It’s hard to miss the buzz around mobile. Smartphones equipped with near field communications to instantly share video and voice control to allow for a handsfree web experience.New tablets like the Microsoft Surface, iPad Mini and Kindle Fire HD are tearing up the advertising airwaves. But mobile is not just another chapter in the smaller, faster, cheaper device story. And it’s not tiny web or shrunken PC applications. Instead, mobile is the flash point for a holistic, far-reaching change for your business. Your app is in your customer’s pocket. What will you do with that privilege? The answer is that you will deliver mobile engagement experiences that empower people with smart apps and products to take the next most likely action in their immediate context and moments of need. Mobile engagement experiences focus on people and their needs, not companies and their processes.
Over the last year, Ted Schadler and I have interviewed literally hundreds of CIOs, technology vendors, integrators and mobile design firms to capture and codify the state of the art in mobile engagement. And we’ve seen some great examples along the way as:
Customers hive around smartphone apps that deliver service at their convenience. Consumers download and use apps from Walgreens, American Airlines, Bank of America, and Wal-Mart, and 700,000 other app builders. Walgreens has a best-in-class app for reordering prescription drugs. Refill from your account, scan your prescription bar code, or type in the prescription number. Then automatically refill at a nearby store.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) held its first global customer and partner conference, re:Invent, in late November in Las Vegas, attracting approximately 6,000 attendees. While aimed squarely at developers, AWS highlighted two key themes that will appeal directly to enterprise IT decision-makers:
Continued global expansion. AWS cites customers in 190 countries, but the company is clearly pushing for greater penetration into enterprise accounts via aggressive global expansion. AWS now has nine regions (each of which has at least one data center), including three in Asia Pacific: Tokyo, Singapore, and Sydney.
An expanded services footprint within customer accounts. The major announcement at re:Invent was a limited preview of a new data warehouse (DW) service called Amazon Redshift — a fully managed, cloud-based, petabyte-scale DW. As my colleague Stefan Ried tweeted during the event, with a limit of 1.6 petabytes, this is not just for testing and development — this is a serious production warehouse.
As market pressures and changing customer expectations force firms to utilize more supplier-based solutions, the need to professionally manage this supply becomes vital. Whereas in the past, "outsourcing" IT was primarily viewed as a cost-saving exercise, today a firm's top-line performance can be directly affected by the success of its suppliers. Deep industry knowledge along with direct customer experiences can put selected suppliers at the frontline of customer interactions and business innovation. When planned, built, and managed in the right way, the sourcing and vendor management organization SVMO can become one of the most important and value-generating organizations for companies.
While the changing business environment requires companies to react faster and manage disruptions more efficiently, their success relies on a constant but efficient supply. A well managed SVM organization will contribute to the overall success by ensuring a qualitative supply for the most favorable price.
Building a successful SVMO today may be more difficult than building any other internal organization. Managing a demand-oriented, well-balanced solution portfolio from external sources is a difficult exercise that has to be based in new governance models, supplier frameworks, and management tools.
To address these needs, Forrester has created the Sourcing and Vendor Management Practice Playbook, which brings a structured approach to building an SVMO that can help companies at various stages of maturity — from those at the start of their journey to those that are well-established
Boring as it may appear, the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), which just took place in Dubai under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), matters to all Internet users globally. To us, the three most important questions that were discussed are:
Should national governments have greater influence over the global regulation of the Internet?
Should over-the-top providers (OTTs) like Google and business networks be governed by international telecom regulations?
Should the underlying business model of the Internet change from a free and neutral exchange of data to a “sender pays” model?
We're just about to the end of 2012 (and according to the Mayan calendar, the end of time) so I figured it was about the right time to put together some thoughts on the year.
Let's start with Enterprise Social, which continues to mature. It was the first thing I was assigned to cover when I came to Forrester six years ago and it's been a great ride so far. Enterprise Social is at that stage of development where we remain hopeful, but in the cool gray of the morning we must admit to having concerns. It's a bit like a teenager that has always been a good, albeit quirky kid, that is now getting into a bit of trouble. Just a stage? A lot of licenses have been sold but adoption remains a challenge for many. Certainly, the promises of E2.0 we were envisioning six years ago have been elusive for most. That said, the patterns are emerging that indicate success can be found. Funny thing, success is aligned with good old business value. Who'd have guessed? As is often the case, the closer you get to revenue the greater the chance for success. Mobile sales people lead in terms of demand for social solutions because better access to content, expertise and collective action drives sales which drive better performance reviews and compensation. Will the rest of the enterprise follow? Well, that's the $64 question.
