The Unicorn Explosion Continues

Ted Schadler

Last Spring, we predicted that we'd see carnage among tech unicorns, particularly in consumer markets. (How many food service companies and "Uber for X" companies do we really need?) We didn't (nor would we), however, predict when the carnage would come.

(Timing markets has never been in my golden gut; anticipating technology relevance is. Watches and body cameras, for example, will never be mainstream, nor will drones or curved TVs. Ping me and I'll explain why. Or do this cosmo quiz to make your own prediction for consumer technology.)

As reported (and powerfully visualized by CB Insights), Unicorns are crowding the market. Look at the density of Unicorn logos starting in February 2014, three short years ago. It's astounding. Why this proliferation? Why now? Why so dramatic?

 

I believe three things have created and propped up the Unicorn valuations of tech startups:

  1. If you're an investor, there's no place better to put your cash. The returns on real assets are small. The returns on exuberance (like big fancy new houses) can be large. So investors have lots of cash to place bets on startups that might just pop.)
  2. The recent election, with a hoped-for impact of deregulation and infrastructure spending, left the market energized about the potential for growth. The market's up. So the potential for healthy exits and IPOs (even ones without a clear revenue growth model such as Snap's) is up.
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Top Trends For Customer Service In 2017: Operations Become Smarter And More Strategic

Kate Leggett

In today's world, customers decide how customer-centric a company is. Good customer service should capture the fundamentals of a great experience: ease, effectiveness, and emotion

Looking ahead, Forrester sees 10 trends for 2017 that customer service professionals should take into account as they move the needle on the quality of service that they deliver: Here are six of them:

Customer service organizations address a smaller volume of simple voice-based customer contacts as they mature their self-service, automated engagement, and digital operations.

  • Trend No. 1: Companies extend and enhance self-service. Customers of all ages are moving away from using the phone to using self-service — web and mobile self-service, communities, virtual agents, automated chat dialogs, or chatbots — as a first point of contact with a company Dimension Data reports growth in every digital channel and a 12% decrease in phone volume. In 2017: Customer service will continue to invest in structured knowledge management and leverage communities to extend the reach of curated content. Service will become more ubiquitous, via speech interfaces, devices with embedded knowledge, and wearables for service technicians.
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Around the world, strong public cloud platform Leaders mask local complexity and difference

Paul Miller


(Public Domain image taken taken by US Astronaut Terry Virts, Jan. 30, 2015)

Towards the end of last year, Forrester published four tightly connected Wave evaluations. These assessed the 18 most significant providers of public cloud platforms, looking globally, in Australia and New Zealand, in Europe, and in China. Now we’ve published a fifth document, which digs into the trends we observe across all four regions. More on that in a moment.

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Not Only GDPR. A New Set Of Privacy Rules Is Here.

Enza Iannopollo

Just after a few months since the European Parliament approved the final version of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Commission is working on updating yet another set of privacy rules. The European Commission published a new text  that, when approved, will replace the current ePrivacy Directive: the EU law that ensures confidentiality of communication and the protection of personal data in the electronic communications sector.

While the Commission plans to complete the reform process quickly enough to allow the new law to come into force in May 2018 together with the GDPR, the road ahead is long and tortuous. In fact, both the EU Councils of Ministers and the EU Parliament must agree and approve the final text.

While EU policy makers aspire to finalize a new version of the ePrivacy Directive that goes hand-in-hand with the GDPR, it’s a task for all companies to update their processes, technology, workforce's expertise, and oversight mechaninsms to comply with both sets of rules. To meet compliance requirements consistently and without redundancies, it’s crucial that firms understand what’s changing and how ahead of time. According to the proposed text, the new ePrivacy law will:

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2016 Privacy Lessons Learned And Looking Ahead To 2017

Heidi Shey

Each year at the end of summer, several members of Forrester’s Security & Risk research team look back at publicly reported breach events and data privacy violations of the previous 12 months to spot trends and identify cases to feature where we feel there are lessons learned for S&R pros. In 2016, this was a joint effort alongside my colleague Fatemeh Khatibloo from Forrester’s Customer Insights research team. Leading up to Data Privacy Day, I’d like to share some lessons learned from one of the five key trends we saw in our 2016 analysis.

The intersection of privacy and customer experience reminds us of the importance of collecting and managing consent, whether that involves collecting data to personalize an experience or marketing or another initiative we aim to pursue. We saw notable examples (Verizon Wireless! InMobi!) of how FCC and FTC actions in 2015 and 2016 converged on issues of consumer privacy and consent. In both cases, firms used tracking information to deliver targeted ads.

Lessons learned:

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Analyze This! Cisco Spends $3.7B To Buy AppDynamics

Milan Hanson

Cisco’s intent to acquire AppDynamics – officially announced on Wednesday Jan 25 2017 – is quite a surprise. Then again, it isn’t. 

