Customer Success Should Be A Team Sport

Kate Leggett

Customers hold the power in their relationships with businesses. Today, it's not enough for businesses to deliver products. Customers expect them to deliver outcomes and success.

To do this, businesses must understand who the customer is, what their pain points are in achieving their business goals, and must help them choose the right products to meet their goals. The relationship does not stop there. Businesses must ensure that a new customer is properly onboarded, and is realizing ongoing value from their purchase. Forrester data backs these statements up. 68% want vendors who “understand my business, my problems – and help me solve them.”

This is the mission of customer success teams. They actively manage customers post-purchase, to ensure their ongoing success, with the end goal of reducing churn, increasing customer lifetime value and advocacy - the latter of which influences new sales.

Most businesses pursue this mission by standing up customer success organizations. They use a health score  — comprised of financial data, CRM data, product usage data, support cases, customer feedback  — to track their customers. However, most company employees interacting with customers don’t have this visibility into a customer’s health which can impact overall relationships.

Totango, a vendor of customer success solutions, has a very different view of customer success. Sure customer success teams manage overall customer relationships. However, Totango believes that everyone interacting with customers must have access to customer data and their health in order to better engage with them. Employees must also be able easily, with little friction, access this information from within the context of their application.

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Traditional I&O Is Dead - The DevOps Phoenix Rises

Eveline Oehrlich

If you already belong to a high-performing DevOps organization and you are working on leveraging opensource for monitoring to drive feedback loops, or delivering better security with DevSecOps, or making sure you are understanding continuous testing then you don’t need to read the following – you can stop now.

However, if you are facing the challenges that your app dev team is developing faster than you can deliver or you realize that ITIL does not help you in increasing your speed and quality of deployment or your manual deployment capability do not scale or human error has caused some outage…don’t delay your shift your operating model towards DevOps. Our DevOps vision report gives I&O leader’s guidance on how to modify the operating model to focus on velocity and quality to deliver “great” customer experiences.

Products not functional silo’s for customer obesession

The first transition is one of focusing on products not functional IT silos. Developers, operations, QA teams and release teams should be merged into a single team around the product.  This team is accountable for the complete pipeline from ideation to delivery and depending on the culture, support as well.

Evaluate your success, based on the five critical DevOps metrics.

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Mobile World Congress 2017: As Mobile Is Morphing Into Digital, Use Cases Matter More

Dan Bieler

Mobile World Congress (MWC) which took place in Barcelona once again broke new records in terms of attendees, reaching 108,000. Yet, discussions with end-user businesses indicate that mobility is often no longer treated as a standalone focus area by CIOs and CTOs. Mobility has become part of the broader digital transformation initiative. This has implications for mobile strategies. It also affects the decision where a business leader turns to in order to find inspirations for her digital transformation initiative.

Of course, mobility remains a critically important building block for all digital transformation initiatives. But mobility is part of a wider technology-driven business transformation. In my view, the biggest themes at MWC in 2017 that are relevant for digital transformation relate to IoT, AI, platforms, collaboration, and connectivity. I discuss what these themes mean for the CIO in a separate blog.

Importantly, all of these themes are interwoven. Hence, the CIO needs to build her digital transformation strategy on a comprehensive approach - with mobility is right at the heart. Still, there remains a risk that the CIO gets sucked into pursuing a compartmentalized technology strategy that lacks a comprehensive view of the real business objectives. It is essential that the CIO avoids a ‘bolt-on approach’ to these technology investments because of the technology interdependencies.

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Fourteen Machine Learning Solutions For Data Scientists - Which One Is Best For You?

Mike Gualtieri

Yogi Berra, Machine Learning For Predictive ModelsThe Power To Predict Is Mighty

Yogi Berra once said, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." It is tough indeed, but enterprises that can make probabilistic predictions about customers, business processes, and operations will have an edge over enterprises that can't. These predictions don't have to be macroscopic to be consequential. Predictions about what a customer is likely to buy next. Predictions about marketing content that will resonate with a prospect. Predictions about the next best action to take in a business process. Predictions about when an expensive asset is likely to break down. Virtually any customer journey, business process, and even strategic decision can be made better if permeated with the power to predict.

