In the Cisco Collaboration Connection event for Asia Pacific early this week, I had the opportunity to try newly designed Cisco collaboration products, as well has have in-depth discussions with senior executives from Cisco. And I was also able to observe the response from the partners and customers I met from across APAC, including China, India, Singapore and Indonesia, and exchange my thoughts with them as well. I feel that the DNA of Cisco is changing, from technology-centric toward customer experience focused, starting with the collaboration business. Here is evidence beyond slogans on their Power Point slides.
Design. When people talk about the design of Cisco’s collaboration products, usually it would be with words like high-tech, standardized or professional, but seldom about fashionable design, beauty, simplicity, or ease of use – attributes typically used to describe the leading consumer electronic appliances from Apple or Samsung. Now, with the latest product announcements, it’s totally different, and Cisco has won several Red Dot industrial design awards in 2014.
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Customers crave contextual and personal experiences on their mobile devices. Companies are looking to the reams of location and behavior data spun off mobile device to deliver them. Meanwhile, executives long for the insights lurking just below the surface of the new data they collect on customers and prospects to improve services and chart the best business strategy.
In most companies, mobile engagement, customer analytics, innovation, and business strategy happen in silos and often half-heartedly. But disrupters like Uber, TripIt, Netflix, Flipboard, and Starbucks deliver great and personalized mobile and digital experiences -- and optimize outcomes -- with insights derived from all the data they can gather.
The ability to sense and execute on change are essential qualities of a digital business in today’s marketplace.
Don’t believe me? Consider this: 70% of the companies that were on the Global 500 list a mere 10 years ago have now vanished – unable to adapt. In those 10 years we’ve seen digital disruption change the business landscape. We’ve watched the Internet become pervasive, embraced cloud-based applications that update multiple times a year, acquired mobile devices that connect everywhere in the neighborhood and around the globe, and embraced information workers who use their own tools to do corporate work on their own time.
We recently surveyed 300 global businesses to dig deeply into how prepared – in the sense of being agile – they are for types of events and business changes that the new digital age will bring. And, our findings were not surprising. High performing organizations are flattening to deal with rapid change. They are using knowledge creation and dissemination to drive decisions lower in the organization, and redefining the role of the CEO. Organizational agility, characterized by high awareness and execution in knowledge dissemination, change management and digital psychology agility dimensions, drives significant performance for enterprises.
My keynote session at our Forum for Technology Management Leaders in London (June 12-13) on the topic will highlight organizations that have made market, organizational, and process changes based on digital strategies to become more agile, more productive, and grow revenues. I hope to see you there.
IBM's acquisition of Cognea, a startup that creates virtual assistants of multiple personalities, further reinforces that voice is not enough for artificial intelligence. You need personality.
I for one cheer IBM's investment, because to be honest, IBM Watson's Jeopardy voice was a bit creepy. What has made Apple's Siri intriguing and personable, even if not always an effective capability, is the sultry sound of her voice and at times the hilarity of Siri's responses. However, if you were like me and changed from the female to male voice because you were curious, the personality of male Siri was disturbing (the first time I heard it I jumped). Personality is what you relate to.
The impression of intelligence is a factor of what is said and how it is delivered. Think about how accents influence our perception of people. It is why news media personalities work hard to refine and master a Mid-west accent. And, how one presents themselves in professional situations says a lot about whether you can trust their judgment. As much as I love my home town of Boston, our native accent and sometimes cold personalities have much to be desired by the rest of the country. And we have Harvard and MIT! Oh so smart maybe, but some feel we are not always easy to connect with.
No self-respecting EA professional would enter into planning discussions with business or tech management execs without a solid grasp of the technologies available to the enterprise, right? But what about the data available to the enterprise? Given the shift towards data-driven decision-making and the clear advantages from advanced analytics capabilities, architecture professionals should be coming to the planning table with not only an understanding of enterprise data, but a working knowledge of the available third-party data that could have significant impact on your approach to customer engagement or your B2B partner strategy.
Data discussions can't be simply about internal information flow, master data, and business glossaries any more. Enterprise architects, business architects, and information architects working with business execs on tech-enabled strategies need to bring third-party data know-how to their brainstorming and planning discussions. As the data economy is still in its relatively early stages and, more to the point, as organizational responsibilities for sourcing, managing, and governing third-party data are still in their formative states, it behooves architects to take the lead in understanding the data economy in some detail. By doing so, architects can help their organizations find innovative approaches to data and analytics that have direct business impact by improving the customer experience, making your partner ecosystem more effective, or finding new revenue from data-driven products.
Lexmark’s acquisition of Readsoft is part of a continued effort at Lexmark to balance mature and stable printer HW revenues with faster growing software and services businesses. This acquisition is one of many in the last two years, and is consistent with consolidation in the mature capture and content market. And it works for me.
Readsoft provides more software depth in Europe then Lexmark has, and is stronger than Lexmark in financial process automation (purchase –to-pay and order-to cash although mostly the former) with strong integration with SAP and other ERP vendors. Perceptive Software, the core technology within Lexmark’s software division, is more content then transaction oriented, a strength that Readsoft adds.
There is also synergy across analytics. For example, Brainware, acquired by Lexmark, is very strong in analytics for forms processing – one of these being invoices. This should add smarts to ReadSofts front end.
As always, success is determined by how integration talks place over time and whether an integrated platform can emerge with minimal customer disruption. It would be good to see acquisiions in the services area to more quickly balance revenue with the tradition business.