I thought I would expand a little on my aside comment in last week's blog which was actually about HP. In the introduction to the blog I noted that we analysts seem to be abusing Twitter. I was so provocative that I named my colleagues “adolescent journalists” because they broadcast tweets ad verbatim as the HP speakers went through their presentations. I have noticed this has gotten progressively more (as far as I am concerned, worse and worse) over the last 12 months at various analyst retreats.
Many of these colleagues have responded to my blog and basically asked “What’s your problem with this?” Well, I certainly do not want to be seen as a “grumpy old man” (though I love those books) - ie. Someone who is not up to the times. While I am turning 54 years of age today, I think I do understand Twitter, and use it; and I think I can blog adequately as well. Then again, we analysts at Forrester have been well trained by our Marketing analyst colleagues who are at the forefront of all these developments. Our latest research on “Using Twitter for eBusiness” discusses how companies use Twitter but it doesn’t address the usage I am on about here. So, the issues I have with our just typing in every 140 characters of whatever the person on the stage is saying is as follows:
I spent a couple of days with HP executives this week here in Boston. As I worked there myself for 20 years (up to 2001, so I have distance as well), I’d like to comment about how their enterprise business strategy now looks. Of course, I wasn’t alone there; there were 250 of us. Those who follow my peers in Twitter may already be overloaded with multiple 140-character cuts: my impression is that the tool tends to makes them behave more like adolescent journalists than analysts. Often, they were broadcasting tweets before even noticing that a particular statement was “under NDA”. Vendors will learn to be more cautious in the future; which is not good for us analysts. Anyway, here are my highlights of the HP briefings.
HP’s Converged Infrastructure story includes the pending acquisition of 3COM
Nice to see that HP now has (servers + storage + networking) PLUS power & cooling! Now, HP has Cisco squarely within their sights with this one, dropping statements like “they’re just a $30B vendor while we spend over $50B in our supply chain”; “as soon as we can, we will replace ALL our Cisco gear with 3COM and realize 45% savings”; and “of course, all 3COM products use the same operating environment, unlike them”.
My Take: Well, Cisco started this. They are, indeed, seriously threatened. If HP apply their financial muscle and play the pricing game, Cisco’s business and margins may well suffer. Remember, networking is the highest margin area in IT infrastructure: HP is adding it, Cisco is diluting it. But, I also think that Cisco will make other game changing moves in the next months. HP strategists should not be resting on their laurels, they should be doing scenario planning - and thinking way outside the IT infrastructure box.
I met with two interesting marketing automation software vendors last week. As a patriot certainly, I like that there are these European companies with some very innovative ideas that will contribute to the success of both factory and field marketers in the tech industry. But it is also their innovation that I find interesting.
We've just published our latest Vendor Positioning Review (VPR) benchmark of the IT management software market. This vendor-oriented report discusses how vendors market their solutions to you in collateral and on their Web sites. We focus on how well they talk Business Technology (BT) over IT — how well do they speak YOUR language. And we recognize how important B2B digital media has become in communicating with you — our most recent data shows that the percent of technology buyers that are most advanced in using social media, what we call the Creators and Critics, is nearly double that of the US consumer population in general.
The VPR report highlights a best practice (or two) in each of the categories that we evaluate.
In terms of providing you with social media facilities, the vendors are a mixture of active, indifferent and inactive. The good ones offer you a community Web page from their Home Page to access forums, join communities (even if only a support community) and see their blogs: kudos to BMC, CA, ManageEngine, newScale, Spiceworks and Splunk. EMC, HP Software, IBM Tivoli, Microsoft, Nimsoft, Quest and Symantec have the facilities as well but you need to be good to find them (who would think of looking under “About Symantec”?). ASG and Compuware aren’t there yet.
Thanks to all of you who have already sent me feedback about my first report on the challenges facing field marketers. See report.
It was based several meetings with field marketers over the last months. My next step is to do structured interviews with field marketing professionals over the next months to even better understand where the job is going and map roles, tasks and responsibilities in a priorities listing in my next report.
I've recently had several interesting discussions about one of the assessment criteria in the Forrester Vendor Positioning Review (VPR). A new VPR on IT Management Software Vendors should be out this time next week (it's been stuck in our Editing dept. for several weeks now.)
I noticed the press release about Computacenter assuming the role of vendor management for BP ( http://www.realwire.com/release_detail.asp?ReleaseID=14672) just before Christmas, but its impact eluded me at the time (too busy shopping for presents). But I was interviewing and researching Computacenter specifically this month for another reason and now I’ve spent more time to understand the true significance of the announcement.
This is my first blog in 2010 but I cannot help reflecting about something that happened to me in 2009 - it left me thoughtful for most of the Christmas holiday which, for me as a European is over 2 weeks. In December I was discussing social media with 60-odd field marketing managers from around EMEA and we discussed customer reference programs and lead management among other things. While they clearly understood much of what I was saying to them, they equally clearly resented this one slide which is entitled: “The day in the life of modern marketer”.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is rapidly becoming “Everything-as-a-Service” (or, as a client said to me last week, “All-as-a-Service”).I’ve been reporting the impact of SaaS on IT management software for nearly two years now and I keep saying that SaaS is really a phenomenon of new market entrants with compelling arguments against incumbent suppliers. Operators like ServiceNow.com, ManageEngine, Splunk, and SpiceWorks are leading a charge to replace HP, BMC Software, and CA installations. So it’s NOT really a trend impacting small and medium businesses only: many enterprises, even large ones, now also prefer a SaaS solution for their systems monitoring, IT asset management, service desk, or even discovery and CMDB management.
In the last weeks there has been a series of SaaS announcements by the megavendors. But the inquiries coming in from Forrester clients imply that things are not all that clear on these announcements. So here is a quick summary. As you will see, while riding the SaaS wave, they each interpret it differently.
CA now has a Service Desk On Demand offering based on their Service Desk r12 product. It’s run on dedicated installation in their data center or as a multi-tenant instance in one of CA’s partners installations also hosted there. CA clearly wants to limit the service to their target enterprise market. They will control this by requiring a minimum 1 year contract (with financial incentives for signing for 2 or even 3 years), a minimum of 50 service desk analysts (you pay per analyst per month) and, most importantly, you cannot just sign up for the service on the web, you have to be approved by CA first.