On April 23, IBM rolled out the long-awaited POWER8 CPU, the successor to POWER7+, and given the extensive pre-announcement speculation, the hardware itself was no big surprise (the details are fascinating, but not suitable for this venue), offering an estimated 30 - 50% improvement in application performance over the latest POWER7+, with potential for order of magnitude improvements with selected big data and analytics workloads. While the technology is interesting, we are pretty numb to the “bigger, better, faster” messaging that inevitably accompanies new hardware announcements, and the real impact of this announcement lies in its utility for current AIX users and IBM’s increased focus on Linux and its support of the OpenPOWER initiative.
OK, so we’re numb, but it’s still interesting. POWER8 is an entirely new processor generation implemented in 22 nm CMOS (the same geometry as Intel’s high-end CPUs). The processor features up to 12 cores, each with up to 8 threads, and a focus on not only throughput but high performance per thread and per core for low-thread-count applications. Added to the mix is up to 1 TB of memory per socket, massive PCIe 3 I/O connectivity and Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI), IBM’s technology to deliver memory-controller-based access for accelerators and flash memory in POWER systems. CAPI figures prominently in IBM’s positioning of POWER as the ultimate analytics engine, with the announcement profiling the performance of a configuration using 40 TB of CAPI-attached flash for huge in-memory analytics at a fraction of the cost of a non-CAPI configuration.[i]
A Slam-dunk for AIX users and a new play for Linux
Google Glass is finally being explicitly positioned for enterprise usage -- a concession to the great interest found in many vertical industries (and also among developers who sell to those industries) for using Glass to attract, retain, and serve customers. We'd predictedthis trend and have been helping clients in a variety of contexts to design their own enterprise wearables strategies.
For the healthcare vertical, SAP posted a video that has been little seen -- but which deserves more attention -- that helps illustrate some of the detailed usage cases for Google Glass in a hospital context. SAP's HANAplatform (about which you can read more via my colleagues Andrew Bartels and Paul Hammermanhere or Noel Yuhannahere) empowers a nurse to complete all the tasks in her rounds:
With video rapidly becoming the dominant content type on enterprise networks the issues being faced in the media market foreshadow the coming challenges for the rest of the market. And use of the cloud was very much in focus at the 2014 National Association of Broadcasters conference held in Las Vegas in the second week of April.
Here we present ten issues the media industry faces as it more broadly embraces the cloud, as observed first-hand at NABShow 2014. These ten issues show how going cloud changes how you think (planning), act (workflow), and engage (distribute). For Forrester clients there is a new companion report to this blog detailing what the industry is doing to address these challenges and how you can follow suit:
The I&O role continues to notably evolve from a mere IT role to becoming a BT -- Business Technology -- role. This means taking an increasingly role in empowering customer-facing technologies. And as I&O pros shift toward becoming customer enablers, you should begin to closely track -- and to pilot -- a number of emerging technologies that can help your company attract, retain, and serve customers. Currently, myriad solutions exist; as one start-up vendor told me, "there are so many new technologies out there, it's hard for buyers to decide where to place their bets, so we just try to get our products into trial to prove the value." While the number of these technologies (and their vendors) is great, they tend to share one or more of the following characteristics. As you read the list, ask yourself the question associated with each factor:
Hyper-local. Are you experimenting with technologies that engage customers on a highly geographic (e.g. within 1 foot) basis? (Example: iBeacon)
Targeted. Are you piloting any technologies that can customize customer engagement based on who they are or what they feel? (Example: Facial Recognition)
Apple's reported earnings revealed a strong product mix contrast: iPhone sales increased 17% in units and 14% in revenues, while iPad sales decreased 16% in units and 13% in revenues. What accounts for this contrast? Is the iPad's growth trajectory broken?
Simply put, the iPhone's addressable market has only continued to increase with Apple's continued international expansion. Only recently, for example, has Apple broken out in Japan (still the world's third-largest economy); only a few months after releasing the 5S and 5C across all three of Japan's largest carriers, iPhone models made up 9 of the top 10 phones sold. And for iPhone, unlike iPad, the route to sales comes through carrier relationships -- of which Apple has landed more recently.
By contrast, the iPad's year-over-year results lagged because:
Price competition in tablets has been fierce. With Android tablets under $200 now commonplace -- including Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX -- Apple's premium pricing is catching up to it.
