It’s Elementary, My Dear Watson: Developers Will Build Cognitive Experiences Bit-By-Bit

Rowan Curran

It seems like nearly everyone is ready (or at least willing) to add intelligence to their applications. Despite the enthusiasm, developers building cognitive applications have encountered some real growing pains. The way we're going about things, it's almost begun to feel like the promise of cognitive computing would collapse like the AI hype in the 1980s or the first robotics hype in the 1960s and 70s. Thankfully, instead cognitive breaking down, we're breaking down cognitive.

Intelligent software is being taken down to the the atomic level so that developers can easily embed cognitive capabilities into applications. Instead of being totally overwhelmed by the breadth of cognitive possibilities, developers can instead use cloud-based API services to pick from among a menu of cognitive services. Services for image recognition, facial recognition, dialog, sentiment analysis, recommendations and more are callable via APIs no fuss no muss - pass the right parameters and the APIs will do the rest. The market landscape of these services is beginning to burst and bloom, much faster than expected. Developers can now build up cognitive applications with IBM's Watson Developer Cloud, HP is augmenting intelligence with Haven OnDemand, Microsoft has recently introduced Cognitive Services, and Google has begun to build the foundations with CloudML.

Are you building applications using these platforms to add more intelligence to your application experiences? What do you think about their potential to help realize the promise of cognitive computing? Let us know in the comments, I'm excited to see what the future holds.

Is "Mobile Approval" An Oxymoron?

Duncan Jones

I’ve recently been studying what a customer-obsessed operating model means for Purchasing functions and the software they use. I've concluded that Purchasing needs to transform its approach to visibility and control, due to the tradical impact that Mobility has on procure-to-pay (P2P) processes. I've been warning ePurchasing software companies for years about the potential impact of Mobility, but while a few visionaries have heard and acted on the message, most are lagging behind. That may be OK while their customers – mostly Finance and Procurement professionals – are similarly behind the times, but they may be unable to catch up when the market finally starts to demand fully mobile solutions. And customer-obsessed organizations will demand mobile P2P solutions, because they need to enable employees to quickly and easily buy the goods and services they need, so that those employees can get on with their main job, which is winning and serving customers.

What the laggard vendors miss is that Mobility is not about a user interface that works on iOS and Android; its about making the software so smart that it works well in a mobile context. Many product managers tell me proudly “our software works the same on a mobile as it does on a PC”, but that completely misses the point; mobile apps needs to work completely differently from the way traditional PC-based software works.

Take requisition and invoice approval as an example. One leading P2P vendor claims that over 70% of approvals are either performed in its mobile app or via its email response feature. I would argue that few of these approvals are worth the paper on which they are rubber-stamped. A manager can check many aspects of a transaction on a PC because they can see a lot of information on their screen and can drill down to investigate potential problems. They can’t do that on a phone, because:

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Forrester’s Security & Risk Research Spotlight - Governance, Risk And Compliance

Stephanie Balaouras

Crises don’t discriminate. Whether they are economic, geopolitical, technological or environmental, you can expect to have to deal with a major one soon. And how well you minimize the impact of that crisis is the difference between achieving your business objectives, and completely missing them, disappointing your customers, employees, partners, and shareholders in the process. Lucky for you (if you believe in luck and not the probability of chance events), Forrester’s risk experts have updated The Governance, Risk, And Compliance Playbook For 2016. I also recently finished a series of reports on the state of business continuity (which I have creatively named part 1, part 2, and part 3) to give you a jump start on your GRC efforts. Below, I’ve highlighted some of our most recent and exciting GRC research:

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My Mobile Mind Shift Acceleration

John Wargo

My Mobile Mind Shift (MMS) happened this year! What’s interesting about this revelation is that I’ve been working in the smartphone industry for more than 10 years now. If that’s how long it took me, and I work in the industry, how long is it going to take the rest of the world? Not much longer, I expect.

I used to work for BlackBerry, so I was involved with early smartphones. At the time, a smartphone was a phone that did ‘more’; it had a browser, email, PIM, and you could make apps for it that allowed you to do pretty much anything you wanted. The definition has changed a bit, and nowadays most of the world thinks that Apple created the smartphone, but experience tells me otherwise.

Anyway, for all these years, I’ve loved having a smartphone – Just having a phone, email and a browser was enough for me. I helped a lot of people write apps for smartphones, and used a few apps myself (Facebook, Fandango, Twitter and Flipboard for example) but my phone wasn’t such an important part of my life that it replaced other things. Actually, having worked for BlackBerry, and being connected all the time, drove me to want to disconnect from access at the end of my day. If I was on the road, you could reach me any time, but while at home. I’d leave my phone in my office at the end of the day. Friends or coworkers would call or email me after hours and not hear back from me until the next morning.

So, what happened? Well, mobile just got easier, that’s what happened. I don’t know how to explain it any other way.

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You Don’t Think You Need An Online Video Platform? Think again.

Nick Barber
If your idea of “doing video” means having a YouTube channel, then you need to up your game. While a freemium player like YouTube can be an important part of an overall video strategy, it shouldn’t be the only part. We detail that and more in Forrester’s Vendor Landscape: Online Video Platforms For Sales And Marketing
 
Last year marked the first time that digital video outpaced every other online activity in time spent. It even eclipsed social media. If your customers are spending time with video, then you need to be there too. 
 
Online video platforms or OVPs used to serve media and broadcasting companies. OVPs took charge in streaming media assets online. They still do, but their roles have expanded and now they serve online sales and marketing operations, too.
 
