Here Come The Insights Ecosystem (s)

In doing research on why big data is not enough and customer insights teams are disconnected from business operations, Brian Hopkins and I came across three hugely important things happening:

  1. Firms are adopting systems of insight -- insights teams with business, data, and developer skills using an insights-to-execution process and taking advantage of a new insights architecture. This is what our new big idea report is about.
  2. Service providers are building insights practices with reusable technology, reusable insights models (including some with cognitive capabilities), and reusable engagement models for an industry or business function. Deloitte Digital and now IBM specialize in this, but many other service providers are recrafting their analytics practices to jump in.
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Digital Insights Are the New Currency of Business

All the big data technology in the world won't close the gaps between data and action. One global bank told us, "even with all the capabilities and tools in place, we are drowning in data and starving for insight."

To harness the power of all your data to attract and serve customers -- to be a digital business -- you also need a new way of consistently harnessing insights that matter: insights teams using an insights-to-execution process anchored by a new digital insights architecture. We call this combination of people, process, and technology "systems of insight" (see Figure 1).

Brian Hopkins and I just released a Forrester report called "Digital Insights Are the New Currency of Business" for CIOs. I've never worked harder or longer on a 16-page document: one year, 75 drafts, and help from 25 colleagues spanning business, marketing, data, and technology.

What we found is that successful firms go beyond big data and business intelligence practices to build the business discipline and technology to harness insights and consistently turn data into action. This approach works by linking business actions back to data and discovering and testing insights to take action (see Figure 2).
 
Systems of insight embody five essential advances over previous approaches:
 
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Apple Watch -- Bliss or Bling? Glanceable Moments Will Decide

Our 2014 Technographics survey of 4,575 North American consumers reveals that 40% of smartphone owners are "tired of pulling my phone out of my pocket." No wonder. Smartphones have become an extension of our psyches -- our confidence and our strength, our entertainer and our assistant. We look at them sometimes 100s of times a day in our mobile moments of need. How many of those moments can shrink down to wrist size?

We're about to find out. Apple is shipping its Apple Watch today. Millions of people will buy them. But will it be bliss or bling? Will people will still be wearing an Apple Watch six months from now? And will word spread so it shows up in the holiday gift list of millions more consumers?

Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

I believe that Apple Watch can succeed and even has a chance to make geeky watches cool. But only if app designers and developers master a new kind of mobile moment we called glanceable moments or micro moments.

Here's a rule of thumb: people will stare at a desktop screen for 3 minutes. They will spend 30 seconds on their smartphone. But they will spend only 3 seconds with a watch app. That's a glanceable moment: 3 seconds to communicate vital information, deliver a service, or help someone take action.

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Google's Mobile-Friendly Search Will Bury Your Mobile-Unfriendly Sites

Customer are mobile first. Is your website? Are all your webpages?

Google did something important for your customers today: it changed its ranking algorithm for searches on smartphones. If Google deems your web page mobile-unfriendly, then it will be devalued in the search rankings. Your page will be buried.

My colleagues Mark Grannan, Jennifer Wise, Deanna Laufer, Peter Sheldon, and I capture the problem and how to fix it in a new Forrester report: Don't let this good crisis go to waste -- use it to convince your company to make the mobile mind shift and invest in mobile-friendly experiences. I summarize the report here.

 

1. The digital world is web.

With 177 million active websites in the world and enterprises reporting 268 websites (with sometimes 10s of thousands of webpages), this amounts to 10s of billions of webpages that are either mobile-friendly or not. This is not a small problem. It's a problem with global scale and complexity.

Source: Netcraft.com

 

2. Customers are mobile.

Our data is irrefutable: 2/3rds of the global online population uses smartphones. And 86% of US smartphone owners use Google to find websites.

Base: 1,680 US online smartphone owners (18+)

Source: Forrester's Consumer Technographics Behavioral Study, Q1, 2015

 

3. Most enterprise webpages are designed for PCs only.

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All Broadband Is Local

All broadband is local. If the Internet pipe that reaches your home or small business is too slow (or too expensive), then all the net neutrality regulations in the land won't help citizens avoid the Netflix spinning wheel (or the logy load times of valuable Internet services for education, employment, communications, and banking).

Companies -- both technology leaders and marketing leaders -- should care about the quality of broadband to homes and small businesses. Why? Because your ability to deliver great digital customer experiences is hampered when broadband speeds are low. 

I'm all in favor of a robust national discussion about net neutrality, particularly if the discussion balances market conditions for Internet services against market conditions for broadband providers, a challenge that begins with transparency and competition rather than controls. (See this for some ideas on the importance of transparency, market forces, and local competition.)

