Do You Have An Opinion On How Digital Is Changing Business?

Nigel Fenwick

Do you have an opinion on how technology is changing your business?

As you likely know, each year we conduct in-depth business leader research to help identify trends across industries. This year we are once again partnering with executive search firm Odgers Berndtson, reaching out to senior business executives around the world for their perspectives on how digital is changing their business.

We're also reaching out to a wider audience through social media to broaden the perspectives gathered in this study. No matter what your perspective, no matter what your role – CEO, CMO, CIO, Business leader – if you're in senior management in a medium or large enterprise, we'd like to hear from you.

To make your opinion count, simply click the link below to begin the confidential online survey.
Please note: while the survey has been designed to complete on any device, including mobile phones, you must finish the survey using the same device from which you begin by clicking this link: http://forr.com/digitalsurvey2017. All responses are confidential.

Here's a selection of blog posts from this stream of research:

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Platforms Are The Foundation For New Value Creation

Dan Bieler

While a lot has been written about consumer-facing platforms like Facebook and Uber, the platform impact on business-to-business relationships has not been as extensively investigated. However, these “business platform models” are transforming the way how traditional businesses create value. Business platforms will reorganize a wide variety of markets, work arrangements, and ultimately value creation and capture.

Business platforms push productivity improvements beyond automation activities. The real value creation now comes from analyzing data. These platform dynamics force every business to rethink its approach to innovation, marketing, sales, product development, delivery, and customer engagement. Business and technology leaders need to prepare to platform dynamics for several reasons:

  • Platforms change customer behavior and how businesses interact with customers. Business platforms will trigger radical changes to how we work, engage with customers, create value, and compete for the resulting profits. These business platforms offer companies fast access to scalable expertise at transparent cost and drive the much needed agility to quickly adjust customer experiences to changing requirements.
  • Business platform value creation centers on information gathering, sharing, and analyzing. Platforms focus on information exchange and provide an easier, more transparent way to access, analyze, and share this information. Business platform owners are developing power that may be more influential than that of the actual factory owners. But business platform owners do not have to own all factors of production; they tap into the expertise of platform participants.
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The Top Emerging Technologies For Digital Predators

Nigel Fenwick

If you’ve been following my research, you know I like to divide the business world into three categories of company:

  • Digital Predators successfully use emerging digital technologies to gain market share and/or displace traditional incumbent companies (e.g., Amazon, Lyft, Priceline, Airbnb, Netflix).
  • Digital Transformers evolve a traditional business to take advantage of emerging technologies, creating new sources of value for customers and opening up new competitive strategies (e.g., Burberry, Nestlé, L’Oréal, Unilever, USAA, Ford, Delta).
  • Digital Dinosaurs struggle to leave behind their old business model. These companies are typically slow to change because they must defend large P&Ls, or they have a near monopoly position, or they simply don’t see the opportunity/threat (e.g., many retailers, taxi companies, manufacturing firms, legal firms, recruiters, construction firms).
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Okta Files to Go Public

Merritt Maxim

Yesterday, Okta filed its S-1 with the SEC, officially marking its intent to go public. This planned IPO had been rumored in early 2016, but less than optimal capital market conditions in 2016 likely contributed to the delay. The S-1 followed last week’s news that Okta acquired Stormpath, an identity API provider based in Silicon Valley, for an undisclosed amount.

The filing is not surprising but opens a window into the financial dynamics of the identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) market. After reviewing the S-1, three main themes stand out for me:

  1. IDaaS demand is very strong. Okta’s fiscal year ends on January 31, so full-year figures are not yet available for the period ending January 31, 2017. But comparing Okta’s revenue numbers for its 2015 fiscal year with its 2016 fiscal year shows an impressive 100% year-on-year growth. A big boost in service revenue also suggests that Okta is being deployed in larger, more complex environments that require more customization and services. Over the past 18 months, Forrester has had a steadily increasing number of IDaaS-related inquiries from enterprise clients looking to deliver identity and access management (IAM) capabilities to their employees via a SaaS subscription model. Okta’s revenue growth aligns with the strong growth in demand we see from our clients.
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DevOps has reached critical mass, CIOs need to get on board

Elinor Klavens

DevOps is one of the most powerful weapons that CIOs have in their arsenal. DevOps unites the entire enterprise in delivering business transformation with superior customer experience. Companies like Target, Capital One, Walmart, ING, Nordstrom, Netflix and JetBlue are already reaping the benefits. In order to unlock the promise of DevOps, CIOs must lead the call for cultural change.

As any leader knows, changing institutionalized behavior is the toughest of all management challenges and CIOs are understandably skeptical of new trends.  Despite this, CIOs must recognize when a trend becomes an imperative for survival. DevOps has become this imperative, and CIOs must act now. CIOs who embrace the DevOps challenge must first fostera culture of collaboration and learning, then enable their people with the right tools to drive holistic life-cycle automation. Those who meet this challenge won't just beat their competitors — they will decimate them. 

CIOs must replace traditional linear thinking with Agile thinking.

 
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Customer Success Should Be A Team Sport

Kate Leggett

Customers hold the power in their relationships with businesses. Today, it's not enough for businesses to deliver products. Customers expect them to deliver outcomes and success.

