The Strategy Of Consumerization Was One Factor In HP's Decision To Keep PSG

Frank Gillett

HP made the right decision today to keep the Personal Systems Group. Beyond the reasons cited, supply chain and sales synergy and expense of spinning out, it's also crucial for HP to remain in the market for personal devices, which is entering a period of radical transformation and opportunity. The innovations spawned first by RIM with the BlackBerry, followed by the transformative effects of Apple's iPhone and iPad are beginning to ripple into the PC market. Apple's MacBook Air and Lion operating system, combined with Microsoft's Metro interface for Windows 8 herald the beginning of a transformation of personal computing devices. By keeping PSG, HP has the opportunity to innovate and differentiate in the PC market that will move away from commodity patterns.

For vendor strategists at vendors of all sizes, one of the lessons of HP's decision is that consumer businesses are becoming more relevant to succeeding in commercial products for end users. During the announcement call today, CEO Meg Whitman talked about the importance of "consumerization" in winning business from enterprises. I heartily endorse that view and look forward to sharing a report soon on how consumerization is changing commercial product development.

Do you think consumerization was a part of why HP kept PCs?

What effect do you think consumerization will have in IT markets?

Respond here: http://community.forrester.com/thread/5789

Economic Clouds Pull Back From The Tech Market, Reducing The Risks Of A Recession And Resulting Cutbacks In Tech Buying

Andrew Bartels

Tech vendors got two pieces of good news today. 

First, European leaders appear to have reached agreement on a three-phase initiative that will 1) reduce the debt burden on Greece by about half, reducing its debt-to-GDP level to a potentially affordable level of 120%; 2) push European banks to increase their capital by about $150 billion so they can better withstand writedowns on their portfolio of Greek, Portuguese, Irish, and potentially other government debt; and 3) increase the funding for the European Financial Stability Facility to about €1 trillion (US$1.4 trillion) in order to extend credit if needed to Italy and Spain in addition to Greece, Italy, and Portugal.  Taken together, these initiatives if followed through will go a long way to defusing the debt problem that has hung over European economies.  It is premature to say the European debt crisis is over -- European leaders have consistently been several months late and several hundred million euros short of the aggressive rescue efforts that the US took to deal with the Lehman Brothers financial crisis.  Still, this is the first time that European leaders have come up with a plan that matches the scope of the problem they face.  While weak economic growth and continued downturns in most heavily indebted European countries will still persist, we think the risk of a serious recession in Europe may have been averted.

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Orange Business Services: Cautious Maybe – But Sensible

Dan Bieler

It’s easy to bash incumbent telcos, to count them as being among the losers in the digital revolution. Cloud services players are taking business from telcos in the storage and server capacity space. Over-the-top providers are free-riding on the telco infrastructure. Software firms are eating into the communication business. Regulators are pressing for further price reductions. And to top this scenario, telcos are continuing to undercut each other in price wars.

During a round of executive discussions with Forrester, Orange Business Services (OBS) has shown that against these odds, it keeps a pretty even keel regarding the most hyped topics in ICT, most notably cloud and mobility. OBS is selective in its cloud offerings, focusing on UCaaS and IaaS. UCaaS is a natural extension of its communication business and thus falls into OBS’ home turf. All telcos should see communication services from the cloud as a natural extension of what they have always done.

OBS’ drive into IaaS, meanwhile, looks like a less convincing pitch. Its IaaS offering essentially comprises a virtual data centre offering with virtual firewalls and load balancing. The question is: How OBS can compete against the dominant cloud players in the storage and server space? In the short term, such an approach is conceivable. However, OBS will need to provide a much broader range of virtual infrastructure choices to avoid slipping into a low-margin market segment.

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Check Out An Enterprise Architect's View Of Consumerization Technologies

Ted Schadler

My colleague Gene Leganza has pulled off a consumerization coup for enterprise architects (EAs) and those who work with them. EAs must wrestle with the best way to harness the innovation of HEROes -- highly empowered and resourceful operatives (the protagonist of our book Empowered) -- while protecting the long-term interests and technology strategy of your company. To do so, they need to assess and come up with a strategy for the major consumer technologies coming in through the employee door.

