I had a fascinating inquiry this morning with a government securities commission (not the SEC and not in the US). The client had a classic question about how to navigate the new data economy. The commission produces and consumes large volumes of data but continue to struggle to answer persistent business questions like how well they are doing or even who they are doing it for. Yes, securities commissions regulate securities markets; they monitor publically traded companies, investment houses, and brokerage firms. Howevver they continue to ask, “for whom?” Who are the investors that they are protecting with their regulation? As they expressed the question, “How do we know what Mrs. Smith is investing in?” They currently work with several large data providers who provide financial information on companies but that information wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. Essentially, in this Age of the Customer, they want to know who their “customers” are. This was a question about how to best serve their customers, in this case the investors.
They wanted to know how to source additional third-party data that would give them a clearer picture of the investors that they are serving. Census data provides a wealth of information about households and individual finances. But the data teams at the commission are not experts in navigating census data. Data providers like Thompson-Reuters provide data on the financial services industry. Others such as Experian or Acxiom provide information on consumers. What kinds of other data providers can help them with their data strategy to answer that basic question of how to better serve their customers, and who they are?
I have just published a report that builds on Forrester's research on CMOs' technology spending plans, focusing on India's banking industry. The Indian banking industry emerged unscathed from the 2008 and 2009 global financial crises, but it will not be immune to the age of the customer. My report outlines how technology will play an increasingly crucial role in implementing differentiated revenue models, a superior customer experience, and an optimized cost structure for banks. The key findings from the report include:
Digitally enabled customers are demanding customer obsession from their banks. Indian banking CMOs' top three business priorities are addressing the rising expectations of customers, improving margins, and acquiring and retaining customers — priorities that are similar to those of their peers in other industries. The experience that other industries offer — such as the compelling content, interactions, and features that consumer product companies provide — are shaping customer expectations, and customers want similar experiences from their banks. And the entry of new players and the tough economic situation are driving CMOs to increase their focus on winning, serving, and retaining customers.
Does something like this sound familiar? "We need to find, fix, finish, exploit, analyze, & disseminate this intrusion set along the kill chain via force multipliers so we can observe, orient, decide, and act according to tactical, operational, and strategic priority intelligence requirements." I bet that part of it does.
I think that it is important to keep in mind that we aren't the military and don't have the resources of the military. While military concepts can be useful, buzzwords won't secure your environment; you could become distracted and utilize your limited resources in the wrong manner. As I was sorting out my Black Hat calendar tonight, I fortuitously saw a talk that is very applicable to this topic: "The Library of Sparta," with David Raymond, Greg Conti, and Tom Cross. Here is part of their abstract:
At my wedding reception (I will NOT be saying how many years ago), another couple and my husband and I took the dance floor when the cotton eyed joe began to play. I’ve actually seen it danced a few different ways but the way we danced it then involved a lot of going forwards and backwards, kicking and hopping to and fro in a circle as couples rather than traditional line dancing. How did we manage this dance in a very small circle with all the dress clothes including my poofy wedding dress (THAT probably dated me) to boot and still manage to laugh our way through it? Our partners made all the difference.
You are probably thinking – she just released the ITSM Implementation Service Providers Wave for North America a few weeks ago with a blog, why didn’t she bring up the partnership story then? Because picking the right partner for ITSM SaaS is just as important as picking an implementation service provider for success. Everyone knows that when you pick a SaaS provider, they are responsible for the delivery operations of that service. But I find clients who know very little about what the delivery capabilities are for the ITSM SaaS vendors and in the past we did not have a method of highlighting the differences between delivery capabilites. In the newly released Forrester Wave: ITSM SaaS Delivery Capabilities report, I take the 10 vendors we have classified as having an “established” client base in the Market Overview: IT Service Management SaaS Tools Update, 2014 report and applied 30 evaluation criteria to detail these differences.
The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article on Hilton’s plans to invest $550 million in technology solutions that will empower guests to use “smartphones to choose rooms, check in and even unlock doors.” From the customer’s perspective, such a system – if implemented properly – solves a number of problems: Ensuring the best available room choice (as with airline seat choosing apps); no more waiting in line just to check-in; no more lost (or demagnetized) hotel room key cards.
From Hilton’s perspective, the business benefits could be substantial: Driving loyalty and active preference for Hilton hotels; better customer satisfaction and customer experience scores; and up-sell to more services. For example, at check-in, promotions for room upgrades can be presented right on the user’s smartphone, potentially increasing the chance of acceptance.
Disney's MagicBand: A $1 Billion Technology Investment In Customer Experience
Yet it’s not just Hilton – nor just smartphones – at play here. Starwood is rolling out similar functionality in its apps for W Hotels and aloft. Other mobile solutions employ wearable technologies in “B2B2C” scenarios – i.e. instances in which the company provides the wearable tech to customers:
The following is an excerpt from The Mobile Mind Shift, Groundswell Press, 2014, pages 153-4. Click here for more on Forrester's mobile mind shift market imperative.
Steve Singh knows about the challenges of building technology platforms for great mobile moments. He learned them honestly by moving his entire company and its customers to a cloud technology platform.
Steve is CEO and co-founder of Concur Technologies. Concur helps businesses and government agencies manage their corporate travel bookings and expenses.
