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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Big Pharma Big Data Trends

While I don't cover big pharma on its own, I am keenly interested in it and follow it with some passion, having in my career worked for several pharma firms as a consultant.

I have spoken to several pharma folks about data since arriving at Forrester. Some of what I learned was surprising. Some of what I learned reinforced my views coming to this job.

Important leaders are saying that good data management gives companies a key and differentiated competitive advantage. We are hearing this in almost all of our conversations with pharma leaders. It is 100% top-of-mind for big pharma CIOs. http://searchcio.techtarget.com/video/JJ-Pharma-CIO-Healthcare-data-management-will-revolutionize-her-business

But what are the trends, and what are the best practices?

We are hearing from all the pharma stakeholders four stories that are driving the questions that are being asked of the data:

  1. Pharma needs to get away from its focus on molecules and pivot to a holistic view of disease. As per a senior IT manager at a major pharma in a meeting with me last week: "We have to deliver whole solutions, and not just pills." 
  2. Pharma needs to understand prescribing behavior in the formulary and in the physician's office better in order to influence it and thus drive sales. As per a senior marketing manager from a meeting recently: "In the old world, we just sprayed and prayed," meaning that the marketing campaigns aimed at the physician did not discriminate as to who that physician was.
  3. Genomic-based drugs are driving changes though the amounts and types of data that the industry must manage.
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With China Mobile, Apple Finally Cuts To The Core Of The World’s Biggest Phone Market

The deal between Apple and China Mobile has been a long time coming, with lots of folks disappointed it didn’t happen in September when the latest iPhones were announced. China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile phone operator, with 760 million subscribers. That’s more than 1 in 7 of all people alive, and, as my friend Charlie has reminded me, more than 6 times the number of the largest US carrier, Verizon Wireless, or 3 times the size of AT&T and Verizon combined. 

Though Bryan Wang in our Beijing office points out that Apple’s iPhone offerings are very expensive by China standards, starting at about $740 unsubsidized, he also reports that there is lots of interest among China Mobile subscribers. With this deal, we’ll finally find out how far Apple can get in China without offering products that match the prices of market leaders Samsung, Lenovo, and Huawei, or innovator Xiaomi. Based on Forrester survey data, we estimate that Apple sold over 16.8 million iPhones in mainland China in the four quarters ending September, 2013. We estimate that Apple will be able to sell 17 million new iPhones to China Mobile users in the first 12 months – that’s on the low side of public estimates we’ve seen ranging from 15 to 30 million. So Apple will boost global iPhone sales – and iPhone revenues – by over 10%.

After waiting so long, why is China Mobile interested in the iPhone? Because they’re concerned about losing their best customers, which are some of China's most valuable ones, to China Telecom and China Unicom. And China Mobile is just launching the first 4G network in China, and Forrester believes it will have at least a 6 month head start before other operators begin adding 4G. The iPhone 5s and 5c give China Mobile showcase products to show off the power of their 4G network.

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On Pubs, Innovation & Office Space

Holiday season musings: One of the biggest differences between the US and Britain is the great British pub. And recently I’ve been wondering about the connection between the pub and innovation.
 
It seems to me that Britain produces a surprising amount of innovation per capita (no doubt someone can point me to some research on this). Why do so many great innovations come from this small island? 
 
Could it be that the great British pub has something to do with it? It’s clear that a great many innovations are nurtured and developed through the interactions between people. And the pub has always been place for social interaction. For me, one of the facets that distinguishes a great UK pub from an American bar is that it’s relatively easy to sit next to a complete stranger in a pub and strike up a deeply philosophical conversation about something of great import; in a bar, it’s almost impossible to strike up a conversation with anyone you don’t already know unless it’s related to the local sports team. 
 
Assuming my premise is correct that there is some causative effect between the traditional local pub and innovation, what will happen to innovation in Britain with the demise of the local pub. Will we see a reduction in great innovation from the UK?
 
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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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Three Proactive Assistance Startups Worth Watching

I’ve been experimenting for the past year or so with several proactive assistant apps to guide my day — they remind me to get on conference calls with clients, offer to text participants if I'm running late to an in-person lunch, and keep me in touch with friends and colleagues. Some of these apps also integrate Salesforce, Yammer, and BaseCamp for job-specific context and assistance.

