Reset On Big Data Or Miss The Big Change

Brian  Hopkins

Big data is undergoing big change, but most companies are missing it or just grasping at the edges. My colleague Fatemeh Khatibloo and I have just completed an exhaustive study of the big data phenomenon. We found a familiar pattern: business confusion in the face of stern warnings about the dangers of big data and vendor-sponsored papers extolling its benefits. Here’s what we found hidden beneath the buzz:

As data explodes, so do old ways of doing business.

Everywhere we look, we find businesses using more diverse, messier, and larger data sets to stay competitive in the age of the customer — like the consumer goods firm that allocated marketing dollars based on flu trend predictions and the oil and gas companies that used weather data to predict iceberg flows and extend their drilling season. Savvy businesses find ways to turn more data into a competitive advantage. If your firm doesn’t get this, it won’t be pretty — starting in the not too distant future.

Technology managers and architects can’t afford to sit back and think that their Hadoop project will deliver everything the business needs. Nor can you afford to think that big data isn’t for you because you don’t have that much data. Why? Because “big data” is really the practices and technologies that close the gap between the available data and the ability to turn that data into business insight — insight that your firm needs to survive and thrive in the age of the customer. Four things to understand:

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How Do New “Systems Of Insight” Power Great Mobile Moments And Customer Experiences? -- Launching New Research

Ted Schadler
Customers crave contextual and personal experiences on their mobile devices. Companies are looking to the reams of location and behavior data spun off mobile device to deliver them. Meanwhile, executives long for the insights lurking just below the surface of the new data they collect on customers and prospects to improve services and chart the best business strategy. 
 
In most companies, mobile engagement, customer analytics, innovation, and business strategy happen in silos and often half-heartedly. But disruptors like Uber, TripIt, Netflix, Flipboard, and Starbucks deliver great and personalized mobile and digital experiences -- and optimize outcomes -- with insights derived from all the data they can gather.
 
We believe these disrupters deliver great mobile experiences by building what my colleague Brian Hopkins has termed a “system of insight” that goes far beyond traditional analytics or big data approaches to gather, analyze, and operationalize all the data to deliver great mobile moments. These companies are different – they take a systematic approach to linking mobile data to big data analytics technology, staff, and operations. This lets them take advantage of mobile data to improve customer experiences and their business.
 
Brian and I believe that these firms are building systems of insight by:
  1. Gathering and mining mobile and location data to continually find and harness new customer insights. 
  2. Embedding predictive analytics engines into their engagement platforms to deliver contextual and personalized mobile and digital experiences based on each individual’s unique score and context.
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The Emerging Role For SVM Professionals In The Data Economy

Charles Green
Recent survey data from Forrester reveals that external third-party data is rapidly rising in importance to organizations. Such third-party data sets are rising in importance partially because they provide opportunities to take advantage of the explosion in data sources — for example, from data generated by the proliferation of mobile and other sensor-enabled devices. External data provides real value — not just in traditional use cases such as improving market intelligence data, but increasingly in improving customer experiences, such as EA Sports piping real-time weather data into its game venues to create more realistic gaming experiences.
 
Our recently published report, “Navigating The New Data Market Landscape,” explores how this explosion in data sources has given rise to a new market for data and data services — what will make up the foundation of the emerging data economy. The report aims to arm both technology management as well as business professionals with the knowledge to guide new data strategies, in particular with the possibility to incorporate external data into business intelligence and decision-making.
 
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Business Agility Starts With Your People: Keynote At Forrester London Forum

Craig Le Clair

The ability to sense and execute on change are essential qualities of a digital business in today’s marketplace.

Don’t believe me? Consider this: 70% of the companies that were on the Global 500 list a mere 10 years ago have now vanished – unable to adapt. In those 10 years we’ve seen digital disruption change the business landscape. We’ve watched the Internet become pervasive, embraced cloud-based applications that update multiple times a year, acquired mobile devices that connect everywhere in the neighborhood and around the globe, and embraced information workers who use their own tools to do corporate work on their own time.

We recently surveyed 300 global businesses to dig deeply into how prepared – in the sense of being agile – they are for types of events and business changes that the new digital age will bring. And, our findings were not surprising. High performing organizations are flattening to deal with rapid change. They are using knowledge creation and dissemination to drive decisions lower in the organization, and redefining  the role of the CEO. Organizational agility, characterized by high awareness and execution in knowledge dissemination, change management and digital psychology agility dimensions, drives significant performance for enterprises.  

My keynote session at our Forum for Technology Management Leaders in London (June 12-13) on the topic will highlight organizations that have made market, organizational, and process changes based on digital strategies to become more agile, more productive, and grow revenues. I hope to see you there.

Forrester's 10-Step Methodology For Shortlisting Business Intelligence Vendors

Boris Evelson

BI is no longer a nice-to-have back-office application that counts widgets — it is now used as a key competitive differentiator by all leading organizations. For decades, most of the BI business cases were based on intangible benefits, but these days are over — today 41% of professionals, with knowledge of their firm's business case, base their business case on tangible benefits, like an increased margin or profitability. As a result, BI is front and center of most enterprise agendas, with North American data and analytics technology decision-makers who know their firm's technology budget telling Forrester in 2014 that 15% of their technology management budget will go toward BI-related purchases, initiatives, and projects.

