On April 23, IBM rolled out the long-awaited POWER8 CPU, the successor to POWER7+, and given the extensive pre-announcement speculation, the hardware itself was no big surprise (the details are fascinating, but not suitable for this venue), offering an estimated 30 - 50% improvement in application performance over the latest POWER7+, with potential for order of magnitude improvements with selected big data and analytics workloads. While the technology is interesting, we are pretty numb to the “bigger, better, faster” messaging that inevitably accompanies new hardware announcements, and the real impact of this announcement lies in its utility for current AIX users and IBM’s increased focus on Linux and its support of the OpenPOWER initiative.
OK, so we’re numb, but it’s still interesting. POWER8 is an entirely new processor generation implemented in 22 nm CMOS (the same geometry as Intel’s high-end CPUs). The processor features up to 12 cores, each with up to 8 threads, and a focus on not only throughput but high performance per thread and per core for low-thread-count applications. Added to the mix is up to 1 TB of memory per socket, massive PCIe 3 I/O connectivity and Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI), IBM’s technology to deliver memory-controller-based access for accelerators and flash memory in POWER systems. CAPI figures prominently in IBM’s positioning of POWER as the ultimate analytics engine, with the announcement profiling the performance of a configuration using 40 TB of CAPI-attached flash for huge in-memory analytics at a fraction of the cost of a non-CAPI configuration.[i]
A Slam-dunk for AIX users and a new play for Linux
It’s been an interesting few weeks for Microsoft. XP has gone off Support and left many clients exposed to security risks. At the same time, the US Government has just warned all users to avoid using Internet Explorer (IE) versions 6 to 11 as they say that there is a serious flaw that hackers are already apparently exploiting.
Against this backdrop, Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s newly minted CEO, joined Microsoft’s recent earnings call to talk about the ‘courage’ they will exhibit as they move forward. Let’s hope that courage includes supporting clients who find themselves in difficulty from product flaws.
Microsoft reported earnings were $6.97 billion on revenue of $20.4 billion; this is roughly flat with a year ago. But this third quarter fiscal 2014 earnings call might be more memorable for the fact that the company's CEO was on the call than for anything about the earnings report itself. Nadella spent an hour on the analyst call on April 24 talking Microsoft strategy and answering Wall Street analyst questions. That's something former CEO Steve Ballmer rarely did.
While Nadella didn't make any major announcements, he did drop a few hints that might tell us more about his plans and where Microsoft may be going.
"What you can expect of Microsoft is courage in the face of reality, we will approach our future with a challenger mind set," Nadella told analysts. Here are a few challenges that spring to my mind; cumbersome and sometimes conflicting contractual paperwork, product divisions working in isolation from each other, Google and IBM competing hard in the email/collaboration/cloud space, having to cut Azure prices to more closely align to Apple and Amazon, and a frustratingly slow start in the tablet space.
Google Glass is finally being explicitly positioned for enterprise usage -- a concession to the great interest found in many vertical industries (and also among developers who sell to those industries) for using Glass to attract, retain, and serve customers. We'd predictedthis trend and have been helping clients in a variety of contexts to design their own enterprise wearables strategies.
For the healthcare vertical, SAP posted a video that has been little seen -- but which deserves more attention -- that helps illustrate some of the detailed usage cases for Google Glass in a hospital context. SAP's HANAplatform (about which you can read more via my colleagues Andrew Bartels and Paul Hammermanhere or Noel Yuhannahere) empowers a nurse to complete all the tasks in her rounds:
With video rapidly becoming the dominant content type on enterprise networks the issues being faced in the media market foreshadow the coming challenges for the rest of the market. And use of the cloud was very much in focus at the 2014 National Association of Broadcasters conference held in Las Vegas in the second week of April.
Here we present ten issues the media industry faces as it more broadly embraces the cloud, as observed first-hand at NABShow 2014. These ten issues show how going cloud changes how you think (planning), act (workflow), and engage (distribute). For Forrester clients there is a new companion report to this blog detailing what the industry is doing to address these challenges and how you can follow suit:
I’ve just published a report on CMO tech spending trends in India and what these trends mean for CIOs in the country. We found that Indian CMOs’ top two business priorities are addressing the rising expectations of customers and acquiring and retaining customers; 87% and 85%, respectively, of those we surveyed indicated that these are a critical or high priority. Interestingly, Indian CMOs’ business priorities echo those of Indian CIOs: 87% of Indian CIOs previously surveyed by Forrester cited addressing rising customer expectations as their organization’s top business priority (figure below).
Despite these common goals, our findings reveal that Indian CMOs are driving their own tech agendas by:
Accelerating the growth of their tech budgets. 62% of the Indian CMOs we surveyed plan to increase their technology budget in 2014, whereas just 41% of them actually managed to do so in 2013.
