Huawei Reaches The Next Stepping Stone In Its European Market Activities

During Huawei’s 2012 EMEA Analyst Event in Amsterdam, Huawei emphasised once again its commitment to Europe and its dedication to innovation. With sales of $3.8bn, 7,300 staff, around 800 of which are in R&D, and 10 R&D centres in Europe, Huawei has positioned itself as a leading provider of network infrastructure in the region. The main themes that we picked up during the event are:

  • Its carrier activities are increasingly dominated by software. Huawei emphasises the role if IT and software as a core focus area of its carrier network infrastructure activities, which still account for 74% of sales, going forward. Softcom, Huawei’s strategy to drive software defined networking and to move towards a flatter network architecture, is central to this transformation. By 2017, Huawei aims to generate around 40% of its network infrastructure revenues from software-related activities. The central goal of Softcom is to decouple applications from hardware in the network infrastructure and to integrate multiple operating systems into one cloud-based operating system. To succeed, Huawei needs to attract top IT expertise. Its partnerships with leading universities and research organisations like Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft go some way.
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Business Architecture Performance Management: Does It Really Exist?

It is that dreaded time of year again where we have to report via the performance management system (PMS) on our individual performance and the value we bring to the organization. I say dreaded, because we all know that in reality the goals and objectives were set some time ago in the past, maybe a year ago, and a lot has happened since that time. The person you report to may have changed, you were redirected to other tasks, and so on. Everything seemed possible at the time of the objective setting, but now the reality hits that you were or may have been far too optimistic about your own capability. The self-assessment is difficult as you are not sure whether your manager has the same view as you. You believe you met the objective, but does their expectation meet your actual delivery? If a good performance relates to more money, the pressure and stress builds.

So whilst I was preparing for my Orlando Business Architecture Forum presentation I started to think about how business architecture teams measure and manage their performance. One of my next reports for Forrester’s business architecture playbook addresses BA performance. It was also a hot topic for the EA Council members in Orlando. I had a number of 1-on-1’s with clients who particularly asked about BA metrics and performance — in particular, “What do other business architecture teams do?”

I started listing the questions that, when answered by clients, would lead to a very valuable report for all BA leaders:

Do you measure your BA’s performance? Clients often advise me that they have fairly mature BA practices. However, very few can articulate how they measure their performance, and often comment that the business asks them to demonstrate how BA adds value. So, it would be useful to understand whether BA leaders measure their team’s performance and why they do or don’t.

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Meeting Of The Minds 2012: A Glimpse At The Future Of Work And Innovation

A few weeks ago, I attended the Meeting of the Minds 2012, a conference dedicated to urban planning and sustainability, or smart cities. The conference was a great balance of academics and nonprofit advocates, city practitioners, and technology vendors. That is to say, it was exactly what it set out to be – a “meeting of the minds” – and was refreshing for those of us who spend a lot of time in the technology world. 

 The event started with several walking tours of San Francisco. I joined the Arts, Innovation and Sustainability Tour of Central San Francisco. The tour started with several LEED-certified buildings, including the headquarters of the tour’s host, San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR), a nonprofit, public-private collaboration with a mission of promoting urban innovation in the city. Next up was the 5M Innovation Project, which is itself an example of urban innovation. 

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Apple Affirms The Power Of Its Ecosystem Ahead Of Microsoft's Renewed Challenge

With Apple's launch of the iPhone 5 and myriad new device announcements from Amazon, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung, we pointed out that these devices are just one element of a broader ecosystem battle. Apple's product announcements at its San Jose, California, event this morning evince the company's continued ability to exert a superior gravitational pull on its customers and partners than its competitors. Here's why:

