Microsoft’s Big Bang: Everything CRM and ERP On One Platform

John Bruno

This week Microsoft announced a new offering (available in the Fall): Microsoft Dynamics 365. Sound familiar? It should. Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics AX all come to mind, and this was not done by mistake. Microsoft is bringing together the capabilities from these products, their intelligence tools, and third party or internally-built apps from its newly launched AppSource. Microsoft will use Dynamics 365 to provide disaggregated applications that serve the functional needs formerly delivered through CRM and ERP suites (e.g. sales, service, marketing, operations, etc.) atop is a common application platform and data model.

So what is Microsoft looking to achieve with these changes? Well, business doesn’t end with a customer interaction, and delivering superior customer experiences doesn’t end at the front office. Front office and back office apps need to talk to one another to make sure companies are able to win, serve, and retain customers. Microsoft aims to: 

  • Give employees access to the right data and tools to perform their jobs. By utilizing a common data model, Dynamics 365 will show a consolidated view of the customer, inclusive of transactional data. This consolidated view delivered in the context of business apps will provide marketing, sales, and service professionals the appropriate context and functionality to serve their customers.
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Banks Have A Variety Of Islamic Banking Platforms To Choose From

Jost Hoppermann

The World Bank explains Islamic finance as “equity-based, asset-backed, ethical, sustainable, environmentally and socially responsible finance.” In previous Forrester research, we have described many of the core principles of Islamic banking: limitations on interest, certain contractual considerations, and the prevention of gambling — which limits many of the speculative aspects of financial services. These principles make the Islamic Banking sector worthy of consideration in itself; and the tools and technologies that support Islamic banking are important for any financial services firm operating in geographies with large Islamic populations. However, the market is relevant for other key reasons:

  • Islamic banking is of a significant size and continues to grow. For example, Islamic commercial banking hold totals assets of about US$1.1 trillion and has captured a 15% to 20% market share of total commercial banking in countries where Islamic banking exists (according to Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University in the UAE). Recent estimates predict growth rates of about 9% for the finance market and 10% for commercial banking — rates beyond the growth of many conventional banks (according to the Dubai Islamic Economic Development Centre andThomson Reuters).
     
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After Brexit, it's business as usual for most of Europe's public cloud workloads

Paul Miller

The flags of the European Union and the United Kingdom

(source: Wikimedia Commons)

Two weeks on, the result of the UK referendum on membership of the European Union (EU) continues to reverberate around the world. Forrester provided advice for clients needing to understand the business implications. Looking at the specific impact on public cloud deployments in Europe introduces a number of additional points. These are best considered in three separate contexts:

  • that of companies wishing to serve customers in the UK
  • that of companies wishing to serve customers in the remaining 27 EU member states (the EU27)
  • that of companies wishing to serve customers in the EU27 from a base in the UK.
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Big Data Vendors See The Internet Of Things (IoT) Opportunity, Pivot Tech And Message To Compete

Paul Miller

Picture of a stream flowing over boulders.

(Source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/90000/velka/waterfall-stream-over-boulders.jpg)

Open source big data technologies like Hadoop have done much to begin the transformation of analytics. We're moving from expensive and specialist analytics teams towards an environment in which processes, workflows, and decision-making throughout an organisation can - in theory at least - become usefully data-driven. Established providers of analytics, BI and data warehouse technologies liberally sprinkle Hadoop, Spark and other cool project names throughout their products, delivering real advantages and real cost-savings, as well as grabbing some of the Hadoop glow for themselves. Startups, often closely associated with shepherding one of the newer open source projects, also compete for mindshare and custom.

And the opportunity is big. Hortonworks, for example, has described the global big data market as a $50 billion opportunity. But that pales into insignificance next to what Hortonworks (again) describes as a $1.7 trillion opportunity. Other companies and analysts have their own numbers, which do differ, but the step-change is clear and significant. Hadoop, and the vendors gravitating to that community, mostly address 'data at rest'; data that has already been collected from some process or interaction or query. The bigger opportunity relates to 'data in motion,' and to the internet of things that will be responsible for generating so much of this.

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Digital Transformation - Part 2: Culture And Organization

Dan Bieler

The most digitally aware managers are realizing that cultural and organizational transformation will dominate their agenda for years to come. Emerging business models will not function based on old organizational structures, traditional innovation approaches, and outdated management techniques.

In the late 1990s, many traditional businesses mentally leapfrogged by adding a “dotcom” to their name. Those old enough to remember those days, know that many businesses failed miserably in their efforts and still have not fully adjusted to IP realities.

Today we see a similar trend, with every business claiming to be a "digital" business. To me, this is a clear sign that we have crossed the zenith of digital hype. This period is a risky one. Just as the once mighty telcos were blown out of the water by the much more agile and flexible social media and big data players in the 2000s, I believe a majority of traditional businesses will succumb to the forces of successful digital businesses. Declarations of digital intentions, the creation of chief digital officers, or the allocation of digital budgets alone will not translate into digital success.

Most grand digital visions and strategic ambitions that have become the staple diet of corporate presentations mostly fall short of concrete plans for management innovation. It is not conceivable how traditional management techniques can deliver on promises of ongoing and inside-out-driven innovation as well as responding instantaneously to fast-changing customer demand. The creation of a work environment that stimulates employees’ self-initiative and creativity as well as passion for one's work must be the central building block for an agile, flexible, and experimental digital business.

