How Much Time Do You Spend On Business Innovation?

That’s one of the questions we’re asking in our survey of business innovation practices, organizations, and technology use.

For the last few weeks, Forrester has been fielding a survey on innovation (as well as IT organization and IT governance). Do you want to find out how you stack up in areas such as:

- Innovation teams, processes, and funding models?

- Challenges to successful business innovation?

- Use of technology to support business innovation?

You can take this and the other surveys at: https://forrester.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_56Y0hU6NNIJKwfO (specify "Innovation" up front to go to that part of the survey).

Benchmark data from the survey will feed into our Sustained Business Innovation Playbook. We're aiming to publish the results in December or January. If you're not a client, enter your email at the end of the survey, and we'll share the results with you.

. . . and thanks in advance for sharing your experiences.

Chip Gliedman

“BMC You Later” — BMC Pushes The ITSM Tool Envelope With MyIT

Yesterday BMC announced MyIT, which it describes as a “new enterprise software solution that empowers employees to take personal control over the delivery of the IT services and information they need — anytime, anywhere, from any device.” I was demoed it prior to the announcement, and it definitely does provide employees with greater insight into, and control over, the IT services they consume.

My initial reaction?

Once I had got the initial thoughts of “I don’t like the name” — because it seemed “dated,” and because something like this is about more than IT — out of my mind, the jigsaw pieces that make up my opinion started to fall into place:

  • It is embracing so many of the challenges faced by IT organizations (and their customers), such as increasing customer expectations of IT per se, mobility, personal hardware (corporate and BYOD), customer service and support … and I could go on.
  • It picks up and runs with, not so much social as many would expect, but the consumer-led penchant for self-service (both for service delivery and support).
  • It starts to leverage the capabilities of our “gadgets” that are often neglected in the corporate (software) environment.
  • It makes service catalog more relevant and more accessible — service catalog is really about self-service from the customer interface POV. This could be self-service on steroids.
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You’re Running Out Of Excuses To Not Try Microsoft Windows Azure

If you have dismissed Microsoft as a cloud platform player up to now, you might want to rethink that notion. With the latest release of Windows Azure here at Build, Microsoft’s premier developer shindig, this cloud service has become a serious contender for the top spot in cloud platforms. And all the old excuses that may have kept you away are quickly being eliminated.

In typical Microsoft fashion, the Redmond, Washington giant is attacking the cloud platform market with a competitive furor that can only be described as faster follower. In 2008, Microsoft quickly saw the disruptive change that Amazon Web Services (AWS) represented and accelerated its own lab project centered around delivering Windows as a cloud platform. Version 1.0 of Azure was decidedly different and immature and thus struggled to establish its place in the market. But with each iteration, Microsoft has expanded Azure’s applicability, appeal, and maturity. And the pace of change for Windows Azure has accelerated dramatically under the new leadership of Satya Nadella. He came over from the consumer Internet services side of Microsoft, where new features and capabilities are normally released every two weeks — not every two years, as had been the norm in the server and tools business prior to his arrival.

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Want To Transform Your Business Processes? Get To A Single Version Of The Process

Most of us understand the criticality of creating and maintaining a single version of the truth for business data. We “get” the problem instinctively because so often, as individual consumers, we are the victims of disjointed, inaccurate, siloed information. To operate effectively, businesses must have trusted data that provides a 360-degree view of the customer and a comprehensive, accurate view of product information. This need has driven many companies to invest in master data management (MDM) and has even fueled the acquisition of MDM software by BPMS vendors who have a vision for how process and data technologies can work together.

As my colleagues have noted in other research reports, a single version of the truth for data helps companies:

  1. Deliver a consistent and reliable experience across multiple communication channels — such as voice, email, chat, and social channels.
  2. Optimize customer-facing processes such as contact management, customer segmentation, and campaign management using trusted customer, transaction, and third-party data.
  3. Deliver product information management for merchandising.
  4. Maintain an official system of record for employees. 
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Resources For Coping With The IT Impacts Of Hurricane Sandy, Near Term And Long Term

As we watch the hurricane Sandy news unfold, our thoughts are with the individuals and companies impacted by the storm. It's clear that a disaster of this magnitude will have lasting effects on how IT organizations plan for and react to natural disasters. Best case, I hope business technology leaders take note and learn from the experience, making planning for such events a priority for their organizations. Many of Forrester's largest clients already have comprehensive business resiliency plans in place for events like this, but many others do not. In terms of reacting to Sandy, my colleague Stephanie Balaouras just posted a great checklist of best practice activities for IT leadership teams to consider in the coming days as they work to restore IT operations for their organizations. Longer term, as Forrester's Rachel Dines will tell you, planning for events like this requires a lot more effort.  