But taking advantage of this trend by deploying a single centralized BI platform is easier said than done at most organizations. Legacy platforms, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), BI embedded into enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, and organizational silos are just a few reasons why no large organization out there has a single enterprise BI platform. Anecdotal evidence shows that most enterprises have three or more enterprise BI platforms and many more shadow IT BI platforms.

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Boost Your Digital Intelligence With Big Data

Holger Kisker

But Avoid Ending Up With A Zoo Of Individual Big Data Solutions

We are beyond the point of struggling over the definition of big data. That doesn’t mean that we've resolved all of the confusion that surrounds the term, but companies today are instead struggling with the question of how to actually get started with big data.

28% of all companies are planning a big data project in 2014.

According to Forrester's Business Technographics™ Global Data And Analytics Survey, 2014, 28% of the more than 1600 responding companies globally are planning a Big Data project this year. More details and how this splits between IT and Business driven projects can be found in our new Forrester Report ‘Reset On Big Data’.

Or join our Forrester Forum For Technology Leaders in London, June 12&13, 2014 to hear and discuss with us directly what Big Data projects your peers are planning, what challenges they are facing and what goals they target to achieve.

Big data can mean different technologies.

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The Connected Car As A Microcosm Of The New Threat Landscape

Andrew Rose

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot phrase right now, and every vendor is talking about the huge potential of continual connectivity and interaction with smart devices to optimize the asset and transform the customer experience. The potential is undeniably huge and developers are right to be excited, but it’s not all "hugs and puppies."

As S&R professionals, we have to balance the excitement of innovation with pragmatism and caution, and the IoT is a turmoil of innovation right now. With so much change, it can be difficult to focus in on the key issues, so let's choose an area where there has been a lot of discussion and hype for years (or even decades) but not much in the way of actual consumer adoption; let's use the "connected car" as an example to crystalize a few of the risk scenarios.

 

Picture courtesy of Dave Gray on Flikr

Today’s cars operate on computers, and mechanical functionality breaks down when the computer is not there to manage it. It’s not quite an aerodynamically unstable plane, such as the B-2, or indeed most modern fighter jets, which are kept in the sky by instantaneous computer feedback and corrections, but it’s not dissimilar. As we move toward the connected car, think through these scenarios:

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Are You Ready To Outsource Your Agile Modern Application Delivery?

Diego Lo Giudice

Our bi-yearly Forrester Agile survey suggests that Agile development (or simply "Agile") continues to see consistent, strong adoption. However, the same survey data shows that only a small percentage of firms are outsourcing Agile application development due to a lack of experience with the development sourcing approaches and governance models needed to make it work. Successfully outsourcing Agile development, either fully or partially, involves redefining roles and responsibilities, change management processes, metrics and SLAs, service descriptions, and other contractual elements. Merely using traditional outsourcing language and practices risks jeopardizing the benefits of Agile. There is no single way of doing this right.  

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Tracking A Private Dell

Dane Anderson

Earlier this year, I had the distinct honor of interviewing Michael Dell after his keynote address at an event organized by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. It was a nostalgic opportunity as I recalled my macroeconomics professor in college over 20 years ago holding up a copy of Fortune magazine with Michael Dell on the cover.

Throughout my career as an industry analyst, I tracked the global PC giants as they clumsily tried to match Dell’s direct model in the ’90s and saw the company emerge as a multibillion-dollar IT industry juggernaut in the ’00s; most recently, I’ve watched with interest as the company went private. Like Michael (and me), Dell has undoubtedly passed through its youth and is now looking to embark on a new course that can leverage everything it has learned to this point through middle age. Something has indeed been lost, but much has also been gained.

My first and most lasting impression of our discussion was just how respectful and humble Michael is. When he speaks, he looks you in the eye, and when others speak, he listens. He wasn’t looking at his watch or thinking of other things. That said, I was quickly reminded of who I was speaking with when we discussed China. When I shared my views on the challenges facing the country, he perked up and told me that Jiang Zemin (China’s president from 1993 to 2003) told him the same thing at length in English (which is rare) a couple of years ago at an event. What we both said is off the record!

A Big Soft Underbelly

As it turns out, the global IT market is also entering middle age. Another clear takeaway from our discussion was Michael’s view that the global enterprise IT industry has a “big soft underbelly” that is ripe for new efficiencies, cost reductions, and innovations. I think he’s right.

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Telstra's Creative Use Of Bandwidth Raises Its Customer Experience Game

Clement Teo

Have you ever wondered if your home broadband is being effectively utilized? What if you could squeeze more out of your data allowance when outside your home? Telstra may have cracked this problem in Australia: It will invest more than A$100 million to build a nationwide Wi-Fi network as part of a strategy to increase connectivity in the places Australians live, work, and visit, including cafes, shops, sports grounds, and transport hubs.

The strategy aims to offer all Australians — whether or not they’re Telstra customers — access to 2 million Wi-Fi hotspots across the nation within five years. Telstra home broadband customers can install new gateways that allow them to securely share a portion of their bandwidth with other Telstra Wi-Fi customers in exchange for broadband access at Telstra hotspots across the nation. Non-Telstra customers can purchase daily hotspot access. The network, scheduled to launch in early 2015, will also reach overseas; an exclusive deal recently concluded between Telstra and global Wi-Fi provider Fon will allow people to connect at more than 12 million hotspots worldwide.

What It Means

Telstra has been at the forefront of improving the telco customer experience; its CEO, David Thodey, has been a major driving force behind that. This has put Telstra’s local competitors on notice and provides valuable lessons in how to raise the customer experience game:

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