Rackspace Starts A Process Microsoft Just Finished

James Staten

With Satya Nadella now warming the CEO seat at Microsoft, executive recruiters can shift their attention to another cloud leader — Rackspace — who bids adieu to its 14-year leader, Lanham Napier. While both companies are clearly cloud platform leaders chasing the same competitor, the similarities in the top job stop there. Rackspace's needs in a CEO center more around how it tells its story than concerns about its strategy. 

Where Microsoft is struggling to ensure its ongoing relevancy in a world that is shifting away from the desktop and the on-premise enterprise, Rackspace has strong cloud credibility. Its issues are more around the fact that it isn't a cloud pure play, isn't another managed services cloudwasher, isn't an incumbent enterprise IT supplier, and no longer runs OpenStack. So if you're looking for companies to compare it to in order to value its stock, there aren't good comparisons. And if you’re looking for metrics to use to judge its success, the ones being disclosed don't paint a rosy picture. If you want to understand Rackspace, you'll have to really understand the company and why it isn't what it isn't. So let's start there:

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IBM Plans To Build 15 Data Centers To Expand Its Global Cloud Footprint

Sudhanshu Bhandari
Last month IBM announced plans to invest $1.2 billion in expanding its cloud footprint. IBM will deliver cloud services from 25 existing data centers and 15 new data centers in 2014. In the Asia Pacific region, IBM plans to open new data centers in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, and Japan.
 
In the last two quarters of 2013, leading cloud hosting vendors announced plans to set up new data centers in Asia Pacific. Given the growing data privacy concerns among enterprises in the region, this momentum will only increase in 2014.
 
IBM’s cloud will accelerate cloud adoption among enterprise customers. Regional data centers will give IBM customers the ability to control the placement of their data and get consistent performance without worrying about the financial stability of the service provider. IBM aims to overcome customers’ concerns about a shared public cloud by offering the flexibility to host a completely dedicated private cloud in an IBM data center.
 
To accelerate the adoption of IBM’s cloud, the company should use an integrated end-to-end solution for business stakeholders and drive business growth by focusing on satisfying its existing enterprise customers.
 
To see Forrester’s recommendations, check out the full report.

Computers, Privacy & Data Protection Conference 2014: Embracing User Privacy As A Competitive Advantage

Dan Bieler

By Enza Iannopollo and Dan Bieler

The recent Computers, Privacy & Data Protection Conference (CPDP) showcased a series of innovative projects that are based on big data. Big data is one of the four imperatives that shape the age of the customer — one of Forrester’s main focus areas — and the changing regulatory framework of data protection in Europe has big implications for big data initiatives.

Central to data protection is the existing EU Data Protection Directive, which legislators have been trying to update for years to reflect the changing online realities. The proposed Data Protection Regulation focuses on a redefinition of the concept of “consent.” User consent now has to be freely given, specific, informed, and explicit.

This new definition forces businesses to be more transparent about how they gather, use, disclose, and manage customer data in the form of the principles of privacy notice and purpose limitation. Complying with these new privacy principles is a challenge in the age of the customer, as privacy regulation affects:

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New Research: AWS Cloud Security - AWS Takes Important Steps For Securing Cloud Workloads

Edward Ferrara

Security is the No. 1 impediment to Cloud Service adoption. Forrester’s research has shown this over the last three years. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) are responding to this issue. AWS has built an impressive catalog of security controls as a part of the company’s IaaS/PaaS offerings.  If you are currently or considering using AWS as a CSP you should check out the following new research.

AWS Cloud Security - AWS Takes Important Steps For Securing Cloud Workloads

Sharing Is More Than Caring: Shared Services Enable Public Sector Tech Upgrades

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

As we all learned as kids, it's nice to share.  That holds true for public sector organizations as well, particularly in tough times. Public sector organizations don't have the privilege of dialing back on scope in challenging economic times. In fact, when the going gets tough, government organizations often have to kick into high gear. And that was the case with state unemployment insurance (UI) programs in the US, which saw spikes in applications when the economy slumped.  But in most states the technology infrastructure wasn’t up to the task.  

  • Legacy systems were on life-support... Colorado’s 25-year-old COBOL-based mainframe systems continued to process unemployment insurance claims, but it was increasingly difficult and costly to find the "doctors" to keep it alive. They had to bring developers out of retirement to maintain it.  State officials knew it was only a matter of time before they had to pull the plug on their system.
  • …and just weren’t up to the task. Not only did the “look and feel” leave a lot to be desired, the legacy system failed to deliver. The system ran processes in batch mode, meaning that data was typically collected over a period of time (daily, weekly, or monthly) and processed into the system at the end of the period. Daily downtime for processing excluded the possibility of 24-hour availability or even extended hours. The delays and lack of availability frustrated end users who wanted or needed real-time or near-real-time information to make decisions.
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Digital Experience Delivery Sourcing: How Many Vendors Do You Buy From?

Mark Grannan

Today, we ran a short poll: "How many different vendors do you source digital experience solutions from?"  After seeing the results -- which matched our expectations -- the only word that comes to mind is 'fragmentation.'  

