Get Bullish On Software: Three Data Points From Our Business And Software Decision-Maker Surveys

I’m bullish on software — specifically design and engineering — and I’m starting to see that many of today’s business leaders share that opinion as they come to terms with digital disruption and the age of the customer’s impact on their competitive strategies. I hear this often as I travel to meet with both business and IT leaders, and I increasingly see it in the survey data we annually collect. What do I see in our most recent Forrsights Business Decision-Makers Survey, Q4 2012 and Forrsights Software Survey, Q4 2012 results? Software, from design through development, matters:

  • Business leaders have revenue growth first and foremost on their minds. On average, 70% of these business leaders place a high or critical priority on revenue growthcustomer acquisition and retention, and addressing rising customer experience expectations for 2013. Our data suggests business leaders are 50% more likely to identify these as critical initiatives than they do margin improvement or reducing operating costs. Growth and customer experience improvement take business priority.
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Bit9’s Operational Oversight Is Probably Your Operational Reality

You are now no doubt aware that Boston-based security firm Bit9 suffered an alarming compromise, which resulted in attackers gaining access to code-signing certificates that were then used to sign malicious software. See Brian Kreb’s article for more details. (Symantec breathes a quiet sigh of relief to see a different security vendor in the headlines.)

The embarrassing breach comes at a time when the company has been seen as one of the security vendor landscape’s rising stars. Bit9 has actually been around for more than a decade, but the rise of targeted attacks and advanced malware has resulted in significant interest in Bit9’s technology. In late July, Bit9 secured $34.5 million in funding from Sequoia Capital. Bit9’s future was bright. 

On Friday afternoon, Bit9 CEO Patrick Morley published a blog providing some initial details on the breach. A few of his comments stood out:  “Due to an operational oversight within Bit9, we failed to install our own product on a handful of computers within our network … We simply did not follow the best practices we recommend to our customers by making certain our product was on all physical and virtual machines within Bit9."

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TechnoPolitics Podcast: Hey CIO, Here Is Your Hybrid Cloud Wake-Up Call

James Staten, Forrester TechnoPoliticsHybrid clouds are especially subject to the law of unintended consequences, says Forrester’s cloud expert James Staten. Many IT organizations don’t even acknowledge that they have a hybrid cloud. The reality: If enterprises are using public cloud software-as-a-service (SaaS) and/or deploying any custom applications in the public cloud, then by definition they have a hybrid cloud, because it almost always connects to the back end.

In this episode of TechnoPolitics, James implores CIOs and IT professionals to get serious about hybrid cloud now to avoid spaghetti clouds in the future.

Podcast: Here Is Your Hybrid Cloud Wake-Up Call

Click here to download the MP3 file of this episode.

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The architectural implications of shared services

 

Shared services is widely employed in many industry sectors and is gaining increasing traction as organizations, particularly those subject to continuing cost pressures look for ways to control costs.  For example, in December 2012 the UK government set out its next generation shared services strategy to enable savings of £400-600m per year.  Shared services take many forms, but regardless of the type of shared service, when properly executed it can deliver a range of benefits.  Benefits can result from economies of scale or scope, the ability to negotiate from a stronger consolidated base and through adoption of streamlined, common business processes.  A shared services model can also enable groups to share knowledge and best practice as well as the services themselves.   However, these benefits must be balanced with the flexibility clients (internal or external) require. 

Shareable services typically include corporate service processes such as HR, procurement and finance and accounting. Sharing of enabling capabilities typically include IT infrastructure, workflow, data repositories as well as domain-specific expertise and resources.  Viewed as business services, they can be defined in terms of outcomes and external dependencies using a combination of deliverables, processes, roles, and skills.  This way EAs can help position the shared services within the organization’s architectural construct in terms of service provision to other functions within the business or to external partners or customers.

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No “Leaders” Of Data Center Networking And Hosted Private Cloud Solutions

 

Okay, I know it sounds a little dramatic… but it’s true.

Over the last four months, Forrester Analysts Andre Kindness (@AndreKindness) and Lauren Nelson (@Lauren_E_Nelson) evaluated providers of data center networking and hosted private cloud solutions. Andre got dirty in the plumbing (uhh, I mean networking), and Lauren had her head in the clouds. Each report represents months of vendor and customer interviews, demos, and analysis. In short, they did the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.

So what did they find?

While there are no “Leaders” – there are a number of "Strong Performers" and "Contenders." This means that if you’re thinking of investing in infrastructure that your increasingly digital business will run on, you will have to make tradeoffs. Here are a few highlights of each report:

  • Forrester’s Data Center Networking Wave™: Andre evaluated the eight most significant vendors across 85 criteria — Alcatel-Lucent, Arista Networks, Avaya, Brocade Communications Systems, Cisco Systems, Extreme Networks, HP, and Juniper Networks. Andre's assessment of the vendors' current offerings evaluated the completeness of each vendor’s solution to support a scalable, secure, standardized, shared, and simplified platform that would connect users to applications and data within a data center.
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The Great Divide: MDM and Data Quality Solution Selection

I just came back from a Product Information Management (PIM) event this week had had a lot of discussions about how to evaluate vendors and their solutions.  I also get a lot of inquiries on vendor selection and while a lot of the questions center around the functionality itself, how to evaluate is also a key point of discussion.  What peaked my interest on this subject is that IT and the Business have very different objectives in selecting a solution for MDM, PIM, and data quality.  In fact, it can often get contentious when IT and the Business don't agree on the best solution. 

General steps to purchase a solution seem pretty consistent: create a short list based on the Forrester Wave and research, conduct an RFI, narrow down to 2-3 vendors for an RFP, make a decision.  But, the devil seems to be in the details.  

  • Is a proof of concept required?
  • How do you make a decision when vendors solutions appear the same? Are they really the same?
  • How do you put pricing into context? Is lowest really better?
  • What is required to know before engaging with vendors to identify fit and differentiation? 
  • When does meeting business objectives win out over fit in IT skills and platform consistency?
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Demands of a cross-channel world

This blog post originally appeared on destinationCRM

Enterprise technology buyers are moving rapidly to adopt strategies and software to support digital experience (DX) initiatives. And with good reason: Forrester research shows that one of the last remaining areas for differentiation is the ability to provide compelling, engaging user experiences through digital channels. Your customers demand it, and your competition is probably already there (or well on their way).

The road to get there is replete with challenges covering the gamut of people, processes,  and technology. For technology buyers seeking to adopt DX tools and technologies, it’s a vast but immature market.

Application development and delivery pros, often on the front lines, face a proliferation of legacy and new technology to manage, engage, and measure customer experiences through digital channels—we’re talking Web sites, mobile channels, and many other digital touchpoints.

Here’s a truism: These professionals frequently encounter systems that don’t live up to their promises. They may be too old or inflexible to support rapidly changing requirements. Tech vendors add to the confusion. Some deliver all-encompassing DX suites, which have varying degrees of successful integration. Others provide pointed solutions that may deliver one part of the DX equation well, but rely on integration with third-party systems to provide a full solution.

The challenge for DX professionals is to determine how best to assess, choose, integrate, and apply the right software solutions to meet strategic DX imperatives. Easier said than done, right?

Look at Seven Main Technology Categories

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Google Pays Orange To Carry Video Traffic

Orange’s CEO mentioned during a business show on French TV that Orange is receiving money from Google for transmitting Google’s traffic (most of which stems from YouTube). No details about the financial arrangement of the year-old deal were disclosed.

Given the well-known explosion in data traffic, carriers must invest a significant amount in their network infrastructure to support this traffic. See the Forrester report, “The Future Of Telecom: Strategies To Move Off The Endangered Species List,” for more information. For years, carriers have argued that online service providers (OSPs) like Google should pay for using the carrier network infrastructure.

So, does the Orange-Google deal mean that Orange has won a true victory and that the balance of power between carriers and OSPs is restored? Does the deal really address the challenges of the carrier world? Hardly.

  • Carriers rely on video content that drives demand for high broadband connectivity. Moreover, consumers already pay the carriers for their broadband connectivity. In my opinion, there is a valid argument that those end users who want high-quality video should be able to have it at extra cost. But this extra fee could be paid directly to the carrier in the form of a high-end broadband connection fee. Alternatively, the carrier could offer wholesale connectivity to OSPs, allowing the OSPs to offer content that comes with embedded high-quality connectivity.
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Use Boeing As A Metaphor For Service Excellence

Given the recent news about Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, my title may surprise you. Please read on.

As I write this, I am in seat 1A of United flight 1607 from Philly to Houston. playing on the screen in front of me is CNBC. I make no secret of my disdain for much of the so called "news media" so I won't launch into my usual rant there (there are some superb journalists out there, but Murrow and Cronkite must be rolling in their graves!). I am bristling over the coverage right now that is focused on the 787's latest woes. As usual, the talking heads are clueless and painting a doomsday scenario for Boeing! It's a bunch of finance people who don't understand the engineering realities. They're smart bean counters, but not engineers. I am an old engineer, so let me shed light on what the Wall Street mouths don't know. There is an important lesson here for I&O leaders!
 
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IBM Embraces Emerson for DCIM – Major Change in DCIM Market Dynamics

Emerson Network Power today announced that it is entering into a significant partnership with IBM to both integrate Emerson’s new Trellis DCIM suite into IBM’s ITSM products as well as to jointly sell Trellis to IBM customers. This partnership has the potential to reshape the DCIM market segment for several reasons:

  • Connection to enterprise IT — Emerson has sold a lot of chillers, UPS and PDU equipment and has tremendous cachet with facilities types, but they don’t have a lot of people who know how to talk IT. IBM has these people in spades.
  • IBM can use a DCIM offering  — IBM, despite being a huge player in the IT infrastructure and data center space, does not have a DCIM product. Its Maximo product seems to be more of a dressed up asset management product, and this partnership is an acknowledgement of the fact that to build a full-fledged DCIM product would have been both expensive and time-consuming.
  • IBM adds sales bandwidth — My belief is that the development of the DCIM market has been delivery bandwidth constrained. Market leaders Nlyte, Emerson and Schneider do not have enough people to address the emerging total demand, and the host of smaller players are even further behind. IBM has the potential to massively multiply Emerson’s ability to deliver to the market.
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