The other day, I met with the strategy director of a European telco. Let’s call him Art. We shared an informal discussion about the future of telcos. Personally, I am fairly skeptical about the prospects of telcos to recover ground – in particular in Europe.
Consumers are more concerned about the apps they use and the devices that they have than what connectivity they use, as I outline in the report The Future Of Over-The-Top Services. Forrester’s Customer Experience Index, which measures consumer perceptions of telco services, shows telcos near the bottom of all sector readings.
On the business side, data from Forrester’s Business Technographics® Global Networks And Telecommunications Survey, 2014 shows that business users trust systems integrators and independent solution specialists more than telcos with almost all voice and data service, because they feel that telcos don’t understand their specific business requirements as well.
Add an unfavorable regulatory environment — which, under the umbrella of the net neutrality debate, is about to close the door on commercial relationships regarding quality connectivity between content and network providers — and it becomes difficult to be wildly optimistic about the future of telcos. Yet, this is not where our discussion ended. Art pointed to three major issues where telcos will need shock therapy:
Forrester has just published its annual European Tech Market Outlook (see "At Last, A Tech Market Recovery In Europe"), and we are projecting modest growth of 2.3% in euros in 2014 for European business and government purchases of technology goods and services, with an acceleration to 4.9% in 2015. There are some bright spots in the European tech market:
Spending on technology that supports customer facing processes (e.g,, customer relationship management, marketing automation, mobile applications, eCommerce solutions, Web content management, etc.) will rise by over 10% as firms put priorities on technologies that help them directly win, serve, and retain more empowered customers;
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to sponsor important research in cybersecurity over the next three to five years through the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) process. The US Federal government’s participation in cybersecurity is one of false starts. Members of each of the branches of government have made statements on the need for improved cybersecurity but very little has been done, at least in any public sense, to help the private sector deal with an onslaught of cyberattacks. At the same time, the National Security Agency (NSA) has been actively spying on private sector companies and their customers. This has sent mixed messages.
Encouragingly, the DHS is now making money available to fund research in cybersecurity with the goal of solving some of the toughest cybersecurity issues. The amount of money is small compared to the enormity of the cybersecurity problem, but it is a step in the right direction. This report will focus on what the money funds and what it means to commercial enterprises and their customers. Look for this report to publish in early August.
The last few days have been eventful in the cloud gateway space and should provide I&O organizations more incentive to start evaluating gateways. Yesterday, EMC announced its acquisition of cloud gateway startup TwinStrata which will allow EMC customers to move on-premise data from EMC arrays to public cloud storage providers. Today, Panzura launched a free cloud gateway and their partner Google is adding 2TB of free cloud storage for a year to entice companies to kick the tires on a gateway. Innovation and investment in this area does not appear to be slowing down. CTERA locked in an additional $25 million in VC funding last week to accelerate the sales and marketing efforts to support its cloud gateway and file sync & share products.
Though the cloud gateway market has grown slowly so far, this technology category is about to become mainstream. Cloud Gateways are disruptive since they can facilitate data migration from on-premises to a public cloud storage service to create a true hybrid cloud storage environment. Basically, a cloud gateway is a virtual or physical storage appliance which looks like a NAS or block storage device to users and applications on-premises, but can write data back to a public cloud storage service using the native APIs of that cloud.
A number of use cases have emerged for cloud gateways including:
The enterprise network is the ugly duckling of enterprise technology landscape, looked at disparagingly by CIOs and often ignored by the business. The enterprise network is much less exciting than all the fancy projects like cloud, mobility, and big data.
Yet the enterprise network represents the vital underpinning for all these projects and increasingly evolves into a business-critical asset for companies looking to succeed in the age of the customer. It becomes the nervous system of the digital business. It facilitates deeper customer engagement by connecting manufacturers, sellers, and buyers of products in new ways, and it helps drive more operational efficiencies as it supports closer collaboration and connects previously disjointed assets. For most business leaders, the network infrastructure isn't much more than a utility, such as electricity or plumbing, while most CIOs don't know how to monetize it. This is a business challenge for the connected business as:
The enterprise network enables business success in the age of the customer. Customer engagement, internal collaboration, and the emergence of digital products and services all rely on a quality network infrastructure. Moreover, network data and business intelligence turn the network into an asset for monetization. As a result, the enterprise network no longer functions as a commodity but becomes a key function for success in the age of the customer.
