Cisco's Flip Kick Into Video Authoring: It's The Bits, Folks

Ted Schadler

Ted-Schadlerby Ted Schadler

It wasn't a surprise to see networking expansionist Cisco buying Flip, the popular video camcorder (though the price tag was steep especially given Cisco's recent stock decline). The logic is simple:

  • Cisco sells networking gear.

  • It needs customers to want to buy more gear.

  • Video generates 10 or 1,000 times the bandwidth needs as anything else.

  • Anything that generates video bits will fuel Cisco's growth.

  • Flip makes a product that has captivated on people's fascination with video storytelling.

  • Cisco buys Pure Digital for its Flip and consumer brand. QED.

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Can IT Emerge From This Period In Better Shape Than Ever?

Sharyn Leaver

by Sharyn Leaver

SharynleaverA recent Forrester snap-survey shows that 41% of IT decision-makers are seeing their relationships with business peers strengthen in response to economic conditions. And only 13% feel that the relationships have been harmed — being pushed back into more of a support role. These figures suggest that IT has the opportunity to play a lead role in bottom-line drivers — well beyond cost reduction. Smart IT leaders know that now is their chance to redefine IT’s value to the enterprise.

The bigger question is: What should IT leaders do to capitalize on this opportunity? We at Forrester have our ideas (hey, we’re a firm full of analysts so there’s no shortage of opinions here). Some that come to mind are:

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The Web At 20: What It Means For Collaboration

Ted Schadler

Tedschadler by Ted Schadler

A wander through history today with apologies to those looking for punchy bullets.

The Web turns 20 today. Frickin' amazing if you ask me. My 10-year old wonders out loud what we all did before the Internet (by which he means the browser-based world of Club Penguin, Google, Yahoo!, and YouTube). And for the life of me, I can't remember, either.

How did we collaborate? Well, I remember that I wrote lots of letters to friends to stay in touch and was thrilled when someone wrote back (it was too expensive to make long-distance phone calls). My 7th grade buddies and I also wrote away to Pennzoil and STP to ask for stickers to put on our notebooks. I also spent a lot of time in the library (any library anywhere) and in book stores looking for books, magazines, research papers, whatever.

And for sharing information? Copies, copies, copies. I was an early and big fan of the mimeograph machine, stinky beast though it was. We used to sneak into the Physics office in college to get extra blanks in case we messed up when making copies for a seminar. And you had to get there early on seminar day to command a slot in the mimeograph line. (It was a blessed breakthrough when the Xerox machine was installed -- and only a dime a copy!)

And for creating, editing, co-authoring? It was typewriters, paper, and purple pens, folks. And pen and ink for graphics. Ugly stuff, but amazingly it worked. It took days or weeks do a turnaround, though.

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Telecommuting Will Rise To Include 43% Of US Workers By 2016

Ted Schadler

Tedschadler by Ted Schadler

It was shocking to me anyway that we already have 34 million Americans working at least occasionally from home today. And that's with broadband to only 56% of US homes. But that's what the data say. And with our Consumer Technographics survey of 61,033 US and Canadian consumers, you can be confident that the numbers are accurate.

But it's even more surprising to run the numbers forward to 2016 and see how many Americans will work from home then: 63 million! We just published our US Telecommuting forecast that shows how an additional 29 million telecommuters will enter the remote workforce. What's going on?

  • First, broadband pipes to the home, work laptops, and secure VPNs bring the tools that most information workers need right to the kitchen table or bedroom office. And collaboration tools like instant messaging, Web conferencing, team sites, and desktop video conferencing make it ever-easier to stay in touch and contribute to the project.
  • Second, employees rightfully point out that they will save time in commuting and can get more done for their employers with that time. The benefits of work flexibility and leaving gas in the tank are also real.
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eLearning And Knowledge Acquisition Are Up In A Down Economy

Claire Schooley

Claireschooley By Claire Schooley

Daily, we hear about more layoffs and downsizing. Along with this comes scrutiny of all internal budgets including learning and development. Companies are not lopping off learning as drastically as in previous recessions. Companies know that skilled employees make their business successful. But, at the same time, some budget cuts are inevitable. This is where eLearning comes in. Most organizations already have some eLearning but they are not using the full capabilities like the rapid eLearning tools or the virtual classroom from their Web conferencing provider, or the informal learning using collaboration tools like blogs, podcasts, and wikis.

