Indian CIOs Are At A Business Technology Crossroads

Manish Bahl

 

Indian CIOs are at the risk of losing business credibility if they do not improve their understanding of business technology (BT). This is the key finding from the latest report that John Brand and I just published. For this report, we surveyed 130 companies in India, using Forrester’s BT Leadership Maturity Model as a baseline for gauging the BT maturity and readiness of Indian organizations. Our survey revealed a surprising level of consistency and positivity about BT among Indian firms, regardless of organization size, type or industry.

This was especially surprising given that BT is a relatively new concept in emerging markets. When we asked CIOs at Indian organizations to define BT in their own words, the responses displayed an overwhelmingly enthusiastic and optimistic view of BT; the most common theme centered on the value of BT as a general principle. However, many topics that were widely cited in self-assessments from CIOs in more mature markets like North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand were all but ignored by Indian CIOs, including time-to-value, market differentiation, communication, and governance.  As Indian CIOs have not long been exposed to the general concepts of BT, Forrester believes that inflated self-rankings are mainly attributed to a lack of understanding of just how comprehensive BT is.

The report helps answer key questions such as:

·         Why are Indian CIOs remarkably consistent in their BT views and attitudes? And is this really just due to a common tendency to inflate their own BT maturity?

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BT Strategic Planning: Upcoming Events

Nigel Fenwick

For many traditional IT organizations, BT Strategic Planning is a new approach to developing technology strategy. As such, it often raises more questions than answers. If you’d like to know how to get more answers then this blog post is for you (if not you can skip the rest).

To help you get stuck in and apply the strat planning framework in your environment, we’re scheduling a couple of webinars and a two-day workshop for this September. In the first webinar on Sept. 11, we’ll go into the best practices CIOs put in place in order to set up their teams for success in developing business technology strategy. In the second webinar on Sept. 14, we’ll explore the levers of BT value and how to successfully communicate BT value. While both webinars are connected, you don’t need to attend the first to get value from attending the second.  

And if you are interested in rolling up your sleeves some more, I’m facilitating a two-day workshop on BT Strategic Planning on Sept 25th and 26th in San Francisco. This open workshop builds upon the successful custom workshops we deliver for clients looking to apply Forrester’s planning framework. Over the course of two full, mind-bending days, you will go through the entire strategy planning framework and learn how to apply it in your organization.

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Innovative Tech Literacy Programs Fill The Skills Gap And Push The Move From IT To BT

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

[Written with Enza Iannopollo, a Research Associate in Forrester’s London office] 

During last month’s Forrester Forum in Paris, Enza spoke with a client who shared some thoughts about his business. Aware that technology is everyday more critical for business to be successful, his main concern as an enterprise architect was the shortage of skilled IT labor.

Many people can juggle multiple devices or can use various software and applications, but very few know how to write an application or how to publish digital content. For the client, recruiting valuable employees was a major concern. “The origin of the problem lies in the education system, where technology literacy is not present at all or, if it exists, ICT and science teachers are often poorly equipped,” he pointed out.

If it’s true that “company in distress makes sorrow less,” our client will be at least comforted by the idea that a growing number of business people experiences the same difficulty — lack of skilled labor is the No. 1 obstacle to implementing tech solutions. And maybe, he will be relieved to know that tech vendors, new companies, and creative partnerships are looking to fill this gap.

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Another "Google Gets Mobile Engagement" Story, Featuring The Sparrow Email Client

Ted Schadler

I saw this morning through Michael Hickins' succinct and savory CIO Journal Morning Download that Google acquired Paris-based email experience aggregator Sparrow. Sparrow's software runs on iPhone and Mac to aggregate your different email accounts into a single experience. I haven't used the app, so I can't vouch for it. But I do think this acquisition signals Google's growing understanding of the importance of mobile engagement and the role of the app Internet technology architecture in delivering an engaging experience.

