KPMG-Equaterra highlights Outsourcing Advisor Consolidation

Bill Martorelli

KPMG’s recent acquisition of Equaterra signals some new dynamics in the market for outsourcing advisory services. The acquisition creates an intriguing combination of capabilities encompassing high-level consulting services for tax, supply chain management and IT strategy with Equaterra’s proven outsourcing transaction strengths. Moreover, it confirms a mini-wave of industry consolidation following TPI parent company’s Information Services Group (ISG) acquiring long-time benchmarking specialist Compass (more recently, ISG acquired public sector specialist STA Consulting).  

The mini-wave of consolidation may seem paradoxical given that growth has returned to the outsourcing marketplace. Forrester believes the overall market for such services will grow 7.1% to $254B this year. If the outsourcing market is again growing, why are the winds of industry consolidation blowing? Although the opportunity is broadening, large mega-deals that firms like TPI and Equaterra grew to prominence on are getting scarcer and scarcer. Moreover, clients are taking a more holistic view of outsourcing alongside evaluating shared services and other organizational dynamics, creating the need for a broader value proposition extending beyond transactional services. Although many outsourcing advisory firms have gone down this path with strategy and research services, the KPMG-Equaterra combination creates an unusually strong combination. KPMG, which heretofore had lagged principal competitors PwC and Deloitte in the scale of its outsourcing advisory service, should benefit substantially from the addition of Equaterra’s resources and capabilities.

Please vote in our Unfair Licensing Policies survey

Duncan Jones

As promised in a previous blog post: Which Software Licensing Policy Is The Unfairest Of Them All? , we've launched a survey to find out what sourcing and vendor management professionals think about some common software licensing policies.  This isn't about bashing powerful software companies, but about building a consensus behind a campaign to bring software licensing rules up to date - i.e. protection of innocent buyers, rather than regime change.  I've narrowed an initial list of 30 questionable policies down to this Foul Fifteen of candidates for the (un)coveted "Unfairest" award:

1.       Double charging for external users

2.       Prohibiting or overcharging for anonymous users

3.       Maintenance on shelfware

4.       Counting cores instead of processors

5.       Counting all processors in a server, even if partitioned

6.       Upfront license purchase only, not phased in line with project milestones

7.       Maintenance repricing

8.       Insisting on purchase of all licenses before implementation starts

9.       Product enhancements packaged as new SKU’s

10.   Licensing by deployment, even if unused

11.   Charging for use of modules that customers cannot control or track

12.   Retaining right to change licensing policies at any time

13.   Multiplexing – definition is unclear or too wide

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Japan's Troubles Raise A Red Flag But Don't (Yet) Alter Our Global Tech Market Outlook

Andrew Bartels

With Japan's triple hit of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant dominating newspaper headlines and TV news, I have gotten some questions from clients about the impact of the disaster on the overall tech market.  In general, I think the effects of these disasters on the total 2011 outlook will be small -- at worst, they will hurt tech market growth in Q2 2011 while strengthening growth in Q3 and Q4.  However, that outlook assumes that the problems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex improve or don't worsen.  If that situation turns into a Chernobyl-type disaster that causes permanent evacuations from a multi-mile radius around the plant and possible shutdowns of other nuclear power plants, the impacts on the Japanese economy and on the Japanese tech industry -- not to mention for the people of Japan -- would be very negative, and cause a downward adjustment in our tech market forecast.

The potential impacts of the Japanese disasters show up on both the tech supply side and on the tech demand side, so let's look at both angles. 

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Mobile Cloud Services Present New Vendor Opportunities

Michele Pelino

Enterprises of all sizes are challenged with supporting a wide range of mobile devices and applications. In addition, empowered employees are circumventing the IT organization by purchasing their own mobile devices and downloading applications used for work from mobile app stores sponsored by mobile device manufacturers. Adding to this complexity are the accelerated mobile device release and application update timelines, which often occur in a matter of months, not years. Mobile cloud services are emerging as a method for the corporate IT department to address these challenges, while still maintaining control of the firm’s mobile device and application environment.