Yes, classroom training will be cut since travel costs are a quick savings. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have effective learning . . . via a different approach! This is good time to take stock of what tools and features you have but haven’t used from your LMS or your online meeting providers and exploit these online synchronous and asynchronous forms of learning.

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Managing Business Demand Is The Keystone For Managing IT Cost

Alex Cullen

Recently, I’ve had a number of conversations with CIOs and senior IT staff on the pressures caused by business belt-tightening.

This, of course, has cascaded to IT in the form of the need to cut.  Favorite targets:  new investments, whether for business-sponsored projects or infrastructure, followed by ‘IT overhead’ – travel, training, IT improvement programs, followed by opportunistic cuts in the operations budget.  For most I’ve talked with, they have their budget for 2009, but are still watching for the request for further cuts. 

Now, the hard part has started for them.  As one said “having less to spend means I need to work harder to make sure it’s spent wisely’.  The problem isn’t just one of picking areas to spend on, but also in making sure that the business execs who are getting more involved in these decisions agree it’s being spent wisely.

Formula2 I constructed this formula to help the conversation.  It basically lays out what I call the IT’s ‘cost/capacity/demand’ challenge.  Perceived business value is business management’s belief that they are getting good value from overall IT spend.  It’s a function of aggregate business demand; not just projects but also tactical requests for application enhancements, or expectations for service quality - spread over available capacity; both staff, external services and infrastructure capacity - at a particular cost.  The cost is IT spend, and when spend goes down, capacity goes down. 

The challenge comes from three factors:

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Silver Linings and dark clouds of the current tight IT budget climate

Alex Cullen

Silverlining Last week I was at a dinner with IT execs from several firms.  Not surprisingly, we talked about the economy and what it means for their firms and for their IT organizations.  I asked them what the economic pressures meant to them, and they said “their business customers realize now that what they ask for has a cost”.  One PMO head said that her business partners used to ask for ‘the quickest solution regardless of cost’, and now they are asking ‘the best value solution’.  Others echoed this, saying that IT used to be looked at as a ‘magic cookie jar’ which should always have the resources a business area needed – but now business managers understand IT’s finite resources and the need for prioritization.

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Google Tests An Offline Email Client

Ted Schadler

Tedschadler by Ted Schadler

This has been long rumored by Google Apps watchers, but we get confirmation today: Google is testing an offline email client. This is a Google Gmail Labs feature, which means that it's really test code for the brave. In fact, the Gmail Labs site helpfully warns that "there's an escape hatch" if a feature breaks.

That said, this is a big deal for Google. (Caveat: I haven't tested it yet, so I'll have to report back once I do). Here's what it means:

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How Does IT Develop 'Business Intimacy'?

Alex Cullen

IT organizations focus on the business needs they understand, not on the ones that matter to business.

                          Alexcullen        When we ask business execs and IT execs the same questions around the importance of technology to business goals, and how well IT does supporting those business goals, we get interesting results. First, business and IT see technology’s value differently: to business, the greatest value is in products and services, and in competitive differentiation, whereas to IT, the greatest value is in improving operational efficiency. But the second result is more interesting:  both business and IT believe IT doesn’t do well supporting the business goals around products and services, or differentiation – but IT believes they do much worse than business believes they do.

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It's Time To Put Aside Childish Things As Microsoft Announces Layoffs

Rob Koplowitz

Robkoplowitz By Rob Koplowitz

In his inaugural address, Barack Obama told us it's "..time to put aside childish things." A country that once showed greatness through youthful exuberance is being asked to show greatness through measured maturity. It's a moment of realization. And a time of challenge.

Microsoft has announced that it intends to lay off up to 5000 employees over the next 18 months. For those of us who have chosen this industry as our career home, layoffs are nothing new. We live in a cyclical world and nowhere is the cycle more evident than in the computer industry, where companies are constantly appearing out of nowhere, growing, shrinking, acquiring and being acquired.

But this is different. This is the latest sign of a sea change in our industry. The best and brightest minds in the industry saw this coming. Steve Jobs saw it when he turned Apple Computer into Apple and turned tech into "tech fashion." Larry Ellison saw it when he began to acquire players that would make Oracle an indispensable piece of corporate infrastructure and at the same time established a more predictable maintenance revenue stream to Oracle.

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