Top 4 Things to Keep In Mind When Evaluating MDM Vendors

Michele Goetz

The Forrester Wave for Multi-Platform MDM is out!

The last Forrester Wave for MDM was released in 2008 and focused on the Customer Hub.  Well, things have certainly changed since then.  Organizations need enterprise scale to break down data silos.  Data Governance is quickly becoming part of an organization's operating model.  And, don't forget, the big elephant in the room, Big Data.  

From 2008 to now there have been multiple analyst firm evaluations of MDM vendors.  Vendors come, go or are acquired.  But, the leaders are almost always the same.  We also see inquiries and implementations tracking to the leaders.  Our market overview report helped to identify the distinct segments of MDM vendors and found that MDM leaders were going big, leveraging a strategic perspective of data management, a suite of products, and pushing to support and create modern data management environments.  What needed to be addressed, how do you make a decision between these vendors? 

The Forrester Wave for the Multi-Platform MDM market segment gets to the heart of this question by pushing top vendors to differentiate amongst themselves and evaluating them at the highest levels of MDM strategy.  There were things we learned that surprised us as well as where the line was drawn between marketing messaging and positioning and real capabilities.  This was done by positioning the Wave process the way our clients would evaluate vendors, rigorously questioning and fact checking responses and demos. 

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Well Deserved Bad Karma At SuperBowl

Craig Le Clair

My wife would say that the cold weather has me watching too many "waste of time" sporting events. She is correct of course, but sports and life have many paralells and here's my current favorite. I am believing more and more in the importance of Karma where good intent and deeds contribute to future happiness, and bad intent deeds contribute to future suffering. Hence, there is only one explanation for the dismal Denver performance yesterday.  Denver had simply way too much bad Karma. And here's why. They denied Patriot fans the opportunity for any tickets (not one) to the AFC championship game in Denver. This was a selfish, low class, and just down right mean.  It created a tremendous reserve of negative Karma that could not be overcome Sunday. As a Pats fan, I was thrilled to see not just a loss but a record setting devastation.

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Why Bitcoin Is Here To Stay

Brian  Hopkins

When I stumbled across Bitcoin (or Bit-O-Coin, as my wife likes to call it) a few years back, my spidey sense started tingling. Since that time, I’ve made a few off hand remarks about the future of crypto-currency and received the expected “it’s another Dutch Tulip thing”. While I’m not an expert on the financial markets, I do have an excellent track record for identifying disruptive technology changes and I’ve concluded that crypto-currency is here to stay.

 

Here’s why:

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Artificial Intelligence - What You Really Need to Know

Michele Goetz

It looks like the beginning of a new technology hype for artificial intelligence (AI). The media has started flooding the news with product announcements, acquisitions, and investments. The story is how AI is capturing the attention of tech firm and investor giants such as Google, Microsoft, IBM. Add to that the release of the movie ‘Her’, about a man falling for his virtual assistant modeled after Apple’s Siri (think they got the idea from Big Bang Theory when Raj falls in love with Siri), and you know we have begun the journey of geek-dom going mainstream and cool.  The buzz words are great too: cognitive computing, deep learning, AI2.

For those who started their careers in AI and left in disillusionment (Andrew Ng confessed to this, yet jumped back in) or data scientists today, the consensus is often that artificial intelligence is just a new fancy marketing term for good old predictive analytics.  They point to the reality of Apple’s Siri to listen and respond to requests as adequate but more often frustrating.  Or, IBM Watson’s win on Jeopardy as data loading and brute force programming.  Their perspective, real value is the pragmatic logic of the predictive analytics we have.

But, is this fair?  No.

First, let’s set aside what you heard about financial puts and takes. Don’t try to decipher the geek speak of what new AI is compared to old AI.  Let’s talk about what is on the horizon that will impact your business.

New AI breaks the current rule that machines must be better than humans: they must be smarter, faster analysts, or they manufacturing things better and cheaper. 

New AI says:

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Choosing The Right Shower Vendor

Derek Miers

 

In this modern world - where everything is in the age of the customer, I was looking for advice on which vendor I should engage in my strategic Bathroom Portal Modernization (BPM) program. So, I reached out to my friendly CIO Analyst Consultant, outlining my need for advice and guidance and this is what he came back with.

“Apple do a very attractive and shiny iDoor for showers but it only fits their own bathroom series – looks pretty, sort of works but they’ve only got part of the bathroom modernized. Google produce a huge range of doors designed by rank amateurs. Depending on which training school they went to, you’ll get either the framed, or frameless, shower door. While cheaper than the Apple door, once they’re fitted, they become brittle, require ongoing customization and can fall off without warning.

It’s a tough choice – you could also punt for the Microsoft variant. It doesn't really fit anything and requires upgrading annually at a significant cost. However, there are thousands of MS Doors consultants who will come in and rejig your measurements and overall bathroom design and sell you new mirrors, cupboards and shower mats, which are all color coordinated. Only problem is that each entails separate service agreements and you could end up with water all over the floor.

