The Age Of The Customer Will Reshape Asia Pacific’s Tech Markets In 2014

Dane Anderson

Forrester’s team of Asia Pacific (AP) analysts released our top 10 predictions for the Asia Pacific tech market in 2014 this week. The most critical overarching trend for the region in 2014 will be the strengthening age of the customer, which we define as a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.

The age of the customer will manifest itself in AP through 10 major trends that will fundamentally alter or disrupt regional tech markets in 2014. Here’s a preview of five of them:

  • Technology spending will remain flat. Forrester expects IT spending growth in AP to remain flat in 2014, with regionwide growth of 4%; the regional growth rate rises to 6% if we exclude Japan. We see China rebounding and generating healthy growth, but expect that local vendors will see more benefit than multinational brands. India is expected to rebound as well, in spite of an election in the first half of the year; once that’s over, we expect pent-up demand to be released. More details are offered in my colleague Fred Giron’s blog post.
  • CIOs’ IT spending will decline as the clout of the business grows. We’ve been writing about the growing clout of business buyers for more than a year now. But with continued business gains, we are now seeing CIO spending decline as business leaders and workforces take over more IT strategy and spending decisions. We expect to see this shift in spending power continue out to 2016 at a minimum.
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Technology + Philanthropy = A Masterclass In Technology Marketing At Dreamforce 2013

Nigel Fenwick

What Benioff and his team at Salesforce do better than every other tech company at a customer conference is make an emotional connection between the audience and the brand.

The opening 45 minutes of Dreamforce 2013, the annual gathering of Salesforce.com (SFDC) customers and industry influencers, focused less on the product and much more on how SFDC is helping transform the lives of those most in need of help. In many respects, this looked and felt more like the opening of a fundraising event than a software conference — I say "felt" because the message was designed to connect with feelings. The visuals and stories all help people connect to the Salesforce message at a deeply emotional level. The implication: By partnering with SFDC, you really do help change the world. This was a masterclass in marketing and leveraging corporate philanthropy
 
Too many companies are so focused on their own growth that they fail to connect to something that really matters in the world: making a difference in the lives of people less fortunate than ourselves. By reinforcing this connection for both customers and employees, Benioff successfully gives a deeper meaning to the hours employees will spend to do their job slightly better each day. It's no wonder that SFDC is one of the most admired companies and a top place to work.
 

Asia Pacific IT Spending Growth Will Remain Flat In 2014

Fred Giron

A weak global economic recovery and unstable domestic spending slowed economic and tech industry growth in China in 2013, affecting export-oriented economies in Asia Pacific. Combined with ongoing structural problems in India and dwindling foreign direct investment in ASEAN, IT spending growth slowed across the region in 2013. Japan was the only exception; IT spending growth there was faster than expected. Forrester expects overall IT spending growth in Asia Pacific to remain at 4% in 2014. In particular:

  • Japan’s IT purchasing growth will slow as stimulus effects fade. Government reforms and stimulus packages have had a positive effect on the macroeconomic environment. But those will wane in 2014; we expect Japan’s IT spending growth to slow to around 2% next year, propped up by large application modernization projects in banking, professional services, and retail.
  • Chinese growth will mostly benefit local vendors. Forrester estimates that China’s IT purchases will grow by 8% in 2014. Local vendors have recently strengthened their capabilities, primarily in the hardware space, while multinational vendors face challenges meeting Chinese government security requirements. As a result, we expect most of China’s 2014 growth to benefit local vendors; foreign vendors face dwindling market shares.
  • Australia/New Zealand’s shift to systems of engagement will continue its fast pace. Slowing economic growth in 2013 led to an acceleration of the move from capex to opex IT models in ANZ, driven by the need for improved agility in systems of engagement projects. The transformation of systems of record leveraging virtualization and automation approaches has started to erode a lot of the value of the overall IT market. So while the overall ANZ economy should improve, we don’t expect IT spending growth to exceed 3% in 2014.
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Plugging The Mobile App Gap

Ted Schadler
What if you wanted an app on your phone or tablet and it wasn't available?
 
