This is a roll-up of all Forrester blogs written for Business Technology Professionals. Role-specific blogs are listed below. Visit Forrester.com to learn how we make Business Technology Professionals successful every day.
Here’s a riddle: What is it that almost every organization believes it needs, many organizations have, and few organizations use? The answer is an IT strategy.
CEOs and CFOs task new CIOs and old CIOs alike with developing an IT strategy. But despite the millions of dollars, pounds, euros, and yen spent on creating IT strategy every year, few of these strategies will be put to effective use. The IT strategy is the foundation upon which CIOs communicate the value of IT across the enterprise. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, only 18% of organizations have IT teams that communicate the value of IT effectively.
Many have interpreted the customer experience imperative to mean that IT is dead and marketers are the future. We reject this. IT is far from dead. After all, what’s the point of great design and marketing strategy if you can’t deliver the right experience to the right customer based on factors such as location, device of choice, and place in the customer journey? Now more than ever, application development and delivery (AD&D) is vital to actually deliver experiences to customers, and the majority of organizations we interviewed agreed with this.
This means that AD&D pros need to sit at the forefront of business strategies around customer engagement by, among other things, empowering business and marketing professionals with the right applications and mastering analytics for better insights and experiences. Most firms we speak with aren’t organized to support this imperative. In preparation for our forum on Driving Customer Experience With Smart Technology Solutions, my colleague John Rymer and I are updating our digital organization research. So far, some of the things we’ve learned are:
New organizational models abound. Some organizations have their digital group within IT, while others have it under marketing. Others are paving new path, and have a singular group that combines customer experience, marketing, and business folks with technologists.
I recently attended the Amdocs annual analyst relations event in Tel Aviv. Amdocs intends to live up to its paradigm “embrace challenge, experience success” by anticipating challenges and offering solutions to its client base. Some of these initiatives include:
Amdocs achieved progress on its mission to enable communication service providers moving up the chain. Amdocs is probably the most outspoken vendor in its loyalty to carriers. This is a strong pitch to retain the trusted advisor status in the domains of customer care and billing services — i.e., domains which operators regard as their core competence. Such trust is vital for the ambition to go deeper into joined go-to-market and transaction-based revenue share models. But the journey towards using business-outcome-based SLAs to reflect the rising influence of business leaders has just begun.
Amdocs is committing to improve customer experience. The vendor invests in its operations and solution capabilities to keep the portfolio aligned with the evolving needs of the carriers. Upgrades include the regional state of the art operations center for European carriers in Galilee and progress on packaging its tools as full B2B2C solutions. Additional enhancements come with the $120 million acquisition of Actix, allowing service providers to use geo location-based services.
Steve Ballmer is quitting Microsoft. His reign as Microsoft CEO will come to an end in the next 12 months. As he put it in his resignation letter, “This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do. I take this step in the best interests of the company I love.” Fair enough. We love your passion and stewardship of Microsoft through these changing post-PC times. However, perhaps the times they are a-changing too fast. Internet giant Google has needled Microsoft’s core business and completely eclipsed it in mobile. And Apple has become expert at winning hearts. That leaves us with the big question: How does the next Microsoft CEO need to think to prove Ballmer’s assertion that “Microsoft has all its best days ahead”?
In this episode, TechnoPolitics asks Forrester Senior Analyst TJ Keitt to offer advice to Microsoft’s next CEO to avoid looming extinction and thrive in the post-PC era. Might an IBM-style divestiture strategy might be in the cards? Listen to find out.
Before joining Forrester, I ran my own consulting firm. No matter how ridiculous the problem or how complicated the solution, when a client would ask if I could help, I would say yes. Some people might say I was helpful, but I was in an overconfidence trap. There was always this voice in the back of my mind that would say, “How hard could it be?” Think of the havoc that kind of trap can have on a risk management program. If any part of the risk program is qualitative, and you are an overconfident person, your risk assessments will be skewed. If you are in an overconfidence trap, force yourself to estimate the extremes and imagine the scenarios where those extremes can happen. This will help you understand when you are being overconfident and allow you to find the happy medium.
Have you ever padded the budget of a project “just to be safe”? I hate to tell you this, but you are in the prudence trap. By padding the project budget, you are anticipating an unknown. Many other managers in your company may be using the same “strategy.” But the next time you do a project like this, you will pad the budget again, because the inherent uncertainty is still there. The easiest way to keep your risk management program out of the prudence trap is to never adjust your risk assessments to be “on the safe side,” There is nothing safe about using a psychological trap to predict risk.
