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I recently had a meeting with executives from Tech Mahindra, an Indian-based IT services company, which was refreshing for the both the candor with which they discussed the overall mechanics of a support and integration model with significant components located half a world away, as well as their insights on the realities and limitations of automation, one of the hottest topics in IT operations today.
On the subject of the mechanics and process behind their global integration process, the eye opener for me was the depth of internal process behind the engagements. The common (possibly only common in my mind since I have had less exposure to these companies than some of my peers) mindset of “develop the specs, send them off and receive code back” is no longer even remotely possible. To perform a successful complex integration project takes a reliable set of processes that can link the efforts of the approximately 20 – 40% of the staff on-site with the client with the supporting teams back in India. Plus a massive investment in project management, development frameworks, and collaboration tools, a hallmark of all of the successful Indian service providers.
From a the client I&O group perspective, the relationship between the outsourcer and internal groups becomes much more than an arms-length process, but rather a tightly integrated team in which the main visible differentiator is who pays their salary rather than any strict team, task or function boundary. For the integrator, this is a strong positive, since it makes it difficult for the client to disengage, and gives the teams early knowledge of changes and new project opportunities. From the client side there are drawbacks and benefits – disengagement is difficult, but knowledge transfer is tightly integrated and efficient.
In 2013 enterprises got real about cloud computing. In 2014 we will integrate it into our existing IT portfolios - whether IT likes it or not. The moves by DevOps and line of business aren't going to stop and can't be ignored. So 2014 will be the year IT Ops relents, stops fighting and gets with the program formally by developing real strategies for embracing the cloud, managing cloud-based application deployments and empowering the business to keep being agile. As the Age of the Customer arrives, all the focus shifts to the Systems of Engagement and the agility in refining these critical customer tools. Cloud technologies and services represent the fastest way for the business to reach new buyers and breathe new life into aging applications. In 2014 cloud leverage will be both traditional and disruptive as the business and IT put cloud to work.
Below are the top ten cloud actions we predict will happen in enterprise IT environments in 2014. Recommendations for what Forrester clients should do about these changes can be found here. Our predictions are:
Since 2012, China has become the second-largest economy and third-largest IT market in the world, but IT spending per capita in China is still less than 5% of US. The potential for IT spending growth is obvious in the coming years. For CIOs in China to succeed, they need to go beyond retaining “control” of technologies to focusing on retaining and winning customers.
Forrester recently published its technology predictions for Asia Pacific in 2014, highlighting to technology professionals that the ability to embrace the age of the customer will determine success or failure of an organization. We believe that we have entered “a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.”
In particular, CIOs in China should take note of the following five key 2014 predictions:
Technology spending is slowing down in China and local vendors will gain share. According to my latest China Tech Market Outlook: 2014 report, Forrester estimates that China’s enterprise IT purchases will grow by 6% in 2013, to RMB 698 billion, and a further 8% in 2014, to RMB 752 billion. This is slower than then 11% growth in 2011 and 9% growth in 2012. The new government is focusing on economic reforms to overcome both internal and external challenges. In the meantime, local vendors like Huawei, Inspur, and Lenovo will likely benefit from the NSA/Snowden issue; they will gain share mostly in the hardware space, including server, storage, and networking, in 2014.
Smell that? That’s the smell of digital customer experience delivery technologies converging. Just kidding . . . but closer to the truth, you might be going deaf from the sheer volume of M&A and branding announcements over the past few years. Along with normal versioning announcements, 2013 held two key branding changes. Q1 witnessed Adobe’s shedding of the CQ moniker to adopt “Adobe Experience Manager” and cement its place among the expanding Adobe Marketing Cloud, and Q4 just witnessed salesforce.com’s debut of its “Salesforce1” customer platform.
If you somehow tuned out all of the marketing/sensory overload, I’ll prove this to you another way. No peeking yet . . . OK, open your eyes! (see graphic).
Represented visually, it’s clear that M&A activity in the marketing automation space never even paused after Oracle purchased eloqua last holiday season: Salesforce bought ExactTarget in June, Adobe bought Neolane in July, and Oracle came back for seconds with its Compendium Software grab in October. Commerce continues its three-year hot streak: SAP grabbed hybris in June and Sitecore bought Commerce Server in November. Mobile and social haven’t completely lost their mojo either, as SDL picked up bemoko to further it’s mobile/omnichannel street cred and IBM hoovered up Xtify, a mobile messaging platform, in October.
Choosing digital customer experience solutions isn’t easy for application development and delivery (AD&D) pros, or for their counterparts in the business. Tech pros used to respond to digital business needs by acquiring, say, a web content management or eCommerce system. They may have integrated other software tools to deliver extended capabilities. And it was good.
Fast forward to 2013, and the range of tools to support robust multichannel digital experience is wide and deep. Many different vendors are responding. A new Forrester report cites a number of their offerings as examples of emerging digital customer experience delivery platforms.
