Customers expect a unified, consistent experience across the several touchpoints they use when engaging your firm. The vast majority of companies don’t yet have the design disciplines, technologies, and organizations to support unified digital experiences. Application development and delivery (AD&D) pros can and should help lead the search for the right practices, talents, and technologies to create unified customer experiences.

Key research takeaways:

Read more

The Future Of Microsoft .NET: New Options, New Choices, New Risks

Jeffrey S. Hammond and I wrote this research together. The full report is available to Forrester clients at this link.

One Microsoft platform era is ending, and another is beginning. The .NET era as we’ve known it is winding down. .NET doesn’t go away — it becomes Microsoft’s preferred server environment for a broader platform that also includes Windows 8 clients, the Windows Runtime (WinRT) application programming interface (API), and the Windows Azure cloud environment. This collection of technologies will define the new platform era — Forrester calls the set the new Windows platform. Why is Microsoft making a big change now? The answer is simple: Mobile devices from Apple and based on Google’s Android threaten Microsoft’s “Wintel” client franchise. Microsoft must introduce major change to its platform to keep up with advances in client hardware and device acquisition as well as an evolution in the very nature of software applications.

Microsoft has endeavored to make introduction of its new platform technologies evolutionary, and application development and delivery (AD&D) pros won’t face a forced march to the new technologies. But few AD&D leaders yet see the big picture of the new Windows platform, much less understand its implications for their .NET strategies. Our research report advises clients on how Windows 8, WinRT, Windows Azure, and .NET Framework 4.5 can help them develop and support mobile and cloud applications, create new styles of web and desktop applications, and deliver solutions faster, all while minimizing the disruptions to their current .NET activities.

Key research findings:

Read more

It Doesn't Matter Where EA Lives — So Let's Stop Arguing About It

George Colony, our CEO, just released a post on his blog about enterprise architecture, aptly enough named “Enterprise Architects For Dummies (CEOs).” I retweeted the post to my followers and received a flood of responses, most of which were violently disagreeing with George’s assertion that EA works for the CIO. I think this is a pointless argument, but underscores a very important change that most are missing.

Here’s what I mean:

  • The objection to putting EA under the CIO is based on an old-school notion.That notion is that CIOs are chief technology infrastructure managers. Our data shows that the role of CIO is changing, fueled by cloud and other as-a-service technology. CTOs or VPs of IT are increasingly taking on the job we used to think of as the CIO, while progressive CIOs are evolving to something else. Locating EA under the CTO is a bad idea, we all agree.
  • Every business is a digital business.If you don’t believe me, I’ll send you a pile of research. There is no such thing as a non-information-centric business anymore — or at least there won’t be for very long, because they are going out of business. Forrester has been using the term “business technology” (BT) for a while to indicate that there is no room for having separate business and IT — it simply won’t work much longer. Even in the most paper, analog verticals, we can give you example after example; check out Monsanto’s IFS (they are a seed company!).
Read more

If You're Not Helping Lay The Foundation For A Social Business, You Need To Start Now

The movement of information is key to today's global economy. Companies like General Electric send their design concepts to countries like India, allowing developers there to localize products to suit the domestic market. Firms like Intercontinental Hotel Group create customer communities to gather input from customers to fashion new services. Businesses like handheld device manufacturer Psion (recently acquired by Motorola) build social platforms to connect their partners to their customers in order to formulate new solutions. And prospective customers tap into social media like Facebook and Twitter to gather information and express ideas, which we see has the power to alter the course of companies as well as countries. In this environment, a successful company's competitive advantage comes in part from its ability to grow an information advantage -- the ability to share, process, and act upon information more rapidly than the competition.

Read more

Changing end user behaviour undermines traditional carrier business model and forces radical change

 

Carriers have lost a great deal of their relevance for end users. People of all shades, individuals, employees, information workers, etc, are looking for solutions that meet their demand, not connectivity per se.

