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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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!

TechnoPolitics Podcast: Zero Trust - Your Only Hope For A Secure Network

Forrester TechnoPoliticsWith apologies to the late great President Ronald Reagan, "trust but verify" is outmoded advice when it comes to computer network security. So, why do so many information security professionals still think trusted and untrusted networks zones are still best practice? Most think that people are trusted or untrusted. The problem with that thinking is you never know who can or cannot be trusted. Remember wikileaks? It was an inside job.

The solution: Zero Trust - Verify Then Trust

Meet John Kindervag, Forrester Principal Analyst and a leading expert in network and information security. He says that firms must take a Zero Trust approach to network security that means "verify then trust". In this episode of Forrester TechnoPolitics, John describes the what, why, and how of the Zero Trust approach to network and information security.

Podcast: Zero Trust - Your Only Hope For A Secure Network (8 mins)

 

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Oracle's Customer Experience Management Technology: Its A Good Thing, But Really Hard To Do

I was at Oracle’s Analyst day today, and spent time with the Customer Experience Team drilling into the technology that allows organizations to deliver consistent, cross-channel, cross-touchpoint experiences across what Oracle terms the buying and owning journey – and which parallels Forrester’s viewpoint quite nicely. Here is Oracle's view of this journey:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most companies cannot deliver consistent customer experiences across the explosion of touchpoints and communication channels.  This is, in part, because companies have historically implemented customer-facing technologies in silos, disconnected from each other. Here's some data points about customer service that backs this up. In a survey of eBusiness professionals, only 19% and 21% of the respondents believe that they are effective at multichannel integration and back-end integration, respectively.  More than that, companies are not treating this problem as pressing: In our latest Forrsignts survey, only 34% of companies interviewed are planning to do any type of multichannel integration – and again, this is data for customer service only!

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Threats And Opportunities For Software Innovation In India

The continued economic viability of software development in India, whether by independent software vendors (ISVs) or “captive” business units, depends less on pure labor arbitrage and more on delivering time-to-market advantage for clients. The pressure of meeting business expectations demands that software firms harness creative capability wherever they can find it. The increased focus on Business Technology innovation and customer experience over mere cost savings presents both a threat and an opportunity to software configuration and development business units (BUs) in India.This is the key finding from my just-published report

Forrester developed its software innovation assessment workbook to assess software innovation capability of firms. We provided this tool to members of NASSCOM (the industry association for the IT BPO sector in India), comprising both ISVs and captive development BUs in India, and surveyed them to assess the most important process, organizational, cultural, geographical, and staffing practices that promote software innovation. We also interviewed a dozen selected respondents in greater depth to better understand how innovation capability contributes to business success in India. We found evidence of widespread adoption of the practices correlated with software innovation capability, helping to drive a rapidly changing role for Indian business in the global software supply chain.

Innovators in India that were engaged in software development and configuration received high scores for many of the practices that drive effective innovation. They demonstrated strength in:

  • Listening to the voice of the customer
  • Making the development process more iterative and responsive
  • Developing organizationwide best practices
  • Shaping the culture
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Development In The Enterprise: The Mobile Path Is Clear And Getting Easier!

I stated a few months ago that “data is the new currency” and that “the API layer will be the core around which every successful enterprise digital strategy is based.” Fast-forward to today: two moves this week prove that Intel and CA Technologies agree and are betting heavily on this strategy with acquisitions of Mashery and Layer 7. This will not be the end of the acquisition spree in this space; I’m sure we’ll see more API management companies (and a few BaaS companies) get gobbled up soon. If you’re currently implementing or planning a mobile strategy in your enterprise, what does this mean for you?

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Intel’s Acquisition Of Mashery Nets It Public API Smarts, Developers, And More...

Co-authored with Eve Maler

Yesterday Intel set off of a flurry of tweets and news stories when it announced it had acquired Mashery. For those who aren’t familiar with Mashery, it is one of the earliest (and largest) vendors in the emerging API management space. Companies use API management platforms to secure and expose their APIs for public consumption. They are an important part of establishing a corporate platform and building a developer ecosystem around your business processes.

Intel’s acquisition really didn’t surprise us; the company already had an existing investment in working with Mashery, and was reselling it along with the Intel Expressway Service Gateway. The current integration featured Mashery front-ending the integration as a developer portal and for provisioning of developer licenses, while the Intel Expressway Service Gateway handled the operational aspect of API traffic routing and access management. We expect an immediate tightening of the existing integration, and for Intel sales reps to expand their pitch to offer API management capabilities in the cloud — a capability that was more difficult with Intel’s current product (which is delivered as a hardware-based appliance or a virtual appliance).

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Where Have All The Site Search Vendors Gone?

A lot of our clients tell us that search on websites is an understaffed, IT-funded afterthought. But watch for the status quo to change, because search hasn’t lived up to its potential yet. As site search continues to evolve, it will evolve beyond just helping people find information. Instead, it will help organizations, for example, link search to things like promotions/ads and landing pages.Our last site search survey showed that two-thirds of decision-makers were looking to expand website search deployments. But who are the vendors out there? The past few years have seen some transitions in the site search market, with many independent vendors getting acquired, some shifting focus, and some stalwarts still remaining in the marketplace:

  • The number of independent vendors is shrinking. Larger vendors continue to refine their digital customer experience appeal by acquiring other products, and many of these include independent site search vendors. This includes Oracle (acquired Endeca in 2011); SDL (acquired Dutch search vendor Fredhopper in 2010); IBM (acquired search and discover vendor Vivisimo in 2012); Microsoft (acquired FAST in 2008 and bundled it with SharePoint); and Adobe (acquired Omniture in 2009, bringing with it the old Mercado search product). This slew of acquisitions doesn’t mean that independent vendors are out of the game. Many still offer site search solutions (Coveo, Elicit, Fabasoft, and Attivio, among others) but their numbers are shrinking.
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