A View Of VERGE From An IT Expert's Perspective

Chris Mines

Part of my role managing the Business Technology Futures team at Forrester is to keep an eye on "what's next" for CIOs and their business partners.

My team is chartered to create an early-warning radar screen of new technologies, new business models and new demands from customers that will change technology's role and impact on business.

That's where the VERGE conference comes in. I spent two very engaging days at this GreenBiz event earlier in March, soaking in the conVERGEnce of energy, transport, buildings and information.

And what a great event! I am an experienced consumer of industry conferences and this was one of the best I've attended. The mix of topics, speakers, and formats really clicked for me, because the event featured:
 

  • Multidisciplinary thinking. Not just across the four big domains, but across three dimensions of convergence taking place within them: technology (analytics meets network meets social), organizational (HR meets marketing meets facilities) and ecosystem (suppliers meet distributors meet customers). Holding this 4 X 3 Rubik's cube in one's head is daunting but also mind-expanding.
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The Consumerization Conundrum: Why Virtual Machines Won't Work On Mobile Devices

Frank Gillett

In Forrester’s Forrsights Workforce Employee Survey, Q4 2011, we learned that 60% of information workers use their devices for work and personal tasks. This dual use of PCs, smartphones, and tablets is a growing concern. One common idea is to create a virtual machine on mobile devices, in the same way that Citrix, Microsoft, and VMware products enable hosted virtual desktops on PCs. But this idea of having a “virtual smartphone for work” within your personal smartphone simply won’t work; it’s just as bad and impractical an idea as having two separate physical smartphones! Both approaches create separate spheres of work and personal that simply don’t reflect the seamless way that many people have to switch back and forth between work and personal tasks (excluding top-secret government work, of course).

I heard about a better idea this week. What if mobile device OSes enabled separate containers or sandboxes, under the covers, for enterprise applications and their data?

The idea is to have low-level separation in the OS architecture, supported and controlled by enteprise policy and certificates, that is transparent to the user. So the screen full of icons would allow us to mix work and personal icons any way we please, but they’d be separate under the covers. So the experience would be like that of looking at the overall address book on your smartphone, which on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone all integrate your contacts from different sources into one seamless list — even though they are separate on the back end.

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Managing A Portfolio Of Innovations

Chip Gliedman

CIOs consistently tell us that they want to exploit new technologies to drive innovation in the business. While many CIOs have groups chartered with R&D or new technology research, and most organizations have defined processes to “commercialize” those technology innovations that appear promising in their pilots, the middle period – between ideation and commercialization – is one with fewer management models and methods. During this time, there may be good ideas funded for prototyping, a number of projects funded for further study, and a number of prototypes waiting for the time to be ripe for commercialization.

So, how do we manage these mid-stage ideas and prototypes? Here are some ideas we’ve seen work that you might be able to use in your organization:

  • Track the prototypes. Just because an innovation process may be outside of the standard governance and management structure, it doesn’t mean we can’t share the same tools. Register your “innovation” projects in the same database as other projects. Link them all to a single “innovation” program to keep it easy to manage this group as a whole – and segregate them from your ongoing application or improvement initiatives and new project implementations.
  • Give someone overall responsibility for the innovation portfolio. If dispersed, initiatives can be “lost.” Centralized oversight of the portfolio will give it visibility.
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Oracle And Accenture Earnings Reports Point To Good Start To Tech Market Sales In 2012

Andrew Bartels

On March 20, 2012, Oracle released its financial results for the quarter ending February 28, 2012, and Accenture did the same on March 22, 2012. Both had generally positive results, but with different implications for the software, hardware, and services markets of which they are a part. In short, we think the software and computer equipment market will do better in Q1 2012 than Oracle’s results suggest, while the IT services market will not do as well as Accenture did.

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How Smart Computing Is Fueling The Next Wave Of IT Growth

Chris Mines

In 2009, my research team here at Forrester published a report on what we called "smart computing," a new generation of hardware, software, and networks that connects physical infrastructure with analytic computing systems.

Next month we will publish an update to that research, outlining why we continue to think that smart is the next wave of IT industry growth, likely to outstrip cloud and mobile computing in its eventual impact.

We believe that smart computing -- sensors, M2M networks, and analytics, along with collaboration tools -- will be as transformative of business in the coming decade as the Internet and Web browsers were during the 1990s.

Why is smart still the next big thing? Consider:

  • Improving transactional processes is yesterday's story. The back-office challenges of preparing financial statements, fulfilling customer orders, or tracking inventory are well addressed by enterprise and personal productivity software. These traditional workloads are migrating to cloud computing resources in some cases, but are not creating incremental technology investments nor opportunities to transform how a business operates.
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Better Access To Healthcare Is Not Just For Emerging Markets — Just Ask Me

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

In addition to the eHealth initiatives mentioned in my previous blog, I wanted to call out another T-city program that struck close to home for me — the “tumor conference program.” The idea is simple, but the impact is enormous. The program’s official objective is to “make possible the interdisciplinary exchange of experiences between doctors, therapists, and cancer specialists, and to support the process flow of a tumor conference by using a modern communications solution.” But for many patients, the objective is more than “process flow,” it is about universal access to healthcare and access to specialists in the fields they need — in this case, access to the cancer specialists that are affiliated with research centers and university hospitals. These conferences are vital to extending access beyond just the big cities to the smaller towns and rural areas. And we’re not talking about Africa or India — we’re talking about Europe, and developed countries on other continents.

