Why Infrastructure Will Drive The Retail Store Experiences Of The Future

JP Gownder

The Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) role is changing significantly: I&O pros are increasingly helping to drive business strategies with the technologies they choose and implement. Business leaders tell Forrester that technology is too important to leave to technology managers alone; they are pushing their I&O colleagues to explore the business value associated with the technologies they choose, implement, and manage. I&O pros, in turn, tell us that their jobs are changing. As one I&O pro put it, “I’ve been an infrastructure manager for 15 years, but only in the past 3 have I been asked to construct a business plan and be part of the business planning team.”

Figure: Burberry's Technology-Powered Flagship Store In London

For I&O pros in retail and related verticals like hospitality (or for anyone involved in creating in-person experiences), we’ve just released a report to help aid this transition. Along with my co-author Michele Pelino, we’ve just released the report “Infrastructure Will Drive The Retail Store Experiences Of The Future.” The report asserts that I&O pros have an important role to play in helping their companies engage shoppers in experiences that will drive loyalty and spending.

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Google Makes Glass Visible To The Enterprise

JP Gownder

Up until this week, Google had remained reticent about speaking of Google Glass as an enterprise tool. Google is a mass-market consumer company whose main revenue streams derive from huge scale; its aspirations for Glass are, presumably, both ambitious and far-reaching. In consequence, Google's leaders want Google Glass on the faces of as many consumers as possible. Enterprise represents, at best, a bit of a diversion from that mass-market ambition.

Nevertheless, as I pointed out in January, Google has begun to tell stories about how Glass can create value in an enterprise setting. Their videos of public safety officials using Glass for firefighting tugged at the heart-strings, even as the NYPD pilots the device as well. But April has seen a flurry of enterprise-related Glass news, including an explicit posting on Google+ about enterprise.

In addition to all those consumer Glass Explorers, "Something we've also noticed and are very excited about is how Explorers are using Glass to drive their businesses forward," Google wrote. "A number of companies have already teamed up with enterprise software developers to create new ways to serve their customers and reach their business goals."

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A Nice Example Of Applying Desktop Virtualization To Improve Customer Experience

David Johnson

When I was maybe 2 years old, my mother lost track of me in a Toys-R-Us store. After a dozen stressful minutes, she finally found me - holding a Fisher-Price airplane. And so began my love affair with airplanes and aviation. So as I looked through the break-out schedule while attending NVIDIA’s GPU conference two weeks ago in San Jose, California, Gulfstream Aero’s session on transforming manufacturing and field service with desktop virtualization caught my eye. It didn’t disappoint.

There are 2 reasons why I liked this session so much and why I think it’s worth sharing with you:

  1. It’s a nice example of technology that makes the work easier for employees, and helps them improve the customer experience directly.
  2. It’s also an example of how a technology that’s not necessarily a money saver (in this case, VDI) shines when it enables workers do something that would be difficult or impossible any other way.
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Telefónica Leadership Event 2014 Highlights Plans To Lead The Digital Telco Parade

Michele Pelino

With Brownlee Thomas, Ph.D., Forrester Research

Forrester recently attended the Telefónica Leadership Conference 2014, its annual global customer event that brought together more than 600 customers, partners and its Global Solutions leadership team. This year’s event was an exemplary mix of Telefónica and external content, including a keynote live video interview with former US President Bill Clinton on day one, and also a keynote speech by Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile 2010-2014 on day two. Additionally, well known academics presented research findings related to how cloud and social are changing marketing (Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard), and how multigenerational workforces are reshaping business – from how they use technology to interact, and also to learn and transfer skills (Dr. Paul Redmond,  University of Liverpool).

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The Age Of The Customer Requires A Shift In Monitoring Focus

John Rakowski

In my February 2014 report: Left–Shift Technology Monitoring For Success In The Age Of The Customer I explore what the near future will bring for technology monitoring approaches and solutions. Today, for the typical I&O organization, successful technology or service delivery monitoring focuses on two main areas. Firstly, availability, so ensuring the technology underpinning business services is up and available when needed and secondly, performance, so making sure that technology utilized (applications and associated workloads) is fast enough for the business service it supports. 

There is a major problem with this approach though. As the famous author Harper Lee stated “We know all men are not created equal” and the same can be said about your customers and employees – they are not all equal and the rapid pace of consumer technology innovation in areas such as mobile means that they will utilize technology in different ways to support productivity or to engage with your enterprise as a customer. Our relationship with technology is changing rapidly. It is becoming more intimate and personal, meaning that datacenter centric monitoring approaches that focus on availability and performance alone, while still essential, are only the beginning of what is required for a holistic technology monitoring strategy.

