Syncplicity Gets Its Own Independence Day

Cheryl McKinnon

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for major players in the increasingly colliding enterprise content management (ECM) and enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) markets. Hot on the heels of the IBM-Box partnership, announced on June 24, 2015, today we see Syncplicity spin-out of EMC. Press release here. Skyview Capital LLC, a global private investment firm, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Syncplicity, although EMC will retain a financial interest in it.

 

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The Quantified Workforce Drives Improved Productivity And Safety

JP Gownder

You've probably heard about the Quantified Self (QS), a movement that aims to capture, analyze, and act upon data from the human body in the interest of better health, fitter athletes, and sharper minds. Today, QS is giving way to QW -- Quantified Workforce. A variety of technologies -- devices, software, services -- can quantify the health, fitness, mental acuity, timeliness, and collaboration of workers. Many of these services are ready for prime time, but present some challenges in implementing. These challenges aren't primarily technological; they're related to privacy, workers' rights, and human resources policies. Done right, though, quantifying the workforce can drive both top- and bottom- line growth in your company's business.

I've analyzed this trend in a new report, Smart Body, Smarter Workforce. Here are just a couple of examples of how quantifying the workforce can drive better business outcomes:

  • Lower the company's insurance rates. In January, 2014, Forrester predicted that insurance companies would offer lower rates to individuals who donned wearables -- and we are now seeing that response. In April, 2015, John Hancock announced an opportunity for buyers of its term and life insurance policies to earn up to 15% discount on their insurance rates by wearing a Fitbit, sharing the data with the company, and meeting certain activity levels.  
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Data Digest: Partner With Business Leaders To Lead The Business Technology Transformation

Tyler McDaniel

For CIOs, finding a clear path forward in the Business Technology (BT) Agenda can seem daunting, as you work to balance critical operational requirements with new initiatives designed to help your organization win, serve, and retain customers.  But there are trailblazers in your organization.  Forrester continues to see spending on technology spread and move out of the CIO’s organization and into the business. In North America companies of more than 250 employees, 70% of technology spending is either business led or heavily influenced by business. That part is not new, but it is increasing.

Specifically 50% of business managers, directors, and vice presidents are increasing their departmental budgets on technology products and services over the next 12 months.1  In fact, 16% of these business leaders are increasing their spend by more than 10%.2 This isn’t shadow IT in action; it’s the new way of doing business. Within your own organization a minority, but important, population of business leaders are aggressively investing in technology products and services to achieve three essential business goals. Over the next 12 months, the 16% of North American business leaders dramatically increasing their spending are focused on:

  • Improving customer experience – 86% of these leaders rate this as a High or Critical priority
  • Improving products or services – 83% of these leaders rate this as a High or Critical priority
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Engaging Customers In The World's Largest Mobile Market

Charlie Dai

Consumers and businesses around the globe have entered the mobile era, and technology management leaders are shifting their organizations’ business applications toward mobile. In order to effectively make this shift, mobile teams must change their practices to simultaneously improve agility and ensure a good customer experience. This is even more critical in China — a market with unique business scenarios, technology landscapes, and competitive environments.

I’ve recently published two reports focusing on using the mobile IDEA cycle for customer engagement, including part one and part two. In these reports, I assess the current state of mobile application development planning in China and highlight four key areas that enterprise architecture (EA) professionals should focus on in each stage, namely “Identify”, “Design”, “Engineer” and “Analyze”, to enable the success of the mobile IDEA cycle. I also provide examples of how to unleash the power of digital business by analyzing the strategic mobile practices of visionary Chinese firms and highlighting how they use systems of engagement. Some of the key takeaways:

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Beyond Light: Smart Lighting Illuminates More Than Streets

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Gone are the days when the only signal a streetlight sent out was that it was time to go home on a summer evening.  Many kids grew up with that rule.  My mom had a cowbell, which was infinitely more embarrassing but likely more effective in calling us home. But times have changed. We now text our kids to get them home for dinner.  And, street lights themselves would no longer deign to serve just that purpose. 

Streetlights these days do provide light (and do that much more efficiently), but they just might be your source of Wi-Fi or of information on the weather, air quality, traffic, and parking availability, or might be the city’s source of information on you.  They will also be a platform for new services that leverage all of the data the new light poles collect through their embedded sensors, or also a source of electricity to power digital signs through solar-energy. These new and improved streetlights are becoming increasingly popular as they demonstrate a clear cost-savings over their predecessors and promise the potential for revenue generation through new applications and services.  That is a win-win for cities, citizens and the ecosystem of potential application and service providers out there. 

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Data Today Keeps The Doctor Away

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

In scanning through my O’Reilly Data Newsletter today, I noticed A Healthy Dose of Data, an MIT Sloan case study on the data and analytics culture at Intermountain, a healthcare network that runs 22 hospitals and 185 clinics.  The study is definitely worth the read.  It reviews the history of data use at Intermountain, which began way before the “big data” craze of recent years.  In fact, it was back in the 1950s that one of the Intermountain cardiologists, Homer Warner, began to explore clinical data to understand why some heart patients experienced better outcomes than others.  He went on to become known as the “father of medical informatics – the use of computer programs to analyze patient data to determine treatment protocols,” and with colleagues designed and launched their first decision-support tool. 

