The No. 1 Barrier To Effective Digital Transformation

Nigel Fenwick

In a recent post, I wrote about how digital experiences shape customer perceptions of value. But it's easy to forget that your organization's culture also shapes your customer's perception of value.

Earlier this week, I was moderating a panel on digital transformation at a Software AG event in New York. In opening the event, Kevin Niblock, Software AG's North America President and COO, described digital business as "a cultural phenomenon." Organizational culture plays an enormous role in the ability of a company's employees to transform a traditional business into a digital business.

If you're not the CEO, you might be forgiven for thinking that you have little control over your corporate culture. But we all have the opportunity to shape our organization's culture. And while nurturing the company culture is arguably one of the most important jobs of the CEO, it is also a critical capability for any leader.

Former IBM Chairman and CEO, Lou Gerstner, reminds us of this in an excellent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article: "The Culture Ate Our Corporate Reputation". Gerstner writes: "What is critical to understand here is that people do not do what you expect but what you inspect. Culture is not a prime mover. Rather it is a derivative. It forms as a result of signals employees get from the corporate processes that structure their work priorities."

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Vertical clouds - less useful than you're meant to believe, but still useful

Paul Miller

How often have you been told you can't use a mainstream public cloud provider? Quite often, probably, especially if you happen to work in a regulated industry like banking or healthcare. And what justifications are you given? The regulator "won't let you," no doubt? That's a good one. And "it's not secure" is often pretty close behind. Either that, or the argument that generic public cloud infrastructure can't possibly meet your very special, very unique, very carefully crafted mix of requirements?

Sadly, despite the frequency with which they're trotted out, these attempts at justification stand a pretty good chance of being either hearsay, or just complete nonsense.

It's easy not to change, and to justify your inertia with reference to the scary, punitive, hopelessly luddite regulator.  It's easy to continue lovingly polishing the hideously complex snowflake your internal computing environment has become. It's far harder to look at the truth behind the hearsay, and to work out when doing something different might — or might not — be the better approach for your business, and its effort to win, serve, and retain customers.

My latest report, Bespoke Vertical Clouds Become Less Important As Public Clouds Do More, takes a look at some of the rationale for using vertical cloud solutions in these situations. Often — but definitely not always — you may discover that a generic public cloud provider will do the job just as well. Or maybe even better.

Drunk History of Your Mobile Strategy

Ted Schadler

Everybody can name their favorite apps. But can you name even two mobile websites you love? We can't. So we stared into the awful maw of the mobile web to learn how to fix it. 65 companies signed up to help. Along the way, we found problems stemming from the journey you've taken to be in your customer's pocket.

My colleague Danielle Geoffroy brilliantly realized that it was a drunk history, so we wanted to share it with you.

  • 2008: "There's an app for that." Savvy developers jailbroke the first iPhone so they could build apps. Apple then launched the Apple App Store and chaos ensued as every developer and company piled on the apps as the mobile strategy. (And y'all invented the pub game, "there's an app for that.") You ignored the mobile web.
  • 2010: Responsive retrofits tiny-ize websites but miss the mobile moment. Agencies and creative developers swooped in to magically morph brands' giant desktop websites into "mobile-friendly" websites. But that strategy led to the quiet crisis that responsive web design is not mobile-first.
  • 2016: Apps are winning . . . just not yours. Forrester's data shows that US consumers used 26 apps last year and 26 apps this year. (Millennials use . . . wait for it . . . 28 apps.) Consumers have enough apps — they don't want more. What's worse, they spend 60% of their total mobile time (web and app) in just three apps — usually owned by Facebook and Google. 
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R.I.P. BlackBerry Phones

Ted Schadler

An era has passed. BlackBerry will no longer make phones. RIM opened our eyes when it put the power of digital communications into our pockets. Email on the go was the beginning of the mobile mind shift.

I loved the passion of Mike Lazaridis and his team for building great devices that we'd drive home and get if we left on the counter. His devices were the first to inspire such passion, such intimacy, such a feeling of empowerment that we now all take for granted. He started it.

As a software guy, I was always saddened by the clunky interface for apps other than email and messaging, but I loved the power flowing into my palms from the BlackBerry devices I carried.

Then along came iPhone. As a software guy, it only took a few months of jailbroke phones and developer-built apps before I realized that the real mobile revolution had arrived -- a computer in your pocket. That's when the mobile mind shift really kicked in, as Julie Ask, Charlie Golvin, and Thomas Husson recognized very early.

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Bosch And SAP Agree A Strategic Internet Of Things (IoT) Partnership To Facilitate Data Orchestration

Dan Bieler

I recently attended an event at which Bosch and SAP announced a major partnership to more closely align their respective cloud and software expertise around the industrial internet of things. This partnership underlines the fact that SAP and Bosch are prepared to significantly transform their respective business models to generate new value for their customers. The SAP and Bosch partnership focuses on two main items:

  • SAP will add SAP Hana database to Bosch IoT Cloud. Bosch customers will be able to access SAP Hana in the Bosch IoT Cloud with the goal of processing large quantities of data in near-real time. This makes it easier for Bosch’s customers to run analytics of IoT sensor data in the SAP Hana environment.
  • Bosch will make its IoT microservices available to SAP on SAP Hana Cloud Platform. This move will facilitate the safe connection of different devices and components, including vehicles, manufacturing machinery, and smart tools, with open platforms. Customers will benefit from a broad range of emerging services to support their business processes.
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Consultancies are adapting to the digital world