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Internal and hosted private cloud adoption in 2013

Lauren Nelson

Over the past couple months, I've published adoption profiles on both internal and hosted private cloud in North America and Europe. If you haven't read them, they can be found at the following links: 

 

Keeping this short and sweet, here's my top takeaways on internal private cloud: 

  1. Private cloud adoption and interest continues to rise. 
  2. Europe is starting to get serious about private cloud with a large spike in adoption and interest in 2013.
  3. Despite increased adoption, private clouds are still falling short of basic definition. 
  4. Improved IT management is still the focus which shows a mix of enhanced virtualization centric private clouds and early stages of transformational cloud
  5. Most popular vendor in Europe? IBM.
  6. Most popular vendor in the US? VMware.
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Cisco UCS at Five Years – Successful Disruption and a New Status-Quo

Richard Fichera

March Madness – Five Years Ago

It was five years ago, March 2009, when Cisco formally announced  “Project California,” its (possibly intentionally) worst-kept secret, as Cisco Unified Computing System. At the time, I was working at Hewlett Packard, and our collective feelings as we realized that Cisco really did intend to challenge us in the server market were a mixed bag. Some of us were amused at their presumption, others were concerned that there might be something there, since we had odd bits and pieces of intelligence about the former Nuova, the Cisco spin-out/spin-in that developed UCS. Most of us were convinced that they would have trouble running a server business at margins we knew would be substantially lower than their margins in their core switch business. Sitting on top of our shiny, still relatively new HP c-Class BladeSystem, which had overtaken IBM’s BladeCenter as the leading blade product, we were collectively unconcerned, as well as puzzled about Cisco’s decision to upset a nice stable arrangement where IBM, HP and Dell sold possibly a Billion dollars’ worth of Cisco gear between them.

Fast Forward

Five years later, HP is still number one in blade server units and revenue, but Cisco appears to be now number two in blades, and closing in on number three world-wide in server sales as well. The numbers are impressive:

·         32,000 net new customers in five years, with 14,000 repeat customers

·         Claimed $2 Billion+ annual run-rate

·         Order growth rate claimed in “mid-30s” range, probably about three times the growth rate of any competing product line.

Lessons Learned

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When Too Much Control Is a Bad Thing

James Staten

I know, more control is an axiom! But the above statement is more often true. When we're talking about configuration control in the public cloud it can be especially true, as control over the configuration of your application can put control in the hands of someone who knows less about the given platform and thus is more likely to get the configuration wrong. Have I fired you up yet? Then you're going to love (or loathe) my latest report, published today. 

Let's look at the facts. Your base configuration of an application deployed to the cloud is likely a single VM in a single availability zone without load balancing, redundancy, DR, or a performance guarantee. That's why you demand configuration control so you can address these shortcomings. But how well do you know the cloud platform you are using? Is it better to use their autoscaling service (if they have one) or to bring your own virtual load balancers? How many instances of your VM, in which zones, is best for availability? Would it be better to configure your own database cluster or use their database as a service solution? One answer probably isn't correct — mirroring the configuration of the application as deployed in your corporate virtualization environment. Starting to see my point?

Fact is, more configuration control may just be a bad thing.

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The Flash Blindness Caused By SDN Hype Keeps Many From Seeing Cisco's Growth Path

Andre Kindness

Cisco released its 1st quarter financial statement last week, and the numbers weren’t pretty. But this shouldn’t surprise too many, since the company warned the financial community that the revenue growth was going to be below their expectations. Unlike most, I see this as more of an inflection point in an undulation that swings back into a growth mode that comes with a change in strategy than a parabolic upside-down curve. While there are multiple transformations starting to occur in the networking domain, the Cisco Doomsday-ers seem to solely focus on software-defined networking and the creation of cloud infrastructures; they assume the data center of the future will look like Google’s data centers, even though no one truly, outside of Google, knows how it really runs or what the components are.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume every data center (private or XaaS platforms) will be a Google data center full of white-box components and Cisco’s high margin/feature switches will disappear. Does this mean Cisco becomes irrelevant or loses its position as the 800 lb. gorilla in the networking industry? Heck no. What clearly is being missed by most of the world is the incredible transformation starting to materialize outside the data center. And no, it isn’t the presence of mobile devices. That is today’s transformation that changed the consumer. The business will catch up. Tomorrow’s emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) will enable the business to meet its consumers’ desirers, and Cisco sees it already. Cisco could lose every port in the data centers and still be ahead if you look at where the amount of port growth and network revenue will come over the next 10 years.

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Nokia Unveiling Android Models Represent New Strategies From Microsoft

Bryan Wang

At Mobile World Congress this week, Nokia announced the first three models of its new Android product line, Nokia X. Nokia X is positioned as entry-level smartphones below the Lumia range that nonetheless deliver a more complete smartphone experience with Android application availability than the Asha range. With both 4-inch and 5-inch screen models, the Nokia Store and Microsoft services will also be available on these devices; Bing Search, Outlook, OneDrive, and Skype will come preloaded. Although I am disappointed with the super-old Qualcomm MSM8225 chipset used, it brings high-quality Nokia products to the Android world at only €89 to €109 before tax and operator subsidies. 

It was not surprising that Nokia started trialing Android models before the Microsoft deal. However, it is interesting to see that Nokia is now not only launching it just to prove to the public that it has tried to do so, but also that it wants to make it a serious strategy. What does this mean when we are expecting the Microsoft acquisition to complete in just merely a month? And why did Microsoft approve it? Some possible reasons why:

  • Microsoft can’t yet deliver a good Windows Phone experience at the low price points they want to hit. Now it can — by using Android and old, low-cost chipsets.
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