The Forrester Wave™: Agile Business Intelligence Platforms, Q3 2015

Boris Evelson

Consumers (and B2B customers) are more and more empowered with mobile devices and cloud-based, all but unlimited access to information about products, services, and prices. Customer stickiness is increasingly difficult to achieve as they demand instant gratification for their ever changing tastes and requirements. Switching product and service providers is now just a matter of clicking a few keys on a mobile phone. Forrester calls this the age of the customer, which elevates business and technology priorities to achieve:

  • Business agility. Business agility often equals the ability to adopt, react, and succeed in the midst of an unending fountain of customer driven requirements. Agile organizations make decisions differently by embracing a new, more grass-roots-based management approach. Employees down in the trenches, in individual business units, are the ones who are in close touch with customer problems, market shifts, and process inefficiencies. These workers are often in the best position to understand challenges and opportunities and to make decisions to improve the business. It is only when responses to change come from these highly aware and empowered employees, that enterprises become agile, competitive, and successful.

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10 Questions To Help Differentiate Incident Response Service Providers

Rick Holland

I frequently help Forrester clients come up with shortlists for incident response services selection. Navigating the vendor landscape can be overwhelming, every vendor that has consultant services has moved or is moving into the space. This has been the case for many years, you are probably familiar with the saying: "when there is blood in the water." I take many incident response services briefings and vendors don't do the best job of differentiating themselves, the messages are so indistinguishable you could just swap logos on all the presentations.

Early next year, after the RSA Conference, I'm going to start a Forrester Wave on Incident Response services. Instead of waiting for that research to publish, I thought I'd share a few suggestions for differentiating IR providers.

  1. What is their hourly rate? This is typically my first question; I use it as a litmus test to figure out where the vendor sits in the landscape. If the rate is around $200 you are typically dealing with a lower tier provider. Incident response is an area where you get what you pay for. You don't want to have to bring in a second firm to properly scope and respond to your adversaries. 
  2. How many cases have they worked in the previous year? You want to hire an experienced firm; you don't want to work with a consultancy that is using your intrusion to build out the framework for their immature offering. While volume alone shouldn't be the key decision point, it does give you an objective way to differentiate potential providers.
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Are Data Preparation Tools Changing Data Governance?

Michele Goetz

First there was Hadoop. Then there were data scientists. Then came Agile BI on big data. Drum roll, please . . . bum, bum, bum, bum . . .

Now we have data preparation!

If you are as passionate about data quality and governance and I am, then the 5+-year wait for a scalable capability to take on data trust is amazingly validating. The era for "good enough" when it comes to big data is giving way to an understanding that the way analysts have gotten away with "good enough" was through a significant amount of manual data wrangling. As an analyst, it must have felt like your parents saying you can't see your friends and play outside until you cleaned your room (and if it's anything like my kids' rooms, that's a tall order).

There is no denying that analysts are the first to benefit from data preparation tools such as Altyrex, Paxata, and Trifacta. It's a matter of time to value for insight. What is still unrecognized in the broader data management and governance strategy is that these early forays are laying the foundation for data citizenry and the cultural shift toward a truly data-driven organization.

Today's data reality is that consumers of data are like any other consumers; they want to shop for what they need. This data consumer journey begins by looking in their own spreadsheets, databases, and warehouses. When they can't find what they want there, data consumers turn to external sources such as partners, third parties, and the Web. Their tool to define the value of data, and ultimately if they will procure it and possibly pay for it, is what data preparation tools help with. The other outcome of this data-shopping experience is that they are taking on the risk and accountability for the value of the data as it is introduced into analysis, decision-making, and automation.

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George Lawrie

Many of your peers with heavy enterprise investment in SAP, are thinking about the business case for HANA.  In this research we looked at different HANA use cases and at early efforts to learn how to run an enterprise by predicting, in real time, the direction of a stream of granular observations, rather than by waiting for period end and then explaining variances from plan :

But now some firms are migrating to Suite on HANA or more correctly SAP Business Suite Powered By HANA in search of digital transformation opportunities such as the ability to manufacture a batch of one or to target a segment of one. More firms are planning to investigate S4HANA to simplify and streamline their data and processes to get in shape for the more intense competition of a more transparent and digitally empowered economy. We looked here at the stages in planning the transitions the skills and help you will need :

Look out for the next in the series in which we investigate HANA scalability.

Enterprise Architecture Awards 2015 – Effectiveness And Innovation Lays The Path To Value

Alex Cullen

One of the winners of this year’s Forrester/Infoworld Enterprise Architecture Awards segmented their EA practice into two disciplines: Innovation Architecture and Effectiveness Architecture. These two words describe the range of winners selected by our judges.

Before I announce the winners, let me tell you about why these two words are significant. The Forrester/Infoworld EA Awards have always sought to uncover programs that impact their business through the insight and value that only EA can provide. But many EA programs struggle with this – and the reason for this struggle lies more in themselves than in their context. Bottom line: They focus on "doing architecture" or on "being smart technical experts." Many talk about being more business-focused but aren’t willing to change their thinking or how they engage with their business.

