Top Technologies For Your BT Agenda

Kyle McNabb

Your business executives seek top line growth – 7 out of every 10 we survey state growth is their top priority. Growth requires competitive advantage, but hanging on to yesterday’s competitive advantage will doom your firm. Your technology empowered customers have more power over your brand than ever before. And today’s world of global sourcing and efficient supply chains allows your competition – old and new – to copy or undermine any move you make to compete. Technology has fundamentally changed the competitive landscape.

We believe the only source of competitive advantage is an obsession with understanding and engaging with your customers. Your business leaders across Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, and Product Development now look to technology to help them obsess about your customers. Unfortunately,  the majority of those same business leaders don’t think you and your team can accelerate their success.

You can start changing the dynamics in your organization, and build new competitive advantage, by crafting a business technology agenda. That agenda must focus on what you do with technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers. And it starts with putting your customers at the center of your decision making. Once you do, you’ll start to reshape your technology portfolio and prioritize the technologies that help your business obsess about its customers.

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Closing The Experience Gaps Requires New Technology Architecture And Philosophy

John McCarthy

Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CXi) research reveals a shocking business result: Over five years, CXi leaders outperformed the S&P with 43% stock growth, while CXi laggards had negative returns of -34%. (See this Forrester report to learn about our new customer experience index.)

As a result, firms are in an arms race to mobilize their services, deliver new digital capabilities, and delight customers on every step of their journey. eBusiness, marketing, and customer experience teams are eagerly adopting new software to deliver these digital experiences. At times, they chose a conscious uncoupling from the CIO’s team in order to move quickly and stay ahead of customers’ expectations.

Unfortunately, the mismatch of customer-facing teams scrambling to build new digital services while CIOs and their teams hunker down to cut cost and risk has caused a disconnect on the role of technology management in delivering great experiences. In a new Forrester report, Closing The Experience Gaps, my colleague Ted Schadler and I interviewed more than 35 companies and analyzed survey results from 3,502 US consumers, we uncovered this misalignment and identified the four experience gaps that result (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Experience Delivery Requires A New Architecture And Philosophy

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The Future Of Government Is Digital

Nigel Fenwick

Last March, we published The Future Of Business Is Digital and predicted that all businesses must evolve to become digital businesses. Since then, many CIOs in government agencies have asked about the role of digital in government. And yesterday, on The White House Blog, the president made it clear where he stands: The future of government is digital!

In announcing the creation of the US Digital Service, President Obama is reinforcing the need to bring greater agility to federal technology management in service of citizen taxpayers who foot the bill.

"A core part of the President’s Management Agenda is improving the value we deliver to citizens through Federal IT. That’s why, today, the Administration is formally launching the U.S. Digital Service. The Digital Service will be a small team made up of our country’s brightest digital talent that will work with agencies to remove barriers to exceptional service delivery and help remake the digital experience that people and businesses have with their government."

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Bridging The CIO/CMO Disconnect In Asia

Fred Giron

It’s a fact: Marketers in Asia purchase digital technologies without involving the tech management department. They do it because they believe that:

  • Digital technologies are key enablers of successful marketing strategies. Customers in Asia Pacific in general, and in Singapore in particular, are always connected and empowered by technology to access the right information in their moments of need. They increasingly value — and do business with — organizations that provide them with experiences that are effective, easy, and emotional across all customer touchpoints. It’s not a surprise, then to see marketing professionals — just like their colleagues in sales, product management, and customer service — source digital technologies to enable such experiences.
  • The tech management department hinders their business success. This is the more worrying part, but if you take a step back, as a technology management professional, you understand why. You work with technology life cycles that are oriented toward core business, back-end systems like enterprise resource planning and therefore are risk-averse and slow. However, marketers need tech management professionals who are open to innovation, experimentation, and moving toward a risk-tolerant, agile life cycle that supports digital experience delivery.
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Next-Generation Services Create New Sources Of Competitive Advantage

Fred Giron

Companies understand the urgency of ramping up their business technology (BT) capabilities to help the business innovate and grow. Increasingly, they realize that they cannot do this alone and firms will require partners that can help deliver agile services that bring fast and predictable outcomes to the business. For instance, Bharat Light and Power (BLP), one of the largest clean energy generation companies in India, signed in late 2013, a 10-year engagement with IBM to build a new business capability that aims at nothing short of transforming the utility sector in India. In a few words (more details are available in this report), BLP and IBM are creating an open energy service platform that will help BLP understand how to optimize the utilization of its wind turbines. The really interesting part for me lies in the way the company intends to leverage the information generated by this platform as the basis of its competitive advantage. The energy service platform will indeed act as an expertise repository that BLP can leverage to:

  • Increase the value of its own assets. As the company operates, grows, and optimizes its own asset efficiency, it learns how the climate, power grid, and wind turbines influence a vital business metric for a utility company: the plant load factor (PLF). This will allow the company to generate more revenues from its existing assets.
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Customer Privacy Is A European CIO Priority

Dan Bieler

With Enza Iannopollo

Customers value tailored offerings. And consumers are increasingly aware of what Forrester calls the “privacy-personalization paradox” — that is, the paradox between their desire for personalization and their desire to keep their data private. A 2013 survey by Populus for Sky IQ of 3,097 UK adults found that 51% believe it is useful for brands to know some information about them, and 53% trust brands to act responsibly with their data. The same survey reveals that 79% respondents are careful about the type of information they pass to organizations, 63% worry about how much personal data they have revealed online, 48% say that data privacy is an issue they think about, and 46% do not trust social networks with their personal data.

