Next Up For CIOs: "Smart Computing?"

Sharyn Leaver

I’ve met many CIOs, all with their own unique challenges and approaches to overcome them. But despite their differences, all CIOs ask me the same question: “what is the next big technology trend that I should look out for?”

It’s a tough question — not because there is a shortage of emerging tech trends out there. The tough part is whittling down all of trends to the really big ones — I mean the ones that could really change the way we do business. So all through 2009, my answer was: 1) consumerization of IT (what we at Forrester refer to as Groundswell), 2) lean IT, and 3) cloud computing. For those interested, you can still view the Three Tech Movements CIOs Should Know  webinar I did with colleagues Ted Schadler and John Rymer late last year.

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IBM's Project Vulcan: A Blueprint For Business Inbox Next

Ted Schadler

I can't deny it. Gmail intrigues me. No, not the idea of Web-based email client. That's old hat. Rather, it's that Gmail gives me a box of tools that taken together are my personal command and control center. Everything I need to be connected, get to appointments, find a friend, stay in touch, locate stuff I need, and remain on task is in one spot.

It's convenient. It's my inbox next. It's my touchstone for personal communications.

But at work, I'm using an email client, an IM client, a calendar client, a task list client, a microblogging client, a browser client, and a bunch of other applications. Just getting from one to another gives me a headache.

So where's my business Gmail?

From where I'm sitting, that's the mission of Project Vulcan. Read Ed Brill's post for the official IBM description of the vision of a hyperlinked, rapidly-evolving, highly tailorable, multi-modal inbox. I've spoken with Alistair Rennie, Lotus's new GM, and Kevin Kavanaugh, VP and head of Notes & Domino, about this project.

My take is that Project Vulcan is nothing less than IBM's blueprint for the future of business messaging and collaboration. In particular, it will:

 

  • Build on Lotus's market and technology foundations.
  • Unify many kinds of communication media and apps into a single frame
  • Provide an anchor point for employees' information work day.
  • Use Web deployment to rapidly experiment and learn what works. (Yes, it's a code fork.)
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Looking backward and forward, virtually

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Train for Success hosted a panel discussion today in Second Life to both look back to 2009 and forward to 2010 and discuss observations and trends in virtual worlds.  The other panelists — Sam Driver of ThinkBalm and Doug Thompson of Remedy Communications — are really the experts on virtual worlds and all that is developing in and around them.  I spoke primarily about the rise of virtual event platforms, which the other panelists referred to as “pseudo 3D” environments.  Despite the denigrating nature of the label, I accepted that the platforms that I have focused on are less rich, and less interactive than Second Life and other “real” virtual worlds.  However, as my previous blog post indicates, that richness comes with a downside.  The barriers to entry are just too high for the use cases that the “pseudo” virtual environments have specialized in.  When using a virtual platform (of any kind) for marketing purposes, targeting a large and diverse audience, the “real” virtual environments just aren’t there yet.

However, I did want to share some of the observations that I made on the panel.  My comments were really based on adoption and use cases for “pseudo” virtual environment as tools for B2B marketers. Looking back at 2009, what did you see as highlights, lowlights, and trends in the virtual platform enterprise market?

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Second attempt at a Second Life

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

TrainforSuccess I participated in a panel yesterday on Train for Success in Second Life in which three panelists discussed:

  • Highlights, lowlights, trends in the 2009 virtual world enterprise market
  • Directions for 2010
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Social Media Survey Results Preview

Nigel Fenwick

When we embarked on this project I wasn't sure if it would be a complete failure or a roaring success. Still, the optimist in me suggested it might work. The timing of launching the survey, just before the Christmas Holiday period was risky. However I'm pleased to say the results so far have been better than expected.

