How British Gas Transformed Customer Engagement And Won Our 2015 EA Award

Charlie Dai

Customers’ perception of a company depends on their experiences with the organization at every point of contact. Companies can try to change how customers view a brand in a number of ways, such as a new mobile app or an improved complaint-handling process. However, to really improve customer perception, every interaction at every touchpoint must answer questions, suggest new services, and deepen the relationship. Many firms fail to tap into business opportunities that their front-line employees encounter because their processes and technology are antiquated. 

Enterprise architecture (EA) programs can lead the effort to address these limitations and deliver benefits to customers. British Gas, one of the winners of the 2015 Forrester/InfoWorld EA Awards, is a firm that seized its opportunity. My recent report, Enterprise Architects Transform Customer Engagement, analyzes the key practices enterprise architects at British Gas made to serve as brand ambassadors and to improve customer satisfaction levels and highlights key lessons for EA leaders. These practices include:

  • APIs, cloud, and big data technologies power the new engagement platform. To build an engagement platform that delivers customer insights to front-line engineers, the British Gas EA team developed a platform architecture that uses APIs and cloud and big data technologies to support a new engagement platform and the applications on top of it. The API mechanism simplifies digital connections to business applications; cloud infrastructure provides robustness and agility for business operations; big data technology arms field engineers with customer insights; and policies and multitenancy ensure flexibility and security.
Read more

Tame The Beast: Forrester's Insight Platform Vendor Landscape

Brian  Hopkins

The mix of analysts who showed up to a recent Cambridge Semantics briefing illustrates a big problem data and analytics technology buyers have - too many data and analytics solutions and a ton of overlap. For example, of the five analysts who came:

  • One saw Cambridge Semantics as a text analytics tool — and that is true.

  • Another saw it as a search tool — and that too is true.

  • A third viewed it as a cognitive analytics tool — and that is true as well.

  • A fourth came because it was a "BI" tool . . . see my point?

Read more

Insights-Driven Businesses Are Stealing Your Customers

Brian  Hopkins

Is your business digital? Like Domino’s Pizza, do you realize that you are not a product or service business, rather you are a software and data business that provides products or services? Do you exploit all of your customers' data to know them inside-out? Are customers flocking to you because you are driving every engagement with insight about them? If the answer to any of these questions is not a resounding, “Yes!”, then you are losing revenue and shareholder value.

In Forrester’s new report, The Insight Driven Business, my colleagues Ted Schadler, James McCormick and I identify a type of business that ignores the "data driven" hype. Instead, insights-driven businesses focus on implementing insights - that is actionable knowledge in the context of a process or decision - in the software that drives every aspect of their business. This is a big shift from most firms that fret over big data and technology. Instead insights-driven businesses focus on turning insights into action. The big data and technology pieces come along naturally as a consequence.

To gauge the economic impact of insights-driven businesses, Forrester built a revenue model that conservatively forecasts insights-driven businesses will earn about $400 billion in 2016; however, by 2020 they will be making over $1.2 trillion a year due to an astonishing compound annual growth rate between 27% and 40%. Given that global growth is less than 4%, how will they pull this off? Plain and simple, they’ll do this by understanding customers more deeply and using that insight to steal them from their competition. 

Read more

Forrester's 2016 ECM Panel Survey Is Open - Call for Participation

Cheryl McKinnon

Forrester's survey for ECM decision-makers is open, and we're looking for your participation! Take this opportunity to provide your perspectives on the key vendors, the challenges, and the opportunities you see in this technology market. This survey is intended for ECM decision-makers or influencers in end user organizations. This is not for ECM vendors or systems integrators . . . but vendors and consultants — we would love it if you could share this survey invitation with your customers. The survey will remain open until end of day Monday August 1, 2016. August 15th! 

The survey will take approx 15-20 minutes to complete.

Why is your input important? Forrester uses this data to:

  • Keep our Enterprise Content Management Playbook fresh and relevant. Clients who are embarking on a new or updated content initiative rely on these interconnected reports to understand the landscape and market direction and build out the business cases, continuous improvement plans, and the org charts to succeed.
  • Track the trends and emerging use cases for ECM — for both business and transactional content services. Where are investments being made? How is cloud shaping your road map? What are the top challenges facing your programs today?
  • Educate clients and nonclients alike via research, blog posts, webinars, and industry presentations. This survey data helps us validate and verify where ECM markets are evolving and aid you in making better investment decisions.
Read more

Architect Process Agility With BPM Platforms For Digital Business

Charlie Dai

Some CIOs and enterprise architecture (EA) pros believe that business process management (BPM) is on the opposite side of agility — but they don’t realize that BPM technology itself is also evolving. Agility-oriented BPM platforms are the foundation of a digital business. I’ve recently published a report that discusses the four key areas that EA pros must focus on to accelerate digital transformation with BPM. Some of the key takeaways:

