Healthcare.gov's Failure Starts With Leadership, Not Technology

Ted Schadler

There has been lots of fingerpointing about the digital technology problems behind Healthcare.gov. If I had to net it out, I'd say that government leaders blamed it on technology contractors and the technology contractors blamed it on each other. And everybody acted surprised that this could happen.

But seriously people, Healthcare.gov was doomed to fail at launch:

  • No Web site ever worked perfectly on the first day! There are always glitches. It's always true with complex technology. Nasa didn't shoot a rocket to the moon first. It tested a monkey in space and went through a decade of learning before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
  • It's impossible to test a Web site with 250,000 users before launching. The only practical way to have launched Healthcare.gov would have been to do it a little bit a time, perhaps starting with a few counties in 5 or 6 states. This is what Amazon and Facebook and Google and Twitter do.
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AirWatch Connect 2013 Highlights The Emergence Of A Key Enterprise Mobility Provider

Dan Bieler

AirWatch held its EMEA AirWatch Connect customer event in London recently. The event underlined that AirWatch, at the tender age of 10, has become one of the leading global providers of enterprise mobility services. My key takeaways from the event are that:

  • Secure collaboration forms the center of the connected business. Business productivity and innovation benefit significantly from a workforce that is empowered by mobility. AirWatch has one of the most comprehensive enterprise mobility portfolios in the market to support this drive. AirWatch can play a central role for any organization that is transforming into a connected business.
  • An integrated platform approach to enterprise mobility has a clear advantage. AirWatch pursues a Lego-block approach, bringing together solutions for email, browser, containerization, content locker, and, of course, device and app management. By building its solution as one platform, customers gain the flexibility of a Lego-style deployment — they can pick only those blocks that they require while ensuring the integration and flexibility of the overall solution.
  • Building a business case for enterprise mobility must include soft factors. Managers who build ROIs for enterprise mobility solutions usually focus on hard KPIs that support existing ways of doing business. However, this “hard ROI” approach really only compares the present with the past. In reality, it is often the soft KPIs, like new ways of doing business, that matter more. Ultimately, mobility is crucial for greater operational flexibility and business transformation. Both are at the heart of long-term business success.
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Mind The Tech Expectations Gap:Many Employees Are Not Satisfied With Work Technologies, Especially In Europe

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

“Happy employees make happy customers” or so the saying goes. Employee satisfaction and engagement are correlated to business outcomes.  Finding the right employees, providing them the tools they need to do their jobs, keeping the good ones happy, and keeping them around is the job of the whole organization – even the CIO.  Yet employees report significant dissatisfaction with the technology provided to them at work:  the technology expectations gap.  And that gap is more pronounced in Europe than elsewhere. 

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Indian CIOs Must Prepare To Take Advantage Of Global Technology M&A Trends

Manish Bahl

Over the past 12 months, we have witnessed the acquisition of 28 software or software-as-a-service (SaaS) firms globally, compared with only 13 IT services or BPO firms (see the figure below). The Forrsights Budgets and Priorities Survey, Q4 2012 indicated that 67% of business decision-makers in India planned to increase their department’s spending on SaaS and other as-a-service offerings in 2013 through the IT organization. Anticipating the market’s growing shift to the cloud, large enterprise software players like Oracle and SAP are acquiring SaaS-based products and solutions (Taleo, Ariba, SuccessFactors, etc.) to help them shift their business model to meet the growing market preference for SaaS subscription software over traditional licensed software products.

 

CIOs in India must capitalize on this gradual global shift in M&A — away from pure IT services and toward cloud-based services — in order to fundamentally shift the way IT is delivered in their organizations. CIOs should adopt a three-pronged strategy to gain full advantage of global technology M&A trends:

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Office Productivity Software Is No Closer To Becoming A Commodity

Philipp Karcher
We just published a report on the state of adoption of Office 2013 And Productivity Suite Alternatives based on a survey of 155 Forrester clients with responsibility for those investments. The sample does not fully represent the market, but lets us draw comparisons to the results of our previous survey in 2011. Some key takeaways from the data:
 
  • One in five firms uses email in the cloud. Another quarter plans to move at some point. More are using Office 365 (14%) than Google Apps (9%). 
  • Just 22% of respondents are on Office 2013. Another 36% have plans to be on it. Office 2013's uptake will be slower than Office 2010 because fewer firms plan to combine the rollout of Office 2013 with Windows 8 as they combined Office 2010 with Windows 7.
  • Alternatives to Microsoft Office show little traction. In 2011, 13% of respondents supported open source alternatives to Office. This year the number is just 5%. Google Docs has slightly higher adoption and is in use at 13% of companies. 
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What Would Happen To Tech Buyers And Tech Sellers If The Federal Government Does In Fact Default

Andrew Bartels

Two weeks after the Federal government shutdown and two days before the Federal government runs out of means to pay all its bills without additional Federal borrowing, the unthinkable development of a Federal debt default needs to be thought about.  The responsibility for this situation lies squarely with the House Republicans, who have refused to bring to a vote a resolution to raise the debt ceiling without conditions.  Moderate Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats have been working on a resolution that would raise the debt ceiling until January and re-open the Federal government at current, sequestration-reduced spending levels, in return for initiating negotiations between the White House, Democrats, and Republicans on longer-term deficit reduction plan  and some minor adjustments to the Affordable Care Act.  While this could well form the basis for a way out of this deadlock before midnight on Thursday, October 17, some House Republicans have already labeled it "a surrender" and vowed to oppose it.  So, I think the risk of a Federal debt default is at 10% and rising.