Video is an important component in each step of the customer journey. Brand videos fit into the discover phase, while product demonstrations are important in the buy segment. User generated content and personalized videos fit into each stage of the process and OVPs support and enable them. 
Online video platforms or OVPs should be an essential part of your strategy because they support your efforts to:
 
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Linux vs Unix Hot Patching – Have We Reached The Tipping Point?

Richard Fichera

The Background – Linux as a Fast Follower and the Need for Hot Patching

No doubt about it, Linux has made impressive strides in the last 15 years, gaining many features previously associated with high-end proprietary Unix as it made the transition from small system plaything to core enterprise processing resource and the engine of the extended web as we know it. Along the way it gained reliable and highly scalable schedulers, a multiplicity of efficient and scalable file systems, advanced RAS features, its own embedded virtualization and efficient thread support.

As Linux grew, so did supporting hardware, particularly the capabilities of the ubiquitous x86 CPU upon which the vast majority of Linux runs today. But the debate has always been about how close Linux could get to "the real OS", the core proprietary Unix variants that for two decades defined the limits of non-mainframe scalability and reliability. But "the times they are a changing", and the new narrative may be "when will Unix catch up to Linux on critical RAS features like hot patching".

Hot patching, the ability to apply updates to the OS kernel while it is running, is a long sought-after but elusive feature of a production OS. Long sought after because both developers and operations teams recognize that bringing down an OS instance that is doing critical high-volume work is at best disruptive and worst a logistical nightmare, and elusive because it is incredibly difficult. There have been several failed attempts, and several implementations that "almost worked" but were so fraught with exceptions that they were not really useful in production.[i]

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Security and risk professionals: Team up with your marketing peers to design your customers' privacy experiences

Enza Iannopollo

The battle over ad blockers has never been fiercer: Their popularity with consumers is skyrocketing across the globe. Ad blockers offer a better online experience and have become easier to use. But consumers like them as a way to protect their privacy and their data from being misused. Firms increasingly think that their best bet is to block the blockers. But a recent study has shown that this strategy is just a losing game, as it has contributed to the deep decline in traffic figures. And the problem doesn’t end there; the EU recently made its voice heard by saying that blocking ad blockers is a practice that breaches EU privacy rules.

But what about your customers? If you use ad blockers, just think of the last time you wanted to check out an article online but were asked to uninstall your ad blocker first or, possibly worse, to fill in your details to “freely” enjoy your read.

Security, risk, and privacy professionals must be mindful that the privacy practices that they design and enforce have a direct effect on the customer’s interaction with their firms. As much as they think about compliance, they must consider the privacy experience of their customers too. And this is one of the examples where the collaboration with marketing leaders, including customer experience, customer insight, and the marketing leadership, becomes extremely important.

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Navigate The Crowded Enterprise File Sync And Share Market By Asking These 3 Questions

Cheryl McKinnon

Forrester defines Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) as the technologies that "allow organizations to share and replicate content across multiple devices, distributing files to employees and/or customers or partners outside the enterprise".

Two Forrester Waves on the EFSS market were published recently, segmenting this crowded market into two categories: cloud solutions and hybrid solutions. Forrester clients can access them here:

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Mobilize The Internet Of Things

Dan Bieler

Businesses can obtain major benefits — including better customer experiences and operational excellence — from the internet of things (IoT) by extracting insights from connected objects and delivering feature-rich connected products.

The mobile mind shift requires businesses to proactively support these IoT benefits for nonstationary connected objects that exist as part of IoT solutions. In particular, the IoT forces businesses to acquaint themselves with the implications of mobility in the IoT context for connectivity, security, compliance with privacy and other regulations, and data management for mobility. This means that:

  • Mobile technologies are central to most IoT solutions. To date, technology managers have mostly focused on enterprise mobility management (EMM) as part of their mobile activities. This narrow focus is insufficient for IoT solutions.
  • Mobile IoT is not a technology revolution but a fundamental business process transformation. Mobility requires managers not only to deploy mobile technologies but also to exploit them to support specific business process requirements.
  • Mobile technologies set the framework for IoT solutions. Mobile has distinct implications for aspects like broadband availability, data management, security, and local data compliance. Ignoring these will undermine your IoT initiatives and return on investment.

My new report, Mobilize The Internet Of Things, provides advice and insights for businesses on addressing these mobile challenges in the context of planning for and implementing IoT solutions.

Modern CRM Drives Engagement, Relationship And Revenue

Kate Leggett

CRM technologies are more than two decades old. In the early days of CRM, companies leveraged these solutions to provide "inside-out" efficiencies -  operational efficiencies for sales, marketing, and customer service organizations. CRM aggregated customer data, analyzed that data, and automated workflows for front line personnel.  Companies could easily argue business benefits by measuring operational metrics that were important for the company - like reducing marketing costs, increasing revenues from salespeople, decreasing sale cycle times, better pipeline visibility, decreasing service resolution times, and more.

Because of this quantifiable return on investment (ROI), CRM became a must-have in large organizations and today more than 2/3 of large companies use CRM.

Today, being successful at CRM builds on  yesterday's internal operational and extends the power of these solutions to better support customers through their end-to-end journey to garner their satisfaction and long-term loyalty — a “customer-first” or “outside-in” perspective.

Our data at Forrester shows that good customer experiences correlate to customer loyalty. And loyal customers are more willing to consider another purchase from a company, are less likely to switch business to a competitor, and are more likely to recommend to a friend or colleague – all dimensions that have a direct impact on top line revenue.

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