ONE SMALL STEP FOR CREDIT AGRICOLE, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR THE DATA ECONOMY

Banks have a reputation for being stodgy and conservative. But Credit Agricole (CA) has broken the stereotype. I had a great discussion a few weeks ago with Bernard Larrivière, Director of Innovation, and Emmanuel Methivier, the CA Store Manager, about the CA Store launched last fall. The store houses new services developed by third-party developers using the bank’s secure customer data — one small step for CA, one giant step for the banking industry and the data economy.

The CA Store was not only inspired by the Apple Store model but also by government open data initiatives. The public sector provided the model of exposing APIs to internal data and working with independent developers to encourage application creation. However, in a move that will likely be carefully watched by their public sector brethren, CA recognized the need for a better business model to incent developers to use the data, and to sustain the development and maintenance of the applications. 

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The CIO Is The Facilitator Of Engaging Employee Experiences

Employee engagement is a hot topic in many C-suites today. There's a growing body of research that says engaged employees are productive employees, contributing positively to the bottom line. Forrester's own workforce research shows those who feel supported by managers, respected for their efforts, and encouraged to be creative are more inclined to recommend the company as a workplace or a vendor. So, we see a debate within the upper echelons of organizations on how best to create engaging workforce experiences which give an employee's contributions meaning, provide the flexibility they require to be successful, and continuously develop the skills they need to serve customers. It's critical that the CIO is at the table during these conversations. Why? Regardless of the talent retention and management strategy, technology will be necessary to help unlock the potential within the workforce.

The CIO at a large software vendor with a reputation for great employee engagement said it best: "Technology is expected, but [business leaders] do not think about how it enables people." Technology is an ambient part of the workspace. Businesses outfit their workforces with a range of gadgets and give them access to numerous systems which facilitate interactions, manage orders, track projects, store data, and more. Of course, deficiencies in these corporate toolkits lead employees to find and embrace things like iPhones, Galaxy Tabs, Dropbox, and Evernote on their own. But has anyone given serious consideration to how these disparate tools come together to help engage employees so they can properly support the customer?

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Seriously, Governments Should Be Playful

As we know, citizen engagement is a top priority of governments around the world. Many are launching digital outreach projects such as Adopt-A-Hydrant (pictured to the right). This is good news for both their citizen and business constituents (as well as for the application and platform vendors). Engagement is good. But what is really the best way to do it? What form should these projects take? How should the applications be designed? One way that has proven successful is the game.

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Galaxy S 4 Launch Reveals Samsung's New Market Position

At Samsung's New York City launch event for its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S 4, the company continued the "thumb in Apple's eye" approach that has characterized its marketing campaigns of the past six months. Apparently using the same time machine that every other smartphone and tablet OEM employs to transport us back to the PC market of the late 1990s, Samsung revealed to attendees (and gobs of live blog observers) the usual deluge of tech specs that — for some unfathomable reason — populate the initial paragraphs of every device review: 8 core processor, 13 megapixel camera, 5 inch AMOLED display…

BO-RING! Every Android phone and tablet maker touts these specs because CPUs, image sensors, and displays are the rapidly evolving technology waves that they ride and where most of their evolution resides. To be fair, Apple too is quick with its own spec comparisons, but because Cupertino controls the entire platform from hardware to OS to APIs to cloud and other services, they have a much greater playing field on which to innovate.

With Samsung staking out its ground as Apple's foremost competitor, the Galaxy S 4 and its launch event reveal several insights into the state of this competition today:

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Video Platforms Are Critical Parts Of Your Customer And Employee Engagement Toolkits

Marketers increasingly recognize the value of using online video to engage and inform consumers, create brand awareness, and even drive direct action. Similarly, corporate communications and business leaders are making greater use of live streaming and on-demand video to communicate more effectively with a distributed workforce. Video publishing capabilities are integral not only to traditional media providers today, but to the websites and intranets of many brands, companies, and organizations without a history of content creation. 

Today we released two Forrester Waves™ to help our clients select the right vendor for their video publishing needs. The Forrester Wave on online video platforms (OVPs) updates our previous evaluation of the market and includes five vendors: Adobe, Brightcove, Kaltura, Limelight, and Ooyala. The Forrester Wave on enterprise video platforms (EVPs) is our first evaluation of this important category and includes seven vendors: Cisco, Ignite Technologies, Kaltura, Kontiki, Polycom, Qumu, Sonic Foundry, and VBrick. We included these vendors because of their size in the market, experience serving enterprise customers, and frequent mention by Forrester clients in competitive scenarios. 
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What Is Your Mobile Engagement Communications Strategy? A List Of Symptoms & Request For Help.

In our research and in our work with clients on their mobile intiatives, one problem comes up again and again: the very people the app is designed for don't know what it does or why they should use it. Here are some symptoms of a communications gap -- and they show up just as frequently in employee projects as they do in customer initiatives:

  • Your target audience doesn't know why they should use the app you've given them.
  • Your call center or help desk is inundated with basic questions.
  • Your key stakeholders are forever pinging you to find out what's going on.
  • People in the company don't know what you've been up to.
  • You don't know what your target audience really needs from the app.
  • When people get a new or updated app, they don't use the new features.

