Are You Ready For Cyber Monday?

Firstly, I hope all my American colleagues and friends are enjoying Thanksgiving. Happy holidays everyone!

I especially hope that all the IT professionals who work in the consumer retail markets get some rest because this coming Monday is Cyber Monday, one of the biggest days for online shopping transactions in the business year. Cyber Monday is part of the holiday season, which Forrester defines as November through December, and as our recent retail forecast report for 2013 points out, we expect online sales to top $78 billion in the US alone. Cyber Monday is not just a US event though; even in the UK, spending is forecast by Sage Pay to be more than £500m for this one day alone.

These figures highlight how digital our world has become. There is no need to go out in the cold or the rain as purchases can be made via mobile devices at any time or anywhere. This move to the digital world means that for many consumer retail companies, their websites and increasingly their mobile apps are now key to their success as they are becoming a major revenue and brand image contributor.

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Business Agility And The NSA

 

Here’s a different take on the recent revelations of the NSA.

How does Edward Snowden, a low-level contractor to the government, recently fired from Booz Allen with a fabricated salary history, get access to a trove of documents about top-secret telephone and Internet surveillance programs? This to me is troubling. Too many years ago, I had top-secret clearances in places like BBN and MITRE Corporation that do lots of contract work for DoD and the three-letter agencies. But I never had anywhere near the broad or deep access to information that this contractor had.

Yet, we need to keep this lapse in governance in perspective. The only way we can beat terrorists is with superior information management. Big data with predictive analytics can make connections that no human can. These tools will form the ultimate weapon of this century and should remain a key investment area where we maintain leadership. How important is analytics? Forrester just completed its second report on business agility, and we looked at what factors can make the government more agile – better able to deal with unexpected outside events. We also studied which of our 10 dimensions drives the most economic performance. Of our 10 dimensions, the two that apply most in this case are analytics and knowledge dissemination.

Competence in analytics was shown conclusively to drive effectiveness in government and profit in the private sector based on our survey. See Agility Performance. A sophisticated government organization, particular where intelligence is the goal, needs great tools to control, manage quality, and govern the use of data throughout the organization.

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Mobile BI: A Stealth Revolution In Information Delivery?!

Having business applications available while away from the office is nothing new; neither is using mobile devices as an integral part of a business process. Until recently, however, the former has mostly consisted of standard PC applications running on a laptop, and the latter has largely been the realm of specialist, often ruggedized mobile devices used for a single purpose, such as delivery tracking or stock-taking. The advent of smartphones and tablets has changed the dynamics of what mobility means in a business context.

One driver clearly has been the desire of business professionals to stay in touch and keep workflows moving even when not at their desk: 58% of information workers use a smartphone and 30% use a tablet for work (either employer-provided or personal). Even more importantly, the executives holding the purse strings have discovered the power of mobile. Not that tablet-toting business leaders are anything new; the “cool factor” of the iPad in particular meant that it quickly became a status symbol. But there’s been a more subtle revolution behind the scenes: once early adopters had started moving towards the electronic distribution of board papers, board members themselves started spreading the message, challenging organizations that were still paper-bound to go digital.

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Salesforce.com’s Private AppExchange Can Streamline Multi-SaaS Sourcing

salesforce.com’s 100,000+ customers now have a new option for streamlining SaaS sourcing across the enterprise: Private AppExchange. And, the price is right at $0. Free? Yes, free(!) but, don't assume this won't impact your costs.

Last week at salesforce.com's massive Dreamforce event, Forrester had the opportunity to learn more about some of salesforce.com's recent announcements -- including the Private AppExchange. This free add-on feature for salesforce.com users lets companies set up an AppStore that is private, personalized, and custom populated for their own company. The Private AppExchange lets organizations “distribute any app, to any user on any device through a central, secure store, using Salesforce Identity to grant employees instant access to the apps they need. Organizations can customize the store with own categories and branding.”

The Private AppExchange could help sourcing executives address goals for enabling SaaS sourcing that we frequently hear about, such as:

  • Lets users quickly discover and deploy solutions that meet their business needs
  • Supports collaboration and idea-sharing across all users at all levels of the company
  • Adheres to corporate standards (integration, data rules, security, contracting, and more)
  • Ensures favorable pricing based on overall corporate relationships and usage
  • Showcases the specific SaaS solutions already in use within the company
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Mobile Mapping: Nokia Prepares For The Afterlife

At the recently concluded Tizen developer conference in South Korea, Nokia announced that it has licensed its maps and related functionality to the Tizen ecosystem. While no phone or tablet running the Tizen OS has yet launched, device manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, and Fujitsu are backing it.

Mobile handset manufacturer Jolla, whose first phone ships on November 27, also announced that it has licensed HERE’s positioning services and map technology for its Sailfish OS. We expect more handset manufacturers to build devices for Tizen and Sailfish over the next 12 to 18 months, as both are open source and can run Android apps.

In my opinion, two key factors make Nokia HERE maps a tough competitor for Google and Apple:

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What Is Salesforce1 Anyway?

Salesforce1 was the big development revealed at salesforce.com's huge Dreamforce 2013 conference. But many left the conference wondering the same thing: What exactly is Salesforce1? A new mobile app? New sales, service, and marketing applications? A new set of application programming interfaces (APIs)? New development tools? Our analysis gets under the hood of the announcement, finding that Salesforce1 is “all of the above” and a big step forward for the company, cementing its position as a top choice among public cloud development platforms.

