I was at an industry conference recently, standing in the booth of a large PC maker while being indoctrinated with the latest word: "You can manage it with existing tools!" - a marketing director beamed, as he waved a new Windows 8 tablet under my nose. He seemed so happy I thought for a second he might grab my hand and drag me skipping through the tradeshow floor followed by a troupe of merry singing penguins, like a sort of demented convention center edition of Mary Poppins.
Since the launch of the iPad in 2010, more than 200 million tablets have been sold worldwide. Compare this with the laptop, which went from 2 million unit sales in 1990 to just 29 million 10 years later. Tablets have already started to cannibalize laptop and eReader device sales, as they offer distinct advantages over the laptop — they’re lightweight, have a long battery life, and provide convenience via a touchscreen and their “always on” mode.
· A growing online population: By 2017, the majority of the worldwide online population will reside in Asia Pacific; this region will contain 34% of tablet owners. Europe and North America will follow.
· The fall of tablet prices: For example, the Turkish government plans to distribute domestically produced tablets to 15 million students for free.
In my previous blog on Windows 8, I discussed the gap between IT decision-maker interest in migrating to Windows 8 and employee interest — particularly with touchscreen tablet devices. Employee interest was even higher than I expected prerelease, which means that Windows 8 will likely become a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) force for many organizations, but the high number of undecided respondents suggests that the next 12 months will be critical. Note that the survey was taken before the public Windows 8 release, so I don't yet know how interest will change with more people using it hands-on. I'll share my personal experiences with it in a future blog post. With that in mind, below are seven factors that put adoption at risk through the first 12 months after release.
IT decision-maker interest is affected by the following:
Most IT shops are still in the midst of their Windows XP to 7 migration. Clients report that migrating to Windows 7 is an expensive process, with application migration and modernization, the OS upgrade process, and the associated labor and costs. With only 4% of firms having a plan to migrate to Windows 8 in the next 12 months, the majority of new corporate PCs currently being deployed with Windows 7, a three- to five-year life cycle on PC hardware, and the end of Windows XP support coming in April 2014, Forrester believes few firms will be anxious to make another major investment in desktop OS migration.
With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft is in the midst of its largest marketing effort ever, hoping to reach 2.1 billion people over the next several months. Because of its lukewarm initial sales, but with new tablets and convertibles on the way, Forrester clients are understandably asking how much attention they should give it. Here's my take:
The data tells us two important things. The first is that Windows 8 is seeing roughly half of the interest from IT hardware decision-makers that Windows 7 saw at the same point in its release cycle. Only 24% of firms expect to migrate to Windows 8 but have no specific plans to do so, versus 49% for Windows 7 back in 2009. Only 5% of firms have specific plans to migrate to Windows 8 in the next 12 months, versus 10% for Windows 7 in 2009:
The second important thing that the data tells us is that Windows 8 has higher interest than we expected among employees, with a full 20% already saying that they would prefer Windows 8 on their next touchscreen tablet versus 26% for iOS. That bodes well for Windows 8's prospects for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) demand:
What It Means: Forrester does not expect enterprises to adopt Windows 8 as their primary IT standard. More on why in a future blog. But we do expect that employees will force IT to have a formal support policy for Windows 8 for employee-owned devices. Windows 8 will accelerate BYOD demand. Look for more from Benjamin Gray and yours truly in a report due out shortly.
Technology Vendors for IT Focus on IT Spend
Forrester's technology vendor clients prefer data over analysis, whereas our IT clients prefer analysis. The vendors are gracious and will sit through a few slides of customer problem examples and politely let me wax on about where their real opportunities are, but most only really perk up when I get to the data slides. Having been responsible for product strategy for software product lines myself, I understand precisely why this is the case: When you're in middle management, your ability to get oxygen (read: funding) to sustain your team depends on your ability to make a case, and the case is usually predicated on IT spend.
Their Strategies are Often Tied to the IT Buyer Data so They Miss the Underlying Human Factors
Why? Because the garden variety general manager in the technology business understands numbers. Human factors? Not so much. For many of them, understanding the underlying human reasons for a disruptive technology shift like, say, the rise of Apple, is not in their DNA. Only the numbers matter. It's tragic really, because if they could reflect on the human factors that I bring with the analysis, born from observation of hundreds of firms who are not yet their customer, their investment priorities would be clearer because significant unmet market needs and competitive risks would be obvious. The best possible question a vendor can ask: What are we missing?
Vendor Strategists Need to Combine Market Data with Human Factors
Regardless of what our minds conjure up when we think of airline travel, one thing we can readily observe is that while the weather, the experience of the flight crew, the mechanical condition of the aircraft, and the destination of the flight are all variables, the system of getting an aircraft from one place to another, in one piece, is extraordinarily reliable. Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines once joked that the airline business is the only place where the capital assets travel at 500 miles per hour.
