Boost Customer Obsession With Business Technology

Eveline Oehrlich

Welcome to the age of the customer!

To quickly recap: this is the age where digitally empowered customers are driving firms to become customer-obsessed, digital businesses that apply customer-led, insights-driven, fast, and connected technology. You may be asking “What does this have to do with me and my responsibility in Infrastructure and Operations?” To answer in brief, your CIO and technology management organization play central roles in making your firm customer obsessed because:

  • Technology enables dramatic business transformation.Customer-obsessed digital businesses exploit digital technologies to create new customer value and increase operational agility in service of customers. Companies that understand how to master these challenges are driving digital transformation to become digital predators. Forrester predicts that by 2020, every business will be either a digital predator or digital prey.
  • Customer-led business value drives technology investments. Tech management organizations must understand, manage, and communicate technology’s role in delivering customer-obsessed outcomes like digital customer experience. Technology executives responsible for service design and delivery must minimize the cost of MOOSE (spending to maintain and operate the tech organization, systems, and equipment) for ongoing operations, deliver the agreed quality of service, and shift investments to customer-obsessed innovation. Only 14% of budgets for new IT initiatives and projects support sell-side business operations.
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2017 Predictions: Big Data, Digital, and Virtual Care Key to Engage Healthcare’s Empowered Consumer

Kate McCarthy

The healthcare industry is changing rapidly as its consumers begin to demand more of the organizations from whom they receive care and insurance. Not only are healthcare consumers sharing more financial risk for the insurance and care they receive, but they are increasingly purchasing insurance outside of group contracts via exchanges or Medicare and Medicaid programs. In 2015, we saw the first big signal that the health insurance industry is pivoting from B2B to B2C-whether they’re ready or not-as the percent of business served by group contracts dropped to 48%. Providers and payers continue to struggle to understand what engages the healthcare consumer. As they seek to win, serve and retain these customers, they will need the tools, people, and culture to crack that code and master patient and consumer engagement.

Forrester sees three big, highly visible trends accelerating in 2017: 1) continued adoption of big data technologies to ingest and derive useful, high-quality, and cost-impacting insights, 2) expanding investments in digital experience to achieve more engagement and satisfaction, and 3) virtual care investments continue to grow to serve future demand. We believe these investments are necessary to win, serve, and retain healthcare's empowered consumer, because:

  1. Mastery of unstructured data will deliver customer insight.  Payers and providers must integrate unstructured data to derive patient and customer insight. Providers, particularly, should start taking advantage of health clouds.  And they should begin to apply cognitive offerings to pull more insight from their data. 
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Meet The Digital Architects Of Your Technology Strategy

Ted Schadler
When Jeffrey Hammond, Mark Grannan, Adrian Chapman, and I dove into our most recent developer survey, we unearthed a fascinating group of developers we call "digital architects." This group aspires to set architectural direction, deploys open source software across four or more technology areas, and uses three or more types of cloud services (see the figure). 
 
  • One in 11 enterprise developers. Only 9% of the developers in North America and Europe are digital architects. This small segment is an elite and attractive group, with particular enthusiasm for technology and, as we'll see, for digital innovation and customer engagement.
  • More likely to work at fast-growing companies. More than half of digital architects — 53% — work at companies growing at double-digit rates. You'll find them in all three sectors of the software business: enterprises, software vendors, and service providers.
  • Younger than the rest. Almost three-quarters of digital architects are younger than 45, and 30% are younger than 35. That means these technologists came of age during the internet and smartphone era. They think digital because they know nothing else.
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Boost Digital Business With The Internet Of Things

Charlie Dai

The rise of mobile networks, improved wireless tech, and rapid sensor innovation over the past 10 years has enabled companies to use internet-connected sensors and actuators to improve business operations and transform products. The ever-increasing number of connected devices is opening up new business models and new opportunities for both tech vendors and end users; as a result, IoT is becoming an essential cornerstone of the business technology agenda. Enterprise architecture professionals must define a holistic IoT software architecture to navigate through the complex technology landscape.