Why?

Salesforce1 consolidates and modernizes salesforce.com's mobile client efforts into a single extensible app. There's a gap in offline work still to be fixed.

  1. The Salesforce1 mobile app required a major refactoring and expansion of salesforce.com's APIs. Developers now have a much wider range of functions available to work with salesforce.com's various Web properties. The new APIs are RESTful.
  2. The new APIs opened the door for much better integration between Heroku and salesforce.com's Web properties. Heroku is the company's environment for Ruby, Java, and other developers who don't or won't work in Force.com. Now both development environments are integrated with salesforce.com's applications and underlying application services. 
  3. Salesforce1 is a big set of developments, and addresses one of our biggest criticisms of the company's cloud platforms: that Force.com, Heroku, Chatter, and other services aren't well integrated. Well, now they are.
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Dawn Of A New Digital Reality

FitbitWe’re at the dawn of a new industrial revolution. And just as the steam engine and the spinning jenny transformed the world in the first industrial revolution, the new technology of this new industrial revolution will transform our world as we know it.

The seeds of revolution are all around us: More compute power now resides in each of our pockets than in the supercomputers of the eighties; we are rapidly approaching a point where each person on the planet is interconnected through a web of digital channels; billions of devices are capable of instantly uploading data about the device and its environment as an the internet of things; highly automated manufacturing plants will soon intelligently assemble custom products; and instant video communications now take place regularly around the world. All of these changes are already here. 

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CIO Crisis Alert: India Will Lead Asia Pacific IT Salary Increases In 2014

With a weakening economy, skyrocketing food prices, and an attrition rate of around 14%, Indian CIOs’ biggest worry is increasing the salaries of their IT staff. Data from Forrester’s Forrsights Budgets And Priorities Survey, Q4 2013, indicates that 71% of Indian CIOs will increase their spending on IT staff salaries and benefits in 2014 — tops in the Asia Pacific region (figure below).

                                                    

In return for the increase in staff salaries, Indian CIOs will face two challenges:

  • Increased pressure from CEOs to contribute to the company’s top line. By 2016, 70% of Indian CIOs will report to CEOs. As the boundary between IT and business blurs further, CEOs will get more directly involved in business-led technology discussions as a means to differentiate their organization and drive business growth. They’ll look for new technology capabilities to respond to customer needs better, faster, and cheaper — and won’t be satisfied with an IT organization that merely keeps the lights on.
  • The need to retool their IT teams. All too often, IT lacks business-oriented communication skills and team members rarely or never share business knowledge with each other. IT staff continue to be order-takers. The biggest challenge for CIOs today is how to make their technical people more business-savvy; this problem will only get more difficult as pressure from the business increases.
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Evaluating BI Services In Asia Pacific

Business decision-makers in Asia Pacific (AP) are increasingly aware of the importance of business intelligence (BI) and broader analytics to business strategy and execution. However, lack of internal expertise remains a significant barrier to BI project success.

In response, Fred Giron and I have just published The Forrester Wave™: Business Intelligence Service Providers In Asia Pacific, Q4 2013. In it, we identified eight companies that offer strong capabilities and services for AP-based organizations seeking BI service support.

To succeed in the region, BI service providers must provide guidance on how to translate data access into actual insight and information into business value. This requires a strong understanding of local cultures, business practices, regulatory frameworks, and market dynamics. When evaluating providers, understand how their capabilities are likely to evolve across five categories:

  • People. To minimize project risks, understand who will be the on-site business and technical leads on BI projects and how many successful implementations this staff has led in a similar industry and similar technical environment within the region.
  • Technical expertise. Service providers need to demonstrate region-specific knowledge of the technical characteristics of various BI tools, platforms, architectures, and applications. Most companies will not have all of the necessary skills on site, so closely evaluate ease of access to remote staff from the service provider as well.
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Three Vendors Rise To The Top Of The Private Cloud Market

In Q2 2011, Forrester wrote one of the market's first private cloud vendor evaluations which scored vendors on ten criteria. Over the past two years private cloud has shifted from concept to reality with 55% of enterprise hardware decision makers planning to build an internal private cloud in 2014 (up from 29% in 2011) according to our Forrsights Hardware Survey, Q3 2013. Due to popular demand, Forrester decided to update this report with a full Forrester Wave evaluation composed of 61 criteria. Vendors evaluated in this report represent today's top software-only private cloud vendors -- ASG Software Solutions, BMC Software, CA Technologies, Cisco Systems, Citrix Systems, Eucalyptus Systems, HP, IBM, Microsoft, and VMware. After many long hours on weekends and holidays, this report is finally complete, with three vendors rising to the top -- HP, Cisco, and Microsoft. For the full details of the strengths and weaknesses of each vendor, see The Forrester Wave™: Private Cloud Solutions, Q4 2013

How did Forrester select and evaluate vendors? Each vendor met the following qualifiers: 

  • Self-service portal and role-based access.
  • Infrastructure provisioning capabilities.
  • Management capabilities.
  • Monitoring and tracking of resources.
  • API-based.
  • Generally available by April 1, 2013.
  • More than 100 unique customers. 
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