Office For iPad Adds Another Reason To Go Office 365

Today Microsoft starts shipping Office for iPad, finally plugging the gap in its portfolio that’s been filled by popular document viewers and editors like QuickOffice and SlideShark.
 
Does this come too late for Microsoft?
As much as naysayers like to proclaim Office is dying, people still overwhelmingly use it at home and at work. Office is supported at virtually every organization. Our survey of Forrester clients at the end of last year showed strong strides by Google Docs with 13% of firms using it.* However, the caveat is companies that have gone Google are using Docs to complement Office with collaboration features and mobile support, not to replace it.
 
You could argue how much incremental revenue Microsoft lost out on, but I don’t think the lack of native Office apps has caused Microsoft to cede ground to other office productivity suites on the PC, where the vast majority of content is still created. Keep in mind that out of the 20% of information workers in North America and Europe that use a tablet for work, 60% of them use some office productivity software on it.** Half of tablets used for work are iPads. So immediately just 6% of information workers will be considering the Office apps as an alternative to what they are using on their tablets today. 
 
Is Microsoft really multi-platform now?
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What You Can Learn From Atos's Zero Email Initiative

Atos created a stir in 2011 when it announced its Zero Email program — an initiative to completely eliminate the use of email for internal communications and use enterprise social instead. Many scoffed it wasn’t practical or that it couldn’t be done. Some others — myself included — thought getting rid of email completely isn’t the right objective. Yes, there are many statistics showing we spend a lot of time on email. But if you accept that . . .
 
  1. Composing and reading messages is an important part of communicating for work;
  2. Specifying the recipient(s) without exposing the message to others unless you intend to (i.e. email) has its place;
  3. Other collaboration tools are more efficient than email for some types of interactions;
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Winners Of The 2013 Forrester Groundswell Awards (Business-To-Employee Category)

Every year Forrester’s Groundswell Awards recognize the most innovative social and mobile programs with a measurable business impact. Once again in the business-to-employee (B2E) category we received many outstanding examples of companies empowering their employees with these technologies to solve customer and business problems. This year’s entries highlight a growing sophistication in how companies are applying mobile and social to transform their operations. This year’s entries featured:
 
  • More complex mobile and social technology integrations. Both our Mobile winner and runner-up combined mobile forms and location data with a social application to more efficiently allocate resources in the field. We received multiple entries in the Collaboration category featuring companies applying gamification to communities and to CRM, and as well as integrations between real-time and asynchronous collaboration tools. These integrations multiply the power of the technologies and create new and interesting use cases. 
  • More targeted customer impacting applications. Customer-facing employees often represent a direct opportunity to show the business impact of social and mobile technologies. This year’s entries saw a number of applications to empower sales, field operations, and customer service roles with tools to increase customer engagement and improve satisfaction scores by speeding up delivery and equipping employees with the right information.
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Reality Check: Enterprise Social Does Not Stem Email Overload

Email overload is a hot topic. Replace “email” in the title of this post with “message” and the point becomes more obvious. 
 
Summary: Social displaces some interactions that are inefficient over email, but overall introduces more messages for workers to sift through. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, many organizations invest in enterprise social for the additional collaborative interaction (i.e., messaging) it facilitates. 
 
First, let’s look at how social displaces some interactions that are inefficient over email. In contrast to a private model -- which relies on addressing specific individuals and restricting who can see messages -- a public model allows everyone to more easily:
 
  1. Find someone who can help. Social platforms elevate experts based on their rich profiles, contributions to the community, and recognition by others. Addressing a larger group also improves the chances the right person will see your message. This avoids what IBM calls the squirrel hunt when you start pinging people to ask “Can you help me with this or direct me to someone who can?"
  2. Surface and participate in relevant discussions. We’ve all been annoyed by massive reply-all email chains. Rather than depend on being forwarded or copied at some point in an important email chain and be unnecessarily looped in on others, social tools allow us to choose to participate in relevant discussions. By electing to get notifications or watching the activity in a particular channel or group we stay "in the know” and can jump in or stay out.
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Office Productivity Software Is No Closer To Becoming A Commodity

We just published a report on the state of adoption of Office 2013 And Productivity Suite Alternatives based on a survey of 155 Forrester clients with responsibility for those investments. The sample does not fully represent the market, but lets us draw comparisons to the results of our previous survey in 2011. Some key takeaways from the data:
 
  • One in five firms uses email in the cloud. Another quarter plans to move at some point. More are using Office 365 (14%) than Google Apps (9%). 
  • Just 22% of respondents are on Office 2013. Another 36% have plans to be on it. Office 2013's uptake will be slower than Office 2010 because fewer firms plan to combine the rollout of Office 2013 with Windows 8 as they combined Office 2010 with Windows 7.
  • Alternatives to Microsoft Office show little traction. In 2011, 13% of respondents supported open source alternatives to Office. This year the number is just 5%. Google Docs has slightly higher adoption and is in use at 13% of companies. 
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Presenting the 2013 Forrester Wave on Desktop Videoconferencing

Today we published the Forrester Wave evaluation of Desktop Videoconferencing solutions.

