Do you remember your “Current Events” class? It was the one where there was always a pop quiz on what’s happening in the news. Think if you were in that class today and there was a segment on business and technology: Where would you turn?
While we like to believe that www.Forrester.com and this blog are your only two sources of information (wink, wink), we recognize that there are other valuable publications to help you stay on top of business and technology happenings. The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The New York Times, Associated Press, La Tribune, Forbes, Wired, CIO, InformationWeek, and ZDNet to name a few. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are also great resources.
To help IT Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) leaders stay current, I've handpicked media from this week that features quotes and data from Forrester’s I&O analysts and a few others. Some articles are very relevant to I&O leaders (ex. stories on BYOD, tablets, Microsoft), while others offer important marketing and strategy insights for I&O leaders to be aware of (ex. business trends in retail and banking, big data, voice of the customer strategies).
Is this useful? If so, I'm happy to do this weekly or every other week. Let me know in the comment field below.
Thanks and enjoy your weekend,
Very Relevant Business Technology News For I&O Leaders:
The Wall Street Journal Featured Forrester Analyst: Christian Kane
No contract phones could complicate BYOD
April 8, 2013
On May 5, 1907, The New York Times published a column written that same morning by Mark Twain on the news of his death the day before. "You can assure my Virginia friends," said Twain, "that I will make an exhaustive investigation of this report that I have been lost at sea. If there is any foundation for the report, I will at once apprise the anxious public." The event led to the oft-misquoted phrase: "The report of my death was an exaggeration."
Everyone it seems, loves a good untimely death
So much so, the Wikipedia maintains a list of 219 famous erroneous death reports. Paul McCartney was reported dead on a radio show in 1966, with fans convinced he'd been replaced by an impostor. Pope John Paul II is on the list with the distinction of being the only known triple recipient of early death news reports. And the US House of Representatives cemented its reputation as the best comedy show in town when news of Bob Hope's death was reported on the floor and broadcast on C-SPAN...five years too early. And so it goes with taking news at face value.
In recent research, I have laid out some similarities and differences between tablets and laptops. But the tablet market is growing ever more fragmented, yielding subtleties that aren’t always captured with a simple “PC vs. tablet” dichotomy. As Infrastructure & Operations (I&O) professionals try to determine the composition of their hardware portfolios, the product offerings themselves are more protean. Just describing the “tablet” space is much harder than it used to be. Today, we’re looking at multiple OSes (iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry, forked Android), form factors (eReader, tablet, hybrid, convertible, touchscreen laptop), and screen sizes (from 5” phabletsand to giant 27” furniture tablets) – not to mention a variety of brands, price points, and applications. If, as rumored, Microsoft were to enter the 7” to 8” space – competing with Google Nexus, Apple iPad Mini, and Kindle Fire HD – we would see even more permutations. Enterprise-specific – some vertically specific – devices are proliferating alongside increased BYO choices for workers.
Mark had proposed the blog be called simply “I&T” but I rightly or wrongly decided to make its topic more explicit. The following are Mark’s thoughts and words with some editing on my part to meet word count guidelines (which I eventually failed to do so) …
What exactly is “IT”?
The term “IT” can be confusing. Does it refer to an organizational entity, e.g. the IT department and if so, does that include the applications domain? Does it refer to artefacts such as hardware, software, and data that are used to enable and support planning, collection, organization, use, control, dissemination, and disposal of information1)? And finally, and this is my main topic, is “information” included in IT, or is it a separate entity?
Why am I asking this now?
While preparing for the panel discussion mentioned above and thinking about the kind of questions that people would and should be thinking about, I decided to ask my personal network about the questions that they thought IT people should be thinking about. This resulted in 67 questions2) posed by 24 experts from 16 countries. Amongst them, Charles Betz noticed that some of the questions touched on “the age-old existential questions about ‘what is IT?’ and ‘what happens if we take IT out of ITSM?’” and referred to his definition of IT value:
HP today announced the Moonshot 1500 server, their first official volume product in the Project Moonshot server product family (the initial Redstone, a Calxeda ARM-based server, was only available in limited quantities as a development system), and it represents both a significant product today and a major stake in the ground for future products, both from HP and eventually from competitors. It’s initial attractions – an extreme density low power x86 server platform for a variety of low-to-midrange CPU workloads – hides the fact that it is probably a blueprint for both a family of future products from HP as well as similar products from other vendors.
Geek Stuff – What was Announced
The Moonshot 1500 is a 4.3U enclosure that can contain up to 45 plug-in server cartridges, each one a complete server node with a dual-core Intel Atom 1200 CPU, up to 8 GB of memory and a single disk or SSD device, up to 1 TB, and the servers share common power supplies and cooling. But beyond the density, the real attraction of the MS1500 is its scalable fabric and CPU-agnostic architecture. Embedded in the chassis are multiple fabrics for storage, management and network giving the MS1500 (my acronym, not an official HP label) some of the advantages of a blade server without the advanced management capabilities. At initial shipment, only the network and management fabric will be enabled by the system firmware, with each chassis having up two Gb Ethernet switches (technically they can be configured with one, but nobody will do so), allowing the 45 servers to share uplinks to the enterprise network.
