Everyone seems to understand that social computing is a hot technology these days, and at Forrester we get plenty of questions from companies trying to understand how they can access the power and benefits of social computing into their own companies.
But before companies consider which technology platforms they should use, they should be carefully considering for what business purpose they need social computing tools. In my view, technology is a powerful lever in solving business problems, but it is not a solution in itself. For example, I know a lot of people who spend a lot of time on Facebook, but I can’t see much business value in it (unless looking up former high school classmates counts as business development). The same is true for far too many (but not all) of the social technology tools hitting the market today. <
This is where innovation management tools come in. While many community platforms are great at providing technology for internal collaboration, the best innovation management companies are taking the power of technology one step further - they are using social technologies, to help companies generate a response to specific business problems.
As a high school student I had to go through a Philosophy class, even though my curriculum was in sciences. Zeno's paradox, or the negation of movement, was one of the subjects of that class through which I suffered enormously. Years later, my daughter came back one day with some math homework: the subject was to explain why Zeno's paradox was wrong. And I suffered through it again. This familiarity with Zeno, which I really could have done without, lead me to apply it to IT and what I consider to be the ball and chain that slows IT progress. In Zeno's paradox a runner (Achilles) cannot catch a turtle which started a race earlier than him because each time the runner reaches the point where the turtle was, the turtle has of course moved forward. Repeating this reasoning leads to the conclusion that the interval will become very small, but that the runner will never catch the turtle. What's wrong with the reasoning is that it explains a continuous movement variation through a set of discrete events. But this is what we do in IT: we have a continuous progress of IT technology, hardware and software, and IT projects which are discrete events. When we decide to start an IT project, all hardware and software components are frozen for the duration, while technology continue to progress.
I have just come back from our own Business Technology Forum
in Chicago where my colleagues presented about the concept of “lean production”
to an audience of application development and business process professionals:
how the IT industry, including enterprise IT, must now finally address and
improve its R&D and production processes, just as other industries have
Compuware announces this morning their intention to purchase Gomez, one of the two major forces in web application monitoring services (the other one being Keynote). This is a very interesting and potentially game changing move in both the end user experience monitoring and the application performance management (APM) markets.
On Monday morning Xerox announced the
planned acquisition of ACS for approximately $6.4 billion. The acquisition will
be a big move for Xerox’s Ursula Burns, who just recently took over as CEO, and
it is indeed a “game-changer” for Xerox. Long known as a manufacturer of office
products such as copiers, Xerox has exhibited strong growth from its Global
Services business unit in recent years even as other parts of the organization
faced increasing levels of commoditization.This acquisition shows that Xerox is now dedicated to a services-driven transformation
of its business.
ACS is a $6.3B IT services company provider
of business process outsourcing (BPO), though it also offers system integration
and IT infrastructure outsourcing (BPO services represent 79% of the company’s
business). The company has exhibited decent
top-line growth in the last two fiscal years (5.9% and 6.7%, respectively), though
its BPO services performed better (7.4% in 2009, 10.9% in 2008). Xerox will no
doubt benefit from ACSs focus on two hot markets right now: healthcare and
Three quarters into 2009, and it seems that the market share of the four megavendors in IT management software (BMC, CA, HP and IBM) has again seriously eroded against their smaller competitors. The global ITMS market itself did not shrink: smaller vendors are reporting better results than forecast.
One major reason for this turn of events is that enterprises are struggling with smaller or flat IT budgets, and are therefore looking for a bigger bang for their buck, both in terms of CAPEX and OPEX: deals are smaller, more tactical in nature and tend to favor point solutions again.
But why is it that the larger ITMS vendors cannot compete with the smaller ones in tactical solutions?
with some of my Forrester analyst colleagues earlier today I listened into the
conference call hosted by executives of both - Dell and Perot Systems - to explain the rationale behind Dell's
announcement to buy Perot for US$ 3.9 billion cash. There has been some
speculation lately about Dell possibly making such a move, but the timing and
the target they finally picked came as a bit of a surprise to everyone. The speculation was rooted in some of the statements made by Steve
Schuckenbrock, President of Large Enterprise and Services at Dell, earlier this
year where he pronounced that Dell would get much more serious around the
services business. Now, you would of course expect nothing less from someone
like Steve - after all he has spend much of his professional career prior to
Dell as a top executive in the services industry (with EDS and The Feld Group).
To this end Steve and his team finally delivered on the expectation, even more
so as this had not been the first time that Dell promised a stronger emphasis on