Predictive Analytics And Machine Learning Solutions Make It Possible

Yes, making accurate predictions is tough, but predictive analytics and machine learning (PAML) solutions provide data scientists and developers alike with the tools to make it happen. Forrester defines PAML solutions as:

Software that provides data scientists with 1) tools to build predictive models using statistical and machine learning algorithms and 2) a platform to deploy and manage predictive production models.

The Forrester Wave™: Predictive Analytics And Machine Learning Solutions, Q1 2017

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Mobile World Congress 2017: Observations Regarding The Main Enterprise Themes

Dan Bieler

Recently, the largest annual get together of the mobile industry, Mobile World Congress (MWC) took place in Barcelona. In my opinion, the biggest themes at MWC in 2017 that are relevant for enterprise customers were the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), platforms, collaboration, and connectivity. These themes underline how mobility is becoming part of the broader digital transformation initiative. I discuss this shift in this separate blog and report. MWC provided several valuable insights for business and technology leaders to align their mobile to their digital strategies:

-> Not everything that claims to be AI is true AI. Many vendors that claimed during MWC to be AI-proficient are in fact able to deliver true machine-learning solutions to generate transformative customer and operational insights. Most solutions that were branded as AI at MWC rely on preprogrammed responses and statistics rather than machine learning.

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Text And Geospatial Analytics Bring Growth And Innovation To Business Intelligence And Analytics Tools

Jennifer Adams

We recently published an updated version of our Forrester Data: Business Intelligence And Analytics Software Forecast, 2016 To 2021 (Global).What’s new? We added two new forecast categories: text analytics and geospatial analytics.

■        Text analytics makes sense of unstructured data.Unstructured data, such as tweets, call center logs, and social media comments, provide an increasingly important view into consumer sentiment and trends today. Text analytics software facilitates the analysis of this unstructured data, allowing companies to mine these new data sources for insights. We project that the text analytics software market will grow 16% annually over the next five years.

■        Geospatial analytics harnesses the power of maps.Traditionally, geospatial analytics has focused on mapping data from geographic information systems (GIS). Today, we see an ever-expanding array of sources of geospatial data connecting customers and locations.Forrester believes theinternet of things(IoT) presents a massive opportunity for companies to uncover insights from spatial relationships, as every connected device can be located by some means. We forecast a 10% compound annual growth rate in geospatial analytics over the next five years.

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AI's Emerging Role In IoT Highlighted At IBM Genius Of Things Event

Dan Bieler

Photo: Bergman Group

IBM hosted an artificial intelligent (AI) event at its Munich Watson IoT HQ, where it underlined its claim as a leading global AI and internet-of-things (IoT) platform providers in the enterprise context. AI and the IoT are both very important topics for enterprise users. However, there remains some uncertainty among enterprises regarding the exact benefits that both AI and IoT can generate and how businesses should prepare for the deployment of AI and IoT in their organizations.

One year into the launch of its Munich-based Watson IoT headquarters, IBM invited about one thousand customers to share an update of its AI and IoT activities to date. The IBM “Genius of Things” Summit presented interesting insights for both AI and IoT deployments. It underlined that IBM is clearly one of the leading global AI and IoT platform providers in the enterprise context. Some of the most important insights for me were that:

  • AI solutions require a partner ecosystem. IBM is well aware of the fact that it cannot provide IoT services on its own. For this reason, IBM is tapping into its existing partner ecosystem. Those partners are not only other vendors. IBM’s ecosystem partnership approach embraces also customers such as Schäffler, Airbus, Vaillant, or Tesco. The event demonstrated how far IBM has matured in living and breathing customer partnerships in the IoT solutions space. For instance, IBM’s cooperation with Visa regarding secure payment experiences for any device connected to the IoT is an example of a new quality of ecosystem partnership.
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Introducing The New NTT DATA

Liz Herbert

This week, NTT DATA brought together a select community of industry and financial analysts to introduce the new NTT DATA, following the recent acquisition of Dell Services. Though not a well-known brand to most, NTT DATA wants to change that and has launched a series of new campaigns to run on TV and in major publications such as The Economist.