In our research, we discover some vendors provide more capabilities; some have fewer. Some build or buy most of their capabilities; others focus on integrating best of breed tools. All represent a range of companies attacking this market by answering a multitude of needs by IT and business customers all seeking to better address their customers through digital channels.
For this report, we identified four market segments plus representative vendors, including:
Web content management-centric platform vendors, such as Acquia, Adobe, Bridgeline Digital, Ektron, HP Autonomy, OpenText, SDL, Sitecore.
eCommerce-centric platforms, which expand upon their transactional foundations, such as Demandware, Digital River, and hybris (an SAP company).
Customers are very comfortable using chat for customer service. Usage rates have risen in the past three years — from 30% in 2009 to 43% in 2012 — and we see this increase in all consumer demographics. Chat also has excellent satisfaction ratings, as it allows customers to quickly get answers to questions with a streamlined agent interaction.
Companies have embraced chat because it delivers quantitative cost savings and better customer satisfaction numbers. Chat also helps optimize agent utilization, improve the consistency of service delivered, and can be used to to selectively target customers for increased sales.
The chat vendor landscape is crowded. We surveyed 20 chat customer service vendors for a recent report, and the number of chat vendors is easily triple this number. Vendor categories span from standalone chat vendors, to online engagement solutions who use chat to personalize interactions, to multichannel customer service vendors and CRM vendors who offer chat as a component of their engagement solutions, to unified queuing and routing vendors which manage chat interactions inline with voice, digital, and social interactions. In addition, different vendors target different deployment sizes, industry verticals, and engagement models. In order to choose the right chat solution for your business, you should ask questions like:
To succeed in the age of the customer, business and IT professionals who support front-office business processes cannot afford failed technology initiatives. But how do you acquire and deploy the appropriate supporting technologies and lead and sustain the necessary organizational changes to be successful?
Knowledge workers have a great deal of control over the tools they use to get their jobs done, and you must convince them of the value of using a new technology tool. The cost of poor adoption is twofold: underutilized investment and unmet business objectives. Driving adoption needs to be a top priority of any customer relationship management (CRM) initiative, and getting there requires skills and resources to drive effective change management.
To understand the prevalence of the risks and pitfalls that AD&D pros need to navigate to achieve a successful CRM technology project, Forrester partnered with CustomerThink to survey 650 individuals who had been involved in a CRM technology project as a business professional in sales, marketing, customer service, or IT within the past 36 months.
According to our respondents, the top "people" challenges when implementing a CRM solution include cultural resistance to adopting new ways of working (45%), difficulties in achieving user adoption (44%), insufficient planning and attention given to change management (42%), and inadequate leadership (38%).
Consumer mobility in India and China is flowing into enterprises. Recent Forrester survey data shows that nearly three in five IT execs and technology decision-makers in these countries — 58% in India and 57% in China — plan to increase their spending on mobile software (including applications and middleware) in 2014.
India has leapfrogged Australia/New Zealand and now leads the Asia Pacific region in terms of expected mobile software spending growth. China has made the biggest move over the past year, jumping from eighth place to second.
We believe that the high growth in mobile software spending in India and China is primarily due to:
ASEAN IT spending will grow by 7% in 2014. A weak global economic recovery and unstable domestic spending led to slower 2013 economic and tech industry growth in China and directly or indirectly affected export-oriented economies in the Pacific and ASEAN. This combined with ongoing structural problems in India and dwindling foreign direct investments in ASEAN to produce slower than expected IT spending growth across Asia Pacific in 2013. Forrester expects IT spending growth in the broader Asia Pacific region to improve slightly in 2014 versus the prior year, with regionwide growth of 4%, while IT spending in ASEAN will grow by about 7%.
Transformation projects are the main drivers of IT spending. Debt levels in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia will continue to be a major source of concern for foreign investors, whose lack of investment will in turn limit growth in these countries. Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia will lead the ASEAN region in terms of IT purchase growth, most of which will come from companies undertaking large IT transformation projects and implementing best practices to improve their competitiveness in a slower, more uncertain economy. Thailand’s ongoing political uncertainty may also affect how IT investments flow into the country, and hence its IT spending growth rate in 2014.
The digital age brings some inherent security risks, like cyberattacks and hacking, that can have a significant impact on governments. The governments of Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, India, and Japan are some of the recent major victims — and the list is growing by the day.
Why are Asia Pacific (AP) governments a soft target for cyberattacks?
Aging, vulnerable infrastructure. Many servers that host critical government websites still run outmoded operating systems and are plagued by problems such as obsolete software and insecure coding, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks. For instance, only a handful of government computers in India use the latest version of Java; more than three-quarters of them are running unsupported versions of the software, which has been a common target for malware since 2010.
Low adoption of advanced security technology coupled with lack of security expertise. Governments still rely on conventional security controls like antivirus, antimalware, and firewalls that are powerless against sophisticated attacks. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that governments lack highly skilled personnel to combat cyberattacks effectively.