Google’s Next Play: Your Assistant For Everything - Not Just Answers

Michael Facemire

This blog post is co-authored by VP and Principal Analyst Julie Ask and Analyst Andrew Hogan at Forrester.

Google held an event in San Francisco this week to announce several new consumer products – a smartphone, a wireless speaker, Wi-Fi routers, a virtual reality headset and an updated Chromecast solution. All showcased an emerging strategic direction for Google and some killer engineering and design skills.

None of it impressed as much as the demos of Google Assistant – Google’s virtual assistant.

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Field Service: Increasingly Important For Differentiated Customer Service Experiences

Kate Leggett

Field service technologies are more than two decades old. Companies have leveraged them to coordinate the flow of work orders that came in as service requests to the contact center. They were able to reap real ROI by using these technologies to schedule technicians, manage their routes and their flow of work. 

Today, with the rise in importance of delivering differentiated customer experiences, field service technologies are become increasingly important. This is because, the service tech who ends up on your doorstep, or at the site of faulty equipment represents the face of your company. They are your brand ambassadors. These interactions are by far the most personal channel for customer engagement, and they can help make or break a relationship.

This means that: (1) you want to equip your service techs with all the information and data that they need to easily address the reported issue, and (2) you want to use cutting edge technologies to deliver great engagement.  These technologies include:

  • Mobility for field service effectiveness - Companies communicate to field techs, increasingly via mobile apps, the location, timing, and details of their jobs. They also allow techs to provide dynamic pricing of labor, parts, and products. Mobile applications must be easy for techs to use, often with gloved hands, in challenging conditions including low lighting and hazardous job sites. They must also work in disconnected environments.
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Manufacturing Firms Could Do Better With A Focus On Customer Experience

Ashutosh Sharma

Companies are turning to digital to do one of the three things: improve customer experience (CX) using digital technologies; improve their operational efficiency to better serve customers; and launch new business models.

The manufacturing and industrial sectors are undergoing a similar transformation. In my recent discussions with leaders in this market, Industry 4.0 and smart factory dominate the conversations, but the discussions quickly shift to the Internet of things (IoT). While the industrial internet is the most significant manifestation of the digital revolution in these sectors, we are also coming across a broader range of digital initiatives from manufacturing firms.

Tech vendors and systems integrators working with manufacturing firms have identified two types of engagements emerging. Infosys’ Global Head of the Manufacturing Vertical, Nitesh Bansal opined that one set of firms are taking charge of sensors and monitors that they own and leveraging the data assets to improve predictive maintenance, asset efficiency and improve track and trace. Outcomes from these digital operational excellence (DOX) initiatives include:

  • Collecting data and analyzing it for better predictive maintenance
  • Empowering technicians to do their job better by providing actionable directions at the point of maintenance
  • Using augmented reality to help with quick diagnosis and fix
  • Increasing the asset throughput while increasing safety using automated self-driven vehicles
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Exploring The IoT Attack Surface

Jeff Pollard

Merritt Maxim and I just published our research on the IoT Attack Surface. This report gives a realistic, but not sensationalized, view of how enterprises need to think about IoT. Three factors motivated our research for this topic - attacks on IoT will transcend the digital-physical divide, the sheer scale of IoT will challenge security teams, and IoT devices collect massive amounts of data.

The following methodology allowed us to hone in on concrete enterprise scenarios:

  • We went for offense first. We started by interviewing prominent security researchers that spend their days thinking about how to attack IoT devices and systems. Our outside in approach allowed us to develop a threat model for intrusions, as well as identify weak points in the defenses of IoT makers, users, and operators.
  • We explored the ramifications of an attack. We wanted to understand what an attacker would - or could - do when successful. We also wanted to understand the amount of friction that existed for whatever came next - credential harvesting, persistence, or disrupting operations.
  • We examined existing security practices to understand what works, and what doesn't when defending IoT devices. This step highlighted that while IoT is different, defending IoT looks similar to other security problems S&R pros have dealt with. You can bring security lessons forward and apply them to IoT without having to learn them all over again.
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Introducing The Forrester Wave™: Digital Risk Monitoring, Q3 2016

Nick Hayes

We recently published our Forrester Wave™: Digital Risk Monitoring, Q3 2016 report. We evaluate nine of the top vendors in this emerging market that offer solutions to continuously monitor “digital” -- i.e., social, mobile, web, and dark web -- channels to detect, prevent, and mitigate any type of risk event posing a threat to organizations today.

 

Why now

It’s almost 2017 and yet companies are more exposed and less equipped to handle the slew of risks that run rampant across countless digital channels today. Digital risk monitoring (DRM) solutions are increasingly valuable for organizations because:

  • Digital channels are now ground zero for cyber, brand, and even physical attacks. Cybercriminals use a variety of tactics to weaponize social media, impersonate or embed malware into mobile apps, deface websites, collude in dark channels, and cause financial, reputational, or physical harm. Digital risk monitoring tools combat these methods by deploying a variety of data-gathering and advanced risk analysis techniques. They aggregate data via open-source intelligence (OSINT), technical intelligence (TECHINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), and even covert human intelligence (CHIS). Then they analyze the collected data with data classifiers, machine learning, and risk scoring algorithms to determine the most likely and most threatening risk events in a quick and efficient manner.
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Can Salesforce Really Prescribe An End-to-End Sales Process?