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Why VMWare Bought Zimbra: It's The Seats, Stupid

Ted Schadler

Zimbra has been the sleeper cloud-based email provider for the enterprise. I've known about the Bechtel deal -- roughly 50,000 seats globally -- for some time, but couldn't talk about it. Though it's been a while since I've spoken to Ramesh May, he did share some important facts with me:

1. Zimbra's code base is open source, with a 20,000 active members in the community. The Zimbra code base runs on Linux. It can be downloaded to run on-premises and it also is the foundation of Zimbra's cloud email service.

2. Yahoo! Zimbra was selling an email seat for $28/mailbox/year for 50+ seats. We'll be interested to see how the pricing changes.

3. The company was working with the community on adding instant messaging, expanding widgets, and building an offline email client. We also saw some interesting mashup and document viewing features.

4. Back in April, the company had 130 employees, 600+ .edu customers, 44M mailboxes, and 60,000 customers.

So why hasn't Zimbra been bigger on the national stage selling its hosted (80% of seats) and on-premises (20% of seats) email and calendaring solution? Two reasons.

First, Yahoo! did not build a direct sales force that way Google and every other enterprise email provider did.

Second, because a lot of these seats are sold through service providers. Comcast and NTT Communications have been selling Zimbra seats. You may be running Zimbra and not even know it.

So now it becomes clearer why VMWare bought this massively successful email provider. 

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Global Tech Recovery Will Drive US IT Market Growth Of 6.6% And 8.2% Globally (In Dollars) In 2010

Andrew Bartels

2009 was a miserable year for tech vendors, especially for sellers of capital equipment like PCs, servers, routers, and licensed software, and for systems integrators who helped implement that software.   2010 will be a much better year, especially for these very same vendors.   We’re not talking boom yet, so we are not predicting double-digit growth rates across the tech market (though some categories will see those kinds of growth).  But, as our latest tech market report shows (http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/us_and_global_it_market_outlook_q4/q/id/53384/t/2), we do think there will be a solid tech recovery in 2010, with growth rates in the high single digits.

 

Given that other IT advisory firms are predicting that tech markets will see growth of 3% to 4% in 2010, why are we so (relatively) bullish with our predictions of 6.6% growth in the US tech market, and 8.2% growth in the global tech market (when measured in US dollars)?  Three reasons:

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Categories:

Taking a stand. You go Google!

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Just sharing a blog that could make a huge impact on the business, economics, and politics of China.  I’ve excerpted the key portions for you below:

A new approach to China

1/12/2010 03:00:00 PM

Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident–albeit a significant one–was something quite different.

First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses–including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors–have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.

Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.

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Does The Business (Still) Hate IT?

Sharyn Leaver

There is certainly no shortage of books to read about how to do a better job in 2010.  One of those just noted is "8 Things We Hate About IT" by Susan Cramm.  Given a quick review of the list, probably a better way to title it would be “8 Beaten-to-Death Clichés” about IT-business relationships.

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Cloud-Hosted Collaboration: Multi-Tenant Or Dedicated?

Ted Schadler

We just had another of our regular cloud research meetings at Forrester. In these meetings, we cut across our research organization to examine cloud computing from every angle.

Compared with even just a year ago, it's amazing how important and pervasive cloud computing analysis (as opposed to cloud computing guesswork) has become in our research calendar.

You can see the existing cloud/*aaS research here and our planned research here. As the meeting host, I mostly listen, probe, and take notes, but ocassionally I get to jump in with a thought.

To wit: We are often asked about whether cloud-based collaboration (email, team sites, instant messaging, Web conferencing, social computing, etc.) works best on multi-tenant, dedicated solutions, or both. The answer is both, but trending towards multi-tenant. Our clients are interested in both multi-tenant and single-tenant or dedicated cloud solutions -- as long as the price is right.

The future of cloud-based collaboration is clearly multi-tenant for two economic reasons:

1. Multi-tenant enables the fundamental economic benefits of a shared resource. We can see this in the price war going on in email right now -- a 50% price cut in the last 12 months with multi-tenant cloud email. The floor on email cost keeps dropping, fueled by the better economics of multi-tenant solutions and high capacity utilization.

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