Quick level set. We all get mobile. But we haven't all yet grokked the fact that mobile engagement changes the way we design business services to serve customers in their every moment. Instead, we tend to treat mobile as small Web or as an adjunct channel. It's not. Mobile is or will be the most important channel for direct service engagement. We call that mobile engagement -- empowering people to take the next most likely action in their moments of need. Mobile engagement will have vast repercussions on service design, app design, experience design, even business design. (Taxi service Uber couldn't exist without the app Internet and mobile engagement.)

Three quick comments on Google's mobile engagement trajectory for mobile collaboration:

  1. Google's acquisition of QuickOffice and now Sparrow indicates that it will invest in apps and mobile engagement. That's a good thing. But Gmail Web on the iPhone is still awful.
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B2B Meets Cloud Based Integration (CBI)

Stefan Ried

B2B communication, with its original form of EDI messages, is the oldest and unfortunately the least flexible form of integration between systems and different enterprises. Many enterprises run B2B gateways on-premises or have managed service contracts for “their instance of their B2B Hub.”

I’ve received over the past months an increasing number of inquiries from Forrester clients asking for the future of this approach and the market trend. This is what I usually explain:

Your future cloud/legacy integration should cover your business partner and your SaaS applications. Cloud computing is disrupting the integration space! Why? Traditionally, you had two very distinguished integration scenarios. Either, it was about the integration between multiple systems within your enterprise — middleware software, with product categories like EAI, ESB, CIS, and BPM, was the matching solution, as all systems have been on premises in the past. Or, it was about the integration with your business partners — the well-established B2B/EDI gateways and managed services were the matching solution over the Internet (or VANs). However, cloud computing disrupted the space already: Suddenly parts of your business unit’s applications are in the cloud on packaged SaaS applications, and they needed to be integrated with your on-premises legacy. Or, you and your business partners even use the same SaaS applications, and B2B traffic is as simple as moving data from one tenant to the other tenant on the same cloud platform. To face this trend of an increasing variety of integration, a good cloud integration strategy should look at synergies between the cloud/legacy integration scenarios with your business partners and the SaaS tenants of your own enterprise holistically!

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OBS Could Have A Comprehensive Smart City Strategy; But They Don't, Yet

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Orange Business Services has all the pieces to have a comprehensive smart cities services offering. But they aren’t telling that story, or maybe just not yet. Given the interest in smart cities in the market and the need for services, it is certainly time they did.

I just spent a few days in Paris at an analyst event in which OBS presented the state of its business and strategy going forward.  The three main pillars of their 2011 achievements were growth of services revenue at 6.4%, sustaining their core networking business with 1.9% growth, and launch of a smart cities program. Given that top billing, I expected to hear more about the strategy. While there was mention of smart city activities throughout the event, details of an overall strategy were surprisingly missing. That absence was all the more marked as Orange named a new lead for the company’s Smart Cities strategic program back in October. And, frankly, I’ve been anxious to hear the story. 

But more importantly, the story could be much more than what was presented. What did we hear? The major accomplishments highlighted were last year’s launch of m2o city — a joint venture between Orange and Veolia to provide remote environmental data and water meter reading services — and a relationship with a major car manufacturer to enable collection of data directly from cars. Few details of either were provided. 

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Are you opportunistic or strategic with your cloud investments?

James Staten

Our latest survey on IT budgets and priorities shows that 35 percent of enterprises have a big focus on cloud computing (calling it a high or critical priority), but do we really know how best to apply that investment? 

We continue to see a large disconnect between what the business wants from cloud services and what the IT department wants to offer and support. The short story is the business wants public cloud services (or something very, very close to this value proposition) for delivering new services and capabilities to market. Yet IT wants to offer private cloud solutions that improve operational efficiency and drive down overall IT costs. IT doesn't have its head in the sand about business' demands, they just have to balance these desires against what IT is measured on - the cost and security of services provided. And frankly they don't trust the public cloud.

Knowing the psychology above, how best can an enterprise set a winning cloud strategy? if it invests purely against the business care-abouts it may win time to market but risks investing ahead of its ability to support and protect the business. If it invests against the IT priorities it risks alienating the business, increasing circumvention and being a laggard competitively. The answer lies in striking an appropriate balance between these conflicting priorities and choosing a strategy that encourages the most collaboration between business and IT and accelerating everyone's experience level with these new technologies. And that balance will be different for every firm based on their competitive market, regulatory environment and geography. But in general, most enterprises are being far more conservative than they should.