Concur’s technology platform, which Steve calls the Concur Travel and Expense Cloud, is designed for the demands of mobile moments: It supports applications that make it easy for travelers to focus on a few tasks and complete them quickly. Travel and expense (T&E) software is by its nature complex, but at Concur, the complexity remains behind the scenes in the servers, not in the user interface because busy travelers and business expense managers have no time to puzzle out complexity. To make this work, Concur invests 40% of its research and development budget in the applications and 60% in the cloud technology platform that provides the services.
The success of the strategy and technology platform is reflected in the rapid growth of his company, from a startup in 1993 to more than $540 million in revenues in 2013.
Concur’s cloud technology platform delivers four benefits.
First, because the Concur software running in the cloud is the same for every customer, developers working on it can fix problems continuously and roll out new services daily.
CRM technologies are over two decades old. Companies first used them to provide “inside-out” efficiencies;operational efficiencies for sales, marketing and customer service organizations when interacting with customers. They aggregated customer data, analyzed that data, and automated workflows to optimize customer engagement processes. Companies could easily argue business benefits by measuring operational metrics like reducing marketing costs, increasing revenues from sales people, decreasing sale cycle times, better pipeline visibility, decreasing service resolution times and more.
Because of this quantifiable ROI, CRM became a must-have in large organizations. This strong demand prompted CRM vendors to tackle huge swaths of business problems, and fueled ongoing innovation and consolidation in the marketplace. Today, much of CRM technology is commoditized, and leading vendors offer competitive solutions, choke-full of features and functions, including deeply verticalized solutions.
Being successful at CRM today builds upon yesterday’s internal operational efficiencies and extends the power of these solutions to better support customers through their end-to-end engagement journey to garner their satisfaction and long term loyalty – an “outside-in” perspective. Modern CRM strategies enable good customer experiences. They support customer interactions with one another over a range of social, digital and mobile channels. How? By leveraging the vast amounts of interaction and transaction data to deliver contextual experiences that add value to the customer, and preserve the value of the company brand.
App stores are the embodiment of public cloud services ranging from consumerized mobile apps to software- and infrastructure-as-a-service in the enterprise context. A great and simplified user experience drove mass adoption with consumers.
Will these cloud app stores simply evolve to meet the demand of corporate processes and compliance? Private clouds and software distribution to corporate laptops and desktops so far have not been able to catch up to the same level. So, there is definitely demand to bring the consumer innovation into corporates.
But don't forget the the modern IT management software (ITMS) suites, which offer some self-service functionality. Still the coherent, end-to-end self-service experience across all types of users, assets, and already multiple deployment targets is still far away from the consumer world. But, ITMS software is also an equal starting point.
The situation in real enterprises is even worse. It is not only the absense of a good employee engagement around IT-service self service and user experience. It's more the fact that IT departments deliver traditionally many services that employees don't want any more. We've seen employees that haven't stored a single document on the corporate Sharepoint installation, but use box.net instead; or employees that haven't created a single Excel spreadsheet for a while and use for example Google Apps instead; or employees who would love to downgrade their personal ERP profile to what they really need, if they get the saved money back. Once you create cost transparency and offer them to "un-subscribe" from tradtional software and subscribe to new (cloud) service instead - you embrace modern technology mangement and could drive the next wave of cost savings. This can be an essential milestone in the a business technology agenda.
In “Unleash Your Digital Business”, I highlight the need for all companies to embrace digital business as a new business model – one in which the nature of the value exchange with customers is fundamentally changed. Since then, CIOs frequently asked me what they should be doing to help their firms become a digital business.
The answers lies in the difference between Business Technology (BT) and Information Technology (IT). BT focuses on the systems, technologies, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers. Whereas IT focuses on the systems, technologies, and processes to support and transform an organization’s internal operations. To become a digital business CIOs must adopt the BT agenda.
Our research on digital business highlights the need for the organization to focus on six core digital strategies that drive digital customer experience and digital operational excellencein support of customers. Each of these strategies is an integral component of the CIOs BT agenda:
Digitize the end-to-end customer experience
Digitize products and services inside the customer’s value ecosystem
Create trusted machines
Digitize for agility over efficiency
Drive rapid customer centric innovation
Source enhanced operational capabilities within a dynamic ecosystem
During the past 18 months or so, we have seen the emergence of innovative endpoint security solutions. The list is long; it is hard to keep track of all the solutions in the space. In no particular order, here is a sampling: Bromium, Invincea, IBM Trusteer, Cylance, Palo Alto Networks Next-Gen Endpoint Protection (Cyvera), Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), Bit9 + Carbon Black, Confer, CounterTack Sentinel, Cybereason, CrowdStrike Falcon Host, Guidance Software Cybersecurity, Hexis HawkEye G, FireEye HX, Triumfant, Tanium, and Verdasys Digital Guardian.
I take many briefings from these types of vendors (primarily the ones I cover in Forrester’s Endpoint Visibility and Control category) and within the first 5 minutes of the conversation, the vendor mentions that their solution has a “small footprint.” The use of this phrase is the equivalent of nails scratching their way across a chalkboard for me. When was the last time you heard anyone say that they have a “large footprint?” Please provide more information: Do you run in user or kernel land? What are the impacts to utilization? Even if a vendor truly has a “small footprint,” when that new agent is deployed to a host that already has four or five agents running, the collective footprint is far from small.