Our last post on Gen X using Web 2.0 at work generated a lot of buzz in other blog posts, particularly at ReadWriteWeb.
One of the biggest comments had to do with how generations are defined.
At Forrester, we spent about a month looking at this question back in 2006 when we did our first generational analysis of the use of technology. (We've since updated that work in "The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2008" -- available to Forrester clients.)
The more we looked, the more we realized that nobody frickin' knows. So we did what we comes naturally -- we researched it. We canvassed the universe. We read all the books and talked to a bunch of experts, mostly from the Agency world, where they know a thing or two about generations.
Since nobody had a definitive set, we create them based on blended average of the best references out there. Then we added a Forrester twist: What technology era does it correspond to? (Meaning, when they were teenagers, what technology was new to them.)
Gen Y: 1980-1991. This group started spending money in the mobile era -- it's still their defining characteristic. Mobile texting, making party plans on the fly while out, carrying their identity around in their phones, that's Gen Y. They don't think twice, they just do it. This group would love to use social media at work, but mobile's good enough for now thank you very much. They are 50% more likely to text while at work as Gen X (51% versus 36%.) As far as showing the rest of us the path forward, it's probably leading by example at this point in their careers.
Once apon a time ... the definition of an application was easy - firms built accounts payable, general ledger, purchasing, order entry, and other applications to meet the automation needs of the business. The applications were written as monolithic collections of functionality that were dedicated to accomplishing key business functions and had relatively clear boundaries.
However, over the years, technology shifts have resulted in "applications" that don't fit the earlier simplistic definitions. DLLs, Services / SOA, ASPs and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) all bent the definition of an "application" from its previous form. Looking forward, Cloud computing promises to alter the definition once again.
Pitney Bowes announced it is launching a new production color printing system for high volume transactional mailers. Called the Pitney Bowes® IntelliJet™, it is based on a strategic alliance with HP and will use their color inkjet printing system to produce transactional statements. Under the Mailstream Solutions Management division, Pitney will now have a more complete document processing solution that can balance and support integrated in-bound and outbound communication. Prior to this, on the output side, Pitney was limited to on-premise output management software that provides authoring and workflow solutions to control and manage production. This alliance –to be hosted in Pitney Facilities – adds the hardware and finishing component. Tighterin-bound and outbound communication, and use of high-speed color print is an inevitable trend for transactional customer communications for the direct channel, and this is a step forward for Pitney.
Intuit announced todayits purchase of Mint.com for $170 million. The formerly bitter rivalswill together form a sizable community of registered users who manage their finances online. The move brings together synergistic, complementary assets:
So I have now spent a couple of days at TechEd - attending sessions when possible, and meeting with some Microsoft executives to discuss their strategies in more detail, I have also spoken with the "real" attendees at the event when possible (after sessions, in coffee queues, etc) to get their take on the proceedings.
As hypothesized in my first blog post, my first impressions were correct. Microsoft is a much more positive organisation - no longer apologising for its past sins (Vista, Windows Mobile 6 etc) but looking forward to better times where solid and reliable platforms, such as Windows 7 and Windows Mobile 6.5 will help their customers to make better use of the great platofrms that already exist within their customer base (such as Exchange, SQL Server. Windows Server and SharePoint).
Jeffrey Hammond and I did a Teleconference today for clients about the first release of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g. One of the big areas of concern among attendees was an old chestnut that I actually haven't seen for awhile: Portability. The basic question: If we develop for Oracle's stack, are we locked into it?
Jeffrey and I have documented the basic risks of lock-in we see in Fusion Middleware 11g in our analysis (http://www.forrester.com/go?docid=55043). I don't want to revisit that analysis here; rather, I'm more interested in why we suddenly heard this concern..
I've been writing about software technology roughly since the birth of the "open systems" movement during the late '80s. At that time, open systems meant SQL relational DBMS + Unix at its core, with DCE and CORBA sometimes tossed into the mix as well. The concern for code portability extended to Java's "write once, run ... anywhere" promise in 1995. And then I think it started to die.
A government report published September 3, 2009 (and reviewed in a Washington Post article titled “Federal Government Needs Massive Hiring Binge”) reports on a detailed study of US Government positions that will become open requisitionss as Baby Boomers retire over the next four years. This concern about large numbers of government retirees is not new but this study makes some stark predictions that are eye-catching.
Top 10 Areas of Government Hiring in Next Four Years
On October 22, Microsoft will release Windows 7, thereby effectively ending the Windows Vista era for consumers. That day can’t come too quickly: Windows Vista will go down in history as a period of trial and tribulation for Microsoft – and for many consumers who used the product, particularly during its early days.
There are too many product strategy insights to be learned from the Windows Vista era to fit into one blog post. Let’s look at some of the major lessons – those that can be generalized to consumer product strategies in any industry. And let’s quickly extract both the “sins” of product strategy and some general product strategy lessons provided by the Windows Vista experience: