(A data centre in Hamina, Finland. Source: Google)
Not long ago, European customers of the global public cloud vendors relied upon a single data centre ‘region’ for all their cloud computing needs. From Lisbon to Lviv, Kiruna to Kalamata, customers of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure sent everything to Ireland, and customers of the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) sent everything to Belgium. And, mostly, public cloud’s early adopters in Europe just got on with it.
For the majority of public cloud workloads, storing and processing data somewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) really was — and is — good enough. Network latency was mostly low enough not to be a problem, and European regulations covered the main use cases well enough to appease all but the most cautious lawyers.
But connections can always be faster, and there are still use cases in regulated industries and government where keeping personal data inside specific geographic borders is either essential or encouraged. And, more and more often these days, customers just seem to feel happier when their data doesn’t leave the country. Mostly, no law requires it, and no regulation recommends it. But it’s still happening. We should all be pushing back against this odd trend towards data balkanisation, much harder than we are.
To understand how open customers are to receiving messages from brands in social media, the question has to shift from “How social are our customers?” to “How social are our customers in their path to purchase?”
Given the amount of time consumers spend on social networks, marketers intuitively know they need to be present on social media but many still struggle to pin point exactly:
Why they need a social presence - or rather, how they can be relevant on social media,
How much resources to invest in social media,
And where to invest these resources.
Forrester has developed the Social Technographics Framework to help marketers address exactly these questions. Using Forrester data to analyze the social behavior of various consumer groups and their inclination to use social touchpoints in their interactions with brands, the framework helps marketers determine:
How important social media should be to their marketing plan
When their audiences rely on social touchpoints in their customer journey
What social touchpoints their audiences use, and to what ends
The hyperscale global clouds seem to crop up pretty much everywhere, these days. But we all know that customer requirements differ, from industry to industry, and from country to country. So... how do they cope, and how do we account for the peculiarities of different markets?
The report (my first Wave, so allow me to feel pleased with myself) is, of course, interesting and useful in and of itself. But what's more interesting, perhaps, is that it's part of a collaboration that allows Forrester to account for those regional quirks.
Charles Dickens once wrote that: “Change begets change. Nothing propagates so fast.” In today’s evolving marketplace, where innovators are setting new customer expectations and companies are racing to meet rising demands, Dickens’ words ring true. The first step on a company’s path to thriving in this environment is understanding customers accurately – specifically, identifying how consumer expectations are changing and how fast.
Our Empowered Customer Segmentation measures critical shifts in customer behaviors and attitudes to gauge how consumers are both responding to innovation and demanding it. While the segments are globally consistent, we see insightful differences when applying the framework to unique markets. For example, Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data shows how the segments differ between Spain and France:
These country differences reveal unique opportunities and challenges for companies aiming to win or retain customers in Europe. For example, forward-looking brands such as Banco Sabadell and BBVA can engage Progressive Pioneers in Spain to test innovative concepts before planning a broader rollout. On the other hand, brands with large proportions of French Settled Survivors or Reserved Resisters can retain customers by convincing them of the effectiveness of an experience.
As soon as the news of the Brexit vote in the UK came out, the Forrester team began revising our UK and European tech market forecast to take into account the economic implications and uncertainties of the voters’decision that the UK should leave the EU. Based on this revised analysis, we predict the UK tech market will grow by just 1% (pounds sterling) in 2016 with zero growth in 2017, compared with our prior forecast of 5% in both years.
Europe as a whole, will post no growth in 2016 (euros), and just 1% growth in 2017 — two percentage points slower than our earlier forecast. With the plummeting pound and enervated euro, European tech market measured in US dollars will be similarly weak with 0.2% growth in 2016 and 1.1% in 2017.
The slowing of UK and European tech market growth results from multiple uncertainties created by the Brexit vote coming on top of what was already a weak and shaky European economy. As a result:
The UK economy, which had been outperforming most of the Eurozone countries, will take a hit. The Belgian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Swiss economies, which are growing by 1-1/2% or less, are vulnerable to declines, with Italy especially exposed due to a looming banking crisis.
Greece and Portugal are struggling once again, with threats of renewed recessions leading to declines in tech spending.
The only countries with decent economic growth and above average tech market growth are Ireland and Spain in the Eurozone, and Sweden, Poland, and other Central European countries outside it.