I will postpone the name of my 2012 winner for a bit. I first want to thank the great AR professionals with whom I have the pleasure of working! For those outside the technology vendor world, analyst relations is a function vendors use as the liaison between their people and analysts like me. We influence the market and therefore they know they need us to understand their offerings so we can accurately advise our clients.
Not all AR people are good, so the great ones always stand out. Some view the analysts merely as extensions of their marketing initiatives and see their job revolving around trying to “brainwash” the analysts. This is a narrow-minded view of the relationship that never works with self-respecting, intelligent analysts. Take note, vendors: we analysts hate that approach!
Great AR professionals engage us in a more intimate two-way dialog. We need more than just the occasional briefing. We need access to executives and developers. We need to know the roadmap and where executives see the company going. My favorite part of the relationship is to be integral to strategic directions, participating in the development rather than just being informed after the fact. The great ones make this process seamless and enjoyable. We all like to pick on vendors, but we need to engage them as partners. The reason we like to pick on them is because poor AR and other stereotypical behaviors fuel distrust and sometimes downright hostility. Bad vendors give the good ones a bad rap.
I am fortunate to work with some fantastic AR professionals! They make my life easier and I appreciate that! They all share some important attributes:
They are genuinely warm people. They may be aggressive inside their organizations and possibly even disliked for their ambitious approach, but to us, they clearly want to help us. That benefits their employers more than most people know.
The world may or may not be ending on December 21, 2012. I'm not an expert on the ancient Maya (although I've climbed many Mayan pyramids and have long been fascinated by their history, see proof below), but I've heard a rumor that this week marks the end of the Long Count calendar, meaning a new era begins on Friday, December 21, 2012, bringing a new civilization. Also, potentially a planet called Niburu might crash into the earth (although NASA has confirmed they have seen no evidence of this).
So, what's your plan? Will it be a space ark? A time machine (i.e., a TARDIS)? Wormhole (a la Fringe)? Should you consider sending your data to Mars? How do you even prepare for the unknown, the black swan events that are highly improbably, but highly disruptive?
In a previous post I highlighted that disruptive technologies don't even need to be implemented to be disruptive. The mere fact that vendors and other organisations are either creating or being swept up in the hype can be a major disruption to any organisation.
In our soon to be released research on Asia Pacific Trends for 2013 we highlight a number of disruptive trends that are affecting organisations all all types and sizes - whether commercial, government or not-for-profit. None is more profound than the impact that big data will have on Asia Pacific organisations in 2013. The Asia Pacific region has a very broad spectrum of capabilities, maturity and variations in its outlook and optimism. Big data and deep analytics are two areas where we see significant disruption occurring. The Asia Pacific 2013 trends report highlights some of these differences in Asia Pacific and calls out specific implications for specific markets. There's also more detailed information in our Big Data in Asia Pacific report, also due out shortly.
On November 2 in Shanghai, Microsoft announced the availability of Office 365 and Windows Azure services for customers in mainland China; both have been available in Hong Kong for several years. Through its collaboration with 21Vianet Group and HiSoft (now part of PactEra, a merger of HiSoft and VanceInfo), Microsoft is the first multinational vendor to provide public cloud services in mainland China delivered through onshore cloud infrastructure.
Under the agreement, Microsoft has authorized 21Vianet Group, which has a “value-added telecommunications service” license, to operate Office 365 and Windows Azure in China. This is critical to Microsoft’s overall strategy in China, as only Chinese companies qualify for this government license, which is normally issued by ministry or provincial bureaus of MIIT (the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology). Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft is sharing cloud services revenue with 21Vianet Group and in exchange is able to leverage 21Vianet Group’s license to operate cloud data centers in China.
Microsoft’s entrance into the public cloud services market in China will affect both local and multinational cloud services/technology vendors in a number of ways:
Government regulations restricting multinational companies from offering public cloud services in China are gradually loosening. We expect other multinational cloud providers to follow Microsoft’s approach of partnering with a local service provider that has the “value-added telecommunications services” license. The government’s primary objective with this license is to protect local providers and stimulate onshore cloud infrastructure investments, and this goal is met through partnerships like this.