Cloud services have been available in a traditional software and hardware arena for the past few years. However, now vendors and service providers in the mobility ecosystem are offering new types of mobile cloud services to help firms simplify and manage the complex mobility landscape. The key characteristics today’s mobile cloud services include:

  • Standardized, on-demand mobile services delivered in a public or private cloud environment. Today’s mobile cloud services tend to focus on helping firms deliver mobile applications. However, mobile cloud service deployment will evolve over time to include other services such as storage, security billing, governance, and reporting capabilities.
  • Mobile cloud services are delivered in an “as a service” manner, and promise to deliver operational savings by only requiring firms to pay for the software, platform, and infrastructure resources used. The software as a service “SaaS” delivery model is commonly used to distribute mobile applications, and infrastructure as a service components include mobile network and storage which can be incorporated into public clouds or private clouds.
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Forrester's IT Forum 2011 Puts You In The Driver Seat

Sharyn Leaver

IT leaders are at a crossroads. To thrive in today's -- and tomorrow's -- rapidly changing digital world, they must move beyond the elusive idea of business and IT alignment, where business leaders are in the driver seat and IT leaders play a supporting and lagging role. Rather than plodding along in alignment, it's time to jump in the copilot seat. It's time to lock arms with their business peers to better serve customers, bring new products to market, and ultimately grow the top line. Our charter for Forrester’s IT Forum 2011 is to help you do just that -- build bridges to new business partners, scale innovative solutions, co-create business and technology strategy, and ultimately help your organization accelerate at the intersection of business and technology.

Forrester's IT Forum 2011But let's be honest. All this talk of linking arms and co-creation may sound good and may be the ticket to your organization's success. But it's hard. Who's to say it will work? And by the way, what's in it for you? That's why Marc Cecere will dedicate IT Forum's opening keynote to exploring future models for IT that will fundamentally change current roles in IT. These models will support greater end user involvement, a larger variety of external suppliers, and the need to break down internal organizational and system silos. He'll also relate that back to what we've learned over the years about why certain IT roles -- like architecture, planning, vendor management, PMO, and security -- often fail (or at least struggle mightily) to arm you with clear steps that will help accelerate your personal career over the next decade.

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Multichannel Customer Service Is Dead. Long Live Agile Service!

Kate Leggett

Multichannel commerce is dead, says fellow analyst Brian Walker in Forbes . The essence of this article is that customers don’t choose to interact with you on a single communication channel from start to finish. They interact with you over the most suitable channel for them at that point in time — which could be their mobile device, or a chat session, or a phone call, or email, or web self-service from their iPad. Brian calls this agile commerce.

I agree that it is an agile world out there. And yet, agility does not stop at commerce — it extends to everything that we do, from buying to receiving marketing offers to customer service. Think, for example, about the process you follow to fix an issue with one of your electronic devices. You may browse a community forum, browse the company’s Facebook page, then their official website, contact an agent who can't help you, tweet about it, get contacted by a better-skilled agent who figures out that you need to purchase a new driver and transfers you to someone who can process your order, which you receive on your mobile phone.

 

An example of agile customer service

 

The point is that a customer does not make a distinction between a sales transaction or a customer service transaction. All they expect is to be able to receive the same customer experience every time they interact with a company, over any communication channel that they use.

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Splintering into mobile

Stephen Powers

I love reading newspapers, and I have a 45-minute train ride to work and that’s perfect for newspaper reading. But the newspaper box at the train station has eaten more than its fair share of my pocket change even when I do have quarters (which is almost never) . And I’m too lazy to get out of my nice warm car on cold mornings and pick up a paper at a convenience store. So these days, I’ve been reading newspaper content on my mobile device of choice (a painfully slow Blackberry).

I’ve noticed a few things about mobile newspaper web sites. First of all, they’re not that great, at least not the ones for the two major Boston papers. They don’t seem to be optimized for the Blackberry. Unnecessary photos slow things down. Navigation is difficult. And the section landing pages don’t always match the print version; for example, sometimes the top story in the sports section is a stale one from two days ago. However, the content’s free – for now - so I guess I can’t kick.