Every commercial flight starts with a flight plan, a flight crew, an aircraft, and a destination. The dispatcher creates the plan based on the expected conditions for the flight, the limitations of the pilot and passengers, and the capabilities of the aircraft. Time is built into the plan to climb to cruise altitude and to descend again to reach the destination safely. How much fuel will be required is built into the plan and pumped into the tanks. Every activity is done to achieve a singular purpose: getting the aircraft and its passengers safely to the destination, and everyone involved knows where the destination is. Aviation is a study in viable systems design.
How strange it seems then, that thousands of IT projects begin every day, but more than one-third of them crash enroute. Why? I would argue that it's because there is seldom a clear destination in mind, a rational plan to get there, or a viable system approach in place to execute the plan. Most of the time, the destination and the means to get there are only vague estimates, and the elements of the strategy are rooted in hope.
I spent a jam-packed day with security software and services provider AVG last week, checking out their 2013 product line-up for free antivirus and paid premium products, and participating in roundtable discussions with press, analysts, and AVG executives about consumer security, mobile, privacy and policy. Here are my reactions to what AVG is doing:
LIKE: Consumer data (yes, I’m biased here, being the data nerd). AVG has lots of it and it’s all free. This is awesome because it’s a great resource not just for the industry but for other parties to use in education and awareness program design. They’ve done studies across 11 countries for their Digital Diaries studies, surveying parents and kids of different age brackets from 0 to 17 to understand online behaviors and attitudes. Here’s a data nugget that caught my attention: by the time they are two years old, 81% of children have some kind of digital footprint (online photographs, personal data, email and/or social networking accounts). 81%!
Are you or someone you know a Mac lover but brutally forced to use a PC at work? Don't fret or give up yet. Many firms such as Genentech are saying "no" to PCs and "yes" to Macs. And other firms are instituting BYOC (bring your own computer) programs that allow Mac followers to worship at work. Is this a trend that has legs, or have we entered the post-PC era where it doesn't really matter what hunk of hardware employees use?
Macs have less than a 10% share in enterprises. But, Senior Analyst and Forrester's resident Mac-whisperer Dave Johnson says that is changing and changing fast as a result of increasing BYOC programs and smaller firms that standardize on Macs.
Listen to Dave's authoritative, balanced analysis in this episode of TechnoPolitics to find out if Macs can make it in the enterprise.
At Forrester, each of us as analysts keep in regular contact with our clients and the industry through a process known as Inquiry. For workforce computing, this includes Benjamin Gray, Christian Kane, Michele Pelino, Onica King, and Chris Voce. Any Forrester client with Inquiry access can arrange for 1:1 time with an analyst to ask questions and seek advice, or simply ask for a response by e-mail. Most analysts also take advantage of the opportunity to ask a few well-considered questions of our own. Taken together with data, briefings from vendors, ongoing research and client advisory, the inquiry process helps us keep our eyes and ears focused on what matters to I&O professionals, and provides critical insights into their pain and needs. In this blog, I'll share my unvarnished responses to a client inquiry I received just last week:
1. What do you see as the most important trends in End User Computing for the next 3-4 years?
2. What will be the role of each type of device in an organization such as ours (financial services)?
3. What's the best way to find out what our employees need? What do other firms offer different types of workers?
4. Do you have any economic numbers about those devices (i.e. TCO per year)?
5. Do you have any data or examples from other firms like ours?
Plato used to define the human species as "featherless bipeds". This thought came to me this afternoon as I stood looking at the Venus de Milo in The Louvre (I'm in Paris for Forrester's I&O Forum) and pondered what Microsoft was about to unleash on all of us. Why, might you ask? Well, as the story goes, Diogenes (the guy who invented cynicism) plucked a chicken, brought it into Plato's Academy and declared: "Behold: I have brought you a man!" After this incident, "with broad flat nails" was added to Plato's definition.
It struck me that that's pretty much what Microsoft and its OEM partners have been doing to us with tablets for a number of years now. "Behold! I have brought you a tablet!" But of course, now we know that a "tablet" is a device that we can use with nothing more than fingers with broad, flat nails.
But there's more. Microsoft's ability to respond in its modern day Peloponnesian War with Apple, has been hampered by three things:
The PC OEM vendors remain one (maybe two!) steps behind Apple in making well-differentiated hardware. To wit: Ultrabooks are just now beginning to match the MacBook Air, and no one else has a Retina Display in their lineups.
They haven't had an operating system for tablets without styli or mice, or that will run longer than a few hours away from a power outlet.
The upgrade process for Windows PCs is labor-intensive. IT organizations upgrade operating systems only when Microsoft forces them to, so end users are frustrated. Nearly half of organizations are still on Windows XP 11 years after its release.