I’ve recently published two reports focusing on how to architect the IoT software stack. These reports analyze the heat maps and trends around IoT adoption in China and introduce Forrester’s IoT technology stack reference architecture. They also show EA pros how to achieve strategic business outcomes and unleash the power of digital business by analyzing the IoT practices of visionary Chinese firms. Some of the key takeaways:

  • Successful IoT initiatives yield substantial business value. Outstanding IoT initiatives achieves strategic outcomes, such as competitive differentiation, customer experience enhancement, and asset performance optimization. Chinese companies have successfully launched IoT initiatives to establish their digital business in various industries, including energy, automotive, logistics, and manufacturing.
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Forrester Predictions: Ten Key Developments In Cloud Computing Shape The Industry In 2017

Charlie Dai

I’m pleased to announce that Forrester’s cloud computing predictions for 2017 published this morning!

Check out Predictions 2017: Customer-Obsessed Enterprises Launch Cloud’s Second Decade. Our cloud team has gathered 10 key developments in cloud computing that will shape this industry in 2017 — and what you should do about them today.

Cloud computing has been the most exciting and disruptive force in the tech market in the last decade, and it will continue to disrupt traditional computing models at least through 2020. Starting in 2017, large enterprises will move to cloud in a big way, and that will supercharge the market. We predict that the influx of enterprise dollars will push the global public cloud market to $236 billion in 2020, up from $146 billion in 2017.

Cloud platforms from the global megacloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Salesforce, Oracle, CenturyLink, and SAP will set the pace, accelerating adoption of private cloud and hosted private cloud as well. In 2017, you need to:

  • Get your private cloud and SaaS strategy in shape in 2017 — start now!
  • Educate yourself about exciting developments in hyperconverged infrastructure, security, networking, and containers.
  • Take a fresh look at your regional and industry-specific cloud providers — specialization is afoot.
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Artificial Intelligence: Fact, Fiction. How Enterprises Can Crush It

Mike Gualtieri

Forrester surveyed business and technology professionals and found that 58% of them are researching AI, but only 12% are using AI systems. This gap reflects growing interest in AI, but little actual use at this time. We expect enterprise interest in, and use of, AI to increase as software vendors roll out AI platforms and build AI capabilities into applications. Enterprises that plan to invest in AI expect to improve customer experiences, improve products and services, and disrupt their industry with new business models.

But the burning question is: how can your enterprise use AI today to crush it? To answer this question we first must bring clarity to the nebulous definition of AI.Let’s break it down further:

■        “Artificial” is the opposite of organic. Artificial simply means person-made versus occurring naturally in the universe. Computer scientists, engineers, and developers research, design, and create a combination of software, computers, and machine to manifest AI technology.

■        “Intelligence” is in the eye of the beholder.  Philosophers will have job security for a very long time trying to define intelligence precisely. That’s because, intelligence is much tougher to define because we humans routinely assign intelligence to all matter of things including well-trained dachshunds, self-driving cars, and “intelligent” assistants such as Amazon Echo. Intelligence is relative. For AI purists, intelligence is more akin to human abilities. It means the ability to perceive its environment, take actions that satisfy a set of goals, and learn from both successes and failures. Intelligence among humans varies greatly and so too does it vary among AI systems.

Temper Your Expectations, But Don’t Give Up On AI

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Blockchain And IoT: Not Ready For Primetime, But Now’s The Time To Start

Martha Bennett

Few would disagree that for IoT to live up to its promises, devices will sooner or later need to communicate directly, autonomously and securely with each other. Well-architected blockchain-based systems can help deliver those requirements, but they’re not available or even feasible today. In many ways, that’s a good thing, because it opens up great opportunities to get things right.