Gene has done a real service to categorize and deliver a strategic assessment on the most important consumerization technologies, including business collaboration, file sync, tablets, and self-service business intelligence. He did this using Forrester's TechRadar methodology in a report titled, "TechRadar For Enterprise Architect Professionals: Technologies For Empowered Employees: Q4 2011." For content & collaboration professionals, this TechRadar includes an assessment of business collaboration, a category fueled by employee-purchased technologies such as Google Docs, Smartsheets.com, and Huddle.

Here is an excerpt on business collaboration:

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How To Avoid The Mobile Goat Rodeo

Ted Schadler

Mobility in the enterprise is a goat rodeo waiting to happen. Are any of these things going on in your company?

  • Building customer mobile apps that don't tie into the .com site.
  • Coding for iPhones while leaving Android phones unserved.
  • Forcing a session login to a mobile collaboration app that keeps employees from bothering.
  • Locking down employee devices when email is the only app on it.
  • Failing to have the network and hardware to handle an explosion in transaction volume.

If so, you're not alone. It's natural in a fast-moving environment to tackle things piecemeal in the hope that you can handle the problems later. But that approach leads to chaos and confusion and lack of coordination. And that can lead to huge problems that are happening already or are lurking just behind the goat rodeo gate.

It's time to take a deep breath, call an offsite meeting, and put a mobile strategy playbook together. In a recent report for Forrester customers, Building An Operations Stairway To The Mobile Future, my colleagues and I mashed together seven things that have to come together to make mobile operations work. It's not the full chapter list in the playbook, but it's a good operational start.

SlideShark Solves The Present PowerPoint-On-iPad Problem

Ted Schadler

I spend a lot of time delivering PowerPoint presentations, pitching ideas and data and hopefully some pizzazz and inspiration. And that means I'm lugging my 7-pound laptop and 1-pound charger around, projecting via a dodgy VGA cable with doubtful video qualities, and mouseclicking my way through the story. It's all good because it's all I've ever known. And it beats swapping foils on an overhead projectors. (Why do they call those transparencies foils??)

But, sometimes it would be so much more convenient for me to toss my 1.3-pound iPad2 sans charger into a small bag, hop on the US Airways Shuttle to New York, and pitch the deck while leaving the laptop and charger at home. And if it's true for me, then it has to be true for your iPad-totin' sales teams.

Until now, I've not found a decent PowerPoint solution on iPad. As much as I believe that Microsoft will eventually offer PowerPoint on iPad, I need an answer now. Apple's Keynote requires a big adjustment for me (and for the rest of my ecosystem), and PDF rendering kills the thrill of PowerPoint builds and messes up my storytelling punchlines.

Then along comes SlideShark from online presentation vendor Brainshark. It's animation-complete, hassle-free, PowerPoint-on-iPad (PoiP). So far it works like a champ.

Brainshark is known for its ability to host presentations with voiceover and other stuff as a way to train sales folks and others online and on mobile devices. The company has been around since 1999 and has won over many enterprise customers. Their favorite factoid is, and I quote, "A Brainshark is created every 3 minutes and viewed every 2.5 seconds, with over 1 million views/month."

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Isn't It Time To Move Beyond Alignment?

Nigel Fenwick

It's strange, but some things about the CIO role change very little from year to year -- and one of the most consistent priorities for CIOs has always been achieving better "alignment" with “the business.” But should this really be a top priority?

I can’t help it, I really dislike the term “alignment” -- it suggests to me that CIOs are trying to bring together two separate and distinct things: “the business” and “IT.” But the really successful CIOs already know this specific language sets everyone up to perceive IT as something apart from the business. And we all know that every business has technology woven intricately throughout -- to suggest technology is not a vital part of business success is simply wrong. So instead of talking about aligning IT with the rest of the business, we need to focus on ensuring the business is using technology to achieve defined goals and deliver business results.

