Technology Is Everywhere — Are You Paying Attention?

Brian  Hopkins

We are currently in a technology growth cycle, which is likely to continue for another five to seven years.* The opportunities presented by the likes of cloud, mobile, social, and big data are abundant. I'm wondering if EAs are overly focused on consolidation, simplification, and cost control, which could lead to missing the boat. Alternatively, companies may just leave EA behind as they sail to newer, profitable waters.

In Forrester's September 2011 Global State Of Enterprise Architecture Online Survey, we asked architects to prioritize the following challenges, and here is what we found:

 EA Survey Results

While 37% of firms told us that improving how their firms identify and integrate new/disruptive technology was high priority, it was a substantially smaller percentage than the other nine challenges we asked about. Compare this to: 1) a similar CIO survey that ranked business technology innovation as the top priority, and 2) another EA survey question indicating that "using technology to increase business competitiveness" was the number three IT driver for EA programs.

My concern is that other things may be distracting EA attention away from the opportunities that abound in this growth cycle. Consider:

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The Whats Of Insurance Gets Some New Hows

Ellen Carney

One of the things that people like about the insurance industry is that the business of insurance doesn't change much.  Insurance carriers have pretty much done the same thing:  rate risk, issue policies, settle claims, sell through agents, and invest our premiums, all the stuff that makes them insurance companies.  We’ve talked a lot about this idea of “business capabilities” here are Forrester, essentially the notion of what an industry does.  These capabilities change very slowly, if at all.  Capability changes are usually the result of some big structural economic change--think of the now-modern and booming Russian insurance industry growing after the collapse of the former Communist state.  Of course, the way in which those capabilities get executed in a mature insurance market is influenced by what’s going on outside the four walls of carrier and can change very quickly.  

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Let's Redefine The Term "Business Service" To Address Real Business And IT Needs

Henry Peyret

IT has too many separate portfolios to manage, and that hinders its ability to help business change. We have project portfolios, application portfolios, technology portfolios, and IT service portfolios – each managed in silos. These portfolios are all IT-centric – they generally mean nothing to business leaders. The business has products, customers, partners, and processes – and the connection between these business portfolios and the IT portfolios isn't readily apparent and usually not even documented. Change in the business – in any of these areas – is connected to IT only in the requirements document of a siloed project. Lots of requirement documents for lots of siloed projects leads to more complexity and less ability to support business change. 

How do we connect these business concepts to IT? What's the "unit" that connects IT projects, apps, and technology with business processes and products? 

It's not "business capabilities" – they are an abstraction most useful for prioritizing, analysis, and planning. We need a term to manage the day-to-day adaptation and implementation of these capabilities – the implementation with all its messiness such as fragmented processes and redundant apps – that we can use to manage any type of change. 

We believe the best term for this unit is "business services," with this definition:

The output of a business capability with links to the implementation of people, processes, information, and technology necessary to provide that output.

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The Top Technology Trends For The Next Three Years (Part 2)

Brian  Hopkins

As promised in my blog last week, here is part 2. In part 1, I introduced the two trends reports we did this year and showed the list of trends for business technology. These are trends and technologies to consider first with your "business hat" on. This blog post lists the other 10 trends to view first from a technology lens because they are of lower interest or impact to the business.

We have created four new categories to make IT stakeholder identification easier: 1) application platforms will be of high interest to your app dev and management teams; 2) integration will be of interest to app dev, data integration specialists, and even process folks (considering that processes can and should be integrated with apps and data); 3) infrastructure and operations; and 4) mobile computing, which spans infrastructure, app dev, and possibly line-of-business relationship managers who are very keen on mobility. And don't forget your security and compliance stakeholders, who will generally care about all of these!

Before listing the trends and technologies, I also want to introduce a new twist to our research this year - we have identified four major themes that run through many of our business technology and technology trends. These themes are so broad and far reaching that we thought it worth calling them out separately; we are advising our clients to understand these themes as the context for responding to individual trends:

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Lexmark Joins The BPM And Dynamic Case Management Markets

Craig Le Clair

Lexmark International acquired Netherlands-based Pallas Athena and will combine the company with its recent acquisition of Perceptive Software, a fast-growing ECM provider. Together this is a very complete software unit for the ECM, BPM, and dynamic case management market. Pallas received good reviews well in the recent Forrester Wave™ for dynamic case management solutions and has a strong overall BPM technology. North American exposure, and distribution in general,  was the big issue. Perceptive had an easy-to-deploy workflow management solution but lacked case managenent or extension beyond departmental applications. Combining Perceptive and Pallas Athena should should work well. The challenge and potential is to create synergy and focus with Lexmark’s growing managed print services business — which means focusing on office document automation that supports the knowledge worker.