Infrastructure & Operations (I&O) professionals, in the age of Bring-Your-Own (BYO) technology, are keeping closer tabs on the comings and goings of the consumer market. Most of the devices they find their companies’ employees using come from consumer retail, whether from physical retail locations like the Apple Store or Best Buy, or online venues like Amazon or Dell.com.
Samsung announced yesterday that it will be opening “Samsung Experience Shops” -- based on a store-within-a-store concept -- in 1,400+ Best Buy locations in the US in coming weeks and months. By the second half of the year, Samsung will possess a significant retail presence tailored to its own devices and staffed with sales associates with greater knowledge of its products. CNET reports: “The shops in large-format Best Buy stores will include blue-shirted consultants who are employed and trained by Samsung, as well as Best Buy staffers who receive special instruction.”
Apple, of course, has enjoyed incredible success with its Apple Stores since they opened in North America in 2001. The Apple Store has been a powerful pillar of Apple’s overall consumer strategy because of:
The quality and effectiveness of its sales associates. Apple has been able to attract, train, and retain high quality staff for its stores. In an era when cost-cutting affects retail experiences across all categories, Apple’s associates create a high-quality customer experience for Apple's customers and prospects.
At the end of 2012, Forrester and the ITAM Review, an IT asset management community site, ran a software asset management (SAM) survey to help understand where SAM is going in 2013. The resulting infographic* and commentary is available to Forrester clients here. For non- (hopefully future-) clients I’ve extracted some content to create this blog.
The focus and drivers for SAM have changed
Since the early 2000s, risk-focused IT professionals have voiced their concern over software compliance and the potential for vendor audits, large financial fines, damage to corporate reputation, and even the imprisonment of company directors. But these concerns weren't necessarily shared by the rest of the organization, which also viewed the SAM technology available as too difficult and complex to justify. As a result, SAM was a low priority on the IT management to-do list.
But this is starting to change as IT organizations realize that their software estates and procurement and provisioning processes are in a state of under-management, if not mismanagement. As a result, these organizations are wasting a significant amount of their IT funding each year on license procurement when they don't need to, maintenance agreement costs for more licenses than they actually use, and supporting and hosting software that should have been decommissioned.
A little while back Martin Thompson at the ITSM Review wrote an interesting blog on the complexity of IT service management (ITSM) tool pricing: http://www.theitsmreview.com/2011/09/ouch-o-meter/…I particularly liked his term "ouch-o-meter." It’s well worth a read.
It's something that has continued to puzzle me – what it would cost to buy AND implement an ITSM tool, PLUS any process or people-based change via professional services or third-party consultancy? Oops, I nearly forgot support and maintenance there too. To make matters worse, this is potentially an unknown and unbudgeted for cost that appears every 5-7years due to tool churn if us analyst types are to be believed (I have an outstanding action to include ITSM tool churn-related questions in a survey). But we need to park the churn issue for now and focus on cost or, more specifically, pricing models.
What did an ITSM tool cost in 2008? Or how long is a piece of string?
I cast my mind back to when I started as an industry analyst in 2008 and the complexity of not only which tools/applications, modules, or features needed to be costed-in but also the 30-50% "surcharge" for the professional services and 20-22% for support and maintenance. Then of course we needed to apply volume-based discounts and maybe something else based on the "customer-logo-appeal," the customer’s sourcing and vendor management strength/capabilities, and/or the sales person's need to hit quota at that point in time. I've probably oversimplified this too, feel free to educate me.
This blog has been contributed by Barclay Rae, an independent management consultant, and is the first of a new series of blogs written by IT service management (ITSM) thought leaders. Please read in Barclay's Scottish brogue ...
ITSMers often need help
Much of the demand for knowledge and support that I see in my regular consulting work centers around a simple request: “what are the key things to be doing for successful IT Service Management?”
People tell me they’ve read ITSM books and been trained (and certified) in ITIL and other frameworks, but because there’s so much content, plus multiple processes and standards. They lack a clear understanding of where to start and how to focus on what is important and successful in practice.
Focus on the critical activities
For me there’s a critical set of activities and actions that need to be achieved in order to deliver quality and effective service delivery – customer engagement, service definition, service desk quality, problem management, reporting and metrics, organizational change, and marketing. For many years this is what I’ve provided via workshops and consulting, and now I’ve turned this into a simple, straightforward, and practical approach and portfolio of knowledge – ITSMGoodness.