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Regulators Navigate New Data Sources To Better Know Their "Customers"

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

I had a fascinating inquiry this morning with a government securities commission (not the SEC and not in the US).  The client had a classic question about how to navigate the new data economy.  The commission produces and consumes large volumes of data but continue to struggle to answer persistent business questions like how well they are doing or even who they are doing it for.  Yes, securities commissions regulate securities markets; they monitor publically traded companies, investment houses, and brokerage firms. Howevver they continue to ask, “for whom?”  Who are the investors that they are protecting with their regulation?  As they expressed the question, “How do we know what Mrs. Smith is investing in?” They currently work with several large data providers who provide financial information on companies but that information wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. Essentially, in this Age of the Customer, they want to know who their “customers” are.  This was a question about how to best serve their customers, in this case the investors. 

They wanted to know how to source additional third-party data that would give them a clearer picture of the investors that they are serving.  Census data provides a wealth of information about households and individual finances. But the data teams at the commission are not experts in navigating census data.  Data providers like Thompson-Reuters provide data on the financial services industry. Others such as Experian or Acxiom provide information on consumers.  What kinds of other data providers can help them with their data strategy to answer that basic question of how to better serve their customers, and who they are? 

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Concur Delivers Mobile Travel Moments on a Cloud Technology Platform

Ted Schadler

The following is an excerpt from The Mobile Mind Shift, Groundswell Press, 2014, pages 153-4. Click here for more on Forrester's mobile mind shift market imperative.

Steve Singh knows about the challenges of building technology platforms for great mobile moments. He learned them honestly by moving his entire company and its customers to a cloud technology platform.

Steve is CEO and co-founder of Concur Technologies. Concur helps businesses and government agencies manage their corporate travel bookings and expenses.

Concur’s technology platform, which Steve calls the Concur Travel and Expense Cloud, is designed for the demands of mobile moments: It supports applications that make it easy for travelers to focus on a few tasks and complete them quickly. Travel and expense (T&E) software is by its nature complex, but at Concur, the complexity remains behind the scenes in the servers, not in the user interface because busy travelers and business expense managers have no time to puzzle out complexity. To make this work, Concur invests 40% of its research and development budget in the applications and 60% in the cloud technology platform that provides the services.

The success of the strategy and technology platform is reflected in the rapid growth of his company, from a startup in 1993 to more than $540 million in revenues in 2013.

Concur’s cloud technology platform delivers four benefits.

  • First, because the Concur software running in the cloud is the same for every customer, developers working on it can fix problems continuously and roll out new services daily.
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Introducing The Service App Store

Stefan Ried

Do you believe in "Enterprise App Stores" ?

App stores are the embodiment of public cloud services ranging from consumerized mobile apps to software- and infrastructure-as-a-service in the enterprise context. A great and simplified user experience drove mass adoption with consumers.

Will these cloud app stores simply evolve to meet the demand of corporate processes and compliance? Private clouds and software distribution to corporate laptops and desktops so far have not been able to catch up to the same level. So, there is definitely demand to bring the consumer innovation into corporates. 

But don't forget the the modern IT management software (ITMS) suites, which offer some self-service functionality. Still the coherent, end-to-end self-service experience across all types of users, assets, and already multiple deployment targets is still far away from the consumer world. But, ITMS software is also an equal starting point.

The situation in real enterprises is even worse. It is not only the absense of a good employee engagement around IT-service self service and user experience. It's more the fact that IT departments deliver traditionally many services that employees don't want any more. We've seen employees that haven't stored a single document on the corporate Sharepoint installation, but use box.net instead; or employees that haven't created a single Excel spreadsheet for a while and use for example Google Apps instead; or employees who would love to downgrade their personal ERP profile to what they really need, if they get the saved money back. Once you create cost transparency and offer them to "un-subscribe" from tradtional software and subscribe to new (cloud) service instead - you embrace modern technology mangement and could drive the next wave of cost savings. This can be an essential milestone in the a business technology agenda.

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For CIOs The Journey To Digital Business Begins With The BT Agenda

Nigel Fenwick

Digital FootprintIn “Unleash Your Digital Business”, I highlight the need for all companies to embrace digital business as a new business model – one in which the nature of the value exchange with customers is fundamentally changed. Since then, CIOs frequently asked me what they should be doing to help their firms become a digital business.

The answers lies in the difference between Business Technology (BT) and Information Technology (IT). BT focuses on the systems, technologies, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers. Whereas IT focuses on the systems, technologies, and processes to support and transform an organization’s internal operations. To become a digital business CIOs must adopt the BT agenda.

Our research on digital business highlights the need for the organization to focus on six core digital strategies that drive digital customer experience and digital operational excellence in support of customers. Each of these strategies is an integral component of the CIOs BT agenda:

  • Digitize the end-to-end customer experience
  • Digitize products and services inside the customer’s value ecosystem
  • Create trusted machines
  • Digitize for agility over efficiency
  • Drive rapid customer centric innovation
  • Source enhanced operational capabilities within a dynamic ecosystem
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