I have grown weary of hearing excuses (for 20 years) from application development professionals about why they are challenged when it comes to developing and delivering applications that meet the expectations of the bus
The open source project, Memcached, is a common staple for many of the largest Web sites including facebook, twitter, wikipedia, and others. The enterprise software vendors haven entered the market and have added features that are more attractive to enterprise IT - especially to Java shops.
In recent months, we have had a significant uptick in client inquiries about distributed cache technologies and how they can be used to improve performance, scale, and reduce costs of Web and application architectures. We are also encountering distributed cache technology in conjunction with other platform technologies such as CEP. There is also an intriguing potential for distributed cache technology to become a staple of cloud computing environments (some might say amazon S3 has the properties of a distributed cache).
I'm nobody's fan boy. I don't love any particular brand. Never have. Never will. It's not in my DNA. I love my family, I love food and wine and dinner conversation, I love making music with the band, and I love to ride my bike on Metro West roads with a buncha guys. I don't love products.
But I do love great technology that improves lives and businesses. That's my calling card and the reason I work at Forrester Research.
We have lots of data and analysis that illuminates the future. It's our stock in trade. Data like the level of enterprise IT support for BYO phones (46% provide some support). Or the number of working Americans that own a mobile phone (84%) or a smartphone (7.4%). BTW, this data shows where the real growth potential in this market is.
So what matters in the smartphone platform enterprise wars? Great products, stellar service, attractive prices, and memorable marketing matter of course. But in my experience with platforms wars and device wars through the ages, some other things will matter as well:
BYO phones will matter a lot because it allows firms to deliver the amazing benefits of smartphones to more people at lower cost. And that puts the decision into the hands of an individual (though perhaps from an approved list. [Forrester clients should ping me to see this data; it's an important shift in the market.]
After a wave of pretty abysmal attempts in the early part of this decade, virtual chat agents pretty much disappeared from the scene. However, the past couple of years has seen a new wave of implementations of this customer-facing technology with some large-company implementations, including “Frank” on the Verizon website (Ask Verizon); “Louise” at eBay France (Votre conseillère virtuelle); and “Anna” at Ikea (Have a Question?). Virtual chat sits in the interaction spectrum between search and live customer service agents and combines natural language processing, conversational interactions, and an (optional) animated persona.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to three different vendors in this marketplace — all of whom have seen an uptick in the their business over the past 12 months. The common themes expressed by all three — the ability to engage customers with a more conversational tone where questions are answered, rather than search results based on keywords presented; and common results of better sales and higher service call avoidance, indicate that virtual agents may make a good corporate “hire” in the right circumstances. Rough estimates of costs — about $0.25 per successful resolution of the customer problem.
I talked recently with the SAP CRM management team and partnering with SAP appears to becoming less onerous for vendors of customer-facing complementary software products. Many of these interaction-centric products in areas such as email management, knowledge management, and communication channel management had been forced into a go-it-alone strategy when looking to integrate with SAP CRM and Customer Service installations due to complex partnering rules and high fees. In a recent briefing, SAP appears to have loosened the reins a bit – structuring mutually beneficial agreements with a number of companies (announcements to follow) outside of their traditional partner channels. This bodes well for all three stakeholders in such a relationship: SAP, who broadens the capabilities of its product with well-integrated point solutions; independent software vendors, who can now work with SAP to tighten integrations; and users, who will benefit from co-marketed, tested solutions. As an indication that this is not just trading logos on PowerPoint decks, in at least one case, most of the work to integrate the products is taking place by SAP within the SAP product. Expect more news about the specifics of this new strategy in next few weeks. This is a vast change from prior policies which offered potential “partners” two choices – take it or leave it.
I am off to the annual itSMF USA conference in Dallas TX, better known as Fusion 09. This is expected to be the biggest and best IT Servcie Management conference yet and the pinnacle of the itSMF USA organizations progress to date. I hope these predictions come true because I am an avid supporter of itSMF and its mission to promote service management excellence.
As one element of a new partnership between Forrester Research and itSMF USA, we will be holding one-on-one meetings between conference attendees and Forrester analysts. Both my delightful and brilliant colleague Evelyn Hubbert and I will be there and we look forward to one-on-one meetings with as many people we can fit in!
With all the wonderful sessions that will be happening at the conference, it is tough to pick favorites. Still, here are the sessions I hope to catch while I'm there.