Innovation Took Center Stage at Microsoft’s Analyst Summit Asia 2016

Travis Wu

This year’s Microsoft Analyst Summit took place at the St. Regis hotel in Singapore, a prestigious place that hosted more than 90 analysts from the entire region. The Forrester team was impressed by Microsoft’s strategies in cloud, digital transformation and partnerships, and in particular, the main takeaway for us throughout the 2-day event was Microsoft’s innovation capabilities and ambition, especially in the APAC region.

  • HoloLens puts the spotlight on Mixed Reality.  Unlike Augmented Reality, which is lightweight but has limited views and functionality, or Virtual Reality, which is very powerful but comes with bulkiness and dependence on a PC, Mixed Reality blends holograms with the real world to marry agility and powerfulness. HoloLens brings this concept to life, it is light enough for users to move around safely, and it is very powerful because it is a self-contained computer that doesn’t require tethering to another PC. There is even an emulator that allows developers to develop holographic apps for HoleLens without a device. HoloLens could drastically change the way people work, live or even think, we are all very eager to see if the first wave of HoleLens products will successfully establish an ecosystem that can sustain mass market deployments and future growth.
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Insight Platforms Have Arrived

Brian  Hopkins

Are you lost in a confusing soup of vendor-speak about what their data analytics stack actually offers? Big data, data platforms, advanced analytics, data lakes, real-time everything, streaming, the IoT, customer analytics, digital intelligence, real-time interaction, customer decision hubs, new-stuff-as-a-service, the list goes on.

Recognize the convergence happening as vendors evolve their technologies from doing just one thing like predictive analytics or search to many things together. For example, data integration, data warehouse, and BI tools are typically sold separately, but breakout vendor Looker combines data integration, model governance, basic BI, and a runtime for data applications all in one software layer that sits on your data lake. As another example, consider predictive analytics vendor Alpine Data Labs or SAS Viya from SAS. These vendors have built out a lot of data management and insight delivery tooling into their platforms because without it users struggle to maximize value. Another trend is big data search vendors like Maana that now also include hooks for predictive model execution as well as more data management functions. Lastly, systems integrators are packaging their IP and offering it as a data management and analytics integrated product — for example, Saama’s Fluid Analytics Engine or Infosys’ Information Platform.

In fact, the list of innovative vendors blending data management, analytics, and insight execution technology is growing by leaps and bounds. To address this trend, I just published a report, Insight Platforms Accelerate Digital Transformation, in which I created a broad definition that labels this trend:

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OpenStack Returns To Austin, Stressing Evolution Over Revolution

Paul Miller


(Austin. Source: Paul Miller)
My very first report for Forrester, last summer, explored the ways in which the open source OpenStack cloud project has grown up. Once a science project for those interested in exploring the technologies or celebrating open source, OpenStack now runs key enterprise workloads for the likes of AT&T, BMW, Best Buy, and Volkswagen. They are choosing OpenStack because it gets the job done, not because they have some affinity for it, its community, its components, or its philosophy.

Last week, OpenStack returned to the scene of the very first community Summit - Austin - for an event that drew over 7,500 attendees from around the world.

There was little to wow, there was little that was truly new, there was little that deserved a headline. But there was a lot that demonstrated the steady, difficult, important slog to improve, to harden, to simplify. OpenStack continues to grow up.

A few Forrester analysts where there, and we prepared this summary of our immediate impressions. Take a look, and let us know what you think.

Launch Your OTT App Faster

Nick Barber

When was the last time you watched OTT programming? If you’re a millennial there’s an overwhelming chance (89%) that you watched it in the last week. Amazon’s vice president of video wants to capture 100% of OTT services in the US and integrate them onto the Fire platform. That means Application Development & Delivery Professionals need to respond to and support this trend.


Amazon's Michael Paull speaking at NAB 2016. 

OTT or over-the-top lets you watch video (repurposed television programming or otherwise) through an app or device like a Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire or game console. They’re big with cord cutters, cord nevers and cord shavers as a way to reduce cost and increase selection. At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas, Michael Paull the vice president of digital video at Amazon discussed discussed an OTT push for the company, where he revealed his goal of signing up 100% of SVOD (subscription video on demand) services in the US.

