Musings During A Hurricane: Why We Still Need Workforce Continuity Plans In A Mobile World

I'm having a frustrating day. It's only partly because there is a hurricane raging outside and I'm cooped up inside with a hyperactive dog. The main source of my frustration is my inability to communicate with the outside world. Yes, I still have power, and the Internet, but unfortunately, with cell networks overloaded, no landline (hello, this is 2012), and VPN failing, I can't seem to talk to anyone. At least comprehensibly. Of course, since I'm a resilient and resourceful employee, I've tried everything from GoogleTalk to Skype to our internal VOIP systems all with no success. Who would have thought in this modern era of the anytime, anywhere worker, that I would be rendered mute?

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More ITSM Tool Bells And Whistles, And Where The Real Focus Of Vendor Attention Should Be

October 2012 has been a busy month for IT service management (ITSM) tool vendor press releases, such as (in chronological order):

  • BMC announced updates to its ITSM portfolio across BMC Remedy IT Service Management Suite 8.0, BMC FootPrints 11.5, BMC Remedyforce, and BMC Track-It! on October 9.
  • Citrix announced GoToAssist Service Desk on October 17 (post Beetil acquisition).
  • HP announced its new software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering – HP Service Anywhere – on October 22.
  • ServiceNow released Q3 earnings and announced 145 new customers on October 24.
  • CA Technologies announced CA Nimsoft Service Desk 7 at the itSMF USA’s Fusion 12 conference (and no doubt there will be other announcements at Fusion that I haven’t been pre-briefed on).
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Presenting Four Cases That Can Help You Transform Your Organization Into A Social And Collaborative Business

My colleague Ted Schadler and I recently completed a six month investigation into social business and collaborative transformation. As the title of the report -- The Road To Social Business Starts With A Burning Platform -- suggests, these complex workforce programs work when there is a compelling motivation to change behaviors among employees, business sponsors, andRead more

A Structural Tune-Up For An Applications Organization

I was talking with a client the other day about the reporting structure of her applications organization. The group had a single leader, but underneath, it was subdivided into groups that were a combination of technology (website, data analytics, intranet), business unit (four major ones), and IT processes (QA). The leader of this group knew that every organization is different based on the culture, size, maturity of managers and a dozen other factors. However, she was seeing a lot of friction between groups and wanted to know what structural changes other organizations had made and what the tradeoffs were.

We started by talking about the direction of the organization. In particular, she needed to determine if the business units were moving to greater integration of their data and processes or whether the business silos formed were just fine. Though most organizations are moving to greater integration, this is not an obvious answer, as some companies have run-off business areas that are in maintenance mode and may be kept separate. For this call, she asked that we assume the company needed greater integration. There were other drivers around growth and cost containment that we discussed as well.

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BT Opens Global IP Exchange In Singapore For Fixed And Mobile Operators

For hosted voice service providers and mobile network and fixed-line operators, BT’s launch of a major global IP exchange (GIPX) hub in Singapore could be good news. Set up to meet the demand for growing traffic over its IP Exchange platform, this is the third announcement I’ve seen from telcos in this region in the space of two months — the others being Telstra Global Services and Tata Communications.

BT’s wholesale service enables communications providers to connect VoIP to VoIP and VoIP to traditional voice calls, and runs over its MPLS network — i.e., a private IP network.

I spoke with Beatriz Butsana-Sita, managing director of BT Global Services and Global Telecom Markets, who explained that delivering the GIPX service closer to BT’s wholesale customers in this region serves to minimize their cost to interconnect to BT’s clearinghouse. “GIPX also provides an opening into BT’s platform for advanced IP services that we continue to invest in,” she said.

The telco is also working on a number of developments to further expand the service, such as the ability to support mobile 4G and provide video interoperability between different devices and networks.

The BT GIPX Singapore hub:

  • Provides a local switch function in the Asia Pacific region. This brings BT’s GIPX service closer to customers’ networks.
  • Acts as a multiservice GIPX point of presence (PoP). This helps address the growing demand for interconnect services in the region. The services that benefit from and are supported by GIPX include fixed and mobile voice (at a range of qualities, e.g., high-definition voice); fixed, mobile, and wireless data; roaming services; and videoconferencing.
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Big Data: The Worst Category Name Ever

Grant me a "crabby old guy" rant on big data. I continually hear people in our industry using the term big data as a product-category name -- and confusing everyone about the business value of big data solutions. Moreover, too many people now seem to think that Hadoop is big data, when Hadoop is just one of the several big-data solutions available -- and Hadoop isn't good for many big data scenarios.

Big data is a label for the trend toward processing dynamic (and therefore voluminous) data using in-memory architectures. This trend is being played out in 8 major scenarios that I can find. In each case, enterprises are struggling to understand how the various big data solutions will help generate revenue and profits, manage expenses, and service customers and citizens.