And I'm certainly massively in favor of Internet-driven "human rights, innovation, and progress" as Tim Berners-Lee espouses. But I am not convinced that over-regulating our country's Internet pipes will solve our spinning wheel problems. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why did the Internet at home slow to a crawl during the Boston blizzards?
  • Why does Google invest some of its massive profits to provide 100 gigabit bandwidth to homes in Kansas City, Austin, and Provo, with 34 more cities coming?
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Pick The Right Web Content Management System -- It's The Backbone Of Your Digital Experiences

With 25 years of history and 178 million active public websites around the world, you would think that the backbone technology for websites would be mature, sophisticated, basically done as a market. But it's simply not true. Web content management (WCM) systems are still in their infancy. Here's the one-minute history:

  • 1995. These ever-changing systems first had to learn to deliver content interactively, tailoring the experience to the needs of the day. Think Yahoo.com.
  • 2000. Then they had to deliver business services directly into customers' hands. Think eBusiness.
  • 2010. Then they had to deliver experiences on smartphones and tablets. Think Google Maps app.
  • 2015. And now they have to deliver highly personal digital experiences on any device directly into a customer's immediate context and moments of need along every step of her journey (see Figure 1).
  • 2020. What's coming next? Well, let's get the platforms up to 2015 requirements first. But those of you with a future slant need to be thinking about modern app architectures, where the building blocks -- content systems, digital insights, customer databases, integration, delivery tier, and so on are decoupled to handle IoT, glanceable moments on wearables, and a gazillion other digital scenarios.
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Debate Internet Regulation On Market Principles, Not Outdated Laws

I was reviewing this Forrester brief from May 2014 to realize that it's still terribly current in light of the recent presidential blast on net neutrality. It expresses a point of view missing from the public debate and Twitter rants in my view. It raises the bar on what consumers should expect, vendors should invest in, and governments should manage.

Original title: Debate Internet Regulation On Market Principles: Transparency, Choice, And Freedom

Published on May 15, 2014

The debate over broadband regulation — why there should or shouldn't be fast lanes and slow lanes on the Internet — has spurred outrage from nongovernmental organizations like MoveOn.org; energized the entrepreneurial juggernaut; triggered the frantic lobbying of major broadband providers like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast; and wound up in federal court to take down a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation. On May 15, 2014, the FCC proposes to allow content providers like Netflix and Google to do deals with broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon to ensure a quality service experience for consumers. Let the response be rational and not virulent. The worst outcome would be to hastily create or reject a policy based on old thinking. Managing the Internet for all requires new policy thinking. Forrester understands and respects the positions of the players in the debate, but in service of our CIO and CMO customers, we believe that it's time to reframe the debate on the basic principles of markets: transparency, choice, and freedom.

A VITAL INTERNET MUST REFLECT MARKET NEEDS, NOT REGULATORY HISTORY
 
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Weebly Gives Digital Professionals The Freedom Of An iPad

I recently gave a speech about the impact of mobile on (all) commerce at a national retailer. To 450 terribly enthusiastic and mostly millennial employees celebrating a great eCommerce month. When I looked out at this horde of digital professionals -- merchandisers and marketers, designers and developers, writers and editors, testers and analyzers, the list goes on -- I realized that they are the operators of our digital experiences.
 
They are passionate about great digital experiences. But they have mostly crappy browser tools to do their job. In fact, every one of our planet's one billion websites is managed by someone using mostly crappy tools.
 
When I looked at at the throng of digital professionals, I suddenly realized they deserved some digital experience love, too. They deserved better digital tools. On any device. After all, they live out their working weeks in front of screens so that we, their customers, get great digital experiences. But today, the state of the art in browser design tools looks like scaffolding on a building where the result is unveiled at the end. It's anything but fun.
 
Weebly, supplier and hoster of 25 million content and commerce websites serving 200 million unique visitors monthly, decided to unshackle its digital professional customers from the tyrany of the browser and desktop. It built a native iPad app on iOS 8 to help them build and manage websites from anywhere at anytime. Weebly's digital professionals are now mobile. And that will lead them to be more in touch with the mobile moments of their customers, hence more able to serve them in their moments of need.
 
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Nginx And Mobile Are Marching Together Into Internet History

[This is an update from a June 2013 post. Also see the new book I wrote with Julie Ask and Josh Bernoff, The Mobile Mind Shift.]

The techologist in me (still) loves getting the monthly Web server report from Netcraft.com. Astounding statistics like the number of registered public Web sites (998 million in August, up from 23,000 in 1995) and active Web sites (179 million) put into the context of history shows simply and directly just how deeply the Internet has penetrated our lives over the last 19 years.

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Closing The Experience Gaps Requires A New Technology Architecture And Philosophy

Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CXi) research reveals a shocking business result: Over five years, CXi leaders outperformed the S&P with 43% stock growth, while CXi laggards had negative returns of -34%. (See this Forrester report to learn about our new customer experience index.)

As a result, firms are in an arms race to mobilize their services, deliver new digital capabilities, and delight customers on every step of their journey. eBusiness, marketing, and customer experience teams are eagerly adopting new software to deliver these digital experiences. At times, they chose a conscious uncoupling from the CIO’s team in order to move quickly and stay ahead of customers’ expectations.

Unfortunately, the mismatch of customer-facing teams scrambling to build new digital services while CIOs and their teams hunker down to cut cost and risk has caused a disconnect on the role of technology management in delivering great experiences. In a new Forrester report, Closing The Experience Gaps, my colleague John C. McCarthy and I interviewed more than 35 companies and analyzed survey results from 3,502 US consumers, we uncovered this misalignment and identified the four experience gaps that result (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Experience Delivery Requires A New Architecture And Philosophy

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