As an AD&D pro you cannot ignore the implications of OTT. You need to answer these questions:

  • Will you partner? Amazon made it clear that it’s making a big push to consolidate OTT players. It has 30 US SVOD services on its Fire TV platform and it’s hoping to grow. Partnering can mean growing your audience, but splitting your revenue; surrendering about 30% is standard. 
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Big Iron Lives — Huawei Shows Off KunLun 32S x86 Server

Richard Fichera

I was recently at an event that Huawei hosted in Latin America for its telecom carrier community, in which Huawei was showing off an impressive range of carrier-related technology, including distributed data center management, advanced analytics and a heavy emphasis on compute and storage in addition to their traditionally strong core carrier technology. Interestingly they chose this venue for the Latin America unveling of the KunLun server, an impressive bit of engineering which clearly shows that innovation in big-iron x86 servers is not dead. There is some confusion about whether the March announcement at CeBIT constituted the official unveiling of the actual machine, but they had a real system on the floor at this event and claimed it was the first public showing of the actual system.

The Kunlun server, named after a mountian range in Quinghai Province, places Huawei squarely up against the highest end servers from HPE, IBM, Oracle, NEC and Fujitsu, with a list of very advanced RAS features, including memory migration, hot memory and CPU swap, predictive failure diagnostics and a host of others, some enabled by the underlying Xeon E7 technology and others added by Huawei through their custom node controller architecture ( essentially a standard feature of all large x86 servers). Partitionable into smaller logical servers, the Kunlun can serve as a core transaction processor for extreme workloads or as a collection of tightly coupled electrically and logically isolated servers.

So why unveil this high-end engine at a telecom carrier show? My read is that since the carriers will be at the center of much of the IoT action, and that the data streams they process will need an ever expanding inventory of processing capacity, so this is a pretty good venue, Plus it reinforces the emerging primacy of analytics, especially in-memory analytics, which it can address extremely well with its current 24TB (32G DIMMs) of DRAM.

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Join Us At DT Mumbai 2016: The Customer-Obsessed Operating Model Is Key To Your Digital Transformation

Ashutosh Sharma

It’s that time of the year again. As we approach the month of June, Forrester brings its annual flagship India event Digital Transformation Mumbai 2016 to the country’s most senior business leaders.

As Indian businesses become increasingly familiar with the importance of digital to their success, they often ask “Where do we start, and how can we navigate the choppy waters of transformation?” We are now in the age of the customer, and its singular focus on customers is what will make or break any digital transformation. Our seminal research on digital maturity, customer experience, and business technology has helped our customers across the globe become successful in their digital initiatives. This event is about providing you a first-hand glimpse of our latest research.

Our main goal for this event is to help you understand where to start on your digital transformation journey. We will bring to you the theme of the customer-obsessed operating model, which provides a blueprint for your digital transformation. We have carefully curated a team of Forrester and industry experts to talk about how the four dimensions of this operating model help organizations in their digital transformation.

We will highlight the imperative for organizations to:

  • Become customer-led than simply being aware of customer needs.
  • Be able to drive actions from insights than simply being data-rich.
  • Be fast — because being perfect but slow doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • Get rid of internal siloes and derive power from being connected.
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Mobile App Functional Testing, Device Labs, and Open Source

John Wargo
In the latter half of last year, I started researching mobile application testing tools. My research focused, so far, on functional testing, primarily around mobile app front-end testing. As I began the research, it became clear that the automation capabilities testers needed to validate app UIs was there, but application development and delivery teams felt that device labs were too expensive to be practical. During the research for the Vendor Landscape: Front-End Mobile Testing Tools report, we expected that device labs would be a differentiator among products only to discover that most of the major mobile testing solutions provide them in one way or another. There are differences between vendors when it comes to the flexibility, configurability, and management of their device lab offerings, but if you’re delivering customer-facing mobile apps you can do much of your testing on physical devices (our recommended method).
 
