Tracking A Private Dell

Dane Anderson

Earlier this year, I had the distinct honor of interviewing Michael Dell after his keynote address at an event organized by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. It was a nostalgic opportunity as I recalled my macroeconomics professor in college over 20 years ago holding up a copy of Fortune magazine with Michael Dell on the cover.

Throughout my career as an industry analyst, I tracked the global PC giants as they clumsily tried to match Dell’s direct model in the ’90s and saw the company emerge as a multibillion-dollar IT industry juggernaut in the ’00s; most recently, I’ve watched with interest as the company went private. Like Michael (and me), Dell has undoubtedly passed through its youth and is now looking to embark on a new course that can leverage everything it has learned to this point through middle age. Something has indeed been lost, but much has also been gained.

My first and most lasting impression of our discussion was just how respectful and humble Michael is. When he speaks, he looks you in the eye, and when others speak, he listens. He wasn’t looking at his watch or thinking of other things. That said, I was quickly reminded of who I was speaking with when we discussed China. When I shared my views on the challenges facing the country, he perked up and told me that Jiang Zemin (China’s president from 1993 to 2003) told him the same thing at length in English (which is rare) a couple of years ago at an event. What we both said is off the record!

A Big Soft Underbelly

As it turns out, the global IT market is also entering middle age. Another clear takeaway from our discussion was Michael’s view that the global enterprise IT industry has a “big soft underbelly” that is ripe for new efficiencies, cost reductions, and innovations. I think he’s right.

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The Collaborative Economy Will Drive Business Innovation And Growth

Dan Bieler

Over the past two decades, the Internet has triggered a tectonic shift in the concept of networking — one that has redefined how companies market and sell products. More recently, social media, mobile, and cloud have fundamentally changed the concept of collaboration, enabling businesses, employees, customers, and partners to continuously interact with each other to create innovative new products and services and enhance existing ones. Rising customer expectations and faster product life cycles are forcing companies to adapt to a new style of business: “the collaborative economy.” My new report outlines the core dynamics of the collaborative economy and the implications for CIOs and their business partners:

  • Collaboration is much more than unified communications. It’s not sufficient for the CIO to roll out a unified communications solution; technology solutions alone do not change business processes or support employees’ changing collaborative behavior — let alone alter business models. A modern collaboration strategy requires CIOs to make organizational adjustments in addition to technology planning.
  • Collaboration is becoming part of the corporate strategy. A modern collaboration platform is the foundation for better innovation, faster processes, and greater employee satisfaction, which lead to happier customers and new revenue opportunities. We believe that modern collaboration is part of competitive advantage — and leading CIOs must support it as part of their group strategy.
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How InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Makes Mobile Guest Moments Great

Ted Schadler
IHG, owner of InterContinental Hotels Group, wants to fully inhabit the mobile moments of its hotel guests in their journey from booking to arriving to staying to departing. Bill Keen is the Director of Mobile Solutions at InterContinental Hotels Group. You can try out his app here. He shared his experiences making mobile a cornerstone of IHG’s customer strategy in this interview at Forrester's recent Technology Management Forum in Orlando, Florida. My take is that three things drive mobile mind shift success at IHG:
 
  1. Bill and his team relentlessly focus on mobile moments that improve the guest experience, from booking in to in-room services.
  2. Bill’s business team works side by side with the business technology team to build apps. Bill describes a special "team chemistry."
  3. The multi-disciplinary team uses a sophisticated agile process to quickly extend things that work and fix things that don’t.
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Double Down On Data: Who Ya Gonna Call?

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

An explosion of data is revolutionizing business practices. The availability of new data sources and delivery models provides unprecedented insights into customer and partner behavior and enables much improved capacity to understand and optimize business processes and operations. Real time data allows companies to fine tune inventories and in-store product placement; it allows restaurants to know what a customer will order, even before they read the menu or reach the counter. And, data is also the foundation for new services offerings for companies like John Deere or BMW or Starwood.

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Mobile Mind Shift In Government Means Mobile Enablement As Well As Engagement

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Governments face an alphabet soup of digital transformation with eGovernment and mGovernment mandates. Do I hear an sGovernment, anyone? The trend in engaging via new digital channels is clear: 52% of US online adults have engaged in one or more government related activities. For example, 19% have renewed a driver’s license or vehicle registration online, and 16% have paid a bill such as a traffic fine or utility payment. In the age of the customer, government organizations must understand and address the needs of their citizens. For governments, it's the "age of the citizen," with demands for greater transparency and accountability, improved efficiency, and, above all, better service delivery. Citizens no longer accept the shoulder shrug and age-old excuse that government is "like that" when service quality isn't as expected. And, part of that service quality for some is to be able to embrace a mobile moment to look up information or complete a task. Some government organizations hear the call and are making great strides to embrace and enable new mobile delivery channels — where appropriate. But many struggle to invest in what they do consider a strategic initiative. Of those who consider mobility a strategic priority, only 30% in government have increased spending on mobile projects, compared with 51% in other industries.