With Endeca, In Effect Oracle Gets Two Technologies For The Price Of One

Leslie Owens

In 2007 Larry Elison said: "We think the paradigm for doing business, how people do their daily jobs is changing and is moving to a search paradigm.” For years Oracle has worked on weaving its search functionality into and across Oracle applications. It's called Secure Enterprise Search (SES) and it's invisible to Content & Collaboration (C&C) professionals because it's inside the Fusion platform, rarely sold as a standalone solution. With SES integrated in Oracle products, Oracle envisions "action-oriented" enterprise search. What does that look like? When workers don't just search for pending expense reports, they also can pay them from the search UI. 

When search is an embeddable service, it makes it easier to use search to get tasks done. This is why I think infrastructure vendors (HP, Oracle, Microsoft, Dassault) acquiring specialized vendors (Autonomy, Endeca, Fast, and Exalead, respectively) is a good thing for C&C professionals. What's missing from these marriages? Semantic search capabilities -- where search surfaces unstated concepts and allows users to visualize the patterns and trends locked inside volumes of text. (IBM is one to watch for this vision -- a leader in BI, they have recently commingled their search and content analytics technology to create a new product.)

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The Top Technology Trends For The Next Three Years

Brian  Hopkins

We just released our 2011 update to last year’s EA top trends report, The Top 15 Technology Trends EA Should Watch: 2011 To 2013. In 2011, we have expanded our coverage by releasing two documents of 10 trends each:

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Big Data Will Help Shape Your Market’s Next Big Winners

Brian  Hopkins

It seems that every week another vendor slaps “big data” into its marketing material – and it’s going to get worse. Should you look beyond the vendor hype and pay attention? Absolutely yes! Why? Because big data has the potential to shape your market’s next winners and losers.

At Forrester, we think clients must develop an intuitive understanding of big data by learning: 1) what is new about it; 2) what it is; and 3) how it will influence their market.

What is new about big data? We estimate that firms effectively utilize less than 5% of available data. Why so little? The rest is simply too expensive to deal with. Big data is new because it lets firms affordably dip into that other 95%. If two companies use data with the same effectiveness but one can handle 15% of available data and one is stuck at 5%, who do you think will win? The deal, however, is that big data is not like your traditional BI tools; it will require new processes and may totally redefine your approach to data governance.

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Driving Business Excellence With Formal, Global Networks

Leslie Owens

Perhaps no one understands better than Dan Ranta, Director of Knowledge Sharing at ConocoPhillips, that the challenge of sharing knowledge is very real — while the potential payoff can be large. Seven years ago, ConocoPhillips launched a large initiative to create internal communities of practice that would enhance knowledge sharing within the firm. With operations in more than 30 countries, encompassing job sites often in remote locations, the international energy company knew that to continue on its success trajectory, it needed to rapidly and effectively harness the knowledge of its highly skilled but geographically distributed workforce.

Today, the ConocoPhillips' knowledge-sharing program — built upon 150 global "networks of excellence" — is ranked as best-in-class across industries, and has documented hundreds of millions of dollars in estimated cash flow from its start in 2004 to the present. To learn more about how firms can drive business excellence with formal, global networks, I spoke with Dan in preparation for his keynote this week at Forrester’s Content & Collaboration Forum.

1) Can you explain the reasoning behind the proactive and reactive components of your networks of excellence?

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Announcing The Winners Of The 2011 InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards

Alex Cullen

Enterprise Architecture is a challenged role in IT. While more than 50% of all IT shops – and all large IT shops (greater than $100M budget) – have an EA practice in some form, most EA teams struggle with defining a mission that is relevant to their business and executing on this mission to produce the benefits their business needs. This struggle leads to frequent re-organizations, struggles for credibility and influence, and often an EA focus on the low-hanging fruit of technology standardization. 

But this is changing. 

Last year, Forrester teamed up with InfoWorld to select five EA programs that were having a measurable impact on their businesses. Our purpose for this awards program was to spotlight highly effective programs that embodied practices that we could all learn from. We found EA programs that were producing results ranging from saving millions of dollars per year in IT expenditures, to guiding IT transformation into business partners, to guiding business planning. 

Today we announced the winners of the 2011 InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards. We set out to identify five leading organizations, just like we did last year. But our practitioner judges – last year’s winners – decided that due to the quality of so many submissions, they had to identify six:

  • American Express, for how it uses reference architecture and technologies road maps;
  • Bayer HealthCare, for how it approaches EA management in a complex organization;
  • First Data Corporation, for its buildout of a global EA function to drive efficiency, simplicity, cost effectiveness, and agility;
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