The five winners of this year’s awards have changed their approach to EA and delivering business impact, and the results show.

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Forrester’s Server-Hosted Virtual Desktop (VDI) Wave Reveals Two Vendors Lead The Pack

David Johnson
With server-hosted virtual desktops (VDI), you take something that used to be a few centimeters from someone's fingertips - their Windows desktop - and move it sometimes thousands of miles away, and you expect them to be okay with that. It’s possible, but choose your technology vendor wisely, because the project’s success will hinge on the end user experience.
It’s not easy to give users an equal or better Windows desktop experience with VDI than they have with their local PC. If they rely on videoconferencing to collaborate with their colleagues, the VDI system has to work with their local webcam and it has to handle the video stream properly so they don’t get choppy voice and video. If they use a tablet, your VDI vendor’s tablet client has to be good, with intuitive touch gestures. There may need to be a way for them to install software, and they may need to use the system over a 4G/LTE network link while traveling.
To do all of these things and more across a wide range of work styles, devices, applications and networks requires sophisticated, expensive capabilities. If you choose your vendor primarily on cost, the solution you get may not have what you need to deliver an acceptable user experience - especially if your business needs change.
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3 Ways To Squeeze Your SAP Maintenance Costs

Mark Bartrick

This is the first post in a series on strategies and tactics for negotiating your licensing agreements with software companies including SAP, Salesforce, and Workday. 

I recently had a call from an unhappy SAP customer moaning about the high costs of SAP’s annual maintenance and questioning whether they are getting good value for the money. I’m afraid that this is not a one-off conversation but something that is popping up regularly these days. The factors leading to the dissatisfaction include:

  • CIOs are keen to shift spend from boring legacy IT like paying maintenance on infrastructure to new, more exciting stuff — what Forrester calls business technology — that help win, serve and retain customers.
  • Hard economic times re-focus procurement’s lens back on to those large chunks of money that vendors want for maintenance.
  • SAP has been increasing maintenance costs to try to get everyone paying 22% of the net license costs each year.
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B2B eCommerce Sites Must Look Beyond "Rogue" Buyers

Duncan Jones

If you’re trying to use e-commerce in a B2B context, it is no longer safe to ignore the procurement role within your customers’ organization. At the moment you may be able to market and sell successfully direct to end-user customers, but not for long. The growing imperative for chief procurement officers (CPOs) to guarantee compliance with various external laws and internal policies is driving a much tougher stance on so-called rogue buying.

I’ve been studying the customer’s side of B2B e-commerce for a number of years. The clients I speak with work in procurement, finance, and the part of I.T. that supports those two functions. One of their most common questions is: “how can I prevent employees buying stuff directly from sell-side websites?” This used to be purely due to concerns about cost—they assumed that their e-procurement application would direct employees to approved suppliers who would, they believed, be the cheapest. Now, however, the bigger issue is supplier risk. Issues such as corporate social responsibility, conflict minerals, corrupt practices, data security, and so on, are forcing CPOs to be much tougher in preventing purchases from unapproved suppliers.

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The Top Tech Trends To Watch: 2016 To 2018 — Should Help Accelerate CIOs’ BT Agenda

Bobby Cameron

CIOs already face significant pressure to understand and respond to digitally empowered customers. And as their firms’ customer experience (CX) focus intensifies, CIOs must bring digital into the heart of customer engagements — leveraging technology to assure high value end to end across the customer life cycle.

The next wave of tech trends to watch — 2016 to 2018 — support tech management’s move to the heart of digital CX implementation. Today’s mainstream CX investment path has individual organizations making point investments in the latest technology inventions — like social, mobile, big data, cloud, and analytics. But today’s leading firms are delivering solutions that reach end to end across customers’ journeys and across systems that connect the employees who service the customer life cycle. And these trends will accelerate over the next three years.

We see the top tech trends making this shift in three phases from 2016 through 2018:

■        Visionaries will dominate dawning phase trends as they drive point inventions to address specific business organizations’ opportunities.

■        Fast followers will discover the limits of point solutions in the awareness phase and begin to work through the challenges of end-to-end innovation.

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Data Governance and Data Management Are Not Interchangeable

Michele Goetz

Since when did data management and data governance become interchangeable?

This is a question that has both confounded and frustrated me.  The pursuit of data management vendors to connect with business stakeholders, because of the increasing role business units have had in decison making and holding the purse strings to technology purchases, means data governance as a term was hijacked to snuff out the bad taste of IT data projects gone sour. 

The funny thing is, vendors actually began drinking their own marketing Kool-aid and think of their MDM, quality, security, and lifecycle management products as data governance tools/solutions.  Storage and virtualizations vendors are even starting to grock on to this claiming they govern data. Big data vendors jumped over data management altogether and just call their catalogs, security, and lineage capabilities data governance.  

Yes, this is a pet peeve of mine - just as data integration is now called blending, and data cleansing and transformation is now called wrangling or data preparation. But more on that is another blog...

First, you (vendor or data professional) cannot simply sweep the history of legacy data investments that were limited in results and painful to implement under the MadMen carpet. Own it and address the challenges through technology innovation rather than words.

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