What Survey Questions Should We Ask IT Infrastructure Buyers?

Frank Gillett

Every spring I’m faced with the wonderful opportunity – and challenge – of choosing the best questions for Forrester's annual 20 minute Web survey of commercial buyers of IT infrastructure and hardware across North America and Europe.

Clients can see the 2009 survey instrument here. In that survey, we learned that only 3% of firms were using cloud-hosted servers and that 79% of firms prioritized IT consolidation and virtualization but only 23% prioritized internal/private cloud efforts.

As technology industry strategists, what themes or hypotheses in IT infrastructure do you think we should focus on? What are the emerging topics with the potential for large, long term consequences, such as cloud computing, that you’d like to see survey data on? Please offer your suggestions in the comments below by May 21!

This year, I’m proposing the following focus areas for the survey:

  • New client system deployment strategies– virtual desktops, bring-your-own-PC, Win 7, smartphones, and tablets
    • Hypothesis:  Early adopters are embracing virtual desktops and bring-your-own-PC, but the mainstream will proceed with standard Win 7 deployments
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The Lion Roars. 2010 Ships. Productivity Cheers.

Ted Schadler

Okay, so I'm a sucker for nostalgia. But being on the same stage as Gilda Radner and John Belushi and John Candy and Tina Fey was a thrill. And being in the same studio where Elvis Costello and the Attractions stopped "Less Than Zero" after a few bars and jumped into "Radio Radio" in defiance of NBC's wishes brought a rebellious, empowered smile to my face.

NBC's Studio 8H, home of Saturday Night Live, is where Microsoft launched SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 yesterday. It was a short, punchy, customer-filled event. These products are the latest in the "Wave 14" product set, a ginormous (as my 9-year old says) overhaul of the Office product line. And they're beauts. Here's my (admittedly enthusiastic) analysis of what Microsoft has accomplished with this product.

  • The lion awakens and roars.

    Microsoft's Office business has taken a battering in the press as journalists chase stories about the important innovations from nimble startup competitors, open source alternatives, and Web-based productivity tools. But let's face it. Microsoft doesn't have 500,000,000 people using its tools for no reason. And while three years is a long time to wait for a product release (especially in this era of instant innovation via the Internet), Microsoft has re-confirmed its position as the most important driver of business productivity on the planet. This launch will crush the dreams of a 100 entrepreneurs and force another 1,000 to rethink their companies. That's okay. It's what happens when Microsoft turns a niche product for a geeky few into a global feature that anybody can use. As an economy, we need it.

  • The empowerment is real.

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Is SharePoint 2010 Social Ready For Prime Time?

Rob Koplowitz

This morning Microsoft launched SharePoint 2010, the follow-up to the very successful Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007. As the morning progresses, I receive more and more notifications from vendors that are announcing integration strategies for the new offering. Meanwhile, other vendors announce strategies to compete. The social computing vendors are no exception. No matter the strategy, it's clear that SharePoint is creating a market disruption that not only vendors but clients need to address in creating and updating broad collaboration strategies. Many Forrester clients have already begun this assessment process, as evidenced by my inquiry load over the past several months. One question has surfaced repeatedly:

Does SharePoint 2010 affect my plans for social in the enterprise?

Well, yes and no. Here's the 100,000 foot view. If you are committed to SharePoint you really need to take a look at what Microsoft delivers as part of 2010. For many, this release will reach the proverbial "good enough" bar.  MySites, already a decent profiling service, continues to improve. Blogs and wikis, which were pretty dismal in MOSS 2007, are quite well done. Key missing elements like tags, tag clouds, community sites and activity streams are now part of the offering. Microblogs, a hot top of mind topic at the moment, are not quite there yet. Interesting. As Twitter explodes and Yammer continues to gain ground in the enterprise, SharePoint comes up short in microblogging. The reason? At least for the time being, SharePoint is dependent on a pretty traditional development cycle and microblogging exploded pretty late in the product development cycle. In other words, SharePoint is now clearly in the social game, but will play the role of fast follower for the time being.

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Riding The Coming Wave Of Tech Industry Growth

Chris Mines

The Palazzo Las Vegas - Resort Hotel Casino

Tech is back! Just as our in-house economist Andy Bartels predicted, the first quarter numbers from the big tech vendors confirm that IT investment is on a growth trajectory again. Check out the recent Q1 numbers from Intel and IBM, for example.

And these results represent more than just a rebound from the nasty 2008-09 recession. We forecast that the IT industry is entering a multi-year period of innovation and growth, when spending growth on technology goods and services will be a substantial multiple of overall GDP growth in the US and around the world. Check out Andy’s latest forecasts here.

For more on the opportunities and challenges that the next wave of tech industry growth will present to vendor strategists, join us in Las Vegas later this month at Forrester’s flagship event, the IT Forum. We will be presenting our latest research on Smart Computing, the Personal Cloud, and the approaches that vendor strategists must take to stay in front of “the next big thing.” Hope to see you there!

From The HP Archives: Lessons Learned On Market Entry

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

International orders grew 34% for HP . . . not this year but actually back in 1964 when non-US orders accounted for 23 percent of HP’s revenues.  While the growth of non-US tech revenues is in the news today, HP’s international orders first exceeded domestic orders not recently but as far back as 1975.