Establishing their own technology departments. Forrester estimates that 30% to 40% of CMOs in India have no working relationship with their CIOs. About 40% of marketing leaders are gravitating toward establishing a technology department within marketing.
Getting more involved in planning sourcing strategy and selecting marketing technology vendors. About half of the surveyed CMOs get involved in setting the overall sourcing strategy, aggregating demand for technology products or services, and selecting vendors to meet their requirements.
On April 8, 2014, Microsoft stopped technical support for Windows XP; XP customers will no longer receive security or technical updates, hotfixes, or free or paid assistance. Microsoft statistics show that around 25% of PCs in Asia Pacific still run XP. Asia Pacific enterprises haven’t migrated away from XP because:
Technology management departments didn’t communicate the need well enough and thus have not received the necessary funding to migrate to Windows 7 or 8.
Many firms rely on legacy applications that run on XP and are often incompatible with the latest versions of Windows. For example, an Australia-based oil and gas exploration firm faced application compatibility issues when migrating from XP to Windows 7.
Some enterprises underestimated the work required to migrate to a new OS and are still halfway through their project.
The public cloud services market exited 2013 with $58 billion in revenues according to Forrester estimates. Strong growth and maturity over the past three years since our last forecast has put fuel in its tank which will push this market to $191 billion by 2020.
While the last several years can best be characterized as exploratory for most enterprises, cloud services and cloud platforms are now an undeniable part of the IT landscape. And based on Forrester enterprise CIO inquiries, the shift has begun from exploration of cloud as a potential option, to rationalization of cloud services within the overall IT portfolio. And this shift to the second stage of technology adoption yields significantly higher market revenues than the exploratory phase. Clearly the bulk of this market’s revenues come from Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions which accounted for $36 billion in revenue in 2013. This segment of the market is significantly more mature and well established in several application categories. Cloud platforms, led by Amazon Web Services LLC, were only collectively $4.7 billion last year but are maturing quickly thanks to stronger recent solutions from traditional IT partners IBM, HP and Microsoft. Drilling into the key market segments we see:
The I&O role continues to notably evolve from a mere IT role to becoming a BT -- Business Technology -- role. This means taking an increasingly role in empowering customer-facing technologies. And as I&O pros shift toward becoming customer enablers, you should begin to closely track -- and to pilot -- a number of emerging technologies that can help your company attract, retain, and serve customers. Currently, myriad solutions exist; as one start-up vendor told me, "there are so many new technologies out there, it's hard for buyers to decide where to place their bets, so we just try to get our products into trial to prove the value." While the number of these technologies (and their vendors) is great, they tend to share one or more of the following characteristics. As you read the list, ask yourself the question associated with each factor:
Hyper-local. Are you experimenting with technologies that engage customers on a highly geographic (e.g. within 1 foot) basis? (Example: iBeacon)
Targeted. Are you piloting any technologies that can customize customer engagement based on who they are or what they feel? (Example: Facial Recognition)
Most apps are dead boring. Sensors can help add some zing. Sensors are data collectors that measure physical properties of the real-world such as location, pressure, humidity, touch, voice, and much more. You can find sensors just about anywhere these days, most obviously in mobile devices that have accelerometers, GPS, microphones, and more. There is also the Internet of Things (IoT) that refers to the proliferation of Internet connected and accessible sensors expanding into every corner of humanity. But, most applications barely use them to the fullest extent possible. Data from sensors can help make your apps predictive to impress customers, make workers more efficient, and boost your career as an application developer.
Apple's reported earnings revealed a strong product mix contrast: iPhone sales increased 17% in units and 14% in revenues, while iPad sales decreased 16% in units and 13% in revenues. What accounts for this contrast? Is the iPad's growth trajectory broken?
Simply put, the iPhone's addressable market has only continued to increase with Apple's continued international expansion. Only recently, for example, has Apple broken out in Japan (still the world's third-largest economy); only a few months after releasing the 5S and 5C across all three of Japan's largest carriers, iPhone models made up 9 of the top 10 phones sold. And for iPhone, unlike iPad, the route to sales comes through carrier relationships -- of which Apple has landed more recently.
By contrast, the iPad's year-over-year results lagged because:
Price competition in tablets has been fierce. With Android tablets under $200 now commonplace -- including Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 and Amazon Kindle Fire HDX -- Apple's premium pricing is catching up to it.
Replacement rates are lower than expected. Why are prices catching up to iPad now? Because replacement rates haven't been as quick as with iPhone. The pace at which people purchase smartphones is quicker than that of iPads, even among the Apple faithful. This means that Apple is seeking an ever expanding market -- people without tablets. For later adopters, who didn't see the big deal early on, price matters more than for earlier adopters.