Forrester's CIO Practice wishes those impacted a safe and speedy recovery. 

If You Never Anticipated An Event Like Hurricane Sandy, What Do You Do Now?

On Monday, Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast of the United States, flooding entire towns in New York and New Jersey, triggering large-scale power outages and killing at least 17 people. The health and safety of individuals is the first and foremost priority, followed by the recovery of critical infrastructure services (power, water, hospital services, transportation etc.). As these services begin to recover, many business and IT leaders are wondering how they will resume normal operations to ensure the long-term financial viability of the company and the livelihoods of their employees and how they will serve their loyal customers.

Most likely, if you have offices that lie in the path of Hurricane Sandy, you are experiencing some sort of business disruption, large or small. The largest enterprises, especially those in financial services, spend an enormous amount of money on business, workforce and IT resiliency strategies. Many of them shifted both business and IT workloads to other corporate locations in advance of the storm, proactively closed offices and directed employees to work from home or a designated alternate site.

If you are small and medium enterprise and, like many of your peers, you didn’t have an alternate workforce site, robust work-from-home employee capabilities, an automated notification system or a recovery data center, what do you do now? While it’s too late to implement many measures to improve resiliency, there are several things you can do now to help your organization return to normal operations ASAP. Here are Forrester’s top recommendations for senior business technology leaders:

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TechnoPolitics Podcast: Big Data Has Big Place In IT Ops

Forrester TechnoPoliticsA key role of IT operations is to keep a complex portfolio of applications running and performing. "Traditional monitoring dashboards generate lots of pretty charts and graphs but don't really tell IT operations professionals a whole lot," says Forrester Principal Analyst Glenn O'Donnell. Big data analytics will change that because sophisticated algorithms can "look for the little tremors that tell us something big is about to happen."

High Availability And Performance Are Top Goals For IT Ops
Asked what 5 nines (99.999%) of availability means, Glenn replies immediately, "5 nines of availability is 26 seconds of downtime per month." He adds "If you want to capture just one 26 second event, you have to be polling every 13 seconds." Glenn knows his stuff. Listen to find out from Glenn how big data has a big place in the future of IT operations.
 
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The Road To Social Business Starts With A Burning Platform (Part I)

(@TJKeitt has also published this post.) My colleague TJ Keitt and I have completed a six-month investigation into social business and collaborative transformation. As the title of the report suggests ("The Road To Social Business Starts With A Burning Platform"), these complex workforce programs work when there is a compelling motivation to change among employees, business sponsors, and IT. All three groups must adapt on the fly as the initiative unfolds. A picture tells a thousand words here: Linear road maps fail; interactive, interconnected road maps driven by a burning platform succeed.

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BI Adoption In Asia Pacific: Four Factors To Consider

As John Brand and I recently wrote, business intelligence (BI) adoption drivers, technology understanding, and organizational process maturity continue to vary widely across Asia Pacific (AP). But there is one constant in this market: the regularity with which BI appears at or near the top of CIOs’ priority lists.

While the gap between global best practices and regional implementations is closing, social, cultural, economic, and underlying technology trends will continue to affect BI adoption in the region for the foreseeable future:

  • Social. The adoption of social computing is expanding rapidly across all AP markets, but is particularly strong in growth markets like China, Indonesia, and the Philippines. As in North America and Western Europe, this adoption is already having profound effects on how organizations identify, understand, and engage with customers and other market influencers. But the lack of significant BI investments means that organizations in these growth markets are far more likely to consider issues like sentiment analysis, predictive analytics, and near real-time data access when sourcing initial BI projects.
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Hurricane Sandy Shows A Dramatic Improvement From Botched Katrina Response

My house sits atop a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean (hence, the neighborhood name of “Beachmont”) and was built sometime in 1890. It’s one of the tallest houses in the neighborhood and as I write this post, my house is swaying back and forth from 50 mile an hour winds (I’ve been told it’s meant to sway which is somewhat comforting but not entirely) and from my porch, I can see waves crashing over the sea wall and slamming into my neighbor’s homes below me. Needless to say, I have a vested interest in the emergency response to Hurricane Sandy.

There will be time for more detailed analysis later but here are just some initial observations and thoughts:

  • FEMA has come a long way since the incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina.
  • The response at the federal, state and local level has been much more proactive than I’ve ever seen it in the past. Many New England and Northeast states began communicating to cities and towns about the seriousness of the storm almost a week in advance, many declared emergencies as early as Saturday, and many insisted on mandatory evacuations for the riskiest areas.
    • The overall approach is better safe than sorry, even if worst fears about the storm don’t materialize.
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