Oracle Continues to Make Cloud Progress

Well if you're going to make a dramatic about face from total dismissal of cloud computing, this is a relatively credible way to do it. Following up on its announcement of a serious cloud future at Oracle Open World 2011, the company delivered new cloud services with some credibility at this last week's show. It's a strategy with laser focus on selling to Oracle's own installed base and all guns aimed at Salesforce.com. While the promise from last year was a homegrown cloud strategy, most of this year's execution has been bought. The strategy is essentially to deliver enterprise-class applications and middleware any way you want it - on-premise, hosted and managed or true cloud. A quick look at where they are and how they got here:

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Seeking The Elusive Zone Of Disruption

As I analyzed examples of digital disruption I’ll be highlighting at the upcoming CIO Forum — “Leading Digital Disruption” — I was struck by the way in which every example could be tied to a shift in customer experience along two dimensions: pleasure and time.

Along the pleasure dimension, disruptive technologies significantly increase the pleasure (or reduce the frustration) derived from the customer experience. For example the iPad significantly increased my pleasure in browsing the web and engaging with brands I like through tailored apps.

And on the time dimension, disruptive technologies save customers significant amounts of time; time being the most precious commodity in the world. My iPad allows me to do many things much faster than I could before because it is easy-to-use and contains many apps which connect my lifestyle together.

So I began to explore how CIOs might use this understanding to help shape the analysis of prospective disruptive strategies. What I came up with is the customer experience zone of disruption (or CxZOD for short — see illustration).

In the zone of disruption, the impact on pleasure and/or time is so great as to cause a disruptive force in the marketplace. When coupled with an assessment of potential market impact, this becomes an easy-to-understand visual model for comparing potential disruptive initiatives.

In my session at the forum, I’ll be exploring this model and showing how to use it to better understand existing technologies, such as mobile apps, and their potential to become disruptive.

What disruptive digital technologies would you place in the CxZOD? Post your comments below or Tweet #CXZOD

"Xerox this" Takes On A New Meaning: Business Transformation

I attended a Xerox analyst event last week in Grenoble, France, and was very impressed with both the setting and what I heard. Xerox is much more than the verb it was once associated with, and office workers no longer set off to get something “xeroxed.” As the CEO said in a recent interview, the younger generation doesn’t know Xerox as a verb. I mentioned having read this to a fellow analyst at lunch the first day of the event, and she looked at me quizzically. She didn’t know what it meant to “xerox” something. Indeed, there is hope for Xerox to recast itself as much more than a copier. However, there remains work to be done. 

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Deutsche Telekom in arranged marriage for T-Mobile USA through reverse acquisition by MetroPCS

 

Deutsche Telekom is leading its daughter T-Mobile USA down the aisle for a second time in less than two years after the previous marriage attempt with AT&T collapsed in light of regulatory objections (see http://goo.gl/hgCrm). But T-Mobile USA will not leave the house altogether. Should the deal go through, Deutsche Telekom will own 74% in the NewCo. The NewCo will operate as one company with two brands, similar to how Everything Everywhere was run. MetroPCS Shareholders will own the remaining 26%.

The financial plan is that scale effects will translate into $6-7 billion of cost synergies from enhanced scale and scope. Deutsche Telekom pitches the deal as creating a wireless value leader in the non-contract (pre-paid) segment, with the goal of targeting a growing market segment. The ambition for the NewCo is to generate compound annual growth rates of 3-5% for revenues, 7-10% for EBITDA and 15-20% for free cash flow over the next five years.

The deal raises several issues for me:

  • Targeting a market opportunity requires ongoing investments. In my view, the goal for growth looks ambitious based on the proposed value proposition. Whilst I do see a market opportunity for unlimited data plans (i.e. NewCo’s value proposition), I believe that ongoing investments beyond the existing ones are required to ensure QoS and customer experience. The completed network modernization to the tune of US$4 billion LTE investment including site upgrades and spectrum re-farming provides a good starting point. But more capex is required in the years ahead as data traffic continues to explode. In turn, this could undermine free cash flow growth ambitions.
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Five Lessons From Dreamforce 2012

DreamforceIt’s been a couple of weeks since Dreamforce ended, and in between client engagements and research I’ve had some time to digest the event — so I’d like to share some lessons from Dreamforce 2012:

1. If you build it they will come (no, really)

Setting a record for attendance at a vendor-led technology conference, Dreamforce 2012 was BIG. With over 90,000 attendees, it was hard not to be impressed by the logistical efforts taking place behind the scenes. Think of it ... How do you feed 90,000 people in a couple of hours? Not to mention the enormous bandwidth issues for Wi-Fi and even 4G providers when you put this many social people together. Back when I was running marketing at a tech vendor, I was planning events based on how many square feet of conference space we would we need ... the Salesforce team plans on a scale of how many conference centers will they need. This was an amazingly large event with very few crowd control issues. And the mobile app for the conference made everything much easier, despite occasional Wi-Fi outages. My hat's off to the conference team at Salesforce for pulling this off.