John Bruno

Last week, nearly 170,000 business and technology professionals descended onto San Francisco for Salesforce’s annual conference, Dreamforce. The event itself was ripe with discussions on social responsibility and charity, but most attendees, including myself, attended for other reasons. We wanted Salesforce to pull back the curtains on what it saw for the future of sales.

Once things got underway, Salesforce’s Einstein took center stage… quite literally. We’ll get to Einstein in just a bit, but not to be overshadowed by Einstein, Salesforce unequivocally made their keynote about sales. 2016 was a landmark year for Salesforce and their commitment to sales. They closed on their acquisitions of SteelBrick and Demandware, and used Dreamforce as the stage to rebrand them as Salesforce CPQ and Commerce Cloud respectively. So what does all this mean? It means that regardless of sales channel, Salesforce is fighting harder than ever to be your selling platform of choice… and they make a pretty compelling case.

Let’s take a closer look at the case Salesforce is making. To do so, we must understand Salesforce’s pillars of technology supporting sales.

  • Sales Cloud delivers core CRM functionality for sellers. Sales Cloud is the bread and butter for Salesforce. For many of its customers, Sales Cloud represents the foundation of technology enabled selling processes. From account and opportunity management to pipeline management and white space analysis, Sales Cloud helps sales and sales leaders strategize and prioritize their sales efforts.
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S&R Analyst Spotlight: Josh Zelonis

Stephanie Balaouras

Based on the West Coast, Senior Analyst Josh Zelonis is the newest addition to the S&R team. When he’s not out cruising his Harley, Josh is working with clients to adapt their architecture, policies, and processes to evolving threats and to develop robust incident response programs. His research focuses on threat intelligence, endpoint detection and response (EDR), malware analysis, pen testing/red teaming, forensics and investigations, and of course, incident response.

Josh Zelonis Image

Prior to joining Forrester, Josh accumulated over 13 years of experience as a security practitioner with demonstrated success in product architecture, engineering, and security assessment roles. As a product architect, Josh helped design and build innovative technologies in the breach detection space, architecting both endpoint and appliance products with a focus on data collection and analytics. His background also includes extensive experience in security assessment roles including red team, vulnerability research, and compliance.

Listen to Josh’s conversation with me to hear about his biggest surprises since starting as a Forrester analyst, his most frequent client inquiries, and the topics he's excited to research in the coming year:

To download the MP3 version of the podcast, click here.

What do you foresee as the biggest threat to security and privacy in the United States in the next ten years?

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Emerging Technologies To Power Your Systems Of Insight

Brian  Hopkins

In 2014, I recognized something was a bit off with all the big data excitement and I started interviewing companies to get to the bottom of it. In 2015, Ted Schadler and I published the first of my ideas in the report "Digital Insights Are The New Currency Of Business." In that report, we pointed out what was wrong - big data only focused on how to turn more data into more insight. It didn’t say anything about how to turn that insight into more action. In that report we defined a system of insight, which focused big data energy on implementing insights in software using closed loops that create action and continous learning. Read more

Nokia “Connects” Network Services To Customer Experience

Dan Bieler

Nokia’s services division recently hosted an analyst event where it elaborated on the interlinkage between network services and network infrastructure. Of course, network services matter to businesses and telcos because they help technology managers to better manage infrastructure complexity and to modernize network infrastructure with the goal of making networks faster and more reliable. However, there are more fundamental implications:

  • Network services add value to products and open new business areas. Customers want features and services that are relevant to them in the immediate context of their needs and desires. As more products become connected, network services will play a critical role in developing and enhancing such features. Moreover, network services play a central role in driving augmented and virtual-reality solutions in outdoor conditions, such as those already used in manufacturing by Caterpillar or in construction by BAM Group.
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The No. 1 Barrier To Effective Digital Transformation

Nigel Fenwick

In a recent post, I wrote about how digital experiences shape customer perceptions of value. But it's easy to forget that your organization's culture also shapes your customer's perception of value.

Earlier this week, I was moderating a panel on digital transformation at a Software AG event in New York. In opening the event, Kevin Niblock, Software AG's North America President and COO, described digital business as "a cultural phenomenon." Organizational culture plays an enormous role in the ability of a company's employees to transform a traditional business into a digital business.

If you're not the CEO, you might be forgiven for thinking that you have little control over your corporate culture. But we all have the opportunity to shape our organization's culture. And while nurturing the company culture is arguably one of the most important jobs of the CEO, it is also a critical capability for any leader.

Former IBM Chairman and CEO, Lou Gerstner, reminds us of this in an excellent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article: "The Culture Ate Our Corporate Reputation". Gerstner writes: "What is critical to understand here is that people do not do what you expect but what you inspect. Culture is not a prime mover. Rather it is a derivative. It forms as a result of signals employees get from the corporate processes that structure their work priorities."

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