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Failure Is Not An Option

Nigel Fenwick

Failure or success, which do you choose?As regular readers of my blog will know, I’ve been talking about moving beyond alignment for a number of years now. The fact is, too many CIOs have been able to get by on the basis of managing the technology black box — and CEOs and CFOs have been complicit in allowing these same CIOs the freedom to do what they want within tightly controlled budgets, not wanting to sully their hands with “all that technology stuff.” But those days are rapidly coming to an end. The technology genie is out of the bottle; today’s business-unit leaders are more dependent on technology than ever before, and they are also much more tech-savvy. CIOs can no longer hide behind the technology black box — it’s time to change the IT game forever. It’s time for IT to drive business results and connect all technology investments to business outcomes.

Today’s new CEOs are looking to CIOs and IT to make a direct impact on business goals from investments in technology. While every business must make technology investments to sustain operations, IT must move beyond simply keeping the lights on and connect the dots between effective growth strategies and new technology investments. This requires a different set of technology and business skills: different people, process, and technology in the IT organization. In fact, the organization is so different we now call it the business technology organization, or BT. The distinction between IT and BT is subtle but important. BT represents the fusion of the IT organization into the rest of the business. In a BT organization, the lines between IT and business units are blurred. What is important is a focus on the roles needed for effective business technology strategy execution. What’s not important are reporting lines.

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Microsoft Turns The Battleship In Pirate-Infested Waters

Rob Koplowitz

For a long time Microsoft ruled the knowledge worker part of the IT seas with impunity. They have fended off attacks from the expected folks like IBM and Oracle rather handily. Then the consumerization wave hit. Turns out the danger came not from a frontal assault from another battleship, but from a huge array of small pirates. Knowledge worker eyeballs that always belonged to Microsoft strayed to Evernote, Dropbox, Box, Jive, Yammer, Google Apps, Confluence, you name it. Even IBM donned an eye patch and went pirate with Connections. A few leaks were found in the Microsoft battleship. Nothing too alarming if you follow the revenue and profit growth numbers from the Office group, but Microsoft has always thrived on paranoia. And for a paranoid company, this is very key moment in time.

Today Microsoft announced the biggest release of Office ever. Every product with an Office brand, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Exchange, Lync, SharePoint and on and on, will be updated with this new release. The strategy is in stark contrast to that of the competition. The pending acquisition of Yammer notwithstanding, the strategy is vintage Microsoft. Generate deeper and deeper integration between multiple products, marginalize competing products down to the level of core product features and bundle, bundle, bundle. 

The consumer trends that Microsoft is reacting to are well known at this point: mobile, social and cloud. Here are some of the highlights that IT needs to pay attention to:

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Telefonica Digital: Only A First Step Towards Transforming The Telco Business Model

Dan Bieler

I recently attended an event in London where Telefonica shed more light on its Digital division. Digital is the central division driving innovation at Telefonica group and was formed in September 2011. However, Telefonica, despite the creation of Digital, still is somewhat in the old telco mold of inside-out innovation.

Digitization is undoubtedly a major theme affecting both society and the economy, bringing huge implications for communication, collaboration, consumption, and production. The big focus areas for Digital are e-health, digital content distribution, security, cloud, M2M, OTT comms, financial services, and advertising. In this respect, Digital is the right answer. My main observations from the event are:

  • Digital’s product development process is not end-user-focused enough. Digital does not seem to involve the actual end users as much as other solution providers, like for instance Colt (http://goo.gl/oBCO0). What was missing during most presentations was a better demand-analysis of its customer base. Digitization has big implications for company cultures, modes of operation, and ways of life. Businesses require significant assistance in preparing for these challenges such as change management. Digital did not explain how it plans to address these either through internal capabilities or through partnerships with business consulting firms like Deloitte. This means that Telefonica risks developing solutions that do not meet demand. Moreover, detailed customer case studies were not discussed, although Digital did present its portfolio development approach.
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