Marc Cecere

The age of the customer is characterized by customer empowerment, digital technology, and new business models. These factors are changing who buys consulting, what they're expecting, how consultants execute on these projects, and how clients pay for them. As a result, firms including Deloitte, McKinsey, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cognizant and others are changing delivery, hiring and contracting models to:

  • Enable reusable assets and software solutions to comprise the bulk of consulting projects. As clients in an increasingly fast world move away from multi year projects, they expect consultants to do the same. Prefab consulting allows consultants to come in with the majority of the work done and focus their problem solving on the issues that are the most unique to that client. This creates a partially “out of the box” solution that eliminates repetitive work from client to client and reduces lead time considerably.
  • Gradually replace technical generalists with specialists. As prefab consulting takes over the work which generalist MBA grads have done in the past, consultants will look to specialists to solve the complex and unique problems that remain after the reusable assets finish the front end work.
  • Provide near immediate access through On demand consulting. In a connected world where we are used to have everything at our fingertips, consultants are expected to be there in our moment of need as well. Consultancies will need to find the experts, make them available, provide context for the questions and connect them with the client- all at the touch of a button.
  • Change the client vs consultancy mindset through co-creation and risk based contracts. Traditional contracts create conflicting goals between the client and consultants. Value-based contracts create greater collaboration as both parties will be striving towards the same metrics.
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Update Your Balanced Scorecard With Business Outcome And Agility Metrics

Martha Bennett

We’ve entered the age of the customer, where powerful customers are disrupting every industry.  In response, companies will have to change how they develop, market, sell, and deliver products and services directly to their customers and through their partners. CIOs and their teams are crucial to these strategic responses and will have to track transformation and performance with new metrics to go beyond their traditional IT approach to include the business technology (BT) strategy — technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers.

Existing approaches to Balanced Scorecards deliver limited value in this new environment. This is why Forrester has created an updated Tech Management Balanced Scorecard (based on the original framework proposed by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton) in which we recommend an approach that addresses four components: business outcomes, agility, health, and service (see Figure).

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How To Unlock Tech Industry Digital Transformation

Nigel Fenwick

It's no surprise that tech companies are vested in the digital transformation of their customers. But many tech companies find it difficult to leave their product-centric models behind and focus on customer outcomes. That's just one of the findings from the research published on digital transformation in the tech sector.

True customer obsession demands an outside-in perspective. Tech companies must learn to see their business from the perspective of their customers; beginning with customer desires and working back to the new digital capabilities that can enable the outcomes that satisfy those desires.

But a common problem for tech companies is their business structure. Built around successful products, the P&L structure in most tech companies reflects internal strength — business capabilities if you like — the structure optimizes the ability to bring specific products and product features to market. But from the outside looking in, the product structure can seem at odds with what the customer wants. I can't count how many times the same company has treated me like a new customer, even though I already own one of the products made by the brand — my guess is you've had a similar experience.

Of course this isn't a problem unique to the tech industry. But the tech industry sits at the heart of the digital transformation of many businesses — helping their customers take advantage of their technology to transform their businesses. So you might be forgiven for expecting the tech industry to have figured out it's own transformation already. Not so much.

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Video Helps Your Customers In Their Moment Of Need

Nick Barber

Your customers use apps like Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, and Facetime to hold video calls and you should be using video to connect with them, too. In our report Now You See Me — Video Chat Improves The Customer Experience we found that retail, financial services, healthcare, and other verticals embrace video chat as a way to serve customers in their time of need and as a way to drive measureable ROI.

The cultural and technology barriers to easy video chat have come down in recent years. A UK-based bank deployed video chat for its advisors to use with high net worth clients. These clients, who are typically older, are just as familiar with video calling as their younger cohorts--they use Skype and Facetime to talk to children and grandchildren. On the technology end, a key enabler for video chat is WebRTC, which allows browser-based video conversations without the requirement for downloading plugins. A key driver to adoption is reducing friction.

UK footwear retailer Schuh expanded video chat by deploying it to mobile and increasing the number of video agents by 20% in two years. Video is now Schuh’s busiest customer service channel, eclipsing phone and text chat.

Video chat is useful across the customer journey. Agents can answer questions about a product, they can use co-browsing to help a customer navigate a site or find an item and they can answer questions about how to use a product once purchased.

Video chat endpoints diagram

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Enterprise Architecture Awards 2016 — Enterprise Architecture As A Verb, Not A Noun

Alex Cullen

Forrester and InfoWorld set the theme for this year’s awards as ‘Speed and Responsiveness – And EA”.  The underlying premise is that business leaders are demanding that their business moves faster – everything from updating digital capabilities to bringing more agility in how firms work with customers and suppliers.  In theory, enterprise architecture is a key capability to moving faster.  But how can EA programs – traditionally policemen of technology –  deliver on this potential? 

This year’s Enterprise Architecture Award winners show how.

The title of this blog post is taken from the submission of one of our winners – Humana.  The exact quote from their submission is:

“Humana believes enterprise architecture is primarily a verb, not a noun.”

But this isn’t just a sentiment unique to Humana. All our winners are delivering business results because they embed insight and guidance into the decisions made by their business and IT  leaders – enabling these leaders to ‘enterprise architect’ how they achieve business results.  The result?  Speed and responsiveness of their enterprise. 

Here is how our five winners of this year’s awards are doing this.  But before I describe them, I must say that every year, it gets harder to select winners due to the range of innovation and impact our judges are seeing. When a judge says of one firm, not selected as a winner “This is a really neat concept, well conceived and executed. This company could do our profession a great service if they published this model!" – then you know there are many outstanding award submissions.

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