In earlier reports, we recommended that, because of the cost of on-device testing, development organizations focused their testing efforts on the most important aspect of their apps, letting users find issues in less popular areas of the app for them. With most of the major mobile testing vendors offering device labs plus Amazon and Google’s entry into the device cloud space, competition will drive down cost and make on-device testing the more common option for mobile app testing. Microsoft’s acquisition of Xamarin now gives Microsoft a robust and capable device lab, stuffed with a variety of Android and iOS devices, which adds to the competition in this space as well.
 
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CIOs: Life In The Fast Lane

Sharyn Leaver

The pace of business – heck, the pace of life, gets faster and faster. Faster processing, faster delivery, faster innovation – and faster adoption and abandonment of that innovation -- is the reality we all live in today.

Leaders run fast businesses to win and to stay apace or in front of dynamic customers and disruptive competitive forces. They can’t out-slow the competition. Speed is the only option.

I had the pleasure of participating in a webinar panel to discuss what it means to work at one speed (fast) versus at two speeds as bimodal IT advocates. We discussed why businesses are forced to go fast, the reality and downside of a bimodal IT strategy, and the strategies and approaches to winning based on speed. Here is a quick view of the ground we covered.

Why fast?

The first part of our discussion focused on the factors that are making companies operate at fast speeds. Broadly, it comes down to three factors:

  • Hyper-adoption and hyper-abandonment: Customers are willing to rapidly try, use, and then possibly discard content, apps, and services in a world of seemingly infinite choices and extremely low cost to entry and exit. This dynamic fundamentally changes – speeds up – what it means to “have” a customer.   
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Digital's Golden Rule: Always Save Your Customer’s Time

Nigel Fenwick
Digital lessons from a recent hotel experience.
 
I’m sitting here in my hotel room writing this and watching the in-room dining web page on my phone fail. It’s apparently given up the ghost and is caught in a perpetual loop. It’s the first time I tried using this particular hotel chain’s mobile website. The “Room Service Order Online” features prominently on the first page of the in-room guide. Never one to miss out on an opportunity to test a digital experience I figured I’d give it a go.
 
First, the photo in the room guide shows what looks to be a native app. So naturally, the first thing I did was go to the App store and search for the app using the hotel name. Nothing. HMMM … time to take a closer look at the page in the in-room guide.
 
Aha … I now see I need to browse to the hotel’s web domain and append /atyourservice. Of course they could have offered a QR code to make it easy but they don’t so I type it all in on the tiny keys on my phone. And then I’m brought to a page that looks remarkably like the hotel chain’s main landing page. Bear in mind I’m browsing while I’m in my room on the hotel’s wifi network. They ought to know where I am.
 
Nothing on this page says anything about ordering food. But I can browse to reserve a hotel room at one of a number of hotels! I can even checkin! Oh wait - I did that already.
 
I‘m thinking there must be a link to room-service somewhere …. Wait … there’s a pull down menu at the top … let’s see what this has - surely there’s a room service menu in here?
 
Oh! this is what I find (see figure).
 
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New Forrester Wave: Services Vendors Are Vital Partners As Companies Build Digital Platforms

Nate Fleming

Customers expect digital experiences to accompany the physical products and services they purchase in today’s highly competitive business market. They want these digital platforms to be personal, easy to navigate, and valuable — regardless of how difficult it is to create and maintain such an experience! That’s why companies looking to create a customer- or partner-facing digital platform need a digital platform engineering services (DPES) partner to guide them through these multifaceted projects that often transform a business.

Digital platforms take a range of forms: internet of things (IoT) platforms, digital experience platforms, eCommerce platforms — basically any digital touchpoint that directly interfaces with customers and partners qualifies. What’s similar across this array of digital platforms is the deep technical talent and experience necessary to design, build, and implement them.

We surveyed seven leading DPES vendors and 48 of their customers for The Forrester Wave™: Digital Platform Engineering Services, Q2 2016, available to Forrester clients. The Forrester Wave is an objective methodology to evaluate competing services. The analysis that determines vendors’ placement is based on data gathered from customer interviews and surveys, briefings from vendors, and analyst expertise. For more information on the DPES market, look for my upcoming brief “Software Skills Are Top Of Mind For Digital Platform Engineering Customers” in May 2016 and a webinar on the Forrester Wave report early this summer.

The Forrester Wave™: Digital Platform Engineering Services, Q2 2016

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