Two weeks on, the result of the UK referendum on membership of the European Union (EU) continues to reverberate around the world. Forrester provided advice for clients needing to understand the business implications. Looking at the specific impact on public cloud deployments in Europe introduces a number of additional points. These are best considered in three separate contexts:
that of companies wishing to serve customers in the UK
that of companies wishing to serve customers in the remaining 27 EU member states (the EU27)
that of companies wishing to serve customers in the EU27 from a base in the UK.
Forrester’s Digital Transformation Europe 2016 Forum in London starts today, and our first industry speaker will be Blake Cahill, Head of Digital, at Royal Philips. Over the past 20 years, Blake has led a series of marketing, creative, client management, product innovation, and thought leadership projects for both Fortune 500 organizations and digital start-ups. At Philips, Blake is helping to lead the Dutch company’s international rebranding and expansion into new technologies and markets. In his presentation, he will talk about the role of digital marketing in the transformation of Philips into a global digital business, and in entering the Chinese market, providing key best practices and lessons learnt.
As I prepared for my role as Forum co-chair, together with Benjamin Ensor, I spoke to Blake about his views on the age of the customer and the impact of digital on companies like Royal Philips. Here is what Blake shared with me, and I hope you will enjoy his answers as much as I did. If you would like to attend Blake's presentation in person, there is still time to register!
Q. How is digital transforming Philips' business and, as a digital marketer, how are you collaborating with and/or advising your peers in other parts of the business on the transformation?
This week, Forrester’s European Digital Transformation Europe Forum 2016 kicks off in London at the Lancaster on June 8-9. Myself and Forum co-host Benjamin Ensor are very excited about the program that we have been able to put together across the two days. Our list of industry speakers is impressive, and includes Blake Cahill, Global Head of Digital and Social Marketing, at Philips, Toby Wright, Chief Technology Officer, at Telegraph Media Group, Nina Jones, Global Owner Experience Director, at Jaguar Landrover, and Dr. Horst J. Kayser, Chief Strategy Officer, at Siemens AG.
On day one, we will also be hearing from Fergus Boyd, Vice President, Digital and IT at Yotel. Fergus is responsible for this start-up affordable luxury hotel brand’s digital strategy and services (web, mobile, social), IT innovation, and all back-end and guest-facing technology. He is a serial digital entrepreneur and technology transformation agent and led award-winning IT, eCommerce, and innovation initiatives at Virgin Atlantic and British Airways (BA).
In the run-up to the Forum, we asked Fergus to answer a number of questions on how Yotel uses digital to differentiate itself in the hospitality and accommodation market. His answers are a must-read for other tech management and digital business leaders facing similar challenges. I look forward to hearing Fergus’ presentation, “From Raw Fish To Moving Beds,” this Wednesday. Come and join us by registering today!
Q. How does Yotel use digital (web, mobile, social) to differentiate itself as a startup hotel brand?
When we think about the public cloud, the list of credible providers can sometimes seem rather short.
(The Great Wall of China. Source: Paul Miller)
In North America, Europe, and elsewhere, the same few names tend to dominate. But not in China. There, big local brands continue to command impressive market share. And now they're looking to expand into new territories, including Europe.
Huawei hardware and Huawei's distribution of the OpenStack open source cloud platform power T-Systems' Open Telekom Cloud. This was launched, with some fanfare, at CeBIT in Hannover.
Alibaba Cloud, which leads the Chinese public cloud market, is also coming to Europe this year.
In my latest report, I take a look at what both Alibaba and Huawei bring to Europe's public cloud market, and ask whether they can repeat their domestic success in this market.
TL;DR - it would be unwise to discount either of them.
Finovate came to London again this week and I was lucky enough to attend. Here are my thoughts from the two days:
This year’s big theme was robo-advice. Every Finovate seems to have an unofficial, accidental theme with a large group of start-ups clustered around the same disruption, like PFM, mobile payments, small business banking or digital wallets. This year it was robo-advice.
Robo advice is starting to look crowded. Each of the new digital investment managers has a distinct story. Scalable Capital offers a sophisticated quantitative, value-at-risk strategy. MeetInvest helps investors mimic the strategies of famous investors like Benjamin Graham or Peter Lynch.* Investify lets investors choose themes that feel right. DriveWealth offers fractional share investing to allow low-cost access to the US markets. SwipeStox makes it easy to follow other investors through an app. Capitali.se converts ideas into trading rules. Europe has many countries and investors are diverse. Even so, the market is starting to seem crowded. Clearly the cost of managing investment portfolios is falling, which should enable firms to break even with fewer assets under management, but the costs of regulatory compliance and marketing to achieve growth have not diminished. Investment performance will sort the unicorns from the donkeys.