It’s hard to believe almost a year has passed since our last Summits for CIOs in Asia Pacific. Our team is ramping up preparations to this year’s CIO Summit series and I’m looking forward to meet you at the events which will kick off in Sydney on August 14, Singapore on August 19 and Mumbai on August 21. Themed “Beyond IT: Empower Digital Business in the Age of the Customer”, Forrester’s 2014 Summits will focus on the significant shift we’ve seen in CIO’s traditional focus from the design and deployment of internal systems focused on process control to digital products and services for their customers.
Of particular importance on the digital journey are three domains: customer experience, the mobile mind shift and the transformation of big data into actionable business insights. Each of these topics will feature prominently at the Summits with select analysts flown in to delve deeper into how CIOs can overcome some of these challenges through Forrester guidance.
No longer just a science fiction fantasy, holography technology is set to fuel major innovation in both business and consumer applications. Offering superior visual experience and support for interactive and intuitive applications, holography is already being leveraged in various scenarios, while the capabilities are also driving development of innovative applications across multiple industries. For instance, holography is being tested for simulation-aided training applications, as humans tend to notice patterns better when they’re presented in three dimensions. The US Army Research Laboratory collaborated with Zebra Imaging to test the success of digital holography for medical training purposes and found that students retained about 30% more information from holography-enabled training compared with textbook-based training. Holography is being successfully deployed in a variety of contexts. We found that:
Holography is gaining traction across industries. Organizations are deploying holography for a variety of consumer and business applications, ranging from entertainment to design and exploration. Moreover, the technology’s usefulness is being tested for critical applications such as surgery — where it presents images of human organs in an interactive three-dimensional environment that allows the surgeon to manipulate these images in real time, making the procedure less invasive.
Banks and other types of firms in financial services typically like to know the answer to the question: “What are the others doing?” They leverage the answer when, for example, assessing their overall strategic position, planning for the transformation of their application landscape to a more powerful customer-centric approach, or determining the “best” sourcing approach for this transformation.
It is time to update the survey results: Forrester has just started surveying banks in North America, Europe, and further geographies about their major business drivers, the current state of their application landscape, their key issues and concerns, and their plans for the future. At a high level, the survey is designed to answer the question: “What are others doing?” Phrased in a different way, it targets the question: “What are the key trends regarding the transformation of the application landscape in financial services in the Age of the Customer?”
To make this survey successful, Forrester needs your help. If you are working in financial services in any role that is related to financial services business applications, architecture and strategy, please participate in Forrester’s Global Financial Services Architecture Survey 2014. If you have not yet received an email invitation, please contact me – JHoppermann (at) Forrester.com and I ensure that you will receive a link to the online survey.
With the press overhyping 3D printing, virtual reality, and Bitcoin, it’s hard for CIOs to track the startup trends impacting business today. Below are two trends we see startups and their investors focused on, and a future trend we expect to gain interest in the next 12 to 24 months that CIOs should care about.
Self-service business models disrupting industries. Startups are coming up with creative ways to reengineer cumbersome analog business processes with technology. Uber uses cloud, mobile, and analytics to recreate and bypass parts of the taxi/private car value chain. It connects customers directly to drivers, and uses data and analytics to make more efficient use of vehicle capacity. Other examples of startups developing new approaches to old industry processes include Oscar in health insurance and Simple in retail banking. What’s next? As 3D printers and connected products become more mainstream, and digital is further embedded in the physical world, we’ll see entrepreneurs apply self-service to new markets. Sols hopes to shake up orthotics by allowing customers to customize and print custom-insoles on 3D printers.
A few months ago I posted a blog entry entitled: "Containerization vs. Application Wrapping: The Tale Of The Tape." Well... the bout is finally over and a winner has been decided. Using a virtual tape measure, I analyzed the mobile application technology spectrum to determine which technologies are better suited to deployment in the enterprise and why. The results were about what I expected. The fight went right down to the wire and nobody scored a knockout with the winner being decided with a slim margin over the 8 rounds. Here is the judge's score card: