Having the Right Partner Makes all the Difference for ITSM SaaS Tools

At my wedding reception (I will NOT be saying how many years ago), another couple and my husband and I took the dance floor when the cotton eyed joe began to play.   I’ve actually seen it danced a few different ways but the way we danced it then involved a lot of going forwards and backwards, kicking and hopping to and fro in a circle as couples rather than traditional line dancing.  How did we manage this dance in a very small circle with all the dress clothes including my poofy wedding dress (THAT probably dated me) to boot and still manage to laugh our way through it?  Our partners made all the difference. 

You are probably thinking – she just released the ITSM Implementation Service Providers Wave for North America a few weeks ago with a blog, why didn’t she bring up the partnership story then?  Because picking the right partner for ITSM SaaS is just as important as picking an implementation service provider for success.  Everyone knows that when you pick a SaaS provider, they are responsible for the delivery operations of that service.  But I find clients who know very little about what the delivery capabilities are for the ITSM SaaS vendors and in the past we did not have a method of highlighting the differences between delivery capabilites.   In the newly released Forrester Wave: ITSM SaaS Delivery Capabilities report, I take the 10 vendors we have classified as having an “established” client base in the Market Overview: IT Service Management SaaS Tools Update, 2014 report and applied 30 evaluation criteria to detail these differences.

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How Mobile Technologies Can Turbo-Charge Customer Loyalty And Customer Experience

The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article on Hilton’s plans to invest $550 million in technology solutions that will empower guests to use “smartphones to choose rooms, check in and even unlock doors.” From the customer’s perspective, such a system – if implemented properly – solves a number of problems: Ensuring the best available room choice (as with airline seat choosing apps); no more waiting in line just to check-in; no more lost (or demagnetized) hotel room key cards.

From Hilton’s perspective, the business benefits could be substantial: Driving loyalty and active preference for Hilton hotels; better customer satisfaction and customer experience scores; and up-sell to more services. For example, at check-in, promotions for room upgrades can be presented right on the user’s smartphone, potentially increasing the chance of acceptance.

Disney's MagicBand: A $1 Billion Technology Investment In Customer Experience

Yet it’s not just Hilton – nor just smartphones – at play here. Starwood is rolling out similar functionality in its apps for W Hotels and aloft. Other mobile solutions employ wearable technologies in “B2B2C” scenarios – i.e. instances in which the company provides the wearable tech to customers:

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How to Find the Right Provider to Complete Your ITSM Project

A common inquiry I get from clients has some of the following flavors:

  • “We’ve chosen a new ITSM tool and need help moving to it.  Who can help us?”
  • “We want to choose a new ITSM product and an implementation provider at the same time.  How do I know which implementation providers work with a particular ITSM product?”
  • “We don’t have the resources to automate our processes.  Who can help us with that by applying best practices?”
  • “We want to work with someone who has developed industry specific best practices.  Who really delivers that?”
  • “We need to revolutionize the way we are delivering services so we can focus on what really matters to the company.  Is there an implementation service provider who can help get us there from where we are today?”
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Gateways Will Accelerate Data Migration To The Cloud

The last few days have been eventful in the cloud gateway space and should provide I&O organizations more incentive to start evaluating gateways.  Yesterday, EMC announced its acquisition of cloud gateway startup TwinStrata which will allow EMC customers to move on-premise data from EMC arrays to public cloud storage providers.  Today, Panzura launched a free cloud gateway and their partner Google is adding 2TB of free cloud storage for a year to entice companies to kick the tires on a gateway.  Innovation and investment in this area does not appear to be slowing down.  CTERA locked in an additional $25 million in VC funding last week to accelerate the sales and marketing efforts to support its cloud gateway and file sync & share products.
 
Though the cloud gateway market has grown slowly so far, this technology category is about to become mainstream.  Cloud Gateways are disruptive since they can facilitate data migration from on-premises to a public cloud storage service to create a true hybrid cloud storage environment.  Basically, a cloud gateway is a virtual or physical storage appliance which looks like a NAS or block storage device to users and applications on-premises, but can write data back to a public cloud storage service using the native APIs of that cloud.  
 
A number of use cases have emerged for cloud gateways including:
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Holography Spells The Next Phase Of Innovation In Projection Technology

No longer just a science fiction fantasy, holography technology is set to fuel major innovation in both business and consumer applications. Offering superior visual experience and support for interactive and intuitive applications, holography is already being leveraged in various scenarios, while the capabilities are also driving development of innovative applications across multiple industries. For instance, holography is being tested for simulation-aided training applications, as humans tend to notice patterns better when they’re presented in three dimensions. The US Army Research Laboratory collaborated with Zebra Imaging to test the success of digital holography for medical training purposes and found that students retained about 30% more information from holography-enabled training compared with textbook-based training. Holography is being successfully deployed in a variety of contexts. We found that:

  • Holography is gaining traction across industries. Organizations are deploying holography for a variety of consumer and business applications, ranging from entertainment to design and exploration. Moreover, the technology’s usefulness is being tested for critical applications such as surgery — where it presents images of human organs in an interactive three-dimensional environment that allows the surgeon to manipulate these images in real time, making the procedure less invasive.
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Customers Aren't Buying Public Cloud-Based DR Services . . . Yet

Forrester data indicates that improving business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) ranks at or near the top of Asia Pacific companies’ vendor and product selection criteria. However, the technology infrastructure to support BC/DR is poorly architected, funded, and managed. Many firms are now looking to potentially outsource their DR infrastructure and leverage the public cloud’s pay-per-use model via vendors like Amazon Web Services.

Despite the low price points, high degree of automation, and robust infrastructure, few companies are using public cloud as a DR site. This will change as network carrier infrastructure matures and firms start complementing existing infrastructure with public cloud initiatives. Firms will discover that cloud DR, particularly in the public cloud, is an opportunity to free up resources and capital to support new business initiatives. Forrester sees three primary use cases for cloud DR:

  • A milestone on a public cloud journey. Few firms currently plan to replace existing technology with public cloud services, but many are experimenting with such services for low-risk use cases by complementing their existing technology stack to avoid jeopardizing the safety and reliability of existing systems.
  • Protecting existing investments in on-premises infrastructure. Many firms have already made significant investments in building or leasing data centers, but also struggle to make the business case for upfront investments in building enterprisewide DR infrastructure to keep up with data growth. Firms should consider using cloud DR as a short-term strategic approach.
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