It’s time for vendors to step up and build the perfect smartwatch. It’s not really about the device at all, but the ecosystem around the device. Infrastructure & operations professionals have an opportunity here: to work with their business partners and vendors to construct next generation experiences around smartwatches.
For example, retail marketers, always on the hunt for the perfect in-store experiences, and are increasingly turning to mobile technologies to create customized interactions. By opting in to a relationship with a store, a patron can be recognized by name by a sales associate, see the images on digital displays change as she walks by them (tailored to her), receive in-store targeted promotions as she picks up particular products, and even leave the store without handing over any overt form of payment. All of these things are possible with today's technologies.
Scenarios like this one are inherently mobile, but smartphones aren't actually the best vehicle for these experiences. Smartphones can be easily stolen, for one thing, making the retail scenario challenging. And retailers don't want the eyes of patrons who walk into their stores glued to a smartphone; they want those eyes looking around the store.
Smartwatches, on the other hand, can be the perfect enabler of scenarios like this one (and like others in healthcare and other verticals), so long as they have all the necessary components. There are in fact eight strategic pillars for smartwatches:
Lenovo recently announced record results for the third quarter of the 2013/14 fiscal year: the first time that the firm has exceeded US$10 billion in revenue in a single quarter. Lenovo has continued to prioritize maintaining or increasing its share of the PC market — the majority of its business. This strategy has paid off: Lenovo’s PC business (laptops plus desktops) grew by 8% year on year — in stark contrast to its slumping rivals. Lenovo can attribute its success to a strategy that sacrifices profit to keep prices competitive, maintains a direct local sales team, and retains channel partners after acquisitions.
Forrester believes that the mobile mind shift is one of four key market imperatives that enterprises can use to win in the age of customer. Lenovo has gotten a good start on this journey with its effort to enhance its mobile-related capabilities. Although the coming Motorola deal may have a negative impact on Lenovo’s performance over the next three to five quarters, the firm believes that mobile can change its business — and not just its digital business. In the next two to three years, Lenovo’s key strategy will be to provide customers with mobile devices and related infrastructure that will address their mobile mind shift. In particular:
Readers of this blog and of my syndicated reports know that I’ve spent a great deal of time lately researching and analyzing the market for wearable devices and the emerging wearables ecosystem. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be co-presenting a talk at SXSWwith Jen Quinlan (Twitter: @QuirkyInsider) about a specific sub-segment of the wearables market – how wearable devices, in concert with the Internet of Things, can help people overcome various sorts of disabilities.
Jen conceived of this talk, and was kind enough to invite me to collaborate with her. And I was thrilled, particularly when I heard about the topic she had proposed. Why? I’m interested – and hope you will be too – because:
Indian firms have become cognizant of the fact that they have entered the age of the customer — an era in which they must systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. These firms are leveraging mobility to empower their employees to win, serve, and retain customers. For example, the Tab Banking initiative by ICICI Bank uses tablets to enable sales representatives to visit customers to give them the convenience of opening bank accounts without leaving their home or office. However, since consumer mobile technologies have entered the enterprise, the management of mobile device platforms has become more complex; enterprises have started realizing that security controls should be around the apps and the data and not the device. In India, mobile application management (MAM) has leapfrogged other strategic telecom and mobility priorities in 2014 (see the figure).
The importance of supporting a workforce that wants (and has come to expect) to work anywhere, anytime, and on any device has necessitated a paradigm shift in security and risk (S&R) mitigation approaches and techniques. S&R professionals must therefore implement a security program that centers on mobile applications. This is because:
Enterprise business stakeholders tell us they’re not often asked for input about telecoms and mobility (T&M) sourcing practices. When they are, they’re likely to be more accepting of new practices related to standardization on specific technology platforms, and designation of a preferred service provider.
Sourcing and vendor management (SVM) executives need to ask for and then demonstrate they’ve listened to input and feedback from the business leadership. Forrester recommends conducting periodic high level interviews with key business stakeholders, and also surveying a small sample of representative business managers in regional sales, marketing, business operations, and finance departments about a) their top two or three business and technology challenges, b) how they are addressing them directly already or want help addressing during the next 12 months, and c) their interest in being updated about telecoms and mobility related activities including sourcing.
All user companies with distributed business operations see high value in network and telecoms technologies in enabling business initiatives. For example, our Q1 2013 Forrsights survey of 194 business decision-makers at North American and European firms with 1,000 or more employees found that more than four in five of the respondents considered telecom technologies important or very important to a) enable users in their organization to ‘gather better business information’ (85%); ‘support overall employee productivity’ (84%); and ‘empower closer engagement’ (81%).
Driving home from the Boston Logan airport in the winter can be an adventure. Fortunately, local governments have set up a means for reporting one of the perils — potholes. I know this because an overhead digital sign told me the number to call if I saw one. I appreciate the opportunity to help out, but the inefficiencies in this system make me cringe! If I see a pothole, I have to remember where it was until I have a chance to write it down. I also have to remember the nearest cross-street or landmark to help crews identify the proper location. And if I come across a second pothole before writing down all the first information? No chance I remember either. Does anyone remember playing the telephone game as kids? This is the modern version.
Many of our clients call with a similar challenge — how do we modernize manual processes for a digital/mobile world? With that in mind, how are many solving this today?
Create a mobile app. Mobile first! Everything is mobile these days, so let's jump on that train! While this is a good start, it’s important to understand the context of the user. There’s a good chance they’re using the GPS app on their phone to find the optimal way home. To use a new app, I have to go to the app list, find the new “Report Pothole” app, wait for it to initialize, and then report the incident. By then I’m no longer at the physical location and thus haven’t solved much of the manual problem. Solving this requires a better first step…
The growing imbalance between the expectations of mobile users and the ability of enterprises to meet those expectations remains a key challenge. Users expect mobile productivity support, while CIO organizations are stuck on decisions about device deployments and policies.
Juggling different priorities for different stakeholders who expect greater support to exploit the mobile experience with the basic requirements for compliance and security remains a tall order. Time to revisit the top priorities. In Europe, these key trends will set the agenda for sourcing in the next twelve months:
The mobile cost equation shifts to devices and content. In 2014, we'll see the cost for broadband voice and data services as roaming charges coming down for enterprise customers. Users will shift their focus to the rising cost for immature services such as mobile device life-cycle management, application sourcing, and workplace integration.
CIOs will roll out corporate devices and embrace mobile content management. European CIOs realize that they are running out of time to shape the mobile workforce agenda. In 2014, we'll see a more strategic approach to mobile workforce engagement based on corporate device rollouts, clear policies, and mobile productivity.
My latest research report, European Mobile Workplace: The Strategic Sourcing Agenda In 2014 provides support for setting the sourcing agenda, supporting CIO organizations in their mobility plans for 2014. It addresses key issues such as steps to deliver on CYOD programs, mobile productivity content, and role-based packaging.
Many of you will be in the midst of a contract negotiation or maintenance renewal with BMC and/or CA at the moment, because both software vendors do a large proportion of their license deals in the January to March quarter as it’s their financial year ends on March 31. It’s a sourcing cliché that software companies give their best discounts at their financial year end, but just because you are making a purchase in month 12 doesn’t mean that you are getting a good deal. Through client interactions, I see a lot of software deals and I am often surprised by the gulf between the latest deal on the table and what I would consider to be a market best deal – one that sets the relationship up for mutual success, balancing price, flexibility and risk.
Buying software from powerful providers such as BMC and CA is very different from buying hardware, services and non-IT categories. Unfortunately, many sourcing professionals seem to think that they’ll look weak if they engage external expert help to coach them during a negotiation, but it isn’t a question of just buying additional haggling advice (although that can sometimes help), it’s really a question of buying deep, current market knowledge. Unless you have that, you risk:
Organizations in Asia Pacific (AP) have become cognizant of the fact that they have entered the age of the customer — an era in which they must systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. In the past two years, most AP firms have primarily focused on using mobile apps to connect their organizations with internal employees. However, in the age of the customer, this trend will reverse. Results from Forrester’s Forrsights Budgets and Priorities Survey, Q4 2013 show that 44% of AP technology decision-makers will prioritize building a mobile strategy for customers or partners, while only 39% will prioritize it for employees. Firms in Australia, Indonesia, India, and China will lead the region.
In order to compete and win in the age of the customer, organizations cannot be simply “customer-centric” anymore — they must become “customer-obsessed.” To do so, firms must embrace the mobile mindshift and build mobile systems of engagement. This can be done by leveraging social, cloud, and predictive analytics to deliver context-rich mobile applications and smart products that help users decide and act immediately in their moments of need. Such systems will focus on people and their immediate needs in context rather than processes, as is the case with traditional systems of record.
Building mobile systems of engagements is even more critical for firms in AP, because:
Our global clients are increasingly inquiring about the capabilities of their preferred service providers in ASEAN and Indonesia in particular. I recently spent some time in Indonesia and met leading local and global service providers there. The key takeaways from these meetings? Not surprisingly, the strengths and weaknesses of IT service providers in Indonesia differ by industry, domain, and service line. As a result, clients need to be careful and orient their vendor selection process toward the right set of service providers. Depending on the requirements, the right provider might be based in Indonesia — and it might not. More specifically, sourcing professionals should realize that:
MNCs looking for traditional infrastructure services can rely on a good availability of skills. Most MNCs setting up shop in Indonesia are looking to replicate the enterprise architecture defined at their headquarters in the US, Europe, or Japan. The presence of local and foreign SIs in Indonesia with solid infrastructure skill sets across major technologies means that they won't face too many challenges finding the right partner at the right price point.