Forrester clients can access the full report here. The research is part of Forrester’s playbook (warning: pay wall) to advise application development and delivery (AD&D) leaders on strategies to deliver digital customer experiences.
Digital customer experience is the next big opportunity for AD&D professionals. Business leaders responsible for marketing, sales, and support need advice and guidance from AD&D leaders as they select vendors and technologies. They need AD&D (working with colleagues in enterprise architecture) to establish the technical services and tools to deliver and optimize cross-channel customer experiences. And they need AD&D's expertise in project and program management and software quality assurance. To grasp this opportunity, the typical AD&D organization must transform to be quicker; master new technologies and relationships; and broker, as well as build, digital experience solutions. This research outlines how to create a strategy for this transformation, both for AD&D shops just beginning the digital experience journey and organizations already well down the path.
Key takeaways from this research:
AD&D should play a strategic role in digital experience delivery. Enterprises can outsource to consultants some, but not all, of the design and implementation work required for cross-channel digital customer experiences. Core services will remain strategic assets best managed by AD&D professionals. The question for AD&D leaders is how to gain a place at the table with their enterprise's business leaders.
I often see two ends of the extreme when I talk to clients who are trying to deal with data confidence challenges. One group typically sees it as a problem that IT has to address, while business users continue to use spreadsheets and other home-grown apps for BI. At the other end of the extreme, there's a strong, take-no-prisoners, top-down mandate for using only enterprise BI apps. In this case, a CEO may impose a rule that says that you can't walk into my office, ask me to make a decision, ask for a budget, etc., based on anything other than data coming from an enterprise BI application. This may sound great, but it's not often very practical; the world is not that simple, and there are many shades of grey in between these two extremes. No large, global, heterogeneous, multi-business- and product-line enterprise can ever hope to clean up all of its data - it's always a continuous journey. The key is knowing what data sources feed your BI applications and how confident you are about the accuracy of data coming from each source.
For example, here's one approach that I often see work very well. In this approach, IT assigns a data confidence index (an extra column attached to each transactional record in your data warehouse, data mart, etc.) during ETL processes. It may look something like this:
If data is coming from a system of record, the index = 100%.
If data is coming from nonfinancial systems and it reconciles with your G/L, the index = 100%. If not, it's < 100%.
Agile and Lean transformations depend to a great extent on cultivating a good sourcing ecosystem. The decisions you make around the partners and providers supporting your transformation and projects will be at the core of a successful strategy. But sourcing strategy needs to go beyond just resource or services providers (read outsourcing) and address a larger ecosystem made of Agile SW development and delivery choices, collaboration and communication capabilities for distributed teams, and teams' physical work spaces, standard equipment, and office layout.
In September, I published a report on how to source your Agile strategy, that describes what the ecosystem looks like and how to navigate it effectively, the document is part of our larger research container on Agile - The Agile and Lean Playbook. The report gives an overview on how large vendors, SIs, and medium to small consulting organizations can (not) help you with your Agile journey but also what you need to do to be successful. Here are some of the takeaways from the research:
What you think about Agile and Lean might not be what your SI thinks. You need to take control of your own destiny with Agile and Lean. Change your application development and delivery sourcing strategy to embed the best talents around the world to help you make it happen. But be careful with the traditional SIs, because Agile is as disruptive to them as it is you, and if they have not been seriously transforming themselves, it will be hard for them to deliver Agile services to you. Some good alternative new fully Agile players exist, including highly specialized external consulting firms. You might want to start testing the ground with these options.
In our recently published report, Ron Rogowski, Stephen Powers, and I explored how organizations are rethinking their personalization strategies. Organizations have long understood the need to "personalize" their websites for customer segments in order to meet customer needs, feel personal, and deliver in the moment. But we’ve seen many organizations fail to deliver highly relevant experiences to their customers. "We were about to launch personalized content, but our dog ate the segmentation and targeting strategy." We haven't heard that one (yet), but organizations and their agencies frequently cite a familiar set of reasons for continuing to offer non- or underpersonalized sites.
What’s going wrong? Organizations fail when delivering contextual experiences. They must take into account who the customer is, what that customer did in the past, and the customer’s situation — what’s happening to the customer at that moment and from which touchpoint he or she is engaging with the brand. While they may take one or two of these into account, many organizations we speak with (especially outside of the eCommerce space) fail to take all three into account.
