Which Social Metrics Have Value?

Nigel Fenwick
For social media evangelists, the question on everyone's mind is this: "How do we effectively measure the business value of social initiatives?" 
 
Even when we get close, there's always that pesky issue of causation vs. correlation — can we really prove causation even for examples with high correlation between social initiatives and business outcomes? (Read Freakonomics, or watch the documentary, for insights into the challenges of causation vs. correlation.) 

Every day there is a plethora of "social media experts" offering advice on how to win using social media (and nearly all of it is posted on social media). In just a single edition of SocialBizBuzz on Dec 5 21012, you could read: Alistair Rennie from IBM writing in The Huffington Post on the differences between social media and social business; Francis Gouillart writing in the HBR Blog Network on the value of co-creating through social; and Mashable's Todd Wasserman opining on how most social media marketing is a waste of time

The wonderful parody of social media expertise produced by The Onion (see video) hits the nail on the head ... without real metrics how can anyone claim social initiatives deliver value?
  
 
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Speed-Based Pricing Points The Way For Carriers To Respond To OTT Attacks On Communication Services

Dan Bieler

 

This summer Switzerland’s incumbent carrier, Swisscom, launched a simple but revolutionary new mobile tariff, Natel Infinity. Infinity is a speed-based tariff that comes in the versions XS, S, M, L, and XL, which represent download speeds ranging from 200 kbit/s to 100 Mbit/s. Prices range from CHF59 to CHF169 per month (€49 to €139). Significantly, the tariff throws in unlimited national voice, SMS messaging services, and data usage without any additional charge (XL even comes with unlimited international calls to most destinations and SMS).

The idea is simple: The greater your urge for fast mobile services, the more you pay — irrespective of which apps you use and how you wish to communicate. All that matters is speed. In this respect, Swisscom has replicated for the mobile world a tariff approach that is already fairly common in the fixed-line world. I believe this move by Swisscom is noteworthy in two respects:

  • It effectively pulls the rug from under the OTT voice and messaging services like WhatsApp and Tango by removing the arbitrage potential created by time- or distance-based pricing schemes.
  • It brings in line capital spending on and actual demand for network infrastructure capacity.
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2013 Cloud Predictions: We’ll Finally Get Real About Cloud

James Staten

 

As the end of 2012 approaches there is one clear takeaway about the cloud computing market — enterprise use has arrived. Cloud use is no longer solely hiding in the shadows, IT departments are no longer denying it’s happening in their company, and legitimate budgeting around cloud is now taking place. According to the latest Forrsights surveys nearly half of all enterprises in North America and Europe will set aside budget for private cloud investments in 2013 and nearly as many software development managers are planning to deploy applications to the cloud.

So what does that mean for the coming year? In short, cloud use in 2013 will get real. We can stop speculating, hopefully stop cloudwashing, and get down to the real business of incorporating cloud services and platforms into our formal IT portfolios. As we get real about cloud, we will institute some substantial changes in our cultures and approaches to cloud investments. We asked all the contributors to the Forrester cloud playbook to weigh in with their cloud predictions for the coming year, then voted for the top ten. Here is what we expect to happen when enterprise gets real about cloud in 2013:

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IBM STG Is Upbeat On PureSystems And Growth Markets

Manish Bahl

 

Last month, I attended an IBM Systems and Technology Group (STG) Executive Summit in the US, where IBM outlined its key strategies for accelerating sales in growth markets, including:

·         Aggressively marketing PureSystems. IBM is positioning PureSystems (a pre-integrated, converged system of servers, storage, and networking technology with automated self-management and built-in SmartCloud technology) as an integrated and simplified data center offering to help organizations reduce the money and time they spend on the management and administration of servers. 

·         Continuing to expand in “tier two” cities. Over the next 12 months, IBM plans to continue its expansion outside of major metropolitan areas by opening small branches in nearly 100 locations in growth markets, most notably India, China, Brazil, and Russia.

·         Expanding channel capabilities and accelerating new routes to market. IBMplans to certify 2,800 global resellers on PureSystems in 2013 and upgrade the solution and technical expertise of 500 of its partners. Also, the company plans to drive the revenue of managed service providers (MSPs) by working with them closely to develop cloud-based services and solutions on PureSystems.

Considering the vast potential demand from growth markets and slowdown in developed markets, IBM is among the growing camp of multinational vendors aggressively targeting them as an engine for future business. Some of my key observations on IBMs event and recent announcements:

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Ericsson's Biggest Challenge Is Complacency

Dan Bieler

At its recent analyst event, Ericsson outlined its strategy, product, and service ambitions. Ericsson remains the overall benchmark for network infrastructure vendors. The company has a leading market position in the growth segments of mobile broadband and network services and delivers a solid financial performance — despite the disappointing Q3 2012 results. Still, in my view, Ericsson has several challenges that it needs to address:

·         The cloud strategy is built on a questionable assumption.Clearly network infrastructure is becoming more, not less, important for cloud-based solutions. Ericsson therefore assumes that carriers are well positioned to be cloud providers. But CIO perceptions suggest otherwise. CIOs tell us that carriers are far from the preferred choice for cloud-solutions (see Figure 9 in the “Prepare For The Connected Enterprise Now” Forrester report). Carriers therefore need help in addressing the potential of cloud computing. For instance, Ericsson’s cloud solutions ought to help carriers cooperate with cloud partners regarding embedded connectivity in devices and applications.