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IBM's Global CxO Study Shows That You Irrefutably Live In The Age Of The Customer

Ted Schadler

Yesterday, Forrester released two important reports: one on the business masteries you need in The Age Of The Customer and one on the Business Technology you need to succeed in it.

Serendipitously, IBM this week released its global study of 4,183 CxOs from around the world. The title? The Customer-activated Enterprise. The study carries irrefutable evidence that we already live in the age of the customer, which we define as "a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers." Here's my analysis of IBM's data:

  • First, CxOs see customers are a critical influence on their company's strategic vision and business strategy. Over half of global CxOs place customers ahead of all other influencers except the C-Suite itself as a strategic influence on the firm. And they don't mean the company's perception of what customers need. They mean customers themselves: eighty-two percent of CEOs believe they include customers in defining new products and services today. That's a ubiquitous desire, folks: CEOs want customers themselves to define the firm's new products and services.
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New Data Brokers Will Drive The Data Economy

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

With all the talk of data out there, who is actually using it and what are they using?  Turns out, most data used in the enterprise today comes from internal applications. That is starting to change, and the trend will accelerate.  But for now, when asked which data types were important to their firm’s overall business strategy, the majority of business intelligence users and planners cited internal sources such as transactional data from corporate apps or other customer data. Only about 1/3 of respondents reported the importance of external sources such as scientific data, partner data or other 3rd party data. Fewer still used unstructured external data such as Twitter feeds or other social media sources. Current data sources are limited.  Yet both business and IT decision-makers recognize the need to improve their use of data:  56% of business and IT decision-makers surveyed by Forrester see improving the use of data and analytics to improve business decisions and outcomes as a top priority. And, that potentially includes expanding the use of external data... if they can find it.   

Where do they go for external data?  What types of data might complement their transactional and other internal data? How can corporate strategists and market research teams identify new sources of information? Where can they find them, and how can they acquire and consume them? Can they be combined with internal data? Are the sources safe? reliable? sustainable?

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US Government Shutdown Is Mildly Bad For US Tech Market, But US Debt Default Would Be Far Worse

Andrew Bartels

Here we are a week into the Federal government shutdown and, as the Republicans and Fox News commentators like to say, the sky has not fallen.  Nonetheless, in subtle ways, the shutdown is taking a toll on the economy.  To pick one relatively small example, tech market analysts like myself who depend on data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, US Census Bureau, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics are operating in the dark -- just take a look at their Websites, e.g., "Due to the lapse in government funding, www.bea.gov will be unavailable until further notice." More substantively, approximately 800,000 Federal employees are not being paid, Federal government purchases of goods and services have come to a standstill, Federal grants to states and local governments are on hold, and Federal government services ranging from disaster recovery, meat and drug inspections, medical research, public health, to National Parks are not available to citizens and businesses.  

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During a transformation, front end load the most important changes

Marc Cecere

Recently, I’ve been digging into two related issues: how CIOs facilitate business change; and how organizations define what systems, organizations and other elements should be local or global.  Both of these areas involve large scale organizational change. During interviews, a few clients commented specifically on the pace of change. Netting out what they said: “You only have a short period of time for people to change, before they get locked into a new way of behaving”.

An example of this was from a colleague who helped lead an ERP dominated business transformation. One particularly interesting comment was that “Once a change was made, people adapted quickly, then dug in and wouldn’t budge”. For example, they consolidated several country-specific order entry processes into a single one for the entire company. The change was made, training was given, a certain amount of begging and threatening by senior management followed and a lot of people changed their habits dramatically over the first couple months. But then they slowed down and dug in, resulting in many functions that were never used.

So, I did some digging and found a number of academic articles on how people learn. One old one seemed very relevant.  The topic was how people’s behavior changed as a result of the deployment of a new collaboration platform.

“An average of 54% of all adaptive activity was completed in the first 2.8 months.  This given on average that new technologies took almost 14 months to be considered production.   As time goes on, momentum for change is lost, the "best" people move on to production work, evangelists lose interest and initial enthusiasm that existed for change is wasted.”

[Source: Marcie J. Tyre and Wanda J. Orlikowski, "Windows of Opportunity", MIT Sloan School of Management, September 1992]

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