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In The Grasp Of A Mobility-, Data-, And Multiplatform-Driven Future

Clement Teo

“The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed.” This popular quote hit home at the Global Mobile Internet Conference panel on meeting the challenge of global connectivity that I moderated this week. Internet.org is a global partnership between technology leaders, nonprofits, local communities, and experts who are working together to bring the Internet to the two-thirds of the world’s population that don’t have it. Founding partners include Facebook, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Nokia (now Microsoft Mobile), and Opera.

What it means

  • The age of the customer is everywhere. This point was cemented at the conference. Device makers, network infrastructure providers, and app developers have to work with telecom providers to leverage existing 2G/3G assets to tap unconnected subscribers or miss out on business opportunities. Governments also need to help by, for example, providing consistent electricity to homes. Improving the customer experience can help businesses grow.
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Winners Of The 2014 Groundswell Awards (Business-To-Employee Division)

Philipp Karcher
For the past seven years Forrester’s Groundswell Awards have recognized the most innovative social and collaboration programs with a measurable business impact. This year in the business-to-employee (B2E) division we gave out awards in two categories:
 
  • Employee Collaboration. This category recognizes programs that help employees work better together.
  • Employee Empowerment. This category recognizes programs that help employees better serve customers. 
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Getting The Right Digital Leadership

Nigel Fenwick

It's clear that digital leadership is needed to achieve the transformation to a digital business. But does a company need a single digital leader, or do all executives need to become digital leaders?

Last month I published a report on digital leadership that examined the DNA of early digital executives. From this research, we learned that all digital leaders must be able to deliver on digital competencies across three dimensions: strategic, transformational, and operational. The degree to which digital leaders need to emphasize each depends upon the organization's digital maturity (see figure).

What is clear from our research into digital business is that your business needs both the CIO and the CMO to join forces to enable the transformation to a digital business. In conjunction with Forrester's Forum For Technology Management Leaders, we'll be revealing a new piece of research on digital business in 2014. This research digs into the data to reveal that state of digital business across a range of industries — identifying who is currently leading digital initiatives. As well as delivering a keynote at the Forum based on "Unleash Your Digital Business," I'll also be presenting a track session that gets deeper into the question of digital leadership to help you answer the question of who should really lead digital business transformation.

Next post: Digital Business 2014 Infographic

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Wendy's, Mobile Payment Moments Need To Be One-Touch Easy

Ted Schadler

I love Wendy's Dave's Hot 'n Juicy 3/4 lb Triple burger as much as the next Neanderthal, especially after riding 50 miles in the rain. And I love mobile payments because while I often leave my wallet at home, I'm Strava-ing the ride so I always have my phone.

Now while Wendy's mobile payments app has the potential to make it easier to eat burgers on the road, it's getting bashed in the app store. And it has one more annoying problem that I'd like to focus on here: I have to read off a six-digit code for a counter clerk to enter to make it work. While reading off a code to inhale a burger when starving may not sound like much, it's harder than swiping a debit card, so it ain't easy enough.

In our research for The Mobile Mind Shift, we found that what matters most is delivering a great mobile moment -- a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get something they want in their immediate context. Getting the mobile moment right is critical to being present in the small and important moments in your customers' lives. Two principles define a great mobile moment:

  1. Deliver huge customer benefit and value to the firm. If the moment isn't hugely beneficial to a consumer, then the mobile moment won't exist at all. The app must do something truly useful it won't earn a place on the screen.
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Dropbox For Business Pursues A Sensible Consumerization Path Into The Enterprise

Ted Schadler

Dropbox has 275 million users. It's steadily improving the business capability of its Internet file system. That makes it important to understand what Dropbox is doing and why it matters to business. Here's what they are doing:

  • Last week, Dropbox secured a $500 million line of credit. My take is that Dropbox will use this money to build datacenters as well as global business capacity. Today, the company uses cheap storage from Amazon S3, but it keeps all the juice (like user permissions, search metadata, and application data) in its own data centers. This cheap funding (debt is much cheaper than equity) gives it a reasonable capital structure to buy lots of servers to build global applications.
  • Yesterday, Dropbox made its new Dropbox for Business "linked folders" generally available. This feature lets technology managers give employees a business Dropbox that it can secure and own. Employees can link the business Dropbox to their personal Dropbox so they see all their files in a consistent way. When an employee leavers the firm, the business Dropbox disappears from personal devices (if it works as designed). Customers like Facebook are using this product and seeing a big shift in its employees moving business files from a personal Dropbox to the new business Dropbox.
  • Dropbox has attracted 100,000 disrupters -- many of which are targeting mobile moments. Mobile moments open up a universe of new personal and business applications to get things done in a small moments of need. This level of partner investment is a huge deal because it signals that Dropbox is becoming a file system for the Internet era. Using Dropbox, these innovators can simply inherit the entire file management and storage sub-system they need.
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