Q&A With Charles Araujo, Author Of "The Quantum Age of IT"

Transformation: The topic of many, many conversations Forrester Analysts have with business and technology leaders everyday. But the definition and scope of transformation seems to vary widely depending role, title, industry, sphere of influence, and other factors. For example, here's a sampling of recent inquiry questions from Forrester clients to Analysts focused on transformation:

 

"How can we transform our customer experience globally to improve ROI?" (Customer Experience Leader, Telecommunications)

"How transformational is the value of social networking and social media to business?" (Marketing Leader, Financial Services)

"What are the key drivers of banking application transformation?" (Application Development Leader, Banking)

"How do we prepare IT skills for transformation as we move from in-house apps to SaaS and outsourcing?" (Sourcing Leader, Entertainment)

"How can we transform our data centers to operate more like a cloud services provider?" (Data Center Leader, U.S. Government)

"What is the business case for large scale desktop virtualization as we transform our computing environment?" (Workforce Computing Leader, Pharmaceuticals)

 

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Reinvent IO In 2013

This post is based on my new report 'Reinvent The Role Of Infrastructure And Operations Executive In 2013’ 

In 1898 there was the first international urban planning conference in New York. This conference was the first of its kind as it looked to address the challenges of the world’s fast growing cities. It’s hard to contemplate today but the main topic on the attendees’ lips was ---horse dung! That’s right, the concern was that in 50 years time cities such as London would ‘disappear’ due to nine feet of manure being generated by the horses used to transport people around the city. Well, we all know that did not happen and I am happily sitting in the comfort of Forrester’s London office –dung free. Our savior was the automobile and experts did not account for this technological innovation.

Ok, John, so what has this got to do with the future of I&O executive skills?

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The Capita ITIL JV Wasn’t “Big News,” So What IS Important To Real-World IT Service Delivery?

I guess I should have expected this (but alas I didn’t) – the Capita ITIL, the IT service management best practice framework, joint venture with the UK government wasn’t big news. If anything, the story made ripples rather than waves; and from a UK government “finances” rather than IT service management (ITSM) best practice perspective.

It’s interesting to consider why – particularly when enterprises are so adamant on requesting ITIL-alignment in ITSM tool selection RFPs. But first a few links:

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‘Jurassic Park’ Proves That The PC Won’t Die

In the original Jurassic Park movie (which will be 20 years old this June), the young girl Lex Murphy (played by Ariana Richards) asks Dr. Alan Grant (played by Sam Neill) what happened to the dinosaurs. Dr. Grant replies with the thesis from his academic works (as quoted here):

Many scientists believe the dinosaurs never really died out 65 million years ago. These scientists believe dinosaurs live on today -- as birds. The dinosaurs were too large and their food supply is too small, so the dinosaurs became a likely example of natural selection -- in short, they were forced to adapt or perish.

The personal computer already experienced a large tectonic shift, evolving from velociraptor to sparrow in just a few years. Back in 2007, end user computing looked very different from today: It was a simpler world of form factors, operating systems, and ecosystems. Even so, in 2007 we predicted:

By 2012, the industry won't include just two form factors, laptops and desktops, but five or more form factors that are universally viewed as differentiated products.

We were correct, and computing “biodiversity” bloomed:  smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, eReaders, phablets, or adding in form factors that peaked and fell quickly (like netbooks). In fact, we are living in an era of unprecedented experimentation – a flowering of myriad computing form factors attempting to carve out their own evolutionary pathways. The descendants of the velociraptor include a wide array of connected devices, each blazing its own trail.

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Enterprises In AP Must Build On Three Pillars To Manage BYOT Information Security

Information workers in organizations across Asia Pacific (AP) are increasingly using personal mobile devices, applications, and public cloud services for work. Forrester defines this as the bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) trend. This behavior is more prevalent among employees above the director-level (C-level executives, presidents, and vice presidents) than those below that level (individual worker, contractor or consultant and manager/supervisor). Data from Forrester’s Forrsight Workforce survey, Q4 2012 corroborates this trend in AP.

We believe that the BYOT trend will strengthen over the next two years in AP, primarily fueled by employees below the director level. Increasing options, quality and affordability of devices, apps, and wireless connectivity, coverage, and capacity will contribute to this expansion. In order to secure corporate data, organizations will need to:

  • Develop Corporate Mobile Policies: Organizations must build cross-functional teams to plan their mobile strategies. This should include representatives from different LOBs like finance, HR, legal and sourcing. Moreover, the policy must clearly define guardrails to provide flexibility to employees but within boundaries and in compliance with local regulations.
  • Identify Technologies To Secure Corporate Data: 29% of business-decision makers in AP report that the rising expectations of younger workers require businesses to push enterprise IT to keep technology current. This is why it is critical to identify both back-end and front-end technologies and suppliers that can optimize mobile device and application management in a secure manner. Focus should be on networking layer security and mobile device management solutions.
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Grudging Acceptance Is Not Enough — Time for IT to Embrace SaaS

 

I’ve noticed a growing trend among Asia Pacific organizations over the past 6-12 months: complete IT resistance to SaaS has steadily given way to more pragmatic discussions, even if IT has come to the table grudgingly. Over the next two years I expect this trend to accelerate. In fact, I believe that many SaaS solutions, particularly those that cross business and functional boundaries, will be rapidly subsumed within the broader IT portfolio, even if they were originally sourced outside IT.