So let's start by looking at the challenges that IoT and blockchain ecosystems participants must address. They fall into three broad categories:

  • Technology.  IoT solutions need technology that scales, is secure, and behaves predictably (at least to the degree required by the individual use case). All of these characteristics comprise many different elements. On the security front, for example, there’s the security of the device itself, the security of the actual blockchain, and the security of any interfaces between the devices and the chain, the chain and any other systems, etc. One only needs to look at the incidents such as The DAO debacle of early summer 2016, the Bitfinex hack in August, and the DDoS attacks mounted by IoT devices in October to realize that this remains work in progress. And that’s just security; there are plenty of other issues, including, but not limited to, exception handling, ensuring confidentiality, or dealing with devices that may not be connected all the time, and likely have little on-board compute power or storage.  
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Forrester Predictions: Ten Key Developments In Cloud Computing Shape The Industry In 2017

Dave Bartoletti

I'm pleased to announce that Forrester’s cloud computing predictions for 2017 published this morning!

Check out Predictions 2017: Customer-Obsessed Enterprises Launch Cloud’s Second Decade. Our cloud team has gathered ten key developments in cloud computing that will shape this industry in 2017 — and what you should do about them today.

Cloud computing has been the most exciting and disruptive force in the tech market in the last decade, and it will continue to disrupt traditional computing models at least through 2020. Starting in 2017, large enterprises will move to cloud in a big way, and that will super-charge the market. We predict the influx of enterprise dollars will push the global public cloud market to $236B in 2020, up from $146B in 2017.

Cloud platforms from the global megacloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Salesforce, Oracle, Centurylink and SAP will set the pace, accelerating adoption of private cloud and hosted private cloud as well. In 2017, you need to:

  • Get your private cloud and SaaS strategy in shape in 2017 — start now!
  • Educate yourself about exciting developments in hyperconverged infrastructure, security, networking, and containers.
  • Take a fresh look at your regional and industry-specific cloud providers — specialization is afoot.
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Blockchain’s Potential For IoT Solutions

Dan Bieler

“IoT is not a feasible concept without a solution that allows for the direct interaction between machines and devices. Blockchain is a technology that can help to unlock this piece of the puzzle.”

Matthew Spoke, CEO, Nuco

Blockchain technology and the IoT both are currently catching the imagination of many interested stakeholders — for good reasons. For IoT to come into its own in the long run, devices sooner or later will have to communicate directly between each other. More than that, they must also be able to initiate further action without waiting for external instructions.

Blockchain can potentially add many benefits to IoT scenarios. Both — IoT and blockchain — are based on decentralized, distributed approaches; in combination, they potentially offer huge benefits from operational efficiencies to revenue generation. While these benefits will not emerge overnight, business and technology leaders need to acquaint themselves now with the possibilities as well as the challenges of blockchain technology in the IoT context, because:

  • Conceptually, blockchain technology is a good match for IoT scenarios. IoT applications are by definition distributed and call for devices to interact directly with each other rather than via existing centralized models.
  • Blockchain has the potential for improved IoT features, cost-efficiency, and compliance. Blockchain is not an end in itself, but forms the basis for applications, including potentially smart contracts, which support specific IoT processes.
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Predictions 2017: CEOs Invest Billions To Transform Operations With Digital Tech

Nigel Fenwick
You've been creating digital customer experiences for years now. You've built a successful app. You’ve assembled a martech/adtech stack. You may even have started swinging at omnichannel delivery or harnessed AI or piloted a connected product. So it’s time to declare victory on digital transformation, right? 
 
Think again.
 
Digital customer experiences are only the shining faces of a digital business. Those pretty faces quickly lose their luster unless you’ve also transformed your business operations to make them better every single day -- and introduce new digital faces all the time. We call this capability "digital operational excellence." It’s the 80 in the 80/20 rule of digital transformation. In our latest report, Predictions 2017: In Digital Transformation, The Hard Work Of Operational Excellence Begins,  my co-authors Ted SchadlerMartin Gill and I give Forrester's predictions for the next year in digital business, including these three:
 
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