Unfortunately, for many companies, IT appears to be in the software development business -- responding to “orders” from “internal customers” and busily delivering applications. CIOs need to ask: “what business are we in?” For most CIOs, the answer will undoubtedly NOT be the technology business. For these CIOs, the most precious skill IT can bring to the organization is business knowledge and process understanding coupled with technology know-how. By helping identify how technology can change the business dynamics and move the organization more efficiently toward its objectives, IT becomes the foundation for competitive advantage. In other words, IT needs to be in the business of helping shape business strategy.  

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Keeping The Lights On Keeps Decision-Makers Awake: OBS Can Help Them Rest More Easily

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Business continuity is a top concern of global business and IT decision-makers. Headline news has made these concerns all the more acute – from the political unrest that characterized the “Arab Spring” and continues to plague certain countries in the Middle East to earthquakes, flooding, and other natural disasters across the globe. Those concerns become more acute as multinationals expand into new geographies such as Africa – a trend evidenced by recent announcements by HP and IBM.

Forrester’s Forrsights Budgets and Priorities Tracker Survey and Forrsights Business Decision-Makers Survey confirm that both IT and business decision-makers prioritize business continuity to ensure ongoing operations of their businesses. “Significantly upgrading disaster recovery and business continuity” was the third-highest IT priority of both IT and business decision-makers with 68% of each reporting it as a critical or high priority, behind only consolidation and greater use of analytics. That is to say, although cost controls through consolidation and better business intelligence came out ahead, keeping the lights on keeps corporate leaders up at night.

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Netflix Revises Strategy ..... Again!

Nigel Fenwick

Netflix has come to its senses and revised its strategy in favor of the customer. After a recently announced decision to split out its DVD business from its streaming business, Netflix received a barrage of criticism from customers -- including my last blog post, where I questioned the wisdom of this strategy. Today, CEO Reed Hastings announced a 180-degree about turn -- well done Mr. Hastings. While it would surely have been wiser to have made a better strategic decision in the first place, changing course in face of customer criticism at least shows Netflix is still willing to put its customers first.

This turn of events highlights the difficulty of getting strategic planning right. While abstract analysis of strategic options may point to an optimal choice for any set of circumstances, any strategic analysis which ignores customer impact is fatally flawed. As my colleague Luca Paderni and I pointed out in our recent keynote at the Forrester CIO-CMO Forum, companies must become customer obsessed. Indeed, we highlighted Netflix as an example of a company that had succeeded in large part because it was customer obsessed and had mastered the customer data flow in a way that increased customer value.

There is a lesson here for us all ... success in the future will go to those companies willing to become customer obsessed and put the customer ahead of Wall Street.

Steve Jobs: The Accidental Architect Of Consumerization

Ted Schadler

Okay, so maybe it was Steve Jobs's plan all along. To make tools so profoundly useful and totemic that everybody wants one. But surely in the dark days of the 1990s and early 2000s, nobody could have seen that Steve Jobs and Apple would overtake the enterprise. But it happened.

First was iPod. After an enthusiastic start restricted to a few million Macintosh aficionados, Apple ported iTunes to Windows and suddenly 100 million people were using iPods. And a new gadget was weighting down the pockets of business travelers and everyday employees. And then it wasn't so heavy after all as Apple volume-priced the flash memory market and shank the gadget to nano size.

Consumerization whispered, "I'm coming." IT wasn't too worried, but it did scramble to keep iTunes off of corporate desktops. [It didn't matter. People have computers at home.]

Next was iPhone. In the winter of 2008 before there was even an App Store, the guy behind the pizza counter at The Upper Crust in Lexington was swiping at his iPhone revealing page after page of colorful icons. When I asked him what that little swipey motion was all about, he replied, "Oh, these are apps. Games and instant messaging and movies and stuff. I get 'em off the Internet. There are hundreds of them." And I (and Apple) knew that the world had changed. Steve Jobs and team launched the App Store so tens of thousands of developers could build hundreds of thousands of applications. And make billions of dollars selling their work.

Consumerization knocked on the door saying, "I'm here and I want to get email on my iPhone." IT said no way and kept buying BlackBerrys.

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