Many SaaS vendors report already seeing more IT involvement in procurement, requirements definition, RFP creation, and negotiations. The clear procurement guidelines published by the IT department of the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) is one high profile example. Don’t get me wrong, in most instances business decision-makers will still lead, particularly in identifying the required business processes and determining how best to consume SaaS-based services. But IT decision-makers are getting more involved, particularly around integration.

Some areas to consider as you look to work more closely with business decision-makers to evaluate and negotiate SaaS and other public cloud deals:

 

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Enterprise Social, It's Time To...

My father was never one to use profanity, with one exception. In those instances when I was taking just too long to make a decision or show progress, he'd say, "Rob, it's time to ... or get off the pot!" We're pretty much at that point with Enterprise Social.

In 2012 Forrester embarked on an extensive research project to determine the business value of collaboration and enterprise social initiatives. The backdrop was straightforward; overall adoption was not at the levels projected by the organizations that had made the investment. Just about half had made the investment in some form, and just about half were waiting for more evidence of true business value.

Through extensive interviews, we discovered that the value was indeed emerging, albeit somewhat slowly. If that's the case, then the question changes from "is there value?" to "how do we accelerate time to value?" The research indicated that when enterprise social solutions and tenets are applied to known business processes with an eye toward increasing the quality through better access to content and expertise, the results are demonstrable. Additional benefits came from removing human latency from processes by applying not only social, but mobile as well. How do you find the low-hanging fruit in your organization? The more case studies there are, the better chance of finding on that would resonate for you. To that end, Forrester has assembled an all-star cast of vendors to discuss specific use cases within their customer bases. The goal of the panel is to discuss business, not products. 

Joining me on stage will be:

Adam Pisoni of Yammer

Andy Kershaw of Oracle

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Sales, Customer Service, and Marketing Top Technology Investment Priority List

A few weeks ago, I shared results from Forrester’s Forrsights Software Survey Q4 2012, spotlighting the fact that strengthening customer relationships and driving revenue growth are the top prioritiesof senior business leaders today. This is playing out in the technology market where the leaders of key customer-facing functions have become driving forces behind technology spending.

 

In our survey of 2200 software decision-makers, the number one ranked department for investment was Sales (42%).  Customer service was tied for the second most important priority (36%), followed by Field Service (27%), and Marketing (25%).

 

Investment priorities for mobile technologies show a similar pattern. The Sales department tops the list in priority 48%. The next most important priority departments for mobile investment are Field Service (42%), Customer Service (34%), and Marketing (34%).

 

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Forrester Data Shows An Explosion Of Channels For Customer Service With Inconsistent Satisfaction Ratings

We know that consumer preferences for customer service channels are rapidly changing. And it’s not just the younger generation of consumers — there’s disruption and change across all ages and  demographics. Our 2013 data about communication channels that customers use for customer service is available in my lastest report, and key data points from this report can be found in my latest blog post. Key takeaways are:

  • Consumers want to use more, rather than fewer communication channels for customer service.
  • Consumers are using a set of new channels were not statistically significantly used 3 years ago. For example: SMS, click to call, screen sharing, virtual agents
  • Online and digital communication channels are becoming increasingly utilized for customer service
  • Voice is still the most widely used channel, with a 73% utilization rate. This percentage has not changed in the last 3 years.
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With agile software development going mainstream, the cutting edge is DevOps

Agile software development practices have been transforming AD organizations for more than a decade.  With more rapid development cycles has come a bottleneck at the deployment boundary - at the frontier between Development and Operations. The DevOps movement is working to remove this bottleneck, and in the process is transforming both Dev and Ops for the better. In many respects it is a logical evolution of the agile movement, but practices like continuous deployment are deeply transformative of the way that organizations think about customer engagement, business engagement, testing, development and requirements - in fact, nearly every aspect of agile development is subtly but powerfully affected. The implication of a check-in resulting in code being deployed to production gives a whole new emphasis to the word "commit"!

A sign that DevOps is heating up to be the new ALM battleground was last week's announcement of IBM's acquisition of UrbanCode, which Glenn O'Donnell blogs about in his post IBM Escalates the DevOps War with UrbanCode Acquisition

Where are you on your agile journey, and is continuous deployment on your radar?  If not, it should be!