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Architect Process Agility With BPM Platforms For Digital Business

Charlie Dai

Some CIOs and enterprise architecture (EA) pros believe that business process management (BPM) is on the opposite side of agility — but they don’t realize that BPM technology itself is also evolving. Agility-oriented BPM platforms are the foundation of a digital business. I’ve recently published a report that discusses the four key areas that EA pros must focus on to accelerate digital transformation with BPM. Some of the key takeaways:

  • Modern BPM is critical for digital business. Process agility is critical to giving businesses the agility that powers digital business. BPM adoption is gaining momentum in China; EA pros must drive the use of modernized BPM platforms and methods to accelerate digital transformation. 49% of budget decision-makers in China from both the technology and business sides will increase their spending on enterprise process applications, which is higher than their global peers.
  • An outside-in approach is key to digital transformation. EA pros must understand key BPM platform capabilities and unique local demands. For the Chinese market, this means data-intensive user interfaces with integration and security needs, complex organizational hierarchies and ad hoc decision-making approval processes, and a unique social environment for cross-region collaboration. EA pros should then use these requirements to align the architecture for agility-oriented process platforms. Forrester has introduced a reference architecture for agility-oriented process platforms that consists of four layers: enablement, foundation, engagement, and management.
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Cisco buys Cloud Security Gateway vendor CloudLock for $293M

Andras Cser

Given Symantec's recent acquisiton of BlueCoat (and with it BlueCoat's earlier acquired Elastica and Perspecsys cloud security gateway (CSG) assets), and IBM's organic buildout of its Cloud Security Enforcer CSG solution it comes hardly as a surprise that Cisco today announced its intent to acquire CloudLock for US$293M (in Forrester's estimation this purchase price represents at least 10-15x of CloudLock's current revenues).  Considering that CloudLock's DNA and pedigree  is mainly in cloud data governance and data leak prevention using API based connectivity to SaaS (and lately IaaS) apps without an own gateway solution, Forrester expects that Cisco will do the following with CloudLock:

1) Integrate CloudLock's CSG offering with its own Ironport Secure Web Gateway (SWG) offering for interception of on-prem to cloud traffic,

2) invest in improving machine learning and behavioral analytics (already there in CloudLock's CSG solution),

3) improve data protection and cloud encryption in the solution, 

4) use its distribution channels to penetrate the lucrative and fast-growing (Forrester's estimate: 20%-25% y/y global growth) CSG market,

5) start an acquisition of wave in which other large SWG vendors will follow suit and acquire smaller CSG vendors.

Let's go back to the future--it is time to start planning now for customer service in 2021

Ian Jacobs

This a guest post by Meredith Cain, a Research Associate on the Application Development & Delivery (AD&D) team.

Let’s take trip back to 1989. One of the big movies of that year was “Back to the Future: Part II.” One of the great things about that movie was its view of the future—or, because so much time has passed since the film was released, its view of what our present should be like. In the film, Marty McFly and Doc Brown time traveled to October 21, 2015 and had the opportunity to observe potential technologies and experiences of the future. What they saw seems both supremely silly and surprisingly prescient: video conferencing, holograms, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Sure, we don’t all use AR and VR every day, but it is becoming clearer that we soon will.

In Forrester’s new report “Plan Now For Customer Service in 2021,” we assess and evaluate five developing customer service technologies according to their potential impact on the customer service experience in the year 2021. Rather than time traveling, we evaluated the technologies based on their newness, business complexity, and technological complexity so AD&D pros can adequately plan for the necessary amount of time to develop these five technologies and build the appropriate business cases for budgeting.

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With Brexit, A Customer-Focused Agenda Is More Important Than Ever

Laura Koetzle
Yesterday’s decision by UK citizens to leave the European Union (“Brexit”) brings about short-term uncertainties and unintended consequences that will make it harder for UK businesses to keep customers and attract talent. While times of high-market volatility can tempt firms to panic and cut spending on customer-focused initiatives, now is the time to drive innovation in order to win, serve, and retain customers. 
 
As decisions over the next several years are determined by legislators and driven by compliance, UK companies will be challenged to operate as customer-obsessed firms. Forrester believes that the UK’s decision will have five major implications, including:
 
  • Digital and customer-facing talent will migrate out of the UK. Concerns about immigration laws (i.e., who will have the right to stay) will both drive footloose talent to look for jobs abroad and dissuade others from coming. And CIOs will find it even more difficult to recruit already-scarce developers and engineers to build customer-facing systems. 
  • Product and delivery innovation will slow. Companies will now have to spend more time and effort to deliver products across borders and less time innovating on new customer-focused solutions. 
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Microsoft’s Acquisition Of LinkedIn Will Not Translate Into A Revolution Of Enterprise Social Networking

Dan Bieler

In a report, Forrester discussed arguments made by Microsoft regarding the potential benefits of the tie-up. There are some additional aspects that I also consider important when discussing the implications of the tie-up:

  • LinkedIn's status of trusted independent platform for professional information exchange could be undermined. Although the deal, should it go through, would help Microsoft to strengthen its social networking services and professional content, there will be LinkedIn users that are not keen to become sucked into the Microsoft ecosystem as part of their social collaboration activities and abandon LinkedIn as active users.
  • Microsoft must be much faster to decide on LinkedIn's strategy than it did with Skype. It took Microsoft several years to define its strategy for Skype, and Yammer for that matter. This slow response to sort out Skype's place in the Microsoft family slowed down Skype's momentum significantly. By the time the new Skype strategy was announced, most of the hardcore Skype users had migrated away towards other social collaboration platforms like WhatsApp, Facetime, or WeChat.
  • Microsoft must redouble its mobile efforts. A large part of LinkedIn users’ activities are mobile based. Microsoft's weak position in mobile ecosystems could dramatically undermine LinkedIn's longer-term opportunities. If Microsoft underestimates the mobile dimension for LinkedIn, the future for LinkedIn could be very questionable. Users are fickle and there is no loyalty to outdated social media platforms.
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