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We just had another of our regular cloud research meetings at Forrester. In these meetings, we cut across our research organization to examine cloud computing from every angle.
Compared with even just a year ago, it's amazing how important and pervasive cloud computing analysis (as opposed to cloud computing guesswork) has become in our research calendar.
You can see the existing cloud/*aaS research here and our planned research here. As the meeting host, I mostly listen, probe, and take notes, but ocassionally I get to jump in with a thought.
To wit: We are often asked about whether cloud-based collaboration (email, team sites, instant messaging, Web conferencing, social computing, etc.) works best on multi-tenant, dedicated solutions, or both. The answer is both, but trending towards multi-tenant. Our clients are interested in both multi-tenant and single-tenant or dedicated cloud solutions -- as long as the price is right.
The future of cloud-based collaboration is clearly multi-tenant for two economic reasons:
1. Multi-tenant enables the fundamental economic benefits of a shared resource. We can see this in the price war going on in email right now -- a 50% price cut in the last 12 months with multi-tenant cloud email. The floor on email cost keeps dropping, fueled by the better economics of multi-tenant solutions and high capacity utilization.
The First Case Study in the Series About "How to Deploy Customer Service Social Media!"
If you have been following this blog, you might remember that I posted this a while back. But with the new year here, I thought it might be good to repeat some of the case studies while adding new ones... just in case you missed them or in case you wanted a refresher as you start down the path of providing a solution to your company social media needs!
When I published the ROI of customer service social media, everyone had asked me - who is doing social media and what are they doing. To help those who haven't started down the social media path, I put together the 5 Best Practices of customer service social media. That doc is chocked full of ideas you can use today. And to provide more details on how companies have accomplished their goals for social media, I also decided to publish a bunch of case studies! ACT! is the first of many! I hope it helps you to get a better idea of how valuable social media is and its bottom-line affects!
Who is Sage and What Did They Want to Accomplish With Social Media?
Software vendors like to claim that their sales proposals are highly confidential, For Your Eyes Only or even, if you prefer the Coen brothers to Bond, Burn After Reading. I help dozens of clients every year with software negotiations, but I cant do that unless they share with me the vendor’s proposal, including price details and contract terms. Many clients are reluctant to do this, worried that doing this might break confidentiality clauses in their agreement.
Were your hopes for growing adoption of green IT dashed by the non-agreement at COP 15 in Copenhagen? Are you dismayed by the weak prospects for cap-and-trade legislation in the US during 2010? Forrester's latest Green IT survey results give us some reason for optimism -- it turns out that regulatory compliance is a weak motivation for companies' pursuit of more sustainable computing operations.
When we asked IT practitioners at 600 enterprises around the world about their top motivations for pursuing green IT operations, regulatory compliance was the 7th-most frequently cited reason, with just 16% of respondents. What's at the top? Cost and cost. Reducing energy expenses (66%) and reducing other IT operating expenses (42%) have been the strongest drivers for green IT since we began our survey work on this topic in 2007. See the full survey results in our latest Green IT Market Overview report, here.
So fear not, even in the absence of significant regulatory or policy moves this year, good old-fashioned business motivators like profitability and customer demand will continue to push companies to adopt more sustainable processes and practices -- in their IT organization and beyond.
A hot topic of debate among customer management and business process thought leaders right now is ascertaining the business value of "social CRM." Social technologies are proliferating rapidly and three-quarters of US online adults now use social technologies in some form. Cutting through all the hype, my clients are challenged to make hard decisions about the level of investment they should make in Social Computing technologies like blogs, wikis, forums, customer feedback tools, social networking sites, and customer community platforms. And they want to know how these new capabilities should be, and can be, integrated with their transactional CRM systems.
We have just published a summary of our research and define the seven steps to success for strategizing, selecting, and deploying social CRM solutions:
Initiate social CRM experiments immediately. Define a near-term opportunity to apply social CRM ideas to a customer-facing challenge at your company. Build some practical experience that will break out of your of old mindsets. Refine your strategies later as new insights emerge. For example, 10 years ago, Electronic Arts recognized that could not cope with the anticipated tenfold increase in customer support inquiries as the result of launching large-scale online multiplayer games. No commercial solutions were available to help at the time, so Electronic Arts began experimenting and developing its own solutions. Trying new ideas and discarding the old, EA actively worked to gain hands-on experience by actively participating in the virtual worlds of its social game players.
In this podcast, Clay Richardson walks through five key challenges that process professionals need to address to be successful with business process management in 2010. Topics include lean principles and lean thinking, effectively connecting process initiatives with value drivers, the importance of data, and process-based management.
Details such as product integration and go-to-market strategy will trickle out slowly of course, but so far, this is a significant deal for a couple of reasons:
Archer fills a substantial void in EMC’s product offering, which included many elements of GRC, but no central platform to pull it all together.
EMC will introduce the Archer products to a much larger set of potential customers...most notably as a platform to manage security and compliance, but also to customers with requirements for related areas like vendor management or business continuity.
It brings another IT heavy-weight fully into the GRC space, with substantial engineering resources to work on product development (but only if Archer continues to be seen as a top priority within RSA).
As we watch this acquisition come together, as well as other upcoming announcements that will make the GRC space even more competitive, here are a few questions to consider:
Most people know Intel as a provider of microprocessor for large manufacturers like Apple, Dell and HP. A large portion of their business is driven by the elaborate network of customers - resellers, partners, etc.. from around the globe. To remain innovative Intel must enroll, engage, and entertain the most brilliant minds to continue to push the boundaries of technology. They realized the ability to collect and harness the power of that collective wisdom would be best served by social media.
The Old Way Of Doing Business. In the past they had used traditional focus groups, where engineers, scientists and business people would gather from around the globe and spend a week or so together, creating new possibilities. What they found was that ,in addition to the expense of flying people from all over the globe, while the conversations were great -- they were more difficult to keep ongoing conversations as the same level of creativity and intensity. Once back at home, the everyday work/home life catches up with everyone. And they clearly saw the need and desire of the collective wisdom to be in more continuous conversations.
Intel decided to use social media as a platform to look at key business factors and sustain these conversations on a continuing basis. Intel engaged key customers in open discussion about how to improve their customer experience. First they found a need for customer's to be able to contact Intel quickly and securely to discuss product or process issues or ideas. And second, Intel found that the customers wanted the ability to engage with each other without involvement from Intel. Of course, privacy and security were of the utmost importance!
Intel began by evaluating the customer experiences, its methods of being in communication with its customers and its ability to target and engage customers and maximize effective, relevant, just-in-time communications.
Cloud computing, on-demand solutions, subscription fees… software licensing is undergoing significant changes. Enforced by the current economic crises with tight IT budgets, companies don’t have the money to pay upfront licenses and are reluctant to take financial risks over many years when purchasing software. A key factor of the current growth of cloud computing is its financial benefits: no capital expenditures, no upfront financial risk, no depreciation and nothing on the balance sheet! But pay-by-use licensing models are not necessarily limited to cloud deployment models and can be applied to more traditional implementations as well.
Traditional software licensing with upfront payments has served vendors well over the last 40 years. However, over time vendors had to face significant disadvantages as well. The pressure to successfully close quarter by quarter and the fiscal year has led to a common practice by customers to push decisions until year end for a special deal. Discounts up to 80% became not uncommon in the software business. Another problem is the revenue volatility in difficult economic times. In 2009 many software companies had to face a decline in new license revenues of 10 to 25%. Without the constant stream of maintenance revenues many software companies would be facing severe financial problems today.