In our view, four trends matter significantly for carriers since they strike at the heart of their customer facing relationships in the shape of changing end-user behaviour:

  • Applications have become the focal point for end-users. Phone or connectivity features are less interesting. The carrier brand is not seen as the destination to turn to for app-demand. Merely 18% of business users would turn to a carrier for apps compared to 49% who go directly to the classic app stores. Carriers ought to get closely involved in HTML5 development as it paves the way for OS-independent Web-based apps, thus potentially limiting the influence of operating systems like iOS or Android over the ecosystem. Carries must strive to accommodate where possible app developers to remain somewhat influential ecosystems players.
  • Users buy devices directly. There is an increasing push by device manufactures (traditional like Samsung and Apple and emerging such as Google, Amazon etc) to sell devices directly to the customer, both business and consumer, and outside the carrier channel. This robs carriers of their main service distribution channel and undermines their potential to monetise value added services.
  • Carrier-selection is becoming more ad-hoc and temporary. The emergence of embedded software SIMs “interrupts” the relationship between user and carrier. End-users will increasingly be able to select carriers after they purchase a device and for certain circumstances like content consumption or for international roaming. As a result price wars for basic connectivity will increase once again.
Read more

Why IBM Bought Kenexa: To Reach A New Business Technology Buyer

Here's the Tweet-length version of the analysis:

"3 bullet analysis of Kenexa: 1) IBM needs to sell to biz tech buyers. 2) IBM bought an HR app suite - good. 3) Is salesforce.com next?"

Okay, so let's tease that apart a little bit.

  1. I think IBM buying Kenexa, with 2011 revenues of $291M in non-GAAP revenue, and 8,900 customers, is a good thing. A quick look at the 2011 10-K reveals that of the $291M in non-GAAP revenue, $212M or 73% of it is subscription revenue related to its human capital management software and outsourcing services. And it sells that software to an HR executive, a customer that IBM does not currently have.
  2. The HR business executive is increasingly responsible for the technology to improve workforce productivity in addition to hiring, training, and compensation management. Systems of engagement that "empower people to take action in their moments of need" are the future of software-based productivity improvements. We've automated the heck out of transaction and highly regular processes. Now we need to automate the ad hoc processes that limit human, hence business, productivity.
  3. IBM has its eyes firmly fixed on improving workforce productivity through systems of engagement, including social business software. And that's where IBM's Social Business goals intersect with Kenexa's business model: Sell software and services to a business executive, then help that executive improve workforce productivity through the smart application of analytics, social connections, search, information capture, activity alerts, and real-time communications - the software anchors of social business.
Read more

Do Banks Really Need To "Own" Mobile Banking?

Australian Banks have often been at the forefront of global banking trends, or at the very least, fast followers that learn quickly from the mistakes of others. In Australia, mobile banking has quickly become a "war" amongst the majors with a range of different banking services and approaches - from basic access to transactional histories, transfers, payments, integrated retail services, and even near-field-communications-based micro-payments systems.

But how much of the mobile banking channel do banks really need to own? Most banks no longer own or operate their own ATM networks. They control the flow of transactions through that channel, but they generally have little to no interest in owning the assets or operating ATM cash management processes. Mobile banking is a complex and costly business to be in. With the advent of Internet banking, it quickly became clear that the cost of delivering online banking services through the internet was rarely, if ever, a more cost-effective channel than the bank-owned and operated PC-based products (remember the dedicated dial-up modems!). But in theory it should have been. All of the cost modeling showed that it should be cheaper. Yet banks have continued to invest more and more in building out, maintaining, operating - and particularly securing - their Internet banking channels.

Read more

Can US Government Shift To Outside-In Digital Approach?

I’ll refrain here from my urge to inject cynicism upon hearing the US government wants to take a more user-friendly and efficient approach to serving its citizens online.

Instead, we’ll applaud United States Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, who just appointed the first class of Presidential Innovation Fellows. These 18 hand-picked, private-sector leaders will spend the next six months in Washington working on five impactful digital projects. Their mandate: to help better connect US citizens to government information, data, and services, all part of the Digital Government Strategy unveiled in May.

Embracing new ideas and technology to solve real problems and deliver winning customer experience management (CXM) strategies is separating winners from losers in business, so why not government? Thinking holistically from the point of view of your customers is at the center of Forrester’s new book, Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business, by my colleagues Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine.

Each of the Fellows’ projects is compelling. You can read more about them here. (Follow the Feds’ innovation on Twitter at #digitalgov and #innovategov.)

Two projects in particular caught my eye.

Read more