Exchange 2010: Five Good Reasons To Upgrade

Ted-Schadler  by Ted Schadler

Microsoft announced the general availability of Exchange Server 2010 yesterday. For information & knowledge management professionals and for the productivity of information workers, there are five good reasons to upgrade:

  1. Much cheaper storage. Exchange 2007 introduced a new storage model, where the email server manages direct-attached storage. Exchange 2010 extends that capability and in the words of one beta customer, "We have reduced the overall costs for our storage by 30% while increasing the usable disk space nine times." This benefit comes from using cheap direct-attached storage in lieu of storage area networks.
  2. Support for much bigger mailboxes. Most firms limit mailbox size to 100-250 MB for good reasons: storage cost, nightly backup windows too short, eDiscovery hassles. Exchange 2010 has much faster I/O (Microsoft says 15 times faster than in Exchange 2003) and improved storage management that allows direct-attached storage and cheap disks. Net it out, and it becomes much easier to expand the mailboxes to 1-2 GB.
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Cisco's Collaboration Strategy: Coming Through The Network Door

Ted-Schadler  by Ted Schadler

Cisco's John Chambers has made "collaboration" a strategy for the company's customers and employees. And enterprise GM Tony Bates is now tasked with driving that strategy. I'm writing from Cisco's launch event in San Francisco. (Well, it's actually still going on.)

There's a lot to digest and analzye, which we'll do over time. But I wanted to share some early thoughts . . .

This week's announcement marks Cisco's formal entry into the broader collaboration market, long fragmented and dominated by IBM and Microsoft for applications and by Tandberg and Polycom for video conferencing.

The company claims 61 products and features, but the key components are email, instant messaging, web conferencing, social software, and video conferencing as well as network-based services like a business TelePresence directory and policy-controlled content tagging. And in the words of Tony Bates, "a video stream runs through all of it."

Cisco's strategy for collaboration fascinates me because it's bold and frankly orthogonal to Microsoft's desktop productivity path and IBM's workgroup history. It's also enterprise-grade by default, unlike Google's consumer-first approach. But I'm fascinated and I believe IT pros should be interested in Cisco's solutions for three reasons:

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100,000 iPhone Apps. Congrats. Now Add Things Businesses Care About

Tedschadler  by Ted Schadler

It had to happen eventually. The success of iPhone (now used by 14% of US, UK, and Canadian smartphone-using information workers) is driven signficantly by "there's an app for that." So that while a huge congratulations! is in order, getting to 100,000 applications available was just a matter of time. Mostly consumer apps, of course, but a growing number of business applications, including Cisco WebEx, Oracle Business Indicators, Roambi's Visualizer data dashboard toolkit, and Salesforce Mobile.

But what IT professionals need, particularly those focused on making information workers productive with smartphones, is much better support for managing custom and prepackaged business applications. (That along with a bunch of things like more robust security, easier device management, stronger encryption, more policy-based control over the device, things that RIM does but the largely Microsoft-controlled ActiveSync solution doesn't. But more on that another time).

Focusing here on applications, it's time for us all to insist that Apple make it easy for IT professionals to:

  • Support wireless application downloads.The current iTunes or iPhone Desktop Configurator solution just doesn't cut it for businesses. They need over-the-air download and update capability.

  • Push application updates. How else can IT feel confident that a business application will work?

  • Configure applications remotely. How else can in-field changes be supported?

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A Third Grade Field Trip To The Apple Store

Ted-Schadler by Ted Schadler

When I stopped into an Apple Store in Palo Alto last summer, it was swarming with cute kids in hot pink tee shirts, logoed with the name of a local day camp. Okay, I figured what the heck, 8-year olds learning how Apple's stuff and software works is a cool way to kill a couple of hours.

Then I learned that my eight-year old daughter (self portrait below) was "super excited" to be going on a class field trip to the Apple Store in the local mall. The class of third graders would take the local bus to one side of town and pick up another local bus to the mall (itself an adventure in our car-centric town).

The goal was to learn iMovie, which the kids have access to at school, and to make a movie. Actually, it's a pretty good idea to outsource movie production class to someone else, especially someone passionate about making movies. Regardless of where they are. Smart guy, Mr. C. (her teacher).

But now I'm starting to think that this is a master plan coming from Cupertino, indoctrination through the school system. And it's something that HP and Dell and Microsoft can't replicate right now (though Best Buy could). So I asked my daughter to do some investigative reporting and ask how many school field trips the Apple Store has every month.

Yesterday morning, I came down at 6:30 as usual to let the dog out and empty the dishwasher. Unusually, the kitchen wasn't dark. My eight-year old was already up and ready to rock. "I couldn't go back to sleep, Dad. I was too excited," she bubbled. Ah, the Apple Store awaits.

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The State Of US Workforce Technology Adoption

Ted-Schadler by Ted Schadler

Did you know that among US information workers that:

  • 35% use laptops and 76% use desktop computers?

  • Only 11% use smartphones?

  • 57% are optimistic about technology, but 43% are pessimistic?

