On February 9, SAP announced the launch of its next-generation enterprise process application, SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (S/4HANA), in China. This is the third product launch event of SAP globally but it’s the first event during which the product is being launched with customer together.
From my discussions with Chinese customers during the event, I believe that SAP is on the right track to address their major concerns. However, enterprise architecture (EA) professionals in China should take a realistic approach when evaluating the feasibility of the architectural evolution of their enterprise process applications.
Chinese clients have suffered from complexity for a long time.As mentioned in my previous report, complexity is one of the key challenges that Chinese companies have faced in their drive to achieve business growth and product innovation, and product innovation must focus on simplicity to enhance customer experiences. This is particularly true when it comes to adopting mission-critical management software. It’s quite normal to hear complaints about the complex user interface, long implementation times, and the significant effort required to maintain and customize software; customization is much more popular and necessary in China than elsewhere due to the need for various types of localization.
In the age of the customer, marketers face three acute strategic and operational challenges: how to powerfully and consistently connect with distracted, empowered customers; how to deeply engage with customers once you make that connection; and how to consistently deliver on customer obsession throughout your organization. In China, this is even more critical and challenging for marketing leaders, as they face the most digitalized and mobile consumers in the world — 90% of the metro Chinese online adult population used a smartphone as their primary phone in 2014, according to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data. At the same time, China has emerged as the world’s largest eCommerce market, estimated at $440 billion in 2014 and expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 19.9%, topping $1 trillion by 2019.
With this in mind, we are kicking off our third annual Summit for Marketing Leaders in Shanghai on March 25, 2015. The agenda will focus on real-world solutions to each of these critical challenges — taking into consideration the China context, where traditional retailers and brands are far from prepared for the age of the customer, and emerging digital service and platform providers are actively disrupting businesses.
Our program will deliver outcome-oriented analysis and advice, driven by Forrester’s latest research and detailed case studies from industry leaders in China and around the world. Learn how to:
Master the key concepts and skills for brand leadership across the age of the customer.
Create seamless brand experiences across the digital and physical divide.
Mark Grannan, Ted Schadler, Stephen Powers, and I recently launched our annual survey on delivering customer-facing web and mobile initiatives. If you're someone who is involved in delivering your firms web and mobile experience, we'd love to have you participate in this survey. If you're a vendor or services firm, we encourage you to circulate this survey to your customers or prospects!
What do we hope to explore in this survey? Some of the questions we’d like to get answers to include:
What projects (if any) you have planned for this year.
Once again, the mobile world is getting ready for the most important mobile event of the year, the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which will take place in Barcelona from March 2 to 5. In my role as analyst with a focus on CIO requirements, I expect the following themes to dominate this year's show:
Everybody will talk about data — and many about data privacy. The long-anticipated marriage between big data and mobility is finally happening. I expect just about every vendor at MWC will claim a stake in these mobile data wedding arrangements. However, many big data business models remain building sites, and it remains far from clear which players will benefit via which types of business models. The growing awareness of regulatory constraints on the use of customer data as well as what the Financial Times recently called the "creepiness quotient", i.e., hyper-personalized advertising, further complicate a convincing business model for mobile analytics on a mass scale. Despite all the hype, mobile data is one of the must-focus areas for CIOs who attend MWC.
I’m ramping up to attend Strata in San Jose, February 18, 19 and 20th. Here is some info to help everyone who wants to connect and share thoughts. Looking forward to great sessions and a lot of thought leadership.
I’ll be setting aside some time for 1:1 meetings (Booked Full)
[Updated on 2/17] - I have set up some blocks of time to meet with people at Strata. Please follow the link below to schedule with me on a first come basis.
[Update] - I booked out inside 2 hours...didn't expect that! I may open up my calendar for more meetings but need to get a better bead on the sessions I want to attend first. Shoot to catch me at breakfast, will tweet out when I'm there.
I’ll be posting my thoughts and locations on Twitter
The best way to connect with me at Strata is to follow me on Twitter @practicingea.
You can post @ me or DM me. I’ll be posting my location and you can drop by for ad hoc conversations as well.
I’m very interested in your point of view - data driven to insights driven
I am concluding very quickly that “big data” as we have viewed it for the last five years is not enough. I see firms using words like “real-time” or “right-time” or “fast data” to suggest the need is much bigger than big data – its about connecting data to action in a continuous learning loop.