It’s a surprise because AppDynamics was one day away from its IPO, giving nary a hint of courting a suitor.  That would be an awfully expensive and troublesome camouflage.  And if it was camo, it was amazingly airtight in this notoriously leaky information age.  (As I write this, several press outlets report the deal went from idea to agreement in three days.)  

It’s not a surprise because: 

·        AppDynamics’ APM competitors have been rapidly broadening their monitoring to yield better analytics with fewer blind spots.  Cisco gives AppDynamics an exceptionally clear view of network performance and AppDynamics gives Cisco a clear view of application performance.  APM solutions must continue to expand their data ingestion to provide optimum value.   

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Reinvent the Web to Win the Mobile Moment

Ted Schadler

Last time, we talked about how your mobile website sucks. You and your agency partners took a valiant swing at fixing it using responsive web design techniques. But most of you did that without asking a critical question:

What are my customers trying to get done on their phones?

So you created one-size-fits-all responsive retrofits rather than reinventing your website for the way we live now -- on our phones. That's not enough because:

  • Not everyone will use your app. Sorry. We hoped they would. They won't.
  • Your website is or will be majority mobile. Walmart had 70% of web traffic from phones. You need to deliver a mobile-perfect solution.
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Asia Pacific Tech Spending Forecasts: Lackluster in 2017, Acceleration in 2018

Fred Giron

Forrester just released our forecast for business and government purchases of technology goods and services in Asia Pacific (AP) markets. CIOs in the AP region will continue to face a business environment of high uncertainty and modest economic growth in 2017, with 3% growth in tech spending. Better economies in 2018 will push growth closer to 6%. Customers in the region will grow and exert more power, creating challenges that require CIOs to do more — and do it faster. Following are some of the high-level trends by major AP country:

  • Japans slow-growth tech market is Asia’s biggest — but not for long. Japan is expected to spend US$248 billion and on tech goods and services in 2017, which is the largest among all Asia Pacific countries. Measured in yen, growth will be low: 1% in 2017 and 0.4% in 2018.
  • Chinas tech market will continue to shift from hardware to software and services. Forrester projects that China’s tech market spending will grow at 7% in yuan renminbi in 2017 (3% in US dollars). Hardware markets will continue to mature; state-owned enterprises will continue to replace foreign products with local alternatives; and cloud adoption will reduce the need for capital expenditures.
  • Indias tech spending will maintain the highest growth rate in Asia Pacific. India’s total tech purchases will increase by 8% in 2017 and by 10% in 2018 in rupees (5% and 8%, respectively, in US dollars). A robust economy, combined with government-led initiatives like Digital India and Make in India, will spur increased investment in the software, services, and outsourcing segments.
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Findings From The Forrester CRM Wave For Midsize Organizations

Kate Leggett

We included 11 vendors in the CRM Forrester Wave™ for midsize organizations. These 11 vendors reported a total of about 200,000 midsize customers. Compared to CRM vendors tackling the enterprise space, these vendors typically offer more streamlined - and sometimes simpler - capabilities. We saw some similar - and some strikingly different trends in this market segment. Midmarket customer demand:

  • Great user experiences that are affordable. These two factors are paramount for midsize organizations who don’t have large budgets, yet require the power of CRM. CRM must also be simple: simple to learn, simple use, simple to configure.
  • Single platform. Midsize organizations do not have the breadth and depth of IT and administrator resources that enterprise organizations have. They expect unified business and administrator tooling for their CRM. 
  • Cloud CRM. Midmarket organizations demand cloud as their primary deployment model. We expect that newer cloud solutions will replace most on-premises installations in the next five years.
  • Prescriptive advice over raw analytics. Midsize organizations manage large volumes of data. CRM users - whether in sales, marketing or customer service - all struggle to take the right next best step for the customer - for example to pinpoint optimal offers, discount levels, product bundles, and next conversation for better customer outcomes. Midsize organizations are increasingly using prepackaged analytics within CRM to prescribe advice in the flow of their work. 
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Mobile Experiences Just Got Better

Michael Facemire

Oh, hello friends, it's been too long! But I couldn't let today's news stay this far under the radar. With a relatively small announcement on its blog, Google announced that the first Instant Apps have gone live! As a reminder, Instant Apps are Android apps that are internally compartmentalized into individual views (atoms) that your users can interact with from web search results. For instance, if a customer only needs to find the nearest bank ATM, they shouldn't need to download your app (and use precious device storage) to do that -- now they simply interact with the appropriate screen within the existing app delivered via the web! This immediately changes how companies deliver mobile experiences. Why?  Because it knocks down 3 major stumbling blocks of mobile experience development:

  • App discovery is hard. Users find content with web search engines. Instant Apps brings that same power to finding app experiences. Getting people into an app store is hard. Finding your app once there is hard (Our recent data shows that only 26% of smartphone users find new apps through app store searches). Ensuring their device has enough free space, and that no angry reviews scare them off is hard. Deep linking was a bandaid for some of these ills, but Instant Apps will solve them all by delivering a complete native experience as the result of a web search.
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