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Cisco Buys Tandberg On Its Way To Be Your B2B Video Conferencing Partner

 

Ted-Schadler

by Ted Schadler

 

I spent a day with Tandberg management last week and came away very impressed with some things I can't share and also some things that I can share. Tandberg has:

  • Great HD videoconferencing solutions in room-sized all the way down to Webcam. Yep, a Webcam image looks great in a telepresence room. These guys get telepresence and end point integration.

  • A management toolkit that works at enterprise scale. It's an appliance + video network management solution. This is based on the Codian products that Tandberg acquired. They call it "infrastructure" but I think of it as the NOC for video.

  • A commitment to video standards. Take note, Cisco: This will be CRITICAL to business adoption of video for partner collaboration.

  • A strong focus on interoperability among network protocols, end points, and video codecs. The Codian acquisition clearly gave them some serious engineering. The goal is to keep the old stuff in the mix as firms build on out their new stuff. It looked good in demo, anyway.

  • Strong financials, customer base, and growth. This company is well run and winning share in its market. That team will remain in place.

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On The Record With BlackBerry & iPhone: Both Will Win

by Ted Schadler

I'm nobody's fan boy. I don't love any particular brand. Never have. Never will. It's not in my DNA. I love my family, I love food and wine and dinner conversation, I love making music with the band, and I love to ride my bike on Metro West roads with a buncha guys. I don't love products.

But I do love great technology that improves lives and businesses. That's my calling card and the reason I work at Forrester Research.

We have lots of data and analysis that illuminates the future. It's our stock in trade. Data like the level of enterprise IT support for BYO phones (46% provide some support). Or the number of working Americans that own a mobile phone (84%) or a smartphone (7.4%). BTW, this data shows where the real growth potential in this market is.

So what matters in the smartphone platform enterprise wars? Great products, stellar service, attractive prices, and memorable marketing matter of course. But in my experience with platforms wars and device wars through the ages, some other things will matter as well:

 

  • BYO phones will matter a lot because it allows firms to deliver the amazing benefits of smartphones to more people at lower cost. And that puts the decision into the hands of an individual (though perhaps from an approved list. [Forrester clients should ping me to see this data; it's an important shift in the market.]

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Defining The Generations Based On Technology Era

by Ted Schadler

Our last post on Gen X using Web 2.0 at work generated a lot of buzz in other blog posts, particularly at ReadWriteWeb.

One of the biggest comments had to do with how generations are defined.

At Forrester, we spent about a month looking at this question back in 2006 when we did our first generational analysis of the use of technology. (We've since updated that work in "The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2008" -- available to Forrester clients.)

The more we looked, the more we realized that nobody frickin' knows. So we did what we comes naturally -- we researched it. We canvassed the universe. We read all the books and talked to a bunch of experts, mostly from the Agency world, where they know a thing or two about generations.

Since nobody had a definitive set, we create them based on blended average of the best references out there. Then we added a Forrester twist: What technology era does it correspond to? (Meaning, when they were teenagers, what technology was new to them.)

  • Gen Y: 1980-1991. This group started spending money in the mobile era -- it's still their defining characteristic. Mobile texting, making party plans on the fly while out, carrying their identity around in their phones, that's Gen Y. They don't think twice, they just do it. This group would love to use social media at work, but mobile's good enough for now thank you very much. They are 50% more likely to text while at work as Gen X (51% versus 36%.) As far as showing the rest of us the path forward, it's probably leading by example at this point in their careers.

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A Day In The Life Of An Information Worker

Ted-Schadler by Ted Schadler

How do information workers -- people that use computers or smartphones in their job -- spend their days?

We set out to answer that question using our new Workforce Technographics(R) data. In our launch survey to understand how regular people use computers, smartphones, and applications to get their work done, we surveyed 2,001 people in the US with jobs in which they use a computer. We asked about all kinds of things, including how much time they spend with their computers and phones, which applications they use daily or even hourly, what applications they find indispensable, whether they work mostly with other employees or with customers or partners, and much more.

Our first report is a quick snapshot of a day in the life of an information worker (iWorker). (We'll be sharing a lot more data at a Webinar on Thursday at 11 AM ET; register here.) For example, did you know that:

  • Gen X (not Gen Y) is the most likely to use Web 2.0 technology to get their job done?

  • Smartphones are available to only 11% of US information workers?

  • Email is still the only application used on an hourly basis by most iWorkers?

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Consumer Market Research Techniques: A Primer For IT Professionals

Ted-Schadler by Ted Schadler

Employees are people, too.They just don't look like you. At least most of them don't. To understand what your workforce needs from technology and from you, you have to walk a mile in their shoes.

That's hard to do -- not to mention darn uncomfortable at times! But it is possible to get to know your workforce by grouping them by who they are and what they need from you. There are three techniques that consumer market researchers have developed over the last 40 years to do just that:

  1. Surveys to analyze and segment the workforce. This is step one and something that we'll drill into more detail on over the next few blog posts. Asking good questions, making sure everybody's represented, doing analysis that helps you answer your key questions, this is where the best analysis begins. You'll come up with segments like "technology enthusiasts" and "road warriors."

  2. Focus groups to bring the segments to life. Once the segments are identified, you can invite 5 or 6 people to come in and talk about what they do and what they need from technology. This gives you the "why" and the "how" to go along with the "what" that the survey and segmentation provide. With focus groups, a road warrior starts to look like a real person.

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