Forrester has just published our fall forecast update for the US tech market ("2017 US Tech Budgets: The Outlook For Tech Spending Overall And By Industry"), and we are now projecting 5.1% growth for business and government spending on tech goods, services, and staff in 2017. That's a modest improvement from the 4.4% growth we are forecasting for 2016. That 2017 forecast assumes a continuation of the economic policies now in place under the Obama administration and the Republican Congress, and thus a Hilary Clinton election along with Republican control of at least the House of Representatives. Should Donald Trump win the election or alternatively the Democrats take control of both the House and the Senate, our forecast for the US tech market in 2017 would be quite different.
The three main forces driving this forecast are the moderate pace of real economic growth at around 2%, the strong demand for the Business Technologies (BT) that help firms win, serve, and retain customers, and the transition to cloud.
Which companies do you feel are the dominant players in the technology industry? Are they the names that have dominated for years, like Cisco, the newly merged Dell (plus EMC), the recently split HP, Inc. and HPE, IBM, Microsoft, or Oracle? Is it one of the newer cloud titans like AWS, Google, IBM, or Microsoft? Will cloud demolish the tech industry as we know it? Don't get lured into the hyperbole in the market, but do inform yourself about the realities. As with all things in business, follow the money to find the truth. That's what we do every day to seek answers to the big questions in Business Technology.
"Evolve or Crumble" is one of the most important things you will read this year!
The technology vendor landscape is in the midst of great change ... again! The powerhouses of technology are under assault by new and transforming players. My colleagues Sophia Vargas and Richard Fichera recently published a report that should be mandatory reading by everyone in the technology world! You may not agree with their points, but they painstakingly vetted the data and premise with fellow thought leaders within and outside of Forrester. The evidence is compelling. The Evolve Or Crumble: Prepare For The Fate Of The Hardware Incumbents report will make you think and prepare you to make what may be difficult, but necessary decisions about your own future!
As the digital economy gains momentum, CIOs will have to reassess and evolve their technology vendor portfolio. CIOs need to evaluate if their main technology vendors support the required new business practices and focus on crucial technologies.
Cisco has made massive investments in its portfolio and go-to-market strategies that help to sustain its role as a preferred vendor to most of its clients. We believe, however, that Cisco still has some distance to travel to transform its skillsets and business culture to become a trulystrategic technology provider. The recent leadership transition offers Cisco the opportunity to redouble its efforts to strengthen its digital and customer experience skills, flatten its corporate hierarchies, and build a strong digital ecosystem of software and services partners. Our main observations when scrutinizing Cisco as a vendor in the emerging digital ecosystem are that:
Cisco is on the path to becoming a partner of the CIO's technology agenda.Cisco has launched programs to change its operational setup, its business culture, its compensation incentives, and its skillsets. Its willingness to disrupt itself positions Cisco well to eventually transform from a network business into a global BT provider.
A gap remains between top management's vision and Cisco's go-to-market pitch.Cisco's vision to transform from selling networking boxes to selling architectures, solutions, and business outcomes is spot-on. However, we still perceive a go-to-market approach focused on engineering and products. This disconnect remains a challenge to becoming a strategic technology provider.
Consumers and enterprises alike are increasingly shying away from buying digital content, services, and software outright. Instead, these businesses are embracing alternative business models where they lease or rent access to digital products and services. The disruption to traditional business models is widespread and accelerating across all verticals of digital product distribution, with high profile digital disruptors like Adobe, Netflix, and Salesforce driving changes in the way consumers and enterprises pay for, and engage with, digital products.
Today we see that:
Business model changes are accelerating in the digital goods marketplace. Today's digitally connected consumer is increasingly eschewing the traditional ownership model of buy, download, install, and use. Consumers want access to digital content and services across their connected devices, anytime, anywhere — and are embracing virtual ownership models that provide access to vast libraries of content, services, and products under subscription, usage, and other emerging ownership models.
A different set of features and services are fundamental for digital goods sellers. Many of the features and capabilities found in enterprise eCommerce platforms are directly transferrable to selling digital goods or online services. However, most of these retail-focused solutions lack the unique features and services needed to sell digital products and services online, including flexible cross selling and bundling, asset protection, subscription management and entitlements among other features.
Economic development means different things to different people. It depends on their context. In my early work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa development meant bringing running water to villages. My town was the new recipient of a public water system from the Danish Aid Agency.
But broadly speaking, economic development initiatives are efforts to attract investment to a region. For most places, it’s not about running water but about creating jobs. And, some of the best jobs out there – in demand and high paying – are in technology or in software development more specifically. Software is the future. And, many cities, states and countries want to get in on the act. Yes, many of the software development jobs will go to product development shops but they need to hire from somewhere and government leadersare hoping to bring those jobs to their constituents.
A classic strategy for attracting investment to a region is to provide tax incentives. We’ll give you a break on your corporate taxes for a period of time if you bring your new headquarters or factory or research facility to our region. A quick search reveals many such programs. Apparently Texas is “wide open for business” and is willing to provide tax abatements and local incentives.
As the healthcare industry depends increasingly on software to drive the change to value-based care from transaction-based compensation, the future of global healthcare is increasingly bound to the technology that will deliver:
Integration solutions that will allow stakeholders to share information about populations and individuals across the ecosystem.
Cloud-based solutions that will allow services to reach scale without the need for the contemporary care system or health insurance vendor to grow infrastructure.
Branded medical services, such as oncology advice engines that allow a regional cancer specialist to deliver a better quality of care because she will have, for example, access to the most advanced protocols for her patients via smart software powered by companies such as IBM but with the built-in expertise of our great medical centers such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
The Rise of consumer health repositories will work against info sharing in the eco-system - crossing the divide between protected data owned by covered entities, under various global privacy laws such as HIPAA, and consumer controled data subject to the corporate policy of various business entites such as Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, and others will remain dificualt and cumbersome.
Previously Microsoft tried to discourage customers from using virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) on top of rival operating systems by applying complex licensing rules involving various TLAs such as RUR, VDA and CSL (which I’m not going to explain here, because they are, thankfully, no longer needed). The USL is far simpler - clear Windows licensing replacing translucent frosted glass, so to speak.
The US Bureau of Economic Analysis released its preliminary report on second quarter 2013 US GDP, along with both major revisions to US economic data over the past 50 years, and minor revisions to the data on US business investment in information technology goods and services. Here are my key takeaways from the report, and its implications for the US tech market.
US real GDP growth in Q2 2013 came in better than expected. The 1.7% growth at an annual rate from Q1 2013 was in line with our projection of 1.9%, but better than what many economists had been forecasting. Growth rates in Q4 2012 and Q1 2013 were revised down to 0.1% and 1.1%, respectively, from the earlier 0.4% and 2.5%. These revisions indicate that the end of the payroll tax reductions, the higher tax rates for high-income people, and the Federal budget cuts from sequester did take a toll on economic growth, with government consumption declining in Q4 2012, Q1 2013, and Q2 2013, and business investment in factories and offices falling in Q1 2013. But consumer spending has been solid, with growth of 1.8% in Q2 2013, 2.3% in Q1 2013, and 1.7% in Q2 2013. Business investment in equipment, which softened to just 1.6% growth in Q1 2013, improved to 6.8% growth in Q2 2013. And housing continues to be a growth engine for the US economy, with double digit growth rates in residential investment in the past four quarters, and improving home prices boosting consumer confidence and spending.