Observations From Brazil

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

My first whirlwind trip to Brazil confirmed much of what I’d expected.  Brazil is booming.  Traffic in the cities is horrendous.  The buzz of helicopters in Sao Paulo is incessant.  And, there is huge opportunity for IT vendors and services providers.  But contrary to what I had expected, IT preparation for the upcoming mega-events seems to be getting off to a slow start. 

Several analysts from Forrester traveled to Brazil this week to participate in events sponsored by the Brazilian Chamber of E-Commerce, the Brazilian Association of Information Technology and Communications Companies (BRASSCOM) and the Brazilian Association for Promoting the Software Export (Softex), and iO2. 

We also met with a distinguished list of Brazilian IT services firms in both Rio and Sao Paulo, including PromonLogicalis, CMP Braxis, Cast, BRQ, Dimension Data, CI&T, iO2, and Sedna Partners. 

What did we hear?

  • Good times for Brazilian IT industry, which was recently among the strategic industries given a tax break to promote its competitiveness.
  • Currently many Brazilian IT services firms are experiencing 30%-40% annual growth. 
  • And, many are looking to double their revenues in the next few years.
  • Unlike their Indian counterparts, they have built their businesses domestically with 80%-90% of their revenues coming from Brazil.  Great partners for vendors looking to enter the Brazilian market.
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Steve Jobs Is A Market Systems Master

Ted Schadler

I'll let others wax on wax off about Mr. Jobs' courage, taste, focus, vision. I'll merely point out that under Steve Jobs, Apple has been a brilliant systems thinker. The story starts with a whooping and winds up with market systems brilliance. Let me explain.

The vendor with the best market system wins. It's why Microsoft whooped Apple in the PC market. While Apple under Steve Jobs focused on its Macintosh closed system of hardware, software, and applications, Microsoft built an open market system on Windows: any hardware, any application, many ways to make money.

Mr. Jobs and Apple mastered the lesson: it's the market system that matters. A successful market system includes all the players, all the pieces, the end-to-end solution, the business model, the flow of money, the attractors, blockers, hardware, software, content, and services all wrapped into what we in 2006 called a single digital experience (what we now call a "total product experience").

With the launch of the iPod in 2001, Apple's market systems mastery shone through. Others had built great MP3 players. Only Apple built a great music market system.

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Is Social Software Relevant To Information Workers?

TJ Keitt

I'm not saying anything shocking when I say enterprise social software, has been a hot topic over the last five years. The set of technologies designed to flatten corporations have spawned dedicated blogs, press, and conferences. And our surveys of content and collaboration professionals show businesses are embracing these technologies: 42% of firms are making new investments in Enterprise 2.0 software, and 46% are investing in team workspaces (on which social technologies often ride into the enterprise). So, obviously we're over the hump and well into this new social era of business, right? Well...not so fast.

I'll go out on a limb here and say that businesses are not more social - at least, not in the broad-based fashion people envisioned when we first started talking about Enterprise 2.0 in the heady days of the mid-2000s. How could it be? According to our recent survey of 4,985 US information workers, 28% of the workforce uses a social technology. While you may be thinking to yourself this is a good start, allow me a moment to point out some key differences between Enterprise 2.0 users and the rest of the workforce:

  • They're your highest paid employees. Over half of this group earns more than $60k a year, compared to just 36% of non-users.
  • They're the most educated members of the workforce. Sixty-five percent of this group has completed at least a 4 year college degree compared to 55% of the rest of the workforce.
  • They're the leaders in your office. It's not surprising to see 49% of this group are managers are executives given management's enthusiasm about social technologies. Just 31% of non-users are in similar positions.
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HP's Reinvention Around Software And Services Will Be A Tough Transition

John McCarthy

HP's big announcement yesterday that it was “exploring strategic alternatives for its PC and mobile businesses mobile devices discontinuing, exploring options for WebOS” to focus on software and services is a bold but extremely treacherous move. While the comparisons to IBM have been bandied about on the Web all day, in Forrester’s mind this is a very different time than when IBM began that shift almost 20 years ago. The market today is very different, making it much harder for HP to execute the pivot.

