I just wrote a paper on the value of information security. Please see the paper here. It is something I have thought about for a long time. Information security as a technical discipline but someone has to pay for all this fun we are having. My assumption is that as Willie Sutton is quoted as saying "Go where the money is...and go there often.” Today where organized crime and nation states are going is to information. It is amazingly easy to monetize certain kinds of information. There is a buyer for everything that hackers can steal. The impact to business has been debated for some time and we go to great lengths to perform risk assessments. What we don't do such a good job of is monetizing that risk.
Consider this. If we can monetize the information asset, we should be able to monetize the risk to that asset. The key to monetizing risk is knowing the value of the asset at risk. Different systems for risk assessment have been in place for some time. They all seem to revolve around professional judgment. My argument is that using a combination of threat modeling (war planning) plus simple asset monetization will allow us to monetize risk. The results will not be perfect, but they should be directionally correct. As Doug Hubbard says it is better to be directionally correct than specifically wrong.
Today Softbank — whose assets include the third largest mobile carrier in Japan — announced its intent to purchase a 70% share of Sprint in a complex financial transaction. It's a gutsy move by a company that has proven success as a market disruptor, first in fixed broadband service and more recently in mobility. Assuming the deal passes regulatory and shareholder muster, Sprint will receive a massive cash infusion that will expedite its implementation of its Network Vision update and its deployment of LTE technology across its national footprint.
But for Sprint to have any realistic chance of wresting market share from the Verizon and AT&T behemoths, it requires additional spectrum to expand its LTE capacity beyond the puny 5x5 MHz of its current plan. And there's a carrier rich in that spectrum resource: Clearwire. Sprint holds a minority interest in Clearwire, some of its customers use Clearwire's network, and it has designed support for the company's spectrum into its Network Vision, but Clearwire needs capital to complete its network and to effect the network's transition from WiMAX to LTE.
If Softbank's president Masayoshi Son is serious about enabling Sprint to disrupt the US mobile market, he needs to add control of Clearwire to his shopping list. CIOs looking to exploit Sprint as a viable alternative to the Verizon-AT&T duopoly need to see this additional step on the roadmap before making a commitment to Sprint for the long-term future.
I've been tackling an interesting challenge recently: how to define a mature business technology resiliency (aka disaster recovery) program. It's something I've been thinking about for years, but it was only a few months ago that I sat down to develop a concrete framework that enterprises could use to compare themselves to. Yes, I know there are existing frameworks for defining what maturity is for a business technology resiliency program, but in my model, I was trying to accomplish the following:
Simplicity. Without going overboard, I wanted to put together a model that could be completed within a few hours, rather than something that would take weeks to complete. The tradeoff, of course, is that this model is much less detailed than others. However, with many conflicting priorities, I know that many IT leaders can't take the time to fill out an assessment the length of the last installment of Harry Potter.
Objectivity. One of the benefits I have at Forrester is the ability to address this from a vendor-neutral perspective. I have no ulterior motives with this model and no vendor allegiances that could influence the outcomes.
Process-orientation. I strongly believe that a mature business technology resiliency program is built on a bedrock of repeatable, standardized, and streamlined processes. In the model, you will see there is a section on technology maturity, but the emphasis overall is on the process components.
SoftBank plans to inject $20 billion ($12 billion cash and $8 billion of new capital) to acquire 70% of Sprint Nextel. The deal will give Sprint about $8 billion in new capital, which will be used to complete its Network Vision network modernization strategy that will be completed in 2013. The deal gives SoftBank direct access to the much larger US wireless market and also boosts its 2.5/2.6 GHz TD-LTE 4G carrier ecosystem (the 2.5/2.6 GHz spectrum band also is licensed by Clearwire in the US, and Clearwire is 45% owned by Sprint). In addition, Sprint said previously that the devices running on its own FDD-LTE 4G network also run on TD-LTE, allowing it to offload customer traffic onto Clearwire’s network as needed. SoftBank claims that the deal, for which no regulatory or shareholder obstacles are expected, will close by mid-2013 and will make it the No. 3 mobile operator in the world, with $32 billion in revenues after Verizon with $37 billion and China Mobile with $43 billion, and just ahead of AT&T, also with about $32 billion, and Vodafone with about $31 billion. It also will have 96 million subscribers in the US and Japan.