The case study goes on to describe how Intermountain has cultivated a strong data and analytics culture. Over time – Rome was not built in a day, as they say – they established data maturity across the organization by investing in the capacity (new tools and technologies), developing the competencies (new skills and processes) and finally spreading the culture (awareness, understanding and best practices) of data and analytics. Their analytical approach brought results – fewer surgical infections, more effective use of antibiotics, less time in intensive care etc – contributing to lower costs, better medical outcomes, and overall patient satisfaction.

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Red Hat Takes The Lead In Enterprise-Class Container Solutions — For Now

Charlie Dai

Red Hat held its 2015 summit last week in Boston. One of the most important announcements was the general availability of version 3 of OpenShift. After my discussion with Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO of Red Hat, as well as other executives, partners and, clients, I believe that Red Hat has made a strategic move and is taking the lead in enterprise-class container solutions for hybrid cloud enablement. This is because:

  • Red Hat has an early-mover advantage in platform refactoring.OpenShift and Cloud Foundry, two major open source PaaS platforms, both started refactoring with container technology last year. The developers of Cloud Foundry are still working hard to complete the platform’s framework after implementing Diego, the rewrite of its runtime. But OpenShift has already completed its commercial release, with two major replacements around containers: It replaced Gears, its original homegrown container model, with Docker and replaced Broker, its old orchestration engine, with Kubernetes.
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What's Your Perspective On Digital Business?

Nigel Fenwick
I’d like to capture your perspectives in this year’s study on digital business.
 
Last year we started a detailed research study into digital business and published numerous reports on our findings and insights for business executives. This year we have partnered with Odgers Berndtson to help field our digital business survey to business executives. And as we did last year, we’re also extending the survey to our clients and social media followers.
 
The survey only takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete … the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea! (OK that may be a stretch … but you can easily complete it while enjoying a cuppa.)
 
Please share the link with your social media followers (http://nigel.im/2015digibiz).
 
If you’re interested in learning more about our latest digital business analysis, check out my recent webinar Digital Predator Or Digital Prey: Which Will Your Business Be By 2020?
 
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Disrupt Processes To Build Your Customer-Obsessed Operating Model

Clay Richardson

A few months ago, I had a horrible customer experience around test-driving a new luxury car. The company's marketing department invested a lot of money on different campaigns to get me to make an appointment for a test drive. They succeeded, But once I got to the showroom for the appointment, the experience was a complete 180-degree turn from the red-carpet marketing experience. In fact, I was told they were too busy for a test drive and they requested I come back in two weeks. Needless to say, the experience was a #BIGFAIL on the part of the carmaker.

We see this all too often. Disconnected business processes, fragmented customer communications, and poorly thought-out execution around critical customer experiences. This lack of focus on process coordination around customer experiences robs companies of potential revenue and brand value

Contrast this with the experience I had while visiting a Tesla Motors store recently. While I was in the store browsing different car models and speaking with a Tesla spokesperson, a steady stream of existing Tesla owners popped into the store to rave about how great the brand was and how much they loved driving their cars. 

It's easy to see that brands like Tesla run their companies from a customer-obsessed operating model. And at the heart of this customer-obsessed operating model is a relentless focus on calibrating business processes to deliver seamless, connected experiences at each step of the customer journey. This shift to customer-obsessed operating models requires BT organizations to disrupt existing processes and focus efforts to:

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“Big Data” Has Lost Its Zing – Businesses Want Insight And Action

Brian  Hopkins

I saw it coming last year. Big data isn’t what it used to be. Not because firms are disillusioned with the technology, but rather because the term is no longer helpful. With nearly two-thirds of firms having implemented or planning to implement some big data capability by the end of 2015, the wave has definitely hit. People have bought in.

But that doesn’t mean we find many firms extolling the benefits they should be seeing by now; even early adopters still have problems across the customer lifecycle. Can your firm understand customers as individuals, not segments? Are analytics driving consistent, insightful experiences across channels? Does all that customer insight developed by marketing make a bit of difference to your contact center agents? If you're like most firms, the answer is, “Not yet, but we're working on it.”

What’s more, firms expect that big data will deliver the goods. In fact, about three in four leaders tell us that they expect big data analytics to help improve and optimize customer experiences. That's a huge expectation!

I think big data is going to be a big letdown when it comes to customer engagement and experience optimization.

Here's why – big data is about turning more data into insight. In fact, our latest data and analytics survey tells me that big data plans are still overwhelmingly an IT department thing. As such, they have fallen victim to supply side thinking – just furnish the data and the technology, “the business” will do the rest. Really?

Big data will not help you:

  • Ensure insights are tested for value against business outcomes.
  • Deliver insights at the point of decision in software.
  • Close the loop between actions, digital reactions, and learning.
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