I posted a slide deck from a recent discussion of the big data trend on Slideshare. Here is the link: http://www.slideshare.net/johnrrymer/the-worst-category-name-ever. In that slide deck, you'll see this diagram listing the 8 big data scenarios we've seen in our work with clients here at Forrester Research.

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Master Data Management Does Not Equal The Single Source Of Truth

The number one reason I hear from IT organizations for why they want to embark on MDM is for consolidation or integration of systems. Then, the first question I get, how do they get buy-in from the business to pay for it?

My first reaction is to cringe because the implication is that MDM is a data integration tool and the value is the matching capabilities. While matching is a significant capability, MDM is not about creating a golden record or a single source of truth.

My next reaction is that IT missed the point that the business wants data to support a system of engagement. The value of MDM is to be able to model and render a domain to fit a system of engagement. Until you understand and align to that, your MDM effort will not support the business and you won’t get the funding. If you somehow do get the funding, you won’t be able to appropriately select the MDM tool that is right for the business need, thus wasting time, money, and resources.

Here is why I am not a fan of the “single source of truth” mantra. A person is not one-dimensional; they can be a parent, a friend, or a colleague, and each has different motivations and requirements depending on the environment. A product is as much about the physical aspect as it is about the pricing, message, and sales channel it is sold through. Or, it is also faceted by the fact that it is put together from various products and parts from partners. In no way is a master entity unique or has a consistency depending on what is important about the entity in a given situation. What MDM provides are definitions and instructions on the right data to use in the right engagement. Context is a key value of MDM.

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A Chat With Trend Micro: Consumer Security Apps And Services Extend Beyond Security And Privacy

I recently attended Trend Micro’s Insight 2012 event for an update on corporate and product strategy from Trend executives, hear from partners and enterprise customers about their experiences working with Trend Micro, and sit down to 1:1's with business unit leaders. I met with Carol Carpenter, EVP of Consumer, who shared a bit about what Trend is doing for consumers and provided demos of their latest Android mobile apps out on the market and in development. Of the ones available now, they are the usual suspects – mobile security, backup and restore, and a password manager. And then, there’s a battery optimizer app. Random? No, not really.

Consumer security has come a long way from simply antivirus software for PCs. Mobile security is undoubtedly on everyone’s minds at this point (oh no! device loss, malware, my apps are spying on me!), but that’s only one factor (albeit a big one) contributing to the evolution of this consumer security market. We’re looking at protecting devices, data, identities, interactions, privacy, the consumer – in short, the online experience. That’s where the umbrella of consumer security expands, and I see apps like Trend’s battery optimizer fitting in. It’s not a “security” solution in the traditional sense, and more of a productivity tool. Consumers gain visibility into what the device and apps are doing (to the battery), and using that information to then make an informed decision (e.g., stop running that app, turn off Wi-Fi, etc) to preserve battery because it’s running too low for comfort.

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Best In Cloud Award Winner - Congratulations From Forrester

 

Computerwoche Germany has organized this week the second annual BestInCloud Award. I had the honor to be on a jury for this unique award again. The BestInCloud Award is really unique, as it does not simply compare cloud products. It is looking at successful implementations of real cloud projects in Germany. The balance of great customer value AND a good leverage of an underlying cloud IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS is the secret source to convince the jury. I'd like to congratulate this year's winners and share with you what impressed me personally most with these projects:

 

SaaS - Public Cloud: arvato systems GmbH 

Customer: Janssen KG

Project: farmpilot - mobile farm management 

This project was the only SaaS application heavily leveraging mobile access to the cloud in addition to bringing multiple companies, including farmers, contractors, and agricultural traders, together in a way it would never be possible if a single company owned a system on premises.

 

SaaS - Privat Cloud: Plex Systems, Inc.
Customer: Inteva Products, Inc.
Projekt: Inteva Products, Inc. implemented an integrated ERP system for manufacturing

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Microsoft’s Tablet And Smartphone Licensing: Still Counting Devices When The World Only Wants To Count Users

Over the last few years, there have been fantastic advances in technology that have brought us almost a billion smartphones and tablets. These handy mobile computers give us access to our Microsoft Windows and Office products anytime and from anywhere. No longer are we tied to the old clunky desktop device in the office. This is good stuff: It lifts the age-old location-dependent restrictions that meant nothing got done unless you were physically in the office.

There’s only one hitch: Microsoft continues to apply licensing models that count physical devices. Device counting is fine if I have multiple access devices each with their own Windows and Office software versions installed. But when I only have one version of Windows and Office but wish to access that version remotely or virtually via multiple access devices, why should I have to pay more for the privilege? In today’s increasingly cloud-delivered software world that simply counts users not devices, that’s the question more and more people are asking.

Some details: With Windows 8, users that have a "primary device" licensed under a volume agreement with Software Assurance (SA) for Windows can access Windows on- or off-premise on up to 4 devices by buying the new Companion Subscription License (CSL). Prior to the advent of the CSL, each extra device required a Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) subscription in order to provide virtual access to their Windows desktop.

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