I go to many industry events in my job, and as the fall event season passes its peak, there is one event that has stayed with me a month after it was hosted. It's Dreamforce – salesforce.com’s annual event, which was held on Sept 18-21 in San Francisco and which attracted more than 90,000 users (per salesforce.com's count). It wasn’t the size that made this event noteworthy, even though it was the biggest event that salesforce.com had ever hosted. It wasn’t the energy that permeated the venue, the numerous DJs, the MC Hammer performance before Marc Benioff's keynote, or even the theatre that surrounded every product keynote. It was the “positive-ness” that customers, both big and small, voiced at the event – positive-ness that made you believe in the “social enterprise” vision of the company, and that the company could deliver its ability to connect customers, partners, employees, and even products together.
Instead of focusing on features, functions, and product road maps, salesforce.com kept most messaging at the high level, hitting on the notes of “what do these applications do for me” and “why should I be interested?” Salesforce.com used customers and customer videos from the likes of Activision, Rossignol, GE, and Burberry, to name a few, to describe the real impact that salesforce.com has had on these companies. Some stories were down to earth – like Activision’s use of social channels to provide customer service to its customers. Some were more extreme – like GE’s using Chatter communities to monitor the health and performance of jet engines (engineers and products collaborating??).
There isn’t a sole, singular step companies and brands must follow to deliver engaging digital customer experiences. Website, mobile, social? Video streaming, content targeting, effective email campaigns, smarter analytics? Yes, please. And more of it.
Your challenge is finding the right mix (and prioritizing what makes sense) to make digital experience initiatives successful.
So let’s stipulate that in order differentiate with digital, you’ve got to consider what will get you there and establish priorities for your next budget cycle or next wave of strategic investment.
Although your priorities may vary, it’s instructive to see what other companies are investing in for better digital experiences.
You can get a clear view of this in recently available Forrester Research survey data. Earlier this year, Forrester surveyed 170 web content management professionals in a variety of industries asking for responses on what they have deployed, or plan to deploy in the next 12 months, to support online experiences.
Mobile content delivery, video streaming, email tools, and content targeting are high on the list of capabilities or near-term focus to serve digital experience requirements, according to respondents.
It’s important to note that even though we targeted our survey at WCM professionals, this does not mean they intend to source these capabilities from their existing WCM vendor. Many web content management software providers have done great work to retool their solutions to include many of the piece-parts that go into supporting digital experiences.
Actually, most customers do not directly compare Oracle with Salesforce.com, as organizations buy very different things from these two vendors. While Oracle has a diversified portfolio of middleware components and a bunch of business applications, Salesforce still clearly makes the majority of its revenue from its SaaS CRM products, delivered exclusively via a native public cloud. You are also welcome to read the blog of my colleague James Staten, who explored Oracle Oracle’s cloud announcements in detail.
The other day I had an interesting discussion with Google about their Fiber-to-the home (FTTH) infrastructure. Google’s reasoning behind the move into the network infrastructure space stems from the belief that online growth and technology innovation are driven by three main factors:
The cost of storage, which has fallen considerably in previous years.
Computing power, which has increased in previous years.
The price and speed of Internet access, which has been stagnant for a decade. Today, the average Internet user in the US receives 5 Mbit/s download and 1 Mbit/s upload speed.
On Monday morning, Polycom invited a few hundred of their closest friends to New York to open the NASDAQ stock market. Then, they revealed a new set of products demonstrating their commitment to put video into the routine of daily working life for information workers. I was one of those friends who had the unique opportunity to (as the CIO of one of Polycom's customer’s quipped) “make my job relevant to my teenage children,” by having my face on the widescreen in Times Square. But my kids don’t read my blog, so the important thing for the readers is taking a look at what Polycom said, and what it means.
Polycom discussed four themes through the day – their commitment to:
Deliver a superior user experience. A new UI design and the promise to deliver that UI to all their products, enabling more intuitive and consistent access to all Polycom communications capabilities – in rooms, on PCs, and even from smartphones and tablets. The new UI looks slick and the ability to use that, or a Microsoft Lync client, to access the broad range of Polycom services is a major step in delivering a useful and usable collaboration tool. The promise to deliver the UI as a software upgrade means that even existing Polycom customers will be able to enjoy the experience. Having recently visited Polycom's experience center at their new headquarters in San Jose, I will vouch for the intuitive, personal feeling of working a pure "new Polycom" environment.