2. Salesforce.com has adopted a business strategy which embraces social business

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Key Takeaways From Forrester’s India CIO Summit

Forrester held its first CIO Summit in New Delhi, India on September 26, 2012. The theme of the event was “From IT To Business Technology (BT) And Beyond.” There were more than 100 attendees, and it was truly a memorable experience interacting with everyone. By the end of the day, I had received encouraging responses from attendees, as many CIOs expressed their willingness to work with Forrester. They found that no other research firm focuses on understanding how changing customer expectations affect what the business needs from them or helps them make better decisions to become successful and influential leaders. We had a great mix of analyst and CIO presentations, and the panel discussion on “Taking Your First Business Technology Steps” with our guest CIO speakers was complete bliss.

The key takeaways from the summit:

·         IT/business alignment doesn’t necessarily equate to success. The consumerization of IT and fast-changing business dynamics make it challenging for CIOs to continue to align their IT organizations with the business. The reality in today’s world is that IT must become an integral part of the business and CIOs need to develop their IT strategy in conjunction with business leaders.

·         Disrupt or be ready to get disrupted. According to Forrester’sForrsights Budgets and Priorities Tracker Survey, Q2 2012,customer expectations are the top concern among business decision-makers in Asia Pacific. Today, customers are redefining differentiation for organizations in the age of the customer and are setting the stage for rapid digital disruption.

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The Anytime, Anywhere iWorker

Recently, my colleague Melissa Parrish wrote a great report on the Always-Addressable Customer, a population of ultra-connected consumers for whom mobile is a key touchpoint. Based on the number of Internet-connected devices they use, the locations they connect from and the frequency with which they go online each day, Melissa's analysis showed that 38% of online adults in the US already meet the criteria of always-addressable.

Her analysis got me thinking about information workers (iWorkers). What percentage of iWorkers -- based on the number and diversity of devices, locations and applications used for work -- could be called "Anytime, Anywhere iWorkers"? There are about 79 million iWorkers in the US today, about one-third of the total US online population of 247 million. Using our Forrsights Workforce Employee Survey of about 5000 iWorkers, we discovered that 15.1% -- or about 12 million -- meet our criteria of 3 connected devices, 3 locations and at least 7 applications used for work in any given month.

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The State Of Business Technology Governance -- What’s Next?

 

As you may know, my colleague Craig Symons and I have started an initiative to refurbish our research agenda on business technology (BT) governance. Our intention is to develop a collection of documents on “good” IT governance practices for CIOs. The research is based on facts and findings gathered through interviews with leading practitioners, case studies, survey questions, reviews of popular and state-of-the-art methodologies, and our long standing industry experience. This blog post provides you with an overview of our assumptions, the current initiative’s status, what kind of questions we have answered so far, and what we plan next. Your feedback, questions, and recommendations are warmly welcome!

We are building the research on a few basic assumptions: BT governance and “good” IT governance are the same. We define them as a conscious effort by senior executives to establish strategies, structures, processes, and measurements for the management of technology to boost business results. We assumed also that the current wave of tech innovation affects not only how information workers and IT departments manage devices and services but also how business executives evaluate, drive, and monitor IT-related decisions.

At this stage, we have verified our assumptions through interviews with governance and industry experts and reviewed several consulting engagements and case studies. We have also launched a global survey, which we invite you to take. 

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Is Microsoft Rising To The Challenge(s)? — Notes From The Asia Pacific Analyst Summit

Forrester attended Microsoft’s Asia Pacific Analyst Summit in Singapore last week for a comprehensive and very timely strategy update with less than a month to go before the launch of Windows 8. Organized under a general theme of Microsoft’s New Era, the update highlighted Microsoft’s strategy for remaining dominant in the post-PC era, where mobility, consumerization, social, and cloud have driven massive IT industry innovation and disruption. Three key observations from our analysts in attendance:

  • Azure is emerging as a key strength as organizations increasingly leverage hybrid cloud approaches. As both a leading provider of public and private cloud services (directly and via hosting partners) and a strategic platform provider within enterprise data centers, Microsoft is very well positioned to embed hybrid cloud capabilities within its platform. This will benefit organizations of all sizes seeking to lower the cost of computing and increase business agility. While we were encouraged by how software license-agnostic Azure’s business leaders appear to be, we believe Microsoft can do a better job of leading with Azure in the enterprise market instead of leading so consistently with its traditional licensed software products.
  • Windows 8 devices will help boost Microsoft’s standing in the mobility market. Microsoft showcased a number of prelaunch Windows 8 devices from its OEM partners, and it’s clear that consumers will have a much better lineup of mobile devices to choose from in the future. Microsoft also presented several Windows Phone 8 smartphones from Nokia and Samsung and has wisely implemented a strategy to identify the top mobile apps in each Asia Pacific country and support app developers in creating versions for the Microsoft platform.
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