This $4.3B+ services firm is a rollup of many acquisitions including Keane, Carlisle and Gallagher Consulting Group, Optimal, Intelligroup, Centerstance, and most recently Dell Services (which included the erstwhile Perot Systems) -- and forms the largest operating company of Japan-based NTT DATA Corporation. The provider's capabilities span consulting and technology implementation and support, including SAP and Oracle and Salesforce services. NTT DATA is strongest in healthcare and life sciences, financial services, manufacturing, and public sector. NTT DATA boasts clients all around the globe – from Japan to the US to Western Europe and beyond.

NTT DATA has a unique and leading partnership with Dell (due to the Dell Services acquisition) and has a network of companies in the broader NTT Group such as DOCOMO, Dimension Data, and NTT Comms – that it can seamlessly leverage for mobile, data center, and network needs. For example, NTT DATA has collaborated with NTT Communications and Dimension Data when clients seeks a broader range of hosting and infra services related to SAP HANA deployments. NTT Group also has substantial investments in R&D and innovation including in advanced technologies such as sensors and voice recognition and holograms, which NTT DATA can bring to bear for clients.

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Yes, Cloud Is Still Safe Despite The AWS Outage - UPDATE

Dave Bartoletti

UPDATE 2016-03-02:

Less than 48 hours after the failure, AWS has published a detailed analysis of what went wrong. As we'd hoped, the analysis is extremely transparent, direct, and outlines the actions AWS is taking to mitigate the risk of future failure. If you don't have time to read the details, here's the lowdown:

  • As we expected (see below), the inititating event was a human error. An authorized admin executed a script to take some parts of S3 off line, but took more than needed off line at once. The user was authorized and the script worked, but it should have had additional safety checks (limits).
  • Restarting such a large subsystem took longer than expected. A restart of this magnitude had not been tested recently. As a key part of the S3 system in the affected region, the restart delay caused the S3 APIs to become unavailable.
  • The AWS Service Health Dashboard admin console could not be updated because it, too, depended on S3 in the affected region.

What It Means:

Our original advice for AWS customers below stands: check your apps for dependence on a single S3 region. In addition,

  • Test your operational scripts. Do you have a maintenance script you have't run for a while? Check is now for limits.
  • Isolate your monitoring tools from your production systems. You can't monitor a system from the inside while it's failing.
  • Think big in your DR and availability planning. Test a larger failure than usual. Rare events over a long enough period of time...are no longer rare.
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The Cloud Is Disrupting Hadoop

Brian  Hopkins

Forrester has seen unprecedented adoption of Hadoop in the last three years. We estimate that firms will spend $800 million in Hadoop software and related services in 2017. Not surprisingly, Hadoop vendors have capitalized on this — Cloudera, Hortonworks, and MapR have gone from a “Who?” to “household” brands in the same period of time.

But like any good run, times change. And the major force exerting pressure on Hadoop is the cloud. In a recent report, The Cloudy Future Of Hadoop, Mike Gualtieri and I examine the impact the cloud is having on Hadoop. Here are a few highlights:

●     Firms want to use more public cloud for big data, and Hadoop seems like a natural fit. We cover the reasons in the report, but the match seems made in heaven. Until you look deeper . . .

●     Hadoop wasn’t designed for the cloud, so vendors are scurrying to make it relevant. In the words of one insider, “Had we really understood cloud, we would not have designed Hadoop the way we did.” As a result, all the Hadoop vendors have strategies, and very different ones, to make Hadoop relevant in the cloud, where object stores and abstract “services” rule.

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