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Symantec Engages Customers And Prospects Through A Social Media Command Center

TJ Keitt

My colleague Ted Schadler and I published several case studies in our recent report, "The Road To Social Business Transformation Starts With A Burning Platform." What follows is one of those stories -- Symantec's creation and roll-out of a social media initiative designed to funnel data from the social media sphere into the business to improve responsiveness to market trends. Here's the story:

Tristan Bishop, director of digital strategy at Symantec, knew something very important: If you listen to your customers, you can create a great experience that leads to customer loyalty. Of course, this knowledge was useless unless he could find a way to get the issues customers raised to the group within Symantec that could take appropriate action. So, in June 2011, Tristan worked with his manager, David Sward, senior director of user experience, to propose a plan to Symantec executives for exploring ways to uncover areas for customer experience improvements in social media. Symantec subsequently funded the project.

Around the time that Tristan was experimenting with social listening technology, Ellen Hayes, group manager, corporate communications and social strategy, and the social media team were working on a social listening initiative of their own for brand reputation management and public relations purposes. When they learned of what Tristan was doing, an idea emerged — they should marry their efforts to Tristan's.

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Forrester Introduces The Business Network Concept

Stefan Ried

We published the Business Network concept a month ago with this report: BUSINESS NETWORKS WILL PUSH THE CLOUD BEYOND IT

It's now my pleasure to share the definition on my public blog above. You'll see that the real-time sharing is an interesting characteristic of the Business Network concept. Actually, cloud computing and the further development of multitenancy architectures into a "collaborative tenancy" are an important enabler for Business Networks. Traditional B2B vendors, middleware vendors, and PaaS vendors are eager to get a share in the emerging world of cloud enterprise collaboration. 

But, the first step is with the CIOs: They have to identify these business scenarios where a trust-relationship-model can save manual effort or stimulate totally new business models. This helps CIOs finally deliver the vision of Business Technology, which innovates their companies' core business and not just the way they run IT.

Forrester clients can now download the webniar to this topic here: BUSINESS INNOVATION WITH BUSINESS NETWORKS IN THE CLOUD -- A CIO'S CALL!

You'll see in the right column next to this post an POLL. Please let us know your opinion about Business Networks and if it makes sense for you at all. Thanks!

 

Stefan Ried

Platform-As-A-Service: Cloud Providers' Silver Bullet?

Stefan Ried

I’ve been writing about platform-as-a-service (PaaS) since the beginning of 2009, and we published our first Forrester Wave™ on the PaaS market about 18 months ago. While the lines between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are blurring in the minds of some end users and developers, delivering PaaS requires a lot more intellectual property on the part of the cloud provider. IaaS is “just” the offering of an industrialized infrastructure service — but full PaaS service turns the cloud provider basically into a real software vendor or VAR of a decent stack of software platform components.

The market has undergone amazing changes since 2009 and the market landscape has been shaken up considerably since the last Forrester Wave. Why? A number of vendors have joined the crowd from three different directions:

  • IaaS cloud providers such as Amazon are moving up the stack to PaaS. From advanced database, messaging, and parallel processing to identity management and federation services, Amazon is arming itself with a myriad of value-added PaaS services to combat margin pressure in the commoditizing pure infrastructure space. Other IaaS providers are about to follow, most by OEMing PaaS stacks like those from Cordys or LongJump, or some other PaaS stack that is available to third-party infrastructure provider models.
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FlexFrame Private Cloud Management For SAP – Revamped At Fujitsu Forum 2012

Stefan Ried

 

Fujitsu’s annual Fujitsu Forum attracted about 13.000 in Tokyo and even about 10.000 people over the last two days in Munich. Fujitsu’s strength is still the competitive hardware portfolio in the class of IBM and HP. And similar to HP, Fujitsu used to have a narrow and focused software portfolio, which offered value very close to their hardware. The FlexFrame infrastructure management product is a traditional example of this strategy. But, before we go into FlexFrame, I have to attest that Fujitsu’s software portfolio has become richer and broader:

  • This year’s Fujitsu Forum showed major traction for the Fujitsu Cloudstore. An ecosystem approach enables software vendors to offer SaaS application in the SMB space in Germany. The concept is now rolling out to other countries and even to the US. Fujitsu’s Cloudstore also holds Fujitsu’s own CRM solutions, which are based on an early branch of Sugar CRM and now further developed by Fujitsu.
  • A personal cloud approach, still very close to all flavors of personal hardware from Fujitsu, but well supported by multiple software tools and scenarios.
  • Fujitsu Eco Track, an energy/carbon management and compliance reporting application – delivered exclusively next quarter as a Fujitsu-developed SaaS application.
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Axway Aquires Vordel: Why Does The Acquisition Of Security Experts By Integration Vendors Make Sense?

Stefan Ried

Axway just announced it will acquire the security specialist Vordel; and you might ask, does this make sense at all?

I do believe it does!

Actually, I was personally evaluating security vendors as an acquisition target for middleware vendors and B2B integration companies a number of times over the last five years as a Forrester analyst (and before).

The need to modernize security around integration scenarios becomes more important than ever:

  • Traditional B2B integration over private networks is more and more replaced with B2B connectivity and cloud-based integration over the Internet.
  • Traditional rigid EDI gateways still exist and handle huge volumes, but many new applications are developed in the cloud and access synchronous REST or SOAP APIs for immediate customer and partner engagement.
  • Large enterprises have heterogeneous integration strategies to meet different characteristics of integration. See my recent blog for an overview.
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