  • Customers get more choice in design and use model. Since Apple's 2010 introduction of the iPad, its competitors' tablet products have only clicked with customers in a separate category: smaller, handheld tablets directly targeted to content consumption — like Amazon's Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7. The new iPad mini’s design suits this use model but is also complementary to the larger iPad line because of its portability — perfectly suited to a range of enterprise applications like field service, where a larger tablet is cumbersome. We expect that many iPad owners, both enterprise and consumer, will add an iPad mini to their portfolio, as will iPhone owners — the new shared data plans from AT&T and Verizon Wireless help simplify the decision to include LTE in their iPad mini.
  • A new form factor enters the ecosystem without requiring any adaptation. Because the iPad mini display features the same specs as the iPad 2, neither customers nor developers need worry about compatibility or adaptation. All the apps and sites just work. The new device slots into the app and content ecosystem seamlessly — and into the support system that CIOs have put in place for enterprise tablets.
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Two Apple Devices Weigh Less than Two Windows 8 Devices. Will Employees Live With Just One?

As Apple sweeps up the dust from their latest launch event, Microsoft is preparing for the most extensive operating system launch ever, expecting to reach 2.1 billion people with its Windows 8 marketing launch over the next several months. It's as good a time as any to reflect on the state of the Windows tablet landscape and draw some conclusions about what it means for Infrastructure and Operations Professionals.

For the past year I have been passionately explaining to PC vendors the criticality of building a handful of products up to a standard instead of down to a price in a commodity market. If you can't differentiate in ways that people will pay a premium for, the only competitive levers left are quality, price and service…and you can't afford to make any mistakes. In this case, the people in question are those willing to spend their own money (without reimbursement) on tablets and laptops for work. Forrester data shows that it's a $10B market today and a $19B market by 2016. "IT Consumers" may be the only PC growth segment left.

Apple continues to prove this market's viability and they're placing a bet that tablets will remain tablets on their merits, and will continue to be an addition to the computer bag alongside the laptop, and they're building both up to a standard instead of down to a price. Microsoft is betting that what people want is a tablet and a PC all in one, and that apps which behave both as touch and desktop apps on the same device are the future. The Surface represents Microsoft's attempt to make the best possible case, and ensure the device is built to its own standards. Even though the latest Forrsights Employee data show that employee preference for Windows 8 on work tablets is already 20% vs. 26% for iOS, the one-device strategy is an incredibly risky bet. Let's look at some of the numbers from what's on the market:

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iPad Mini And iPad 4th Generation Fulfill A Market Mandate -- What CIOs Need To Know

Apple mastered the role of mass market volume and the role of the content ecosystem when it took iPod down market with the iPod Mini in 2004 and iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano in 2005, even as it steadily improved the iPod itself. Apple thus staved off competition from competitors like Creative, iRiver, Samsung, and Sony by offering a player at every price point. The result is a persistent domination of the MP3 player market and its attendant ecosystem: app store, customer base, and content portfolio. In other words, iPod Mini, iPod Nano, and iPod Shuffle made the Apple ecosystem powerful and momentous.

But while Apple created the modern tablet market, its dominance was not assured with a single form factor. Despite that the App Store has 275,000 iPad-specific apps. Despite the fact that already 200 million people are running Apple's latest iOS6 operating system. Despite the fact that Apple has paid $6.5 billion to developers building iOS apps so far. (These numbers all crush the Android and Windows mobile ecosystems.)

Despite all that, our Forrsights Workforce data shows that Apple's share of tablets in the workforce shrank from 67% in 2011 to 53% in Q2 2012. Samsung and Kindle Fire, took the bulk of that shift: Samsung has 13% of the global workforce tablet installed base in Q2 2012 and Kindle Fire has 5%. Both brands rely on small form factor tablets.

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Tech Buying Is On Hold Until After The Election

We are just at the start of the earnings releases on Q3 2012 vendor revenues and a week and a half from the first release of US GDP data on business technology investment in the quarter, but it is already clear that Q3 2012 will be a weak one in terms of tech market growth. IBM reported a 5% revenue decline its third quarter; Microsoft had an 8% decline in total revenues, and we estimate a 5% decline in its sales to business; and Tibco had a 3% drop in its revenues for its quarter ending August 31, 2012. Oracle's software revenues for its quarter for the same period rose by 2% (with license revenues down 1%); and Accenture saw its revenues for the same period rise by just 2%. While there have been some positives — Tata Consultancy Systems' revenues were up by 13%, and Adobe had a 7% increase in its revenues — weakness has been the dominant story so far.