In my research on market entry and market opportunity assessment (MOA), I recently spoke to strategists at HP about how they evaluate markets.  As I was leaving the building, I stopped in to the HP museum and spent some time with the HP archivist.   The highlights of the visit include seeing the first HP device built in the now famous Palo Alto garage and a calculator that brought back memories of my father in his overstuffed chair “figuring out how to pay for college.”  I was not only impressed by the history embodied in that room but also with the value that HP places on recording and memorializing its “life” as an organization.  Not to sound too sappy but it really brings the company and the industry to life.

I’ve spent the last few weeks reading through some documents on the history of HP’s entry into international markets.  There are valuable lessons to be gleaned from their experiences.   I’ve written about many of those lessons in reports and blog posts but thought I'd draw out a few of them here.

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Starbucks' Stephen Gillett Weighs In On The Changing Role Of The CIO

Sharyn Leaver

Forrester’s IT Forum 2010 is right around the corner, and much of Forrester’s research community is gearing up for a great event. Having spent a considerable amount of time working on the content, I’m really pleased with how the industry keynotes are taking shape. If the growing attendance figures are any indication, our theme of “making the business technology (BT) transformation a reality” seems to be resonating with CIOs.  I think Forum attendees are going to enjoy the real-world examples provided by keynoters such as Stephen Gillett, SVP, CIO, and GM of Digital Ventures at Starbucks.

Stephen is one of the rising young stars in the IT industry, helping transform Starbucks’ digital business. At IT Forum, he will be talking about how to elevate the role of the traditional CIO to that of a digital business leader. We thought we’d give you all a chance to pose a question of Stephen about the changing role of the CIO. Please leave your questions for Stephen in the comments section, email them to us, or tweet them to us @Forrester. We’ll choose the best of those questions, ask Stephen, and post his answers here during the week of May 17.

Einstein And Social Media

Nigel Fenwick

Albert EinsteinEven though there's plenty of evidence showing the positive impact many companies are getting from leveraging a social media strategy, there are still companies rigidly refusing to develop a social media strategy. This reminds me of the early days of the Internet: there were those companies looking to embrace the Internet and develop a new kind of "e-business," and the rest, steadfastly refusing to believe the Internet would transform their business. Even as Amazon defined a new online shopping channel in retail it was amazing to see how many large retailers were slow to establish an online presence.

Back in 2000 I wrote a report urging online retailers to embrace “community” as one of three core elements of their customer strategy. Companies such as REI, which already had an online community in 2000, have learned from their experience and are surging ahead into new social media.

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Not Many Palms In Emerging Markets

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Michele Pelino’s recent blog, “HP’s Acquisition Of Palm Is Not A Match Made In Heaven,” concludes as the title suggests that the success of the acquisition remains a wait-and-see proposition and it, in fact, may not pay off.  As Michele notes,

Forrester’s survey of over 1,000 IT decision makers in North American and European enterprises, only 12% of firms officially support or manage Palm devices. In comparison, 70% of enterprises support BlackBerry smartphones, and 29% support Apple iPhones. Android devices, the newest entrants in the mobile OS wars, have strong momentum and are officially supported by 13% of firms.

Well, that got me wondering how Palm had fared in emerging markets.  We know that device preferences are different globally.  So, I thought, maybe there are some Palm fans outside of North America and Europe.  I checked Forrester’s Global Technology Adoption data from last summer (new survey expected back from the field very soon) in which we surveyed 1,412 IT executives and technology decision-makers across 15 countries.  Here is what I found out about PalmOS support across enterprises in a few of the countries:

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Software License Revenues Roar Back In Q1 2010 -- And Why Licensed Software Will Co-Exist With SaaS Beyond 2010

Andrew Bartels

TECH DEVELOPMENTS:  With SAP's release of its Q1 2010 earnings, it is clear that those who saw an irresistible shift from licensed software to software-as-a-service (SaaS) are a bit premature in their obituaries for the licensed software model.  SAP's license revenues increased by 11% in euros, and by 18% when its euro revenues are converted into dollars at the average exchange rates in Q1 2010 and Q1 2009.  Oracle's license revenues for its fiscal quarter ending February 2010 rose by 13% in US dollars (and 7% in euros).  Among other vendors, Lawson reported a 28% increase in its license revenues (in dollars), and Epicor reported 23%. 

These growth rates partly reflect how badly licensed software (which is treated as capital investment) got hit in the general cutbacks in business corporate investment in 2009, as panicked companies scrambled to conserve cash and avoid having to borrow from shut-down financial markets.  However, I think there's more to the recovery than rebound from depressed levels a year ago.

Forrester's surveys of companies about why they don't like software-as-a-service consistently turn up five reasons: 1) inability to customize; 2) difficulty in integration to other systems; 3) security of data and information; 4) worries about pricing models that put clients on a constantly rising escalator; and 5) lack of SaaS products.  SaaS vendors are addressing all of these, and there is no question that these barriers are eroding.  But they still persist, and mean that the license software model has a high degree of persistence in software categories like core ERP systems (integration and security of core data), industry-focused applications (need for customization), eProcurement products (integration to ERP systems), and contract life cycle management products (security of contract data).  

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What CIOs Should Know/Do About HP's Acquisition Of Palm

Tim Sheedy

HP's acquisition of Palm is all over the twitterverse at the moment. And everyone has an opinion on it, and what it means (which brings to mind one of my favorite movie quotes). There are precious few facts around at present - and only time will tell exactly how the acquisition will pan out. Either way, CIOs should know the following facts about HP and the acquisition of Palm:

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