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T-City Provides Valuable Lessons For Smart Cities: Which Future Is Now?

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Friedrichshafen 003.jpgSeveral weeks ago I toured Friedrichshafen, Deutsche Telekom’s  T-City — a smart city demonstration project launched in 2006 to test the use of ICT across a real city with real people. The project began with a competition in which the cities themselves proposed a concept for how they’d use ICT and work with Deutsche Telekom (DT); 52 cities competed, 10 were short-listed, and Friedrichshafen was ultimately chosen.

Friedrichshafen is a relatively small city of 59,000 — not one of the megacities that have garnered so much attention from large technology vendors and the media. It is also not a greenfield city with a clean slate; it has an industrial history, with the Zeppelin Museum holding a place of prominence on the shore of Lake Constance.

The T-city project began with the installation of fiber to the curb and upgraded 3G mobile technology. This networking backbone powered more than 30 projects, from health and assisted living to education to home networking to smart grid. Some were simple citizen services applications — like the Flinc ride-sharing application or a kindergarten registration application — while others were more extensive infrastructure projects.

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It's Time To Kill Your IT Strategy

Nigel Fenwick

Yes, that’s right — I’m suggesting CIOs should stop working on IT strategy. The days of developing a technology strategy that aligns to business strategy need to be behind us. Today’s CIOs must focus on business strategy.

Lemonade StandLet’s face it: Does sound business strategy even exist today without technology? Most CEOs would likely agree that, unless you are running a lemonade stand, any successful business strategy must have solid technology at its core. The challenge for today’s CEOs is that, while planning business strategy in isolation from technology is sub-optimal, it remains the most common way business leaders develop strategy. And while there have been many great books about strategy, the specific challenges facing the CIO are largely absent.

That’s why Forrester has researched the ways in which companies develop technology strategy and also why we have developed the Business Technology Strategic Planning (BTSP) Framework. Our new BTSP playbook distills Forrester’s current research into an easy-to-follow guide that has at its heart the understanding that there should be no IT strategy, just business strategy with a technology component, or BT strategy.

Now you might think we’re crazy — after all, many firms, including Forrester, earn substantial revenue from advising CIOs on IT strategy. But as I see it, IT strategic plans belong in a museum.

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Rethinking “Time To Value” For BT Initiatives

Chip Gliedman

 

I had an interesting conversation with a Forrester client in response to an inquiry about the definition of “time to value” for technology solutions. When I received the question, I thought, “That’s easy!” While there is no “GAAP” definition of time to value, I was ready to say that it would be one of two things:

1-      The time from project start to the start of business benefit accrual. So, if a project took 12 months to implement, and then three months for the business to adapt to it, the time until business benefits began to accrue would be 15 months.

2-      The time from project start to the date at which cumulative business benefits exceeded the cumulative costs. In other words, the time until the “payback” of the investment.

However, in trolling around to make sure that I hadn’t missed anything, I stumbled upon a potential third definition (and I wish I could point back to the source). One commentator on the Web suggested something a bit different – and something that has a great deal of merit as we rely more and more on technology to drive business gains. In his definition, time to value represented the time until the business targets for the solution were achieved. So, rather than looking at the start of benefits, or the date we’re no longer cash-negative, we are now looking at the time until the full desired benefits are achieved. So this becomes:

3-      Time to value is the time from project initiation until the projection of total business benefits is achieved.

This change in perspective has a number of implications:

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Apple Advances Personal Cloud, Continues A "Think Different" Enterprise Strategy

Frank Gillett

With today’s iPad and Apple TV announcements, Apple continues to advance on two topics that I’ve been researching: personal cloud and Apples enterprise strategy.

Apple has already announced that it’s got 100 million signups for its personal cloud service, iCloud, and repeated that today. Now Apple supports movies — in addition to TV shows and music — in iCloud. Apple added PhotoStream to iCloud support in Apple TV, including the previous black Apple TV, with the new Apple TV software update. With the new iOS iPhoto app, I believe Apple will use iCloud to sync albums and the new journal information that displays weather information from the date a photo was taken — although full support will probably require an update or new version of iPhoto on the Mac.

Apple’s vision of personal cloud deeply integrates across Apple products and a wide range of personal and purchased content, including books and iTunes U-class materials. It’ll be interesting to see if the company opens up any API access. My hunch is that Apple will create tools and an app store for iCloud to interact with the personal content in the service rather than do large-scale API access.

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