Replacement rates are lower than expected. Why are prices catching up to iPad now? Because replacement rates haven't been as quick as with iPhone. The pace at which people purchase smartphones is quicker than that of iPads, even among the Apple faithful. This means that Apple is seeking an ever expanding market -- people without tablets. For later adopters, who didn't see the big deal early on, price matters more than for earlier adopters.
The Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) role is changing significantly: I&O pros are increasingly helping to drive business strategies with the technologies they choose and implement. Business leaders tell Forrester that technology is too important to leave to technology managers alone; they are pushing their I&O colleagues to explore the business value associated with the technologies they choose, implement, and manage. I&O pros, in turn, tell us that their jobs are changing. As one I&O pro put it, “I’ve been an infrastructure manager for 15 years, but only in the past 3 have I been asked to construct a business plan and be part of the business planning team.”
Figure: Burberry's Technology-Powered Flagship Store In London
For I&O pros in retail and related verticals like hospitality (or for anyone involved in creating in-person experiences), we’ve just released a report to help aid this transition. Along with my co-author Michele Pelino, we’ve just released the report “Infrastructure Will Drive The Retail Store Experiences Of The Future.” The report asserts that I&O pros have an important role to play in helping their companies engage shoppers in experiences that will drive loyalty and spending.
Up until this week, Google had remained reticent about speaking of Google Glass as an enterprise tool. Google is a mass-market consumer company whose main revenue streams derive from huge scale; its aspirations for Glass are, presumably, both ambitious and far-reaching. In consequence, Google's leaders want Google Glass on the faces of as many consumers as possible. Enterprise represents, at best, a bit of a diversion from that mass-market ambition.
Nevertheless, as I pointed out in January, Google has begun to tell stories about how Glass can create value in an enterprise setting. Theirvideos of public safety officials using Glass for firefighting tugged at the heart-strings, even as the NYPDpilots the device as well. But April has seen a flurry of enterprise-related Glass news, including an explicit posting on Google+ about enterprise.
In addition to all those consumer Glass Explorers, "Something we've also noticed and are very excited about is how Explorers are using Glass to drive their businesses forward," Google wrote. "A number of companies have already teamed up with enterprise software developers to create new ways to serve their customers and reach their business goals."
When I was maybe 2 years old, my mother lost track of me in a Toys-R-Us store. After a dozen stressful minutes, she finally found me - holding a Fisher-Price airplane. And so began my love affair with airplanes and aviation. So as I looked through the break-out schedule while attending NVIDIA’s GPU conference two weeks ago in San Jose, California, Gulfstream Aero’s session on transforming manufacturing and field service with desktop virtualization caught my eye. It didn’t disappoint.
There are 2 reasons why I liked this session so much and why I think it’s worth sharing with you:
It’s a nice example of technology that makes the work easier for employees, and helps them improve the customer experience directly.
It’s also an example of how a technology that’s not necessarily a money saver (in this case, VDI) shines when it enables workers do something that would be difficult or impossible any other way.
Forrester recently attended the Telefónica Leadership Conference 2014, its annual global customer event that brought together more than 600 customers, partners and its Global Solutions leadership team. This year’s event was an exemplary mix of Telefónica and external content, including a keynote live video interview with former US President Bill Clinton on day one, and also a keynote speech by Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile 2010-2014 on day two. Additionally, well known academics presented research findings related to how cloud and social are changing marketing (Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard), and how multigenerational workforces are reshaping business – from how they use technology to interact, and also to learn and transfer skills (Dr. Paul Redmond, University of Liverpool).
Valar Morghulis, service management professionals.*
If you're reading this blog, chances are pretty high you're a nerd. Therefore chances are also high you're at least aware (or a fan) of author George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire now adapted into the dark and stormy HBO series: Game of Thrones. Now, chances are slightly less high you're the kind of fan who has crafted a dragon headdress made out of construction paper in anticipation of this weekend's premiere of season four, but I digress...
Whether you're a (big) fan or not, much can be learned from the trials, tribulations, betrayals, deceptions, swords, and sorcery surrounding the characters of the "known world" as they jockey for the right to rule the seven kingdoms and sit upon the iron throne. And you needn't speak Dothraki to be able to understand the (fairly non-spoilery) lessons below culled from Game of Thrones, and practice them in the game of service management: