With 2013 coming to an end, it’s time to bring out the crystal ball and make some predictions about 2014. Those who follow Forrester’s research will know that we’re living in the age of the customer, a period in which customer obsession will be the key to winning in all markets. Computing is a critical technology element in the age of the customer: The use of tablets by sales professionals creates richer experiences for prospects and customers, even as the use of wearable technologies by health professionals helps phlebotomists find the vein in a patient’s arm more quickly. Computing is a front-line, customer facing experience that helps companies win and serve customers more effectively.
With that context in mind, I present six meta-trends that will be critical for computing in 2014:
Data center procurement approaches have significantly changed in the past five years. While many CIOs are following a cloud-first approach to commissioning new services, most enterprises struggle to move the majority of their infrastructure to public clouds due to application interdependencies and legacy infrastructure silos.
As profiled in my recently published case study, in 2008 News UK was one of a few news media companies embarking on infrastructure transformation. The firm’s data center transformation delivered a modern, agile, lean, and resilient infrastructure in a colocated data center with automated disaster recovery and business continuity. The case study highlights the significance of migration and consolidation as a step towards collocating your data center or migrating services to the cloud. Below are some highlights from the report:
Transformation areas: virtualization, compute, storage, and network. News UK had an aggressive timetable to review public cloud offerings and make strategic investments to help it smoothly transition to delivering IT infrastructure via the public cloud. The firm considered all aspects of IT infrastructure delivery and implemented the latest technologies to achieve its transformation goals. Key areas of focus included virtualization, compute and operating systems, and storage and networking.
As research for my upcoming report on cloud adoption among banks in Asia Pacific (AP), I’ve spent the past several months interviewing senior IT and business decision makers at banks and other financial institutions across the region. I’ve also met with banking regulators and spoken with cloud providers with a strong AP presence. Look for the full report early in the new year. In the meantime, I wanted to share some key findings.
Cloud adoption is among the top priorities for most banks in the region. In fact, contrary to popular belief, I’d categorize cloud adoption as nearly mainstream among banks in many parts of Asia Pacific. But adoption drivers vary based on the cloud approach. Private cloud initiatives, for instance, centered on data center transformation to drive improved operational efficiency and cost savings. Public cloud initiatives typically focus on expanding mobile banking capabilities and other customer-facing systems of engagement — the key to customer retention and overall growth.
Delivering great multichannel digital experiences isn't as easy as plugging in new software and calling it a day. Digital customer experience success comes from combining many elements: a big-picture vision, short- and long-term strategic planning, shifts in roles and responsibilities, and intelligent technology adoption and delivery. For application development and delivery (AD&D) pros and their business peers, the digital customer experience technology market matters because digital experience matters — both to organizations and to their customers. As your organization marches toward digital experience delivery, you must place technologies in their proper context.
It will be an integration--not a suite--story. Many vendors promise a comprehensive customer experience management technology suite. But supporting customer experience is a broad discipline that includes everything from your contact center technologies to your marketing suites to the technologies that power your website. Right now, no one vendor has every single component — despite what they may claim. And even if they did, the vast majority of Forrester clients we speak with don't have the resources to rip and replace their existing investments, nor do they have the desire to be married to one vendor. Firms will instead look to best of breed vendors that are able to easily integrate with other solutions.
These devices are starting to find their way into the hands of consumers, but much of the retail channel has yet to catch up. Smart locks, smart wearables, and smart fitness devices are all generally being sold through the traditional online and offline channels for electronics and devices; sports stores, clothing retailers, and home hardware stores have been slow on the uptake. In the US, we have already seen some electronics retailers (such as Best Buy) significantly expand their “smart wearables” section from a small pod to an entire aisle or even a dedicated corner or section of the store. At the same time, many sports stores have not even started carrying the latest fitness tracking devices — something that should be in their sweet spot.
Following my research on software asset enabled services, I will start a new research stream in 2014 focused on business services: a new breed of managed services leveraging software assets, BPM and analytics focused on delivering business outcomes to clients. This post introduces this research and summarizes the drivers and enablers of such business services.
As organizations enter the age of the customer we see business leaders controlling more of the technology purchases. But as their business processes become more technology dependent I believe they will move away from technology sourcing to pursue business capabilities such as digital customer engagement. For example, Forrester recently learned of a vice president of online channels at a luxury brand who decided to leverage a mobile center of excellence from an external managed service provider to help the brand accelerate its revenue growth in a multichannel environment. As business decision-makers look to build capabilities that help improve business outcomes, I believe that they will move away from procuring technology to sourcing a new breed of managed services to complement their strategic capabilities. This new breed of services will combine:
Often I hear from clients or read in industry publications (including those by my Forrester colleagues) that the business is spending more on technology. They almost always refer to this spend as “rogue” or “shadow.” But this phrasing shows a perspective from sourcing and other IT professionals that is parochial and, worse, dangerous to their ability to collaborate with those business stakeholders.
Why? Because saying that the business’ IT spend is shadow spend implies that they are taking something from the IT group. However, the reality of the situation is that business buyers like CMOs are buying what they always bought – advertising, marketing tools, database list management, for example. The difference now is that all of those things are now technology-dependent. Any CMO or other executive buying these offerings has a very logical question when asked about bringing in IT – “what makes IT think they know more about this stuff than I do?"
Still not sure if the business is actually engaging in “shadow IT spend?” Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Is this a product category or supplier IT has experience with? Most IT SVM teams haven’t negotiated with digital agencies like Ogilvy or TribalDDB before. Also, note that if it’s a division you haven’t worked with, the answer to this question is still “no.” – such as when your company’s supply chain team is working with PwC’s risk team – but you’ve only ever worked with PwC’s IT strategy group. This then validates the business users’ view that they’re better placed than IT SVM to do the negotiation because of their knowledge of the vendor and its solution.
Before jumping into the Healthcare.gov case study, I wanted to highlight an announcement that was overshadowed by the press surrounding the Healthcare.gov story: Verizon Compute Cloud & Verizon Storage Cloud. Verizon made a signifcant announcement regarding its new public cloud solution that veered away from its original "enterprise cloud" messaging and towards a commodity based approach. With this approach Verizon looks to compete more directly with the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) by providing the same low cost for baseline products but with higher levels of performance. Rackspace recently announced its Rackspace Cloud Servers product with this same goal, although this was likely motivated by CloudSpectator's report published earlier in 2013. Rackspace used this opportunity to step up to the plate. Performance is a rising complex issue that makes "Let's just move it to the cloud" beyond an overly simplified statement. With that said, here's the overview from what I've seen this far:
But what are the trends, and what are the best practices?
We are hearing from all the pharma stakeholders four stories that are driving the questions that are being asked of the data:
Pharma needs to get away from its focus on molecules and pivot to a holistic view of disease. As per a senior IT manager at a major pharma in a meeting with me last week: "We have to deliver whole solutions, and not just pills."
Pharma needs to understand prescribing behavior in the formulary and in the physician's office better in order to influence it and thus drive sales. As per a senior marketing manager from a meeting recently: "In the old world, we just sprayed and prayed," meaning that the marketing campaigns aimed at the physician did not discriminate as to who that physician was.
Genomic-based drugs are driving changes though the amounts and types of data that the industry must manage.
The deal between Apple and China Mobile has been a long time coming, with lots of folks disappointed it didn’t happen in September when the latest iPhones were announced. China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile phone operator, with 760 million subscribers. That’s more than 1 in 7 of all people alive, and, as my friend Charlie has reminded me, more than 6 times the number of the largest US carrier, Verizon Wireless, or 3 times the size of AT&T and Verizon combined.
Though Bryan Wang in our Beijing office points out that Apple’s iPhone offerings are very expensive by China standards, starting at about $740 unsubsidized, he also reports that there is lots of interest among China Mobile subscribers. With this deal, we’ll finally find out how far Apple can get in China without offering products that match the prices of market leaders Samsung, Lenovo, and Huawei, or innovator Xiaomi. Based on Forrester survey data, we estimate that Apple sold over 16.8 million iPhones in mainland China in the four quarters ending September, 2013. We estimate that Apple will be able to sell 17 million new iPhones to China Mobile users in the first 12 months – that’s on the low side of public estimates we’ve seen ranging from 15 to 30 million. So Apple will boost global iPhone sales – and iPhone revenues – by over 10%.
After waiting so long, why is China Mobile interested in the iPhone? Because they’re concerned about losing their best customers, which are some of China's most valuable ones, to China Telecom and China Unicom. And China Mobile is just launching the first 4G network in China, and Forrester believes it will have at least a 6 month head start before other operators begin adding 4G. The iPhone 5s and 5c give China Mobile showcase products to show off the power of their 4G network.