I recently spoke with metaio, an augmented reality solutions provider based in Munich, Germany. The company develops both enterprise- and consumer-oriented augmented reality solutions for smartphones, tablets, and -- increasingly -- for Google Glass.
Although metaio creates augmented reality applications for a wide variety of usage scenarios – enterprise tools to assist assembly lines, factory floors, design studios, and consumer shopping experiences for IKEA and Macy’s – I’m particularly struck by the potential of augmented reality for use by sales reps.
SCENARIO 1: AUGMENTED REALITY AS A SALES ENABLEMENT TOOL
At their best, augmented reality tablet applications can reshape the entire sales process. Metaio created an app for Mitsubishi Electric Cooling and Heating to create a new interaction model between salesperson and homeowner. Prospective buyers considering Mitsubishi’s mini-split, ductless central air systems must install wall-mounted units in various rooms of their home. “The number one question prospective buyers ask is, ‘what is that unit going to look like on my wall’?” said Sudhanshu Kapoor, Business Development Manager at metaio.
Using the augmented reality app with an Apple iPad, homeowners receive a vivid representation of what the unit will look like, as this video demonstrates.
Results: (1) A richer customer experience during the sales cycle. (2) Allayed fears among buyers who worry what the units will look like. (3) A faster sales cycle, performed on site. (4) Higher close rates and revenues. (5) Lower printing costs for sales collateral.
According to Forrester’s Forrsights Combined Budgets and Business Decision-Makers Survey, Q4 2012, 61% of Asia Pacific (AP) organizations are currently using or actively planning to implement software-as-a-service (SaaS) for collaboration, which puts AP adoption ahead of both North America and Europe (see the figure below). I believe that the increased rate of adoption of cloud-based collaboration services is mainly due to three key factors:
The consumerization of IT, changing social behaviors, and AP end user communication preferences are compelling organizations to consider deploying enterprise collaboration solutions. To this end, cloud collaboration services are gaining traction among organizations seeking to extend collaboration capabilities to their employees, while also minimizing the costs associated with both hardware and operational expenditures.
The easy provisioning and simplified maintenance of cloud-based collaboration services allows organizations to quickly operationalize new sites and individual accounts with minimal IT effort.
The strong focus from service providers like Orange Business Services and Verizon Business in building and strengthening their regional capabilities in cloud collaboration services is leading to an abundance of service options for customers that are competitively priced and packaged to align with their requirements.
The untimely demise of Nirvanix has left over 1,000 customers scrambling to migrate data off of the cloud storage service provider and with a short two-week timeframe to save their data. While providers have gone to great lengths to make data import into the cloud easy by eliminating data ingest fees, large data sets in the cloud are difficult to retrieve or migrate to a new target. The recent example with Nirvanix highlights why customers should also consider exit and migration strategies as they formulate their cloud storage deployments.
One of the most significant challenges in cloud storage is related to how difficult it is to move large amounts of data from a cloud. While bandwidth has increased significantly over the years, even over large network links it could take days or even weeks to retrieve terabytes or petabytes of data from a cloud. For example, on a 1 Gbps link, it would take close to 13 days to retrieve 150 TB of data from a cloud storage service over a WAN link.
To minimize risks in cloud storage deployments and facilitate a graceful exit strategy (just in case things go sour), I recommend customers take the following steps:
Good customer service is the result of the right attention to strategy, business processes, technology, and people management. This series of seven blog posts focuses on customer service technology and explains the what, why, how, and when technology questions.
Part 1 reviewed the customer service technology ecosystem.
Part 2 reviewed the challenges caused by the complexity of this technology ecosystem.
Part 3 reviewed the tactical outcomes of poor customer service.
Let’s now focus on how the customer service ecosystem is changing.
The customer service vendor landscape is consolidating. Nice Systems, Oracle, salesforce.com, and SAP are just a few examples of leading customer service solution vendors that have aggressively acquired other vendors in order to support consistent, effortless multichannel customer service experiences. For example, in 2011, Oracle acquired InQuira, a leading knowledge management solution. In 2012, it acquired RightNow Technologies, a cloud CRM vendor that emphasizes customer experience and contact center technology. RightNow had gone through its own series of acquisitions prior to this, acquiring Q-Go, a natural-language search vendor, and HiveLive, a social media monitoring vendor. These acquisitions are happening because customer service leaders want a simpler, single-vendor technology solution to manage, instead of having to buy, integrate, and manage disparate systems from a number of vendors.