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Solar Energy Boom In South Africa: Economic Shifts, Not Just Customers, Drive Need For Business Agility

Craig Le Clair

Investment in clean energy in South Africa increased more in 2012 than in any other country, rising 206-fold to $5.5 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. South Africa generates 85% of its electricity from coal, but chronic power shortages may have been the catalyst to look to solar (a low point in 2008 closed mines for five days). It’s making up for that gap with solar energy — and now it’s the only African nation among the top 20 solar markets, with installations comparable to South KoreaThailand, and Israel.

The 360 days a year of sunshine certainly help, and it’s great to see the clean energy push work so well. But what is interesting to me is the amount of change in the overall economy the solar boom has caused. Wages are up, new jobs are available; hotels are adding more rooms, restaurants are changing menus to be more suitable for Europeans, and sales volumes are increasing.  So I’m adding “changes to the energy infrastructure” to my list of events that require business agility. Changes in customer expectation, digital disruption, and shortening product life cycles get the most attention as change events that drive the need for companies to be agile, but as shown here change can rapidly come from infrastructure shifts. And South Africa is just starting its transformation. There are plans to invest in other forms of renewable energy: wind, concentrated and photovoltaic solar, landfill gas, and biomass power. And it looks like South African businesses are up to the challenge and are responding to the market. For more info, click here.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Data Management Investment and Planning

Michele Goetz

When it comes to data investment, data management is still asking the wrong questions and positioning the wrong value.  The mantra of - It's About the Business - is still a hard lesson to learn.  It translates into what I see as the 7 Deadly Sins of Data Management.  Here are the are - not in any particular order - and an example:

  1. Hubris: "Business value? Yeah, I know.  Tell me something I don't know."  
  2. Blindness: "We do align to business needs.  See, we are building a customer master for a 360 degree view of the customer." 
  3. Vanity: "How can I optimize cost and efficiency to manage and develop data solutions?"
  4. Gluttony: "If I build this cool solutions the business is gonna love it!"
  5. Alien: "We need to develop an in-memory system to virtualize data and insight that materializes through business services with our application systems...[blah, blah, blah]"
  6. Begger: "If only we were able to implement a business glossary, all our consistency issues are solved!"
  7. Educator: "If only the business understood!  I need to better educate them!."
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Can Machines Be Our Friend? IBM Watson Thinks So.

Michele Goetz

IBM launched on January 9, 2014 its first business unit in 19 years to bring Watson, the machine that beat two Jeopardy champions in 2011, to the rest of us. IBM posits that Watson is the start of a third era in computing that started with manual tabulation, progressed to programmable, and now has become cognitive. Cognitive computing listens, learns, converses, and makes recommendations based on evidence.

IBM is placing big bets and big money, $1 billion, on transforming computer interaction from tabulation and programming to deep engagement.  If they succeed, our interaction with technology will truly be personal through interactions and natural conversations that are suggestive, supportive, and as Terry Jones of Kayak explained, "makes you feel good" about the experience.

There are still hurdles for IBM and organizations, such as expense, complexity, information access, coping with ambiguity and context, the supervision of learning, and the implications of suggestions that are  unrecognized today. To work, the ecosystem has to be open and communal. Investment is needed beyond the platform for applications and devices to deliver on Watson value.  IBM's commitment and leadership are in place. The question is if IBM and its partners can scale Watson to be something more than a complex custom solution to become a truly transformative approach to businesses and our way of life. 

Forrester believes that cognitive computing has the potential to address important problems that are unmet with today’s advanced analytics solutions. Though the road ahead is unmapped, IBM has now elevated its commitment to bring cognitive computing to life through this new business unit and the help of one third of its research organization, an ecosystem of partners, and pioneer companies willing to teach their private Watsons.

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Global Health Spend

Skip Snow

There is a great deal of wildly divergent and sometimes seemingly fabricated information on the size of the US and global healthcare market. For 2014, here are the numbers that I will be using, with my sources, and assumptions and notes.1

 

2012 Annual Healthcare Spend

US Dollars Trillion

Percentage of GDP

Global

7.1

10.1%

US

2.9

17.9%

 

US percentage of global health spend

41%

US percentage of global population

5%

 

Sources

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Business Agility And Smarter Flu Tracking

Craig Le Clair

 

 

CPG  companies are a great example of what Business Agility really means in “The Age of the Customer”.  They  produce tissues, disinfecting wipes and cold remedies are finding new ways to predict and chase outbreaks around the country.

Forrester is putting significant effort into Business Agility – what it is, how it relates to the success of companies within industries, and what foundations business agility is built on.  Our recent study of agility and performance found that high-performing companies were building agility into their core business. (see recent  Agility Performance Report)

No where does this seem more true than CPG industry. CPG has been innovating in - Market Responsiveness - one of forrester's 10 dimensions of business agility. This means  simply understanding what’s going on in your market and shifting  strategies and resources to respond.  In the CPG context, it means to figure out when people are getting sick and ramp up marketing, and then reduce expenditure when people are well.

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