To do this, businesses must understand who the customer is, what their pain points are in achieving their business goals, and must help them choose the right products to meet their goals. The relationship does not stop there. Businesses must ensure that a new customer is properly onboarded, and is realizing ongoing value from their purchase. Forrester data backs these statements up. 68% want vendors who “understand my business, my problems – and help me solve them.”

This is the mission of customer success teams. They actively manage customers post-purchase, to ensure their ongoing success, with the end goal of reducing churn, increasing customer lifetime value and advocacy - the latter of which influences new sales.

Most businesses pursue this mission by standing up customer success organizations. They use a health score  — comprised of financial data, CRM data, product usage data, support cases, customer feedback  — to track their customers. However, most company employees interacting with customers don’t have this visibility into a customer’s health which can impact overall relationships.

Totango, a vendor of customer success solutions, has a very different view of customer success. Sure customer success teams manage overall customer relationships. However, Totango believes that everyone interacting with customers must have access to customer data and their health in order to better engage with them. Employees must also be able easily, with little friction, access this information from within the context of their application.

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Traditional I&O Is Dead - The DevOps Phoenix Rises

Eveline Oehrlich

If you already belong to a high-performing DevOps organization and you are working on leveraging opensource for monitoring to drive feedback loops, or delivering better security with DevSecOps, or making sure you are understanding continuous testing then you don’t need to read the following – you can stop now.

However, if you are facing the challenges that your app dev team is developing faster than you can deliver or you realize that ITIL does not help you in increasing your speed and quality of deployment or your manual deployment capability do not scale or human error has caused some outage…don’t delay your shift your operating model towards DevOps. Our DevOps vision report gives I&O leader’s guidance on how to modify the operating model to focus on velocity and quality to deliver “great” customer experiences.

Products not functional silo’s for customer obesession

The first transition is one of focusing on products not functional IT silos. Developers, operations, QA teams and release teams should be merged into a single team around the product.  This team is accountable for the complete pipeline from ideation to delivery and depending on the culture, support as well.

Evaluate your success, based on the five critical DevOps metrics.

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Mobile World Congress 2017: As Mobile Is Morphing Into Digital, Use Cases Matter More

Dan Bieler

Mobile World Congress (MWC) which took place in Barcelona once again broke new records in terms of attendees, reaching 108,000. Yet, discussions with end-user businesses indicate that mobility is often no longer treated as a standalone focus area by CIOs and CTOs. Mobility has become part of the broader digital transformation initiative. This has implications for mobile strategies. It also affects the decision where a business leader turns to in order to find inspirations for her digital transformation initiative.

Of course, mobility remains a critically important building block for all digital transformation initiatives. But mobility is part of a wider technology-driven business transformation. In my view, the biggest themes at MWC in 2017 that are relevant for digital transformation relate to IoT, AI, platforms, collaboration, and connectivity. I discuss what these themes mean for the CIO in a separate blog.

Importantly, all of these themes are interwoven. Hence, the CIO needs to build her digital transformation strategy on a comprehensive approach - with mobility is right at the heart. Still, there remains a risk that the CIO gets sucked into pursuing a compartmentalized technology strategy that lacks a comprehensive view of the real business objectives. It is essential that the CIO avoids a ‘bolt-on approach’ to these technology investments because of the technology interdependencies.

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Fourteen Machine Learning Solutions For Data Scientists - Which One Is Best For You?

Mike Gualtieri

Yogi Berra, Machine Learning For Predictive ModelsThe Power To Predict Is Mighty

Yogi Berra once said, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." It is tough indeed, but enterprises that can make probabilistic predictions about customers, business processes, and operations will have an edge over enterprises that can't. These predictions don't have to be macroscopic to be consequential. Predictions about what a customer is likely to buy next. Predictions about marketing content that will resonate with a prospect. Predictions about the next best action to take in a business process. Predictions about when an expensive asset is likely to break down. Virtually any customer journey, business process, and even strategic decision can be made better if permeated with the power to predict.

Predictive Analytics And Machine Learning Solutions Make It Possible

Yes, making accurate predictions is tough, but predictive analytics and machine learning (PAML) solutions provide data scientists and developers alike with the tools to make it happen. Forrester defines PAML solutions as:

Software that provides data scientists with 1) tools to build predictive models using statistical and machine learning algorithms and 2) a platform to deploy and manage predictive production models.

The Forrester Wave™: Predictive Analytics And Machine Learning Solutions, Q1 2017

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Mobile World Congress 2017: Observations Regarding The Main Enterprise Themes

Dan Bieler

Recently, the largest annual get together of the mobile industry, Mobile World Congress (MWC) took place in Barcelona. In my opinion, the biggest themes at MWC in 2017 that are relevant for enterprise customers were the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), platforms, collaboration, and connectivity. These themes underline how mobility is becoming part of the broader digital transformation initiative. I discuss this shift in this separate blog and report. MWC provided several valuable insights for business and technology leaders to align their mobile to their digital strategies:

-> Not everything that claims to be AI is true AI. Many vendors that claimed during MWC to be AI-proficient are in fact able to deliver true machine-learning solutions to generate transformative customer and operational insights. Most solutions that were branded as AI at MWC rely on preprogrammed responses and statistics rather than machine learning.

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