If any of these ring true for you, then it's time to implement or re-evaluate your communications strategy. We'd like to help, which is why we are initiating a research project into communications strategy for your mobile initiatives. My colleague Simon Yates and I are diving into this important topic to publish new research findings to help you build the most effective communications strategy.

You can help us by completing a short survey on your own communications strategy. You'll get a summary of the results and can ask for a conversation if you want to dig deeper with us.

Thanks for filling out this 3-minute survey on your communications strategy!

Measuring Workforce Experience: Engagement, Productivity and Customer Impact

Over the last few months, TJ Keitt and I have been wrestling with the concept that CIOs play a key role in employee engagement. All the signals point to this as hot topic. We've worked with many large clients on workforce technology assessments to help them understand how to assemble the right portfolio of technology tools to help employees be as productive as possible. For this research, we interviewed many technology leaders and their HR counterparts in companies that are widely recognized as great places to work that also happen to score well on customer experience. Our colleague, Kerry Bodine, co-author of the book Outside-In: The Power Of  Putting  Customers At The Center Of Your Business and an expert in customer experience published a blog post in November 2012 that talked about the importance of employee empowerment and the need to design the employee experience in the same way that you design the customer experience. As Kerry puts it, "great customer experiences don't happen by accident -- they have to be actively designed." The same is true of great employee experiences.

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NASSCOM Restructures Itself For 2020 Vision: A Step In The Right Direction, But Long Road Ahead

On March 4, 2013, NASSCOM, the industry association for the IT BPO sector in India, announced a restructuring plan to help realize its goal of India becoming a $300 billion industry by 2020. The restructuring plan is based on an independent committee’s recommendations, chaired by Infosys cofounder N.R. Narayana Murthy. Key highlights from the announcement:

  • Realignment of the NASSCOM structure into seven verticals (IT services, business process management, global in-house centers, engineering and R&D services, Internet and mobile, products, and domestic market) and five enablers (global trade, policy advocacy, outreach, skills and talent,  and regional connect).
  • Executive Council to be reconstituted to have adequate representation from the seven identified verticals
  • Formation of various councils, including national vertical councils, country councils in key markets, and strengthened regional councils to address local issues.
  • Set up five centers of excellence in five years for software engineering, emerging technologies, vertical solutions, eCommerce, service excellence, and governance.
  • Facilitate 100,000 certifications in specialist skills and domain areas.
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Joyn: Next-Generation Business Communications

Deutsche Telekom launched the joyn messaging service in Germany today. It is hardly the first carrier to do so; Telefonica, Vodafone, MetroPCS, and SK Telecom have already launched such services. But Deutsche Telekom’s launch gives me the chance to point to an opportunity for joyn that has not been talked about a lot so far.

Rich communication services (RCS), which is marketed as joyn, is a joint-service initiative between carriers and handset manufacturers that empowers people to combine ways to be in touch with contacts in their address book: talking, chatting, and sharing videos, photos, and files. For the most part, joyn is aimed at consumers. Joyn is usually seen as a carrier response to counter the threat to traditional revenues from OTT providers like WhatsApp. I believe, however, that the real potential for joyn is in the business arena. Joyn is hardly going to generate any direct revenues for carriers. It’s the potential of joyn as a platform for interactive social engagement that is more interesting:

  • Businesses confront a major shift in communication behavior. Businesses are dealing with the impact of changing systems of engagement and the implication of mobility and big data in the business environment. Social media services, including chat, video sharing, and file exchange, are experiencing rapid uptake. But these emerging systems of engagement depend on an underlying communications infrastructure. The successful CIO will embrace the trend of interactive social engagement and turn it into a competitive advantage for his business.
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India’s Excise Duty Increase On Mobile Phones Won’t Have Much Impact

 

On February 28, 2013, India (as part of its 2013-2014 budget) announced that it would increase the excise duty on mobile phones costing more than $36 to 6%, up from the current level of 1%. Forrester believes that this increase will not affect the mobile industry in India very much because:

  • Sub-$100 smartphones will trigger new kinds of competition in the market. As high-end mobile phones get more expensive, Forrester predicts that smartphones costing less than $100 will be in much greater demand. Moreover, handset manufacturers will absorb a large portion of the price increase to sustain their sales.
  • Explosive mobile Internet growth. With increasing urbanization and improving per capita income, more people will begin to use the Internet, and the use of smartphones will rise quickly. We forecast that the mobile Internet user base in India will grow by more than 30% year-on-year over the next five years.
  • Addicted social media youngsters. With more than 61 million Facebook users, India ranks as Facebook’s third-largest audience in the world after the US and Brazil. Half of these users are between 18 and 24 years of age, and the majority of them use their mobile phones to connect to the world.
  • Rapid eCommerce growth complementing the mobile sector. Forrester estimates that eCommerce revenues in India will increase more than fivefold by 2016, jumping from US$1.6 billion in 2012 to US$8.8 billion in 2016. Mobile-friendly sites from various players and eCommerce website aggregators will help accelerate mobile Internet adoption.
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