There’s a renewed interest in integration technologies due to new needs for integration to mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud — but also because integration requirements betwen systems of engagement and systems of record are requiring realtime for seamless boundaries omnichannel, higher volume, with end-to-end security highlight the changes in integration practices. Forrester will soon publish a report about the integration trends around these subjects.
I am happy to pick up this subject again from Stefan Ried after being away from the space for the past six years. Stefan left Forrester in December and I regret his departure, because he was a very passionate analyst and a smart guy to work with.
“With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing.”
-Catherine de Hueck Doherty
We’ve all heard the canned notifications when we call companies for customer service: “this call may be recorded for security or quality purposes.” Most customer service organizations today record their phone interactions with their customers. Often those recordings just sit untouched on the digital equivalent of a dusty shelf in a storage closet. The recordings are there to ensure regulatory compliance or, in rare cases, to be pulled off the shelf in case of a major dispute with a customer. In essence, the part of the notification about security rings true; the quality part, not so much.
But, as part of continuous improvement programs, companies have begun to change that by actually analyzing the recordings for quality purposes. That process of quality monitoring allows firms to select recordings for review and assessment. In forward-thinking organizations, the tools enable managers to replay agent screen actions, allowing evaluations to include screen activity in addition to voice content. Managers use these reviews to pinpoint which agents perform well, which need further training, and to identify processes that need to be refined.
Companies doing this basic form of quality monitoring, however, find they cannot change the outcome of those calls — the interactions are long since over. This is where the emerging field of real-time speech analytics comes into play. Vendors of real-time speech analytics tools promise to allow companies to intervene at the moment of truth, while the customer and the contact center agent are still talking.
The battle of trying to apply traditional waterfall software development life-cycle (SDLC) methodology and project management to Business Intelligence (BI) has already been fought — and largely lost. These approaches and best practices, which apply to most other enterprise applications, work well in some cases, as with very well-defined and stable BI capabilities like tax or regulatory reporting. Mission-critical, enterprise-grade BI apps can also have a reasonably long shelf life of a year or more. But these best practices do not work for the majority of BI strategies, where requirements change much faster than these traditional approaches can support; by the time a traditional BI application development team rolls out what it thought was a well-designed BI application, it's too late. As a result, BI pros need to move beyond earlier-generation BI support organizations to:
Focus on business outcomes, not just technologies. Earlier-generation BI programs lacked an "outputs first" mentality. Those projects employed bottom-up approaches that focused on the program and technology first, leaving clients without the proper outputs that they needed to manage the business. Organizations should use a top-down approach that defines key performance indicators, metrics, and measures that align with the business strategy. They must first stop and determine the population of information required to manage the business and then address technology and data needs.
With 25 years of history and 178 million active public websites around the world, you would think that the backbone technology for websites would be mature, sophisticated, basically done as a market. But it's simply not true. Web content management (WCM) systems are still in their infancy. Here's the one-minute history:
1995. These ever-changing systems first had to learn to deliver content interactively, tailoring the experience to the needs of the day. Think Yahoo.com.
2000. Then they had to deliver business services directly into customers' hands. Think eBusiness.
2010. Then they had to deliver experiences on smartphones and tablets. Think Google Maps app.
2015. And now they have to deliver highly personal digital experiences on any device directly into a customer's immediate context and moments of need along every step of her journey (see Figure 1).
2020. What's coming next? Well, let's get the platforms up to 2015 requirements first. But those of you with a future slant need to be thinking about modern app architectures, where the building blocks -- content systems, digital insights, customer databases, integration, delivery tier, and so on are decoupled to handle IoT, glanceable moments on wearables, and a gazillion other digital scenarios.
Software is getting smarter, thanks to predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI). Whereas the current generation of software is about enabling smarter decision-making for humans, we’re starting to see “invisible software" capable of performing tasks without human intervention.
One such example is x.ai, a software-based personal assistant that schedules meetings for you. With no user interface, you simply cc “Amy” on an email thread and she goes to work engaging with the recipient to find a date and optimal place to meet.
It’s not a perfectly automated system. AI trainers oversee Amy’s interactions and make adjustments on the fly. But over time, she becomes a great personal assistant who is sensitive to your meeting and communication preferences.
One can imagine Amy extending into new domains — taking on parts of sales/customer service operations or business processes like expense management and DevOps. Indeed, we’ll see a new generation of AI-powered apps, as predicted here.