Among the most popular apps, Google Now personalizes recommendations and assistance by applying predictive analytics to data stored in email, contacts, calendar, social, docs, and other types of online services users opt in. Other examples include Tipbit applying predictive analytics to make a more intelligent inbox, and EasilyDo using the notification system to recommend ways to automate common everyday tasks. Expect Labs is tackling this space from the other end of the spectrum, offering an intelligent assistance engine for enterprises to plug into and add proactive features to their own apps. 

Here’s what we think:

•    Vendors will experience burnouts and early customer frustration, much like in voice recognition. In the music industry, it’s said that an artist is only as good as her last hit. We saw that analogy apply to voice recognition when users got frustrated at Siri as soon as she failed once on them. Expect a similar dynamic with all types of predictive apps.

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Symantec EMEA Industry Analyst Conference: Shifting The Tack Of Dealing With Security Issues

With Enza Iannopollo

Symantec held its EMEA Industry Analyst Conference in the UK recently. Symantec saw targeted attacks increase by 42% during 2013. Although it’s always mentioned among the top concerns by businesses in surveys, security is still often treated in a somewhat blasé way by many of those businesses in reality. We took several messages away from Symantec’s conference:

  • Security is not just a simple IT issue but has wider business implications. Digital security has many facets, including cybercrime and online privacy. Security is an economic and societal dimension for the digital ecosystem. Just think of privacy legislation -- customers expect the businesses with which they interact to adhere to it. This also means that the future security manager will be someone who understands business requirements and employee wishes well enough to balance them against specific security threats and compliance obligations. The security officer who just “shuts the gates” and says “no” to requests like accessing video websites or installing software is damaging to what we call the connected business.
  • There is a need for Symantec to engage effectively with a partner ecosystem. Symantec is moving beyond products to become a solution provider. Symantec knows that integrated solutions need to work in a multivendor landscape across third-party and competitor products in a legacy environment. Such integration challenges hold back ecosystem ambitions. To strengthen its offering, Symantec has established partnerships with Hitachi Data Systems (data storage and interpretation), PwC (threat intelligence, incidence response, and digital loss prevention), and Colt (joint go-to-market offering for security-as-a-service). As part of these partnerships, Symantec sees a growing interest in the managed services option.
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What Indian CIOs Can Learn From The Delhi Assembly Elections

Disclaimer: I am not a political analyst, and this post is not intended to promote any political party.

December 8 was an historic day for Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which arose from the anti-corruption movement of Anna Hazare a year ago, achieved a spectacular result in Delhi’s assembly elections — one far beyond anyone’s expectations. The party won 39% of the total assembly seats, sending Congress (which is India’s oldest party and had ruled Delhi for the past 15 years) plummeting to third place.

AAP’s rapid rise and strong showing highlight a fundamental shift in India’s political system toward citizen engagement and empowerment, especially in urban and semiurban areas. In particular, India’s youth are ready to take risks to realize their hopes and aspirations. About 350,000 18- and 19-year-olds have recently joined the voter rolls and saw in AAP the possibility to change the existing political system. And AAP was in tune with them, putting volunteers to work on social media platforms to connect with citizens on issues like corruption.

Indian CIOs should sit up and take heed, because just as empowered citizens can disrupt traditional politics, digitally empowered customers will disrupt businesses in every industry. Forrester calls this the age of the customer, and we define it as:

A 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.

You must prepare to deal with this disruption and understand what you must do to make your organization customer-obsessed:

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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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What You Can Learn From Atos's Zero Email Initiative

Atos created a stir in 2011 when it announced its Zero Email program — an initiative to completely eliminate the use of email for internal communications and use enterprise social instead. Many scoffed it wasn’t practical or that it couldn’t be done. Some others — myself included — thought getting rid of email completely isn’t the right objective. Yes, there are many statistics showing we spend a lot of time on email. But if you accept that . . .
 
  1. Composing and reading messages is an important part of communicating for work;
  2. Specifying the recipient(s) without exposing the message to others unless you intend to (i.e. email) has its place;
  3. Other collaboration tools are more efficient than email for some types of interactions;
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