Last week I attended Enterprise Connect 2013 where I had over two dozen one-on-one briefings with UC technology and services vendors. Highlights included Microsoft’s keynote by Derek Burney (Corporate VP, Skype Division) the content of which was almost entirely live-demos of Lync mobile and room-based video conferencing run on Lync Online (including using several mobile devices, not all Windows OS, with Smart’s Lync room screens – which performed better that at the Smart booth). The very heavy load on the venue’s Wi-Fi network (which the Cisco keynote demo suffered from the previous day) made the performance particularly impressive. [NB: Funny how comms’ folk are still impressed when the technology performs before a live audience the way it did in the lab.]
Another noteworthy demo was BT Conferencing and Dolby’s demo of very high quality sound-around audioconferencing. This was impressive due to the amount of time most of us spend on audioconferencing or videoconferencing calls where it’s near impossible for a remote attendee to break in, and where side-bar conversations in a meeting room are typically mostly or entirely lost. Moreover, it works equally well with a cheap headphone ($30 models actually work probably better than much more expensive ones that might cause ‘interference’ on the line) – and on Apple as well as Windows devices.
Leading-edge executives at organizations drive growth, innovate, and disrupt industries through emerging technologies: social, mobile, cloud, analytics, sensors, GIS and others. 85% of executives in a recent survey shared that “the need to drive innovation and growth” would have a moderate or high impact on IT services spending. But, today’s technology buyers face a fragmented, fast-moving landscape of niche technology and services providers in newer spaces (social, mobile, cloud) as well as new offerings from their largest global partners.
Often the leading- and bleeding-edge disruption comes from business stakeholders, rather than IT or sourcing executives; sourcing executives struggle to keep up with the fast pace of change that business demands. Our research shows that this fragmented, divisional, silo approach to buying (often under the radar screen) can create risk and go against enterprise IT strategy decisions.
To help their organizations navigate through these emerging options, we have identified three key principles of IT sourcing strategy:
Change the rules for working with vendors and partners. To thrive in the world of digital disruption and to enable sourcing of emerging technologies and services that drive digital disruption, sourcing strategists must create new rules for working with technology partners. They must increase the emphasis on innovation and differentiation and treat partners who excel in these dimensions differently from other tiered suppliers.
Much has been made over the past few years about the “new” digital technology imperatives – social, mobile, analytics and cloud (collectively referred to as “SMAC”). Though the IT industry is flush with reports about SMAC, lumping these technology capabilities together is both helpful -- because they do represent a collective “what’s hot” in IT -- and misleading, because each technology has a different level of maturity, complexity, and business impact.
I often say that that sourcing professionals are “where the rubber hits the road” with new technologies. That is, the technology industry can hype a new technology all it wants. But until someone makes a strategic sourcing decision -- one that carefully examines costs, risks, and benefits of these offerings for enterprises, it’s mostly just hype.
And when you peel back the layers of the SMAC acronym, what you see are four unique solutions, each with different levels of complexity which are highlighted in the sourcing process:
As you’re all well aware by now, a perfect storm of technology innovations — including cloud, analytics, mobile, and social — is fundamentally disrupting the way your company engages with its customers (as well as employees and partners). For service providers in particular, the main challenge is understanding how to best leverage these technology innovations to remain relevant and ultimately generate more business value. So it’s exciting to see a service provider like Cisco Services come up with new offerings that respond to this challenge in innovative ways.
I met with Cisco Services Asia Pacific Japan and China (APJC) executives last week in Seoul to discuss their strategy in Asia. I wanted to highlight a few takeaways that I believe will be important for sourcing professionals in Asia and beyond:
Cisco Services is a key enabler of Cisco’s overall transformation. Cisco Services used to be a captive consulting organization providing support and technology services for a product company. In a recent analyst call, John Chambers identified Cisco Services as one of the main levers that will help Cisco transition from a transaction-oriented to an annuity-based business model and help the company become the largest IT company globally. The company’s aim is for Cisco Services to represent 24-26% of total revenues in the next 3-5 years. These goals are extremely audacious; achieving them will require huge efforts from Cisco, including some targeted acquisitions in the services space.
The VMO is becoming more and more important for companies. As such, the demand to create a structure is prominent. To avoid pitfalls and get a jump-start on this, we at Forrester designed a workshop to help customers build a new or enhance an existing organization that deals with all issues of the sourcing life-cycle. Discussing the pressing need of a VMO due to market trends, establishing tools and techniques to master operational as well as strategic issues and turning this into value for the business are just a few topics that will be addressed during this workshop. Designed for practitioners, the workshop will allow participants to learn from best practices, get an inside view on Forrester's latest research and connect with peers facing the same challenges. The next workshop is planned for April 24 at Forrester's facilities in New York, NY. Details can be found here.
For those not able to attend this workshop, please let me know if you are interested in a similar workshop in a different location, especially for those located in Europe.
My trip to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year drew mixed emotions: excitement over the vast changes in the mobile world, followed by frustration at having my laptop bag stolen. The last time I was there, in 2008, Motorola was a phone and infrastructure manufacturer, Nortel Networks was still in business, and Nokia Siemens Networks was barely a year into its merger.
Today, Nortel (and my bag) is but a distant memory, Motorola Mobility is part of Google, and others, like Alcatel Lucent, have battled to stay relevant in an age of cheaper products and services. Nokia Siemens Networks, for instance, is today a more focused, leaner company, recently announcing a return to profitability after quarters of losses. Even the venue has shifted from the old grounds to a newer, larger facility.
The GSM Association (GSMA) projects in a global report that developed economies will save US$400 billion in healthcare costs from mobile health services by 2017, and a reduction in carbon emissions of 27 million tons (the equivalent of planting 1.2 billion trees) via smart metering technology in the same period.