The services business, especially the outsourcing segment, has stalled out. There is no better example than HP’s own services business, which has shown negative growth over the last two fiscal years. It is becoming increasingly clear that IT shops think that pursuing a cloud strategy public or private is the way to keep control and not have to outsource.

The software business may be on the same brink of fundamental change as mobile and as a service combine to change the pricing, delivery model, and focus of innovation. There is also a fundamental shift away from spending on the traditional systems of record like ERP to systems of engagement with customers, partners, and the business decision-maker. The $10 billion Autonomy Corp deal is targeted at the analytics element that will underpin many of these systems of engagement. The analytics space is getting increasingly crowded as IBM, Accenture, and Deloitte seem to acquire an analytics software firm on a weekly basis.

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This Week's Economic And Tech News Points To A Tech Downturn in Europe, Slower But Still Positive Growth In US, And Boom In Asia

Andrew Bartels

Picking through economic news this week (French and German growth numbers; financial market turmoil; scattered US indicators) and the vendor announcements from Dell, HP, Lenovo, NetApp, and Salesforce.com, four trends emerge:

  1. European economies are headed for a recession, and European tech market is already in decline. Eurostat (The European Union statistical agency) announced on Tuesday, August 16, that real GDP in the 17 euro area countries and the 27 European countries both grew by just 0.2% in the second quarter of 2011 from the first quarter. Annualizing these growth rates to make them comparable with US GDP growth rates, the numbers were 0.8%. France's real GDP showed no growth, while Germany's real growth was o.4% on an annualized basis. These were sharp slowdowns from France's growth of 3.6% in Q1 and Germany's growth of 5.3%. With worries growing about a financial crisis hitting European banks as a result of potential losses on their holdings of Greek, Portuguese, Irish, Italian, and Spanish bonds, ongoing government austerity programs in these countries as well as the UK, and feeble EU efforts to deal with the problems, there is a high probability that Europe will slip into recession in Q3 and Q4 2011.
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Are You Ready To Master The Customer Data Flow?

Nigel Fenwick

If you read my last research report and previous blog post, you’ll know that I’m working with Luca Paderni on a series of research reports examining the IT and marketing relationship. In particular, we’re examining what IT and marketing are doing to master the customer data flow (see Figure 1).

 IT and marketing must collaborate to master the customer data flow

At the upcoming CIO and CMO forum, Luca and I will be presenting a keynote examining the readiness of IT and marketing teams in today’s organizations to master the customer data flow. The really cool thing is that you can help shape the outcome by participating in a very short survey we are conducting in conjunction with Forbes. The survey asks a number of questions around the interaction between IT and marketing and can be answered by either IT or marketing professionals.

Don’t put it off, please take the survey now,  share this post, and receive a complimentary copy of the summary results.

If you are a CIO or CMO of a $1 billion+ organization, please also consider participating in our ongoing research by contacting our research associate Lauren Blackburn at +1 617.613.6500.

Google Motorola Mobility Deal Leaves Android OEMs HTC, Samsung, And LG Out In The Cold

John McCarthy

Earlier this morning, Google announced its intention to buy Motorola Mobility for 12.5 billion in cash or $40/share.  There are three broad justifications for the deal:

  • Access to the Motorola patent portfolio which it could then license to partners like HTC and Samsung to protect against the long arm of Apple's lawyers. 
  • An integrated hardware/software play to compete with Apple.  The problem with this logic is that the deal does not address the fragmentation on the Android platform, which is the bigger issue.
  • The set-top business to bolster its lagging Google TV offering.