Sounds ludicrous given the million apps available in the app stores. But it's not ludicrous. It's commonplace. The world has 188 million active public Web sites and probably at least that many internal sites. And each one of those sites has (I'm betting) five or maybe 25 different tasks buried in it (each one of which could be an app). Let's do the math real conservative like:
 
(188 million public Web sites + 188 million internal Web sites) x 5 tasks per Web site = 1.9 billion potential smartphone and tablet apps
 
And we have 1 million apps today, a ratio of almost 2,000:1. We have a humongous app gap, defined as:
 
When people want applications on a mobile device but find those apps aren't available.

 

Entrepreneurs do their best to plug the app gap when established companies can't or won't see the opportunity. That's what's driving apps like Evernote, Dropbox, Flipboard, Uber, RoamBI, TripIt, and Expensify.

At home, the app gap might lead to a disruption in your market. If you're not serving your customer on a mobile device, maybe a digital disrupter will. (Yes, I know many Web designers are busily adapting some of the almost 400 million sites to work great on mobile devices. It hasn't plugged the app gap yet.)

In business, the app gap is challenging because employees are happy to plug the app gap at work themselves. That's why they bring their own apps. Here's what it looks like:

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Telstra Analyst Event 2013: Report From The Customer Advocacy Journey Triathlon

Dan Bieler

With Dane Anderson, John Brand, Tim Sheedy, Clement Teo, and Bryan Wang

During his keynote at Telstra’s recent annual analyst event in Sydney, the CEO compared Telstra’s customer advocacy strategy to a triathlon that the firm has just begun. We believe this is a fitting analogy for progress communicated at the event. Our main observations are:

  • Telstra’s transformation remains a work in progress. Telstra is not unique from other incumbent telcos that transform away from traditional — and declining — sources of revenue. Its strong domestic position seems secure for now. But its prospects in new market categories, both inside and outside of Australia, are less certain. Telstra is not particularly innovative compared with telcos in the US or Europe. Yet Telstra benefits from a credible transformation strategy, which it is gradually implementing. For instance, Telstra has built a large IP-based digital media file exchange platform to serve global broadcasters and content providers.
  • Telstra ought to use its Net Promoter Score to drive cultural change. Its strategic goal to push for world-class customer advocacy is a key differentiator and convincing. However, we believe Telstra needs to use the NPS also as a driver of internal cultural change. For instance, Telstra should analyse transactional processes of device purchasing from branded retail stores. Moreover, Forrester research indicates that NPS has limits when it comes to explaining the “how” and “why” of customer experience.
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Where Is IBM’s Sweet Spot In Asia Pacific?

Tim Sheedy
Over the past few years, IBM has certainly copped its fair share of criticism in the Asian media, particularly in Australia. Whether this criticism is deserved or not is beside the point. Perception is reality — and it’s led some companies and governments to exclude IBM from project bids and longer-term sourcing deals. On top of this, the firm’s recent earnings in Asia Pacific have disappointed.
 
But I’ve had the chance to spend some quality time with IBM at analyst events across Asia Pacific over the past 12 months, and it’s clear that the company does some things well — in fact, IBM is sometimes years ahead of the pack. For this reason, I advise clients that it would be detrimental to exclude IBM from a deal that may play to one of these strengths.
 
IBM’s value lies in the innovation and global best practices it can bring to deals; the capabilities coming out of IBM Labs and the resulting products, services, and capabilities continue to lead the industry. IBM is one of the few IT vendors whose R&D has struck the right balance between shorter-term business returns and longer-term big bets.
 