But it made me realize how challenging manage multiple online experiences has become. My colleagues Josh Bernoff and Shar VanBoskirk wrote a great piece about the “splinternet”, which discusses how our online experiences are splintering across multiple devices and touch points. Content and collaboration pros supporting Web content management (WCM) implementations are in for a battle to support mobile Web sites. After speaking with a number of clients about this, the biggest concerns are around:

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Solving The Duplicate Address Book Problem Is One Of The Drivers For Development Of Personal Cloud

Frank Gillett

At yesterday’s HP Summit 2011, CEO Leo Apotheker made a public case for personal cloud — online services that work together to orchestrate and deliver work and personal information across personal digital devices (such as PCs, smartphones, and tablets). For people planning strategy at vendors, what are the implications of personal cloud? End users will need help getting access to their information across their devices seamlessly.

One type of information ripe for help from personal cloud services is contacts or address books. Every person using a mobile phone (251 million in the US, most of which can do email) confronts the issue of how to get all their work and personal contacts into a new mobile phone. Can they simply sync with an existing source? Do they have to export? Or <shudder> re-key them?

We’ve been researching how many people are actually using a sync service or would be interested in using one. The market for contact or calendar sync is vastly underserved today: Only 4% of North American and European information worker respondents (those using a computer 1 hour or more per day) report that they used a website or Internet service that required a login for contact and calendar synchronization, integration, or enhancement for work (Source: Forrsights Workforce Employee Survey, Q3 2010).

Yet, when Forrester asked US consumers whether they identified with the statement, “I have several electronic address books and can't always find the contact I want when I want it,” only 4% chose that as a frustration or concern that they experience with the information they’ve stored in their PCs, devices, online services, or mobile phones (Source: North American Technographics® Omnibus Online Survey, Q4 2010 [US]).

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Forrester's Marketing Forum 2011: Innovating Your Marketing For The Next Digital Decade

JP Gownder

We're only a couple weeks away from Forrester's Marketing Forum 2011, April 5-6 in San Francisco, California. (You can view the event details and sign up to attend here). The theme is "Innovating Your Marketing For The Next Digital Decade," which will help attendees navigate the rapidly changing world of digital experiences. Rapid innovation is creating radical shifts in the methods and media that people use to engage with your company, brand, and products. From connected TVs to Microsoft's Xbox Kinect to tablet PCs to mobile-based location awareness, the panoply of emerging platforms and techniques gives powerful new means of creating rich product experiences and engaging with your customers.

For Consumer Product Strategy professionals, we've focused our sessions around a research theme called Total Product Experience. Developed by the amazing James McQuivey, the Total Product Experience thesis is that digital channels are no longer being used just to deliver marketing messages. Instead, they are swiftly being enlisted to simulate and stimulate product trial and use. Already, using Kinect for Xbox, marketers can enable you to kick the virtual tires of a car; tomorrow, with a tablet PC app, marketers will let you take pictures of yourself and dress your own body in virtual clothes. Welcome to the Era of Experience, a time in which product strategists and product marketers must collaborate to deepen the digital customer relationship and extend the total product experience to create value.

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Two Models Emerge For Customer Service In Facebook - Which Will Win?

Kate Leggett

With customers increasingly using social tools (Facebook tops 500 million users with 41% of Americans having a Facebook page, 7% of Americans use Twitter, and YouTube gets 2 billion views per day), how do you interact with and service your customers where they are spending their time?

Let’s focus on Facebook, as it has the potential to evolve into a shopping and service destination for retailers. Two support models are evolving. One model is to engage in support activities via a separate tab on a Facebook company page. Once a user clicks on this tab, they can engage with a community of peers or a customer service agent without leaving the site. There are vendors, like RightNow, Parature, Genesys, and Get Satisfaction, that offer apps that do just this.

The other Facebook support model that is emerging is one that is based on listening to all conversations happening on a wall, separating the noise from actionable posts, then routing actionable inquiries to a customer service department so that an agent can respond directly to the post — either on Facebook or by engaging the customer over a more appropriate channel — for example, like pushing a chat link to them on Facebook. This is the model that salesforce.com  and LivePerson are advocating.

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