What does this mean for application development and delivery professionals? After all, IT will eventually need to support these contextualization initiatives. Here are a few questions to get you started:
James Staten and I wrote this vision of the future of cloud computing. The full report is available to Forrester clients at this link. The research is part of Forrester’s playbook to advise CIOs on productive use of cloud computing and is relevant to application development and delivery leaders as well.
This research charts the shifts taking place in the market as indicated by the most advanced cloud developers and consumers. In the future, look for the popular software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) models to become much more flexible by allowing greater customization and integration. Look for more pragmatic cloud development platforms that cross the traditional cloud service boundaries of SaaS, platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and IaaS. And look for good private and public cloud options — and simpler ways of integrating private-public hybrids.
The key takeaways from this research are:
IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS boundaries will fall. In the future, no cloud will be an island. SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS will remain distinct but expand to anchor cloud platform ecosystems that weave together application, development platform, and infrastructure services. Business services built in these ecosystems will be easier to develop, better performing, more secure, and more cost-efficient.
This is a co-authored blog post by Forrester Analysts David Aponovich and Michael Facemire.
Corporations and brands are jumping through hoops (and spending lots of money) to build and support mobile customer experiences. It has us asking: Where are the web content management (WCM) vendors in all of this?
The answer that applies to many: Missing in action.
Here is a group of tech vendors whose R&D and acquisitions have been incredibly focused on enabling digital experiences and helping marketers and brands connect with customers online.
Yet many web content management vendors serving enterprise and midmarket clients still lack a fully baked mobile solution for back-end developers or their marketing counterparts, or even a road map that considers the place for mobile and cross-channel experiences in their content management and future digital experience ecosystems (think: interactive TV, point-of-sale digital, even interactive goggles, or whatever new channels emerge). Clients are jumping in completely, and they’re looking for the best tools, solutions, and services to make a successful leap. They’re looking right at you, vendors.
Here’s what they see: Not every WCM vendor today is adept or positioned to offer deep mobile solutions.
Vendors lacking this power and capacity to support mobile initiatives will face challenges as specific WCM competitors answer this need. And here’s the other rub: non-WCM tools and techniques are gaining momentum and serving as the path of least resistance for companies that need, today, to get mobile with their content, sites, and experiences, preferably without redeveloping from scratch.
Whenever I fly, I’m an inveterate gawker — geographically speaking.
Getting a window seat on a cloudless day is like getting a ticket to a great performance. At 35,000 feet you’re witness to a world playing out in miniature — cities and villages, mountains and deserts, even the occasional crop circle.
The mind wanders: What exactly am I looking at? I see the interstate highway built to bypass that little farm town in Kansas, or is it Oklahoma? I know I’m flying from Point A to B, but what I really want to know is: what’s down there? (And, how much longer will it take to get to my destination?)
Last week I flew Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) to Boston from Zurich returning from a client workshop. The experience was a vivid lesson in how an airline (core mission: get me home safely) is using content, creatively and in context, to provide a relevant and engaging customer experience in flight.
SWISS’s secret? The seat-back video screens don’t just play on-demand movies and TV shows (itself a big plus on an 8.5-hour flight). They deliver real-time mapping showing what we’re flying over; arrows mark the flight path like a “heads-up display” in some autos, along with content and photos of tourist hot spots on the ground.
At the same time, it shows the speed the plane is traveling, the altitude, and the distance and time remaining in the flight.
This isn’t brand-new technology. However, the marriage of technology, data and interface into a meaningful user experience by SWISS pushes this into bonus territory for me.
Over the past year, we’ve been discussing — through our research and client interactions — the issues involved with digital customer experiences. What’s interesting about this particular problem is how quickly the market is changing and how the issues cut across many roles and aspects of the business. How do you build a digital experience strategy that best suits your business needs and is inclusive of the roles that have a stake in digital experience success?
We have two Forrester webinars planned over the next week to discuss these very issues. Tomorrow’s webinar (November 20) will be held at 2:00 p.m. UK time (3:00 pm CET), and my colleagues David Aponovich, Jonathan Browne, Bobby Cameron, and I will discuss how digital experience strategies affect roles such as CIOs, Customer Experience Professionals, and Application Development & Delivery professionals. Next Tuesday (November 27) John Rymer, Adele Sage, and I will do a similar webinar at 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT. Both of these webinars will be fast-moving, interactive discussions and will use a Pardon the Interruption-style format where we’ll cover a number of questions about DX strategies and give ourselves 3 minutes to discuss each question before moving on. We’ll also be taking questions from the audience.