Wearable Technology Is Breaking The Retail Distribution Model

Smart technology is becoming mainstream very quickly. Not a day goes by without hearing about some new piece of smart technology that can help you get fitter or smarter or improve your life in some other way. In the past week alone, I’ve heard about devices that can improve your tennis swing, improve your posture, sense your presence, and generate energy from walking — not to mention the new smart watches, handheld 3D printers that can draw bones, smart breathalyzers, and, of course (!) smart wigs!

These devices are starting to find their way into the hands of consumers, but much of the retail channel has yet to catch up. Smart locks, smart wearables, and smart fitness devices are all generally being sold through the traditional online and offline channels for electronics and devices; sports stores, clothing retailers, and home hardware stores have been slow on the uptake. In the US, we have already seen some electronics retailers (such as Best Buy) significantly expand their “smart wearables” section from a small pod to an entire aisle or even a dedicated corner or section of the store. At the same time, many sports stores have not even started carrying the latest fitness tracking devices — something that should be in their sweet spot.

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5 Steps to transform IT from Order-taker To Business Partner: Part 2

Way back in September, I promised a series of blogs addressing this subject. I had high hopes of delivering a post a week for five weeks on the topic. Needless to say . . . life interjected!

So here, a little later than planned, is the second post in the series.

Step 1 - Change where you work 

If I had a thousand bucks for each time I’ve heard someone in technology management say “IT and the business,” I’d have retired long ago. And it’s not just something we hear in technology circles either. The plain truth is technology professionals have been using isolationist language for decades. I say isolationist because any time we refer to "IT and the business” as if they were two different entities, we are creating an artificial divide. As a department of the business, IT is very much part of “the business.”
 
When technology leaders create this divide between the technology group and the rest of the business, it separates their actions from the purpose of the business. Technology professionals start to see themselves as some sort of technology service provider to the business. But the truth is that the technology team should be integral to delivering value to the customer. If “the business” wanted a technology service provider, the leadership team would outsource IT. Unfortunately, one consequence of managing IT like a vendor is that it becomes much easier for the leadership team to make that outsourcing decision.
 
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Modest Growth For Japan’s Tech Market In 2014

Japan remains the second-largest tech market worldwide after the US and accounts for a massive 40% of total IT spending in Asia Pacific. Japanese companies devote most of their annual IT budget and staff — 70% to 80% — to maintaining existing back-end infrastructure and applications. But we expect this budget to shift rapidly over the next two to three years as local organizations embrace disruptive technology innovations in their efforts to succeed in the Age of the Customer.

Forrester’s team of Asia Pacific analysts recently published our regional tech market predictions for 2014. Below are my predictions for Japan:

  • Japan’s technology spending will show modest growth of 2% in 2014. Thanks to the positive economic impact of the government’s stimulus package and the depreciation of the yen, enterprise IT spending will likely grow by 3.7% in 2013. However, due to the consumption tax increase planned for April 2014 and the waning effects of the stimulus package, Forrester expects IT spending growth to slow to around 2% in 2014, driven by large application modernization projects in banking, manufacturing, and the public sector.
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