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Ericsson is pulling away from its core competition — but this brings it closer to new competitors

Dan Bieler

Ericsson is well on its way to being a prime driver of transformation in the Networked Society, as Ericsson describes its vision. I do not question the leading position of Ericsson’s core network activities. But compared to last year’s EMEA Analyst Event, Ericsson has made noticeable progress in its ambition to become a network-focused provider of ICT services because it:

  • Has a clearer perspective of what it is trying to achieve for its enterprise customers. Ericsson is much more specific about which types of enterprise customers it is catering to with what types of services. It targets sectors that face a high degree of mobile disruption and that rely on secure networks for real-time information transmission. In addition to the public and media sectors, which Ericsson has been focusing on for some time, it serves utilities and transport and logistics companies. At the event, Ericsson showcased its strong capabilities and vertical expertise for the media sector in the form of media delivery networks and broadcasting services.
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Winners Of The 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards (Business-To-Employee Category)

Philipp Karcher
Every year Forrester’s Groundswell Awards recognize the most innovative social and mobile programs with a measurable business impact. Once again in the business-to-employee (B2E) category we received many outstanding examples of companies empowering their employees with these technologies to solve customer and business problems. This year’s entries highlight a growing sophistication in how companies are applying mobile and social to transform their operations. This year’s entries featured:
 
  • More complex mobile and social technology integrations. Both our Mobile winner and runner-up combined mobile forms and location data with a social application to more efficiently allocate resources in the field. We received multiple entries in the Collaboration category featuring companies applying gamification to communities and to CRM, and as well as integrations between real-time and asynchronous collaboration tools. These integrations multiply the power of the technologies and create new and interesting use cases. 
  • More targeted customer impacting applications. Customer-facing employees often represent a direct opportunity to show the business impact of social and mobile technologies. This year’s entries saw a number of applications to empower sales, field operations, and customer service roles with tools to increase customer engagement and improve satisfaction scores by speeding up delivery and equipping employees with the right information.
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Glimpse Conference 2013 Takeaways: Systems Of Engagement Need Access To Personal Data

Michael Yamnitsky

We attended the recent Glimpse Conference 2013, where members of New York's tech scene came together at Bloomberg headquarters to talk about social discovery, predictive analytics, and customer engagement.

Our key takeaway from the event: small, real-time data coming from very personal apps like email, calendar, social, and other online services will fuel next-level predictive apps and services. Specifically:

•    Better insight doesn’t require more data; it needs the right data. Amassing large databases of customer profiles, purchase history, and web browser activity only goes so far, and is costing companies millions, if not billions of dollars every year. Mikael Berner from EasilyDo sees a new opportunity in better utilizing data scattered across personal email indices, calendars, social networks, and file and content repositories that directly indicate customers’ plans, interests, and motivations. 

•    Email, calendar, and location data is a goldmine for predictive analytics. Expedia or TripAdvisor can track web activities to recall a user searched for hotels last November and is likely to travel again this year, but a flight confirmation sitting in email or vacation time logged in calendar is a much stronger indicator of travel plans.

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Reality Check: Enterprise Social Does Not Stem Email Overload

Philipp Karcher
Email overload is a hot topic. Replace “email” in the title of this post with “message” and the point becomes more obvious. 
 
Summary: Social displaces some interactions that are inefficient over email, but overall introduces more messages for workers to sift through. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, many organizations invest in enterprise social for the additional collaborative interaction (i.e., messaging) it facilitates. 
 
First, let’s look at how social displaces some interactions that are inefficient over email. In contrast to a private model -- which relies on addressing specific individuals and restricting who can see messages -- a public model allows everyone to more easily:
 
  1. Find someone who can help. Social platforms elevate experts based on their rich profiles, contributions to the community, and recognition by others. Addressing a larger group also improves the chances the right person will see your message. This avoids what IBM calls the squirrel hunt when you start pinging people to ask “Can you help me with this or direct me to someone who can?"
  2. Surface and participate in relevant discussions. We’ve all been annoyed by massive reply-all email chains. Rather than depend on being forwarded or copied at some point in an important email chain and be unnecessarily looped in on others, social tools allow us to choose to participate in relevant discussions. By electing to get notifications or watching the activity in a particular channel or group we stay "in the know” and can jump in or stay out.
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