Dropbox For Business Pursues A Sensible Consumerization Path Into The Enterprise

Ted Schadler

Dropbox has 275 million users. It's steadily improving the business capability of its Internet file system. That makes it important to understand what Dropbox is doing and why it matters to business. Here's what they are doing:

  • Last week, Dropbox secured a $500 million line of credit. My take is that Dropbox will use this money to build datacenters as well as global business capacity. Today, the company uses cheap storage from Amazon S3, but it keeps all the juice (like user permissions, search metadata, and application data) in its own data centers. This cheap funding (debt is much cheaper than equity) gives it a reasonable capital structure to buy lots of servers to build global applications.
  • Yesterday, Dropbox made its new Dropbox for Business "linked folders" generally available. This feature lets technology managers give employees a business Dropbox that it can secure and own. Employees can link the business Dropbox to their personal Dropbox so they see all their files in a consistent way. When an employee leavers the firm, the business Dropbox disappears from personal devices (if it works as designed). Customers like Facebook are using this product and seeing a big shift in its employees moving business files from a personal Dropbox to the new business Dropbox.
  • Dropbox has attracted 100,000 disrupters -- many of which are targeting mobile moments. Mobile moments open up a universe of new personal and business applications to get things done in a small moments of need. This level of partner investment is a huge deal because it signals that Dropbox is becoming a file system for the Internet era. Using Dropbox, these innovators can simply inherit the entire file management and storage sub-system they need.
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Google Makes Glass Visible To The Enterprise

JP Gownder

Up until this week, Google had remained reticent about speaking of Google Glass as an enterprise tool. Google is a mass-market consumer company whose main revenue streams derive from huge scale; its aspirations for Glass are, presumably, both ambitious and far-reaching. In consequence, Google's leaders want Google Glass on the faces of as many consumers as possible. Enterprise represents, at best, a bit of a diversion from that mass-market ambition.

Nevertheless, as I pointed out in January, Google has begun to tell stories about how Glass can create value in an enterprise setting. Their videos of public safety officials using Glass for firefighting tugged at the heart-strings, even as the NYPD pilots the device as well. But April has seen a flurry of enterprise-related Glass news, including an explicit posting on Google+ about enterprise.

In addition to all those consumer Glass Explorers, "Something we've also noticed and are very excited about is how Explorers are using Glass to drive their businesses forward," Google wrote. "A number of companies have already teamed up with enterprise software developers to create new ways to serve their customers and reach their business goals."

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Federal Government Releases Health Care Provider Reference Architecture

Skip Snow

On April 3rd 2014, the federal mandate to publish an IT Risk framework for Healthcare IT was fulfilled with the publication of the "FDASIA Health IT Report: Proposed Strategy and Recommendations for a Risk Based Framework."

As per the FDA press release "the diverse and rapidly developing industry of health information technology requires a thoughtful, flexible approach,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This proposed strategy is designed to promote innovation and provide technology to consumers and health care providers while maintaining patient safety. Innovative health IT products present tremendous potential benefits, including: greater prevention of medical errors; reductions in unnecessary tests; increased patient engagement; and faster identifications of and response to public health threats and emergencies. However, if health IT products are not designed, implemented or maintained properly, they can pose varying degrees of risk to the patients who use them. The safety of health IT relies not only on how a product is designed and developed, but on how it is customized, implemented, integrated and used" 

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Do you have a large customer service team or a small one? Start here to choose the right vendor solution

Kate Leggett

How do you start to narrow your choices when you are looking for the right customer service solution for your group. Start by asking whether your team is large or small, and whether your needs are primarily phone based, or whether you support your customers over a variety of voice, digital and social communication channels.

 

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If Dr. Seuss Could Comment Upon IoT, This Is What He Might Say...

John Kindervag

Things Run Amok
by John Kindervag
(To be read in the style of Dr. Seuss)

We live in a world all interconnected
But how in the world will it get all protected?
Some bad boys and girls will try to infect it
Making the internet all broken-neck-ed
 
When Timmy B-Lee created the net
He just couldn’t see it would be such a threat:
“People are nice and they’ll do the right thing”
But, wow, it turns out that people are mean.
 
When the web first began we could count each device
We could even count each device almost twice!
But there’s so many Things now connected you see,
It must really amaze ol’ Timmy B-Lee!
 
All of the futurists cackle with glee
Now that we’ve given each Thing IP!
IP
IP
IP 
IP
A magical protocol that sets all Things free!
 
The Cat In the Hat had Thing 1 and Thing 2
Think of the mischief that those two could do!
But what if he had a Thing 3 and Thing 4?
More mischief they’ll add as we add more and more!
 
Soon we’ll be so exceedingly Thinged,
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Now Some IBM Customers Might Be Able To Take Advantage Of Cheaper Third-Party Software Support

Mark Bartrick

Chief information officers (CIOs) are dedicating more of their budgets to what we call “systems of engagement” (technologies that help win, serve, and retain customers) rather than “systems of record” (back-office technologies). According to research here at Forrester, new business investment in the former will be eight times that of the latter in 2014. All of which means CIOs are re-examining their back-office legacy spend to see what savings can be made to fund new front-office innovations.

But releasing back-office spend is not easy. For many companies, most of the ‘easy’ savings have already been achieved - so squeezing even more savings has become a tougher game. For example, you can only try to re-negotiate legacy support costs a few times before the vendors say ‘enough is enough’. While such comments may have discouraged negotiators in past, the advent of third party software support in the last five years has, for Oracle and SAP users at least, kicked the cost savings door back open and given fresh impetus to procurement people seeking to reduce software support costs.

I am sure that many of you have read some of my previous comments on the emergence of the third party software support market over the past number of years. Companies like Rimini Street, Spinnaker Support and Alui have saved some Oracle and SAP clients a lot of money. For companies who have moved to third party support, or who have simply used the threat of moving to third party support in order to drive the vendor’s costs lower, the savings they are enjoying have freed up cash to spend on new innovations and front-office client engaging stuff.

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A Nice Example Of Applying Desktop Virtualization To Improve Customer Experience

David Johnson

When I was maybe 2 years old, my mother lost track of me in a Toys-R-Us store. After a dozen stressful minutes, she finally found me - holding a Fisher-Price airplane. And so began my love affair with airplanes and aviation. So as I looked through the break-out schedule while attending NVIDIA’s GPU conference two weeks ago in San Jose, California, Gulfstream Aero’s session on transforming manufacturing and field service with desktop virtualization caught my eye. It didn’t disappoint.

There are 2 reasons why I liked this session so much and why I think it’s worth sharing with you:

  1. It’s a nice example of technology that makes the work easier for employees, and helps them improve the customer experience directly.
  2. It’s also an example of how a technology that’s not necessarily a money saver (in this case, VDI) shines when it enables workers do something that would be difficult or impossible any other way.
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Telefónica Leadership Event 2014 Highlights Plans To Lead The Digital Telco Parade

Michele Pelino

With Brownlee Thomas, Ph.D., Forrester Research

Forrester recently attended the Telefónica Leadership Conference 2014, its annual global customer event that brought together more than 600 customers, partners and its Global Solutions leadership team. This year’s event was an exemplary mix of Telefónica and external content, including a keynote live video interview with former US President Bill Clinton on day one, and also a keynote speech by Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile 2010-2014 on day two. Additionally, well known academics presented research findings related to how cloud and social are changing marketing (Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard), and how multigenerational workforces are reshaping business – from how they use technology to interact, and also to learn and transfer skills (Dr. Paul Redmond,  University of Liverpool).

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The Forrester Wave: Customer Service Solutions For Enterprise Organizations, Q2 2014

Kate Leggett

During the past five years, the customer service capabilities leading vendors has matured as vendors have focused on solidifying the foundational building blocks of customer support capabilities. Vendors have folded new technologies such as social capabilities, business process management, decisioning, business intelligence, and mobility into their solutions to allow organizations to offer more-personalized customer service experiences. Vendors have also focused on different buyers – those that have to support enterprise-size teams who respond to inquiries primarily over the phone channel, and those that have to support small to mid size teams  who support multichannel operations.

This maturation makes it, in a way, increasingly challenging to be confident of your technology choice. In The Forrester Wave: Customer Service Solutions For Enterprise Organizations, Q2 2014, we pinpoint the strengths of 11 leading vendors that offer solutions suitable for large and very large customer service agent teams. Here are some of our key findings:

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Why Every Data Architect Should Be An Analyst First

Michele Goetz

“Context” is the new buzz-word for data.  Jeffery Hammond talks about it in Systems Of Automation Will Enrich Customer Engagement, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel talk about it in their book “Age of Context”, and you can’t ignore it when it comes to a discussion for Cognitive Computing and the Internet of Things.  We’ve live in a world where data was rationalized, structured, and put into standardized single definition models.  The world was logical.  Today, we live in a world where the digital revolution has introduced context, the semantic language of data, and it has disrupted how we manage data. 

Big data technologies were created not because of volume and cost.  They were created to manage the multi-faceted model that data takes on when you have to link it to how regular consumers and business people see the world.  Performance and cost are only factors that had to be considered to scale in order to support the objective.  Search, recommendations, personalized web experiences, and next best action could not be possible in a structured single definition environment.  Why we know this is that the sculpted purpose built environments that supporting business applications collapsed when analytics to discover causation in relationships and correlations at scale was applied.

That is the tipping point for data architects.

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