  • Modern BPM is critical for digital business. Process agility is critical to giving businesses the agility that powers digital business. BPM adoption is gaining momentum in China; EA pros must drive the use of modernized BPM platforms and methods to accelerate digital transformation. 49% of budget decision-makers in China from both the technology and business sides will increase their spending on enterprise process applications, which is higher than their global peers.
  • An outside-in approach is key to digital transformation. EA pros must understand key BPM platform capabilities and unique local demands. For the Chinese market, this means data-intensive user interfaces with integration and security needs, complex organizational hierarchies and ad hoc decision-making approval processes, and a unique social environment for cross-region collaboration. EA pros should then use these requirements to align the architecture for agility-oriented process platforms. Forrester has introduced a reference architecture for agility-oriented process platforms that consists of four layers: enablement, foundation, engagement, and management.
Read more

Key Takeaways From Informatica World 2016: Informatica Pivots From A Data Company To A Business Insights Company

Nasry Angel

Informatica World wrapped up in San Francisco last week where almost 3,000 customers and partners gathered in the Moscone West conference center for four days packed with executive keynotes, customer and partner presentations. Based on my time there it’s clear that:

Informatica is pivoting to cater to a business audience. They recognize the business and their requirements have gained greater influence over technology purchasing decisions and are responding accordingly. Heralding what they call the age of data 3.0 they now want to leverage their leadership position in data management to build industry solutions on top of their data integration, data quality and data management tools. MDM solutions like MDM-Customer 360, MDM-Product 360, and MDM-Supplier 360 take aim at delivering mission critical insights to the business user. Their expanded partnership with Tableau will also continue to expose them to business audiences.

Promising new executives have their work cut out for them. Informatica has a 20 year track record of success in data management. But they are going in a new direction that is largely uncharted territory for them. Lou Attanasio, is the newly minted Chief Sales Officer who will need to transform an organization accustomed to speaking with IT to one that appeals to a business audience which will require a new sales model, training, and specialized sales talent that can speak to the client in terms of business value while also covering the technology at the right altitude. Jim Davis, who joined earlier this year as CMO from SAS, is leading the charge in positioning Informatica as not just a data management tool but a platform that is embracing cloud, mobile, social, big data, IoT and security.

Read more

US Government: Huawei Should Be Your Digital Business Partner, Not Your Enemy

Charlie Dai

Huawei Technologies started out nearly 30 years ago as a small private company with 14 employees and 140,000 yuan in capital. By 2015, its total revenue exceeded $60 billion. Huawei is already a global company, but its globalization journey has been a difficult one since the very beginning. Despite its continuous business growth in other regions, Huawei has faced critical censorship in the US since Day One — and last week the US government put Huawei under the microscope yet again.

National security is important, but using “national security” as an excuse for allowing unfair competition will only harm customers. It’s time for the governments of both countries to trust each other more. I’ve recently published a report focusing on Huawei’s continuous progress toward becoming a key enabler of digital transformation in the telco and enterprise spaces. Some of the key takeaways:

  • Huawei has holistic strategies for digital transformation. Huawei’s broad vision of digital strategy — which focuses on cloud enablement and readiness, partner enablement, and open source co-creation — has helped the firm sustain strong business growth in the telco and enterprise markets. For example, its partnerships with T-Systems on the Open Telekom Cloud in Germany and with Telefónica on public cloud in the Americas have helped carriers in local markets give cloud users on-demand, all-online, self-service experiences.
Read more

Navigate The Crowded Enterprise File Sync And Share Market By Asking These 3 Questions

Cheryl McKinnon

Forrester defines Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) as the technologies that "allow organizations to share and replicate content across multiple devices, distributing files to employees and/or customers or partners outside the enterprise".

Two Forrester Waves on the EFSS market were published recently, segmenting this crowded market into two categories: cloud solutions and hybrid solutions. Forrester clients can access them here:

Read more

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:

Read more

Pega Buys OpenSpan: Watch Out - RPA Vendor Landscape Is About To Change

Craig Le Clair

Enterprises, in their quest to reduce labor costs, are applying RPA technologies. Yet they do not have a well-defined set of principles and best practices, including how to position RPA with other process tools and initatives. Today it may have become a bit more clear. Pega is the first tech provider, and only BPM market particpant of substance, to purchase an RPA provider (OpenSpan). The combination brings robotics, analytics, and case management together - and that makes sense. Think of Pega's process/rules capibility firing off a set of RPA scripts.

RPA in many respects is an alternative, some would say the polar opposite of Pega's current business model that feasts on the transformitive "big IT spend" for BPM, case management, automation, and customer service projects. RPA does not require invasive integration. It is a quick hit for automation, a “low touch” approach for process improvement for brittle legacy systems. The bottom line. Enterprises that employ labor on a large scale for process work can gain efficiencies by just automating repetitive human tasks for the “as is” process.

OpenSpan is nice pick-up for Pega that will help with back-office BPM work, but more so with contact center environments where the agent requires human and machine multitasking that often spans multiple windows and web applications, few of which are integrated with each other. Cumbersome process flows, rekeying of data, and lack of integration add up to lengthy call times, reduced accuracy, and an overall increase in customer frustration. Pega/OpenSpan will give Jacada and NICE a run for their money, and the future integration with Pega's analytics tracks where the RPA space is heading.

Read more