This said, the deal leaves Google in a very awkward position of being half-pregnant and trying to be a provider of an open source "environment" while at the same time competing with its "customers."  It also means that there are four integrated hardware/software offerings: Apple/iOS, HP/WebOS, RIM/QNX, and now Google/Motorola, and potentially a 5th if this deal emboldens Microsoft to pull the trigger on the long-rumored full takeover of Nokia.  The Apple story of simplicity and focused innovation at the app level has won out over complexity and innovation at all levels. Unfortunately, the deal extends the overall market fragmentation at a platform level well into 2013 to the frustration of developers.

So where does this leave the Asian OEMs HTC, Samsung, and LG? If Microsoft passes on the Nokia acquisition, this deal could throw Windows Mobile a temporary lifeline.  Forrester can hear Steve Ballmer and company pitching the Asian players on how Microsoft is the only hardware agnostic player left and that HTC, Samsung, and LG should increase their support for Windows Mobile as protection against Google favoring its own hardware play.

What Is Your IT Strategy To Win In The Age Of The Customer?

Doug Washburn

Consider the following scenario: It’s a hot summer day and a prospective customer walks into your store to buy an air conditioner. He evaluates several models and then buys one — but not from you. It turns out your competitor located two miles away is offering the same model at a 20% discount. How did he know this? He scanned the product's bar code using the RedLaser app on his iPhone, which displayed several local retailers with lower prices than yours. If he had been willing to wait three days for shipping, he could have purchased the exact same model while standing in your store from an online retailer at a 30% discount.

This type of technology-fueled disruption is affecting all industries, not just retailers. Since the early 1900s, businesses relied on competitive barriers such as manufacturing strength, distribution power, and information mastery. But this is all changing in the age of the customer, where empowered buyers have information at their fingertips to check a price, read a product review, or ask for advice from a friend right from the screen of their smartphone.

To compete in the age of the customer, your business must become customer-obsessed. As Forrester’s Josh Bernoff (@jbernoff), SVP of Idea Development and author of Groundswell and Empowered, advocates in his latest research: “The only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fueled disruption — an obsession with understanding, delighting, connecting with, and serving customers.”

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S&P Downgrade Of US Debt And Related Financial Market Distress Mean Slower Growth In US And Global Tech Markets

Andrew Bartels

The financial news from the US and Europe – the messy resolution of the US debt ceiling impasse and the related downgrade of US government securities, the sharply higher prices for Spanish and Italian debt after inadequate response to the latest Greek debt crisis, and the big drops in stock markets on Monday – will certainly weaken the economic growth prospects of both the US and Europe. We anticipated much of this two weeks ago, both before the US debt ceiling was raised at the 11th hour along with a makeshift deficit reduction plan (see my blog on July 28, 2011) and after the news of much lower US economic came out on Friday (see my blog on July 29, 2011). In fact, the resolution to the debt ceiling issue was slightly better than we expected (no default, and in interim deficit reduction that cut only $21 billion in fiscal year 2012 starting in October 2011) while the US economic outlook in Q2 2011 and earlier was quite a bit worse. The big surprise was S&P's downgrade of US securities from AAA to AA+. While that downgrade was not copied by the other rating agencies and in fact had no impact today on the prices of US treasury securities, it had a big psychological impact. Along with the bad news coming out of Europe after interest rates on Spanish and Italian debt spiked, the S&P downgrade triggered the 600 point or so drop in the Dow Jones Industrial index today, following a 500-point fall on Friday. The result of all these events at best will mean very weak growth in both the US and Europe in the rest of 2011 and well into 2012; at worse, it increases the risk of a renewed recession.

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Venices (And Singapores) Of The World: Imitation And Innovation

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

We often hear of city comparisons.  In my many years in Russia, I must have heard that St. Petersburg was the Venice of the North hundreds of times.  Another is Paris.  How many times have you heard “[Insert city] is the Paris of the [insert region]”?  Actually, a quick search reveals that there are at least 11 cities that are “the Paris of the East.”  Some are quite surprising:

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