My colleague David Aponovich and I ran this poll during a webinar today for Forrester clients on the rise of digital experience platforms. Initially, you might think "doesn't this prove David and Mark wrong?"  But when you view this fragmentation against the need to deliver coherent digital experiences across touchpoints, we believe the journey many organizations face demands greater integration across these solutions.  As integration improves -- whether it comes prepackaged from the same vendor or not -- customer experiences should benefit from improved contextualization, and internal benefits will include unified interfaces, streamlined workflows, role-relevant data views, coherent commercial relationships, and much more.

We want to know: What are your organization's digital experience platform initiatives? Please take 15 minutes to let us know via our survey.

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Organizations Will Rapidly Ramp Up Data Services Spend In 2014

Charles Green
Improving the use of data and analytics is a top strategic priority for many companies. But organizations face major challenges ramping up their information management capabilities — in particular due to the combination of a brutal proliferation of new or enhanced technologies, emerging data sources, and difficulty in finding skilled people with the appropriate experience. As a result, companies are increasingly looking to service providers for help.
 
My colleague Gene Leganza and I have therefore published two reports to help technology professionals navigate the data services market, with a particular focus on data management services (Data Management Services: Spending Trends For 2014 and Best Practices For Engaging Data Service Providers). These reports highlight both the rapid growth we expect to see in the market as well as best practices for engaging with service providers.
 
Please note that we use the term “data services” to refer to broader engagements (including data delivery, analysis, management, or governance-related services), while “data management services” form a smaller subset of services relating to finding, collecting, migrating, and integrating data.
 
Here are three of the key findings from our research:
 
  • More than two-thirds of organizations expect their spending on data management services to increase; 41% stated they expect spending to increase 5% to 10% in the next 12 months.
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Predictions For 2014: Technology Monitoring

John Rakowski

My new report went live this week for Forrester clients - Predictions For 2014: Technology Monitoring. Normally I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to predictions, especially in regards to technology, because while they are interesting to read they can cause confusion and unnecessary deliberation for a buyer/strategist if they are not in context. So my aim for this report was to provide some concrete advice for I&O professionals in 2014 in regards to their technology monitoring (user experience, applications and infrastructure) strategy or approach.

So my top level advice is that during 2014, I&O has to concentrate on monitoring business technology which serves external customers. In fact this is not just a call for I&O professionals but also the rest of the business including marketing and eBusiness professionals. Why? Well just take a look at the near weekly media reports on “computer glitches” during 2013. These glitches meant lost revenue but more seriously impacted the brand image. Technology fuels business and this means that monitoring has to be a strategic business concern. So to avoid your company being the next computer glitch headline you should:

  1. Make sure that your monitoring solutions cover mobile and web fueled business services. From a mobile perspective, your monitoring solutions should provide holistic insight in regards to mobile devices and applications in terms of availability and performance down to the network/carrier level. From a web perspective, in depth web application monitoring down to the code level is a must.
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The Digital Customer Experience Consulting Gold Rush Takes Off

David Aponovich

Want more evidence that companies are realizing that digital customer experience is essential to survive and thrive in the Age of the Customer? 

Look no further than last week’s IBM Connect conference in Orlando. Bridget van Kralingen, the senior VP in charge of the IBM’s $20 billion Global Business Services group, used her main stage keynote to unveil new services to help enterprises create “irresistible user experiences.”

IBM’s new global IBM Interactive Experience consulting practice “anticipates the emerging client demand for irresistible user experiences as the point of entry to high-value relationships with their customers, employees, prospects and partners,” according to the company.

The new offerings will integrate design and user experience capabilities from IBM Interactive, its digital agency, plus innovations and data expertise from researchers in its IBM’s Customer Experience Lab.

You could call it the next step in the digital customer experience gold rush. Software vendors have spent years building and selling clients software to run digital infrastructure, such as web content management, eCommerce,  digital asset management and analytics.

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Top 4 Things to Keep In Mind When Evaluating MDM Vendors

Michele Goetz

The Forrester Wave for Multi-Platform MDM is out!

The last Forrester Wave for MDM was released in 2008 and focused on the Customer Hub.  Well, things have certainly changed since then.  Organizations need enterprise scale to break down data silos.  Data Governance is quickly becoming part of an organization's operating model.  And, don't forget, the big elephant in the room, Big Data.  

From 2008 to now there have been multiple analyst firm evaluations of MDM vendors.  Vendors come, go or are acquired.  But, the leaders are almost always the same.  We also see inquiries and implementations tracking to the leaders.  Our market overview report helped to identify the distinct segments of MDM vendors and found that MDM leaders were going big, leveraging a strategic perspective of data management, a suite of products, and pushing to support and create modern data management environments.  What needed to be addressed, how do you make a decision between these vendors? 

The Forrester Wave for the Multi-Platform MDM market segment gets to the heart of this question by pushing top vendors to differentiate amongst themselves and evaluating them at the highest levels of MDM strategy.  There were things we learned that surprised us as well as where the line was drawn between marketing messaging and positioning and real capabilities.  This was done by positioning the Wave process the way our clients would evaluate vendors, rigorously questioning and fact checking responses and demos. 

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