Is this the start of a downward trend in the tech market? I don't think so. Yes, there continues to be weakness in Europe, with most countries there in or close to recession. But the US economy seems to be gathering strength, with consumer confidence on the rise, retail sales increasing, and the housing sector improving. China, which had been showing signs of slowing growth, also appears to be picking up. So, the economic fundamentals are pointing toward an improving tech sector in Q4 2012 and 2013.  

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Ideas On How Mobile + PC Collaboration Tech Will Evolve - Will We See Any Advance This Week?

I’m attending Apple’s special event tomorrow and Microsoft’s Windows launch on Thursday in NYC, though I won’t be at the Google and Microsoft events early next week. I’m tuned in for hints of where personal computing technology is going — how will mobile and PC influence one another?

Back in April, I wrote about the idea of “frames,” a new form of peripheral displays or all-in-one PCs that work tightly with your mobile device or laptop. When you arrive at a desk and sit down to work, these frames would automatically display your work from the mobile or laptop, so you can continue working seamlessly on a large screen. And not just a large screen, one that has sensors, extra computing power, and a wireless connection.

So I’ll be watching for things like support in Apple’s Macs for receiving AirPlay from mobile devices or Microsoft announcing how SmartGlass might make it possible for your tablet and desktop PCs to work together better.

What kinds of cooperation features are you envisioning that make mobile and PC technologies work together better?

The Mobile Tsunami Reframes Windows As One Of Three OS Players

Windows 8 is a make or break product launch for Microsoft. Windows will endure a slow start as traditional PC users delay upgrades, while those eager for Windows tablets jump in. After a slow start in 2013, Windows 8 will take hold in 2014, keeping Microsoft relevant and the master of the PC market, but simply a contender in tablets, and a distant third in smartphones.

Microsoft has long dominated PC units, with something more than 95% sales. The incremental gains of Apple’s Mac products over the last five years haven’t really changed that reality. But the tremendous growth of smartphones, and then tablets, has. If you combine all the unit sales of personal devices, Microsoft’s share of units has shrunk drastically to about 30% in 2012.

It’s hard to absorb the reality of the shift without a picture, so in the report “Windows: The Next Five Years,” we estimated and forecast the unit sales of PCs, smartphones, and tablets from 2008 to 2016 to create a visual. As you can see below in the chart of unit sales, Microsoft has and will continue to grow unit sales of Windows and Windows Phone. But the mobile market grew very fast in the last five years, while Microsoft had tiny share in smartphones and no share in tablets. 

If you look at the results by share of all personal devices, below, you can see how big a shift happened over the last five years as smartphone units exploded and the iPad took hold. 

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Why Pay Attention To Your Customer Service? Because It Will Impact Your Revenue

Enterprises must pay attention to the quality of customer service they offer because:

  • Good customer experiences boost repurchase probability and long-term loyalty. Customer loyalty has quantifiable economic benefits as measured over three dimensions: willingness to consider another purchase, likelihood to switch business to a competitor, and likelihood to recommend to a friend or colleague.
  • Poor customer service experiences lead to increased service costs. The cost of failing to meet these expectations is high: 75% of consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails, incurring costs.
  • Poor customer service experiences risk customer defection and revenue losses. Customers who have poor service experiences – estimated at 30% – are at risk of defecting, even if they do not complain – and the revenue impact of churn can be easily quantified.  
  • Poor customer experiences can quickly damage the reputation of your brand. Customers who are disappointed at the service they receive are quick to voice their disappointment, which is amplified over the social channels and can erode brand value. Forrester’s Social Technographics® ladder shows 68% of B2C consumers and 80% of B2B customers fall into the “spectator” category, which consists of people who read negative comments posted on social media sites.
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