Technology improvements are lowering the infrastructure and price barriers to using videoconferencing, making it available to more people and generating new applications. Employees want desktop videoconferencing because they don’t have to get up and go somewhere, reserve a room, ask for permission, deal with chargebacks, or ask for help to use it. Based on rapid adoption over the past three years we anticipate that within the next three years more than half of information workers will use desktop videoconferencing at least occasionally for work.

There are four major categories of solutions: consumer applications, unified communications (UC) clients, video pure plays, and webconferencing.

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Presenting the 2013 Forrester Wave on Webconferencing

Webconferencing is an important, multipurpose technology used by a quarter of information workers, half of which use it for work every day. It is a mature technology, with several vendors' products making it into the Leaders category of our evaluation. The Forrester Wave report updates our previous evaluation of the market and includes 11 products:

Adobe Connect, AT&T Connect, Cisco WebEx, Citrix GoToMeeting, FuzeBox FuzeMeeting, IBM Sametime*, IBM SmartCloud Meetings, InterCall Unified Meeting, Microsoft Lync, PGi GlobalMeet, and Saba Meeting.

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Understanding Virtualized Videoconferencing

Server virtualization has been and continues to be a top IT priority for good reasons like improving infrastructure manageability, lowering TCO, and improving business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities. In IT's quest to virtualize more workloads, however, videoconferencing has remained on its own island of specialized hardware due to its reliance on transcoding DSPs (digital signal processors), an incredibly compute intensive type of work. Transcoding is necessary for interoperability between unlike videoconferencing systems, and the performance of that specialized hardware has been difficult to match with software running on standard servers. 
 
That is, unless you turn to a model that doesn't use transcoding. Enter Vidyo, whose virtual edition infrastructure delivers comparable performance to its physical appliances since it doesn't have to transcode calls between Vidyo endpoints. Desktop videoconferencing solutions for the most part are available in virtualized models. However, transcoding based videoconferencing is also becoming available virtualized, with LifeSize offering its platform in this model. In the cloud, Blue Jeans -- the poster child for videoconferencing as a service -- has a virtualized platform based on transcoding that also provides a high quality experience. It will be interesting to see how the performance of virtualized transcoding workloads compares to traditional infrastructure.
 
Innovation in videoconferencing today is about making this historically cost prohibitive technology cheaper and easier to deploy. Server virtualization is key to that goal. In conversations with end user companies considering their videoconferencing strategy, virtualization is something they express interest in and would consider the next time they refresh their technology. Here's what vendors in the upcoming Forrester Wave on desktop videoconferencing are doing with virtualization today:
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Video Platforms Are Critical Parts Of Your Customer And Employee Engagement Toolkits

Marketers increasingly recognize the value of using online video to engage and inform consumers, create brand awareness, and even drive direct action. Similarly, corporate communications and business leaders are making greater use of live streaming and on-demand video to communicate more effectively with a distributed workforce. Video publishing capabilities are integral not only to traditional media providers today, but to the websites and intranets of many brands, companies, and organizations without a history of content creation. 

Today we released two Forrester Waves™ to help our clients select the right vendor for their video publishing needs. The Forrester Wave on online video platforms (OVPs) updates our previous evaluation of the market and includes five vendors: Adobe, Brightcove, Kaltura, Limelight, and Ooyala. The Forrester Wave on enterprise video platforms (EVPs) is our first evaluation of this important category and includes seven vendors: Cisco, Ignite Technologies, Kaltura, Kontiki, Polycom, Qumu, Sonic Foundry, and VBrick. We included these vendors because of their size in the market, experience serving enterprise customers, and frequent mention by Forrester clients in competitive scenarios. 
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Dissecting The Latest Announcements From Cisco And Polycom

Having attended analyst events by Cisco and Polycom in the past month I'd like to share my key takeaways from the announcements for the companies' positions in the videoconferencing and collaboration software markets. 

POLYCOM
CEO Andy Miller called October 8 the "most important day in Polycom history" when the company made a wave of announcements on products it will release over the next six months:
  • Cloud AXIS, a browser-based videoconferencing service promises to simplify connectivity. Videoconferencing in a browser window without the need for any downloads will help promote adoption. It could also make other enterprise videoconferencing initiatives — B2B, desktop-to-room connectivity, and BYOD — easier to achieve. We can see the promise of browser-based connectivity in BlueJeans' introduction of the technology, where it already accounts for 25% of endpoints on calls using the service
  • SVC and multi-stream videoconferencing architecture lower the cost per port. Room-based videoconferencing vendors are under growing pressure to provide alternative deployment options to the expensive transcoding MCU. By supporting the SVC codec as well as interoperability with mainstream AVC, Polycom can offer the best of both worlds. Also, Polycom is using the same flavor of SVC as Microsoft in Lync 2013, maintaining the synergy of a Polycom + Microsoft strategy.
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