With 4.0, Apple Is Listening To Enterprise Concerns

Apple yesterday announced OS 4.0, it's latest iPhone and iPad operating system. This release confirms what we believed last year: that Apple is actually listening to what enterprise IT needs from iPhones. Let's review the history:

  • July 2007. Apple launches iPhone with OS 1.0 as a consumer device without anything that companies require.
  • July 2008. Apple releases iPhone 3G with OS 2.0 and introduces Exchange support, including remote wipe, but little else that companies need. Even so, some firms allowed their employees to bring their own iPhones and get email support.
  • July 2009. Apple releases iPhone 3GS with OS 3.0 and hardware encryption and enough policy-based control to give IT professionals the ability to more comfortably support the devices, particularly in non-regulated industries. The big remaining gaps in 3.0 from our 100+ conversations with IT pros? The inability to distribute applications wirelessly, to push software and policy updates to the device, and to manage iPhones or iPads in the same way that BlackBerry Enterprise Server (or Server Express, the $0-cost version) does.
  • July 2010. Apple will release OS 4.0 that includes wireless app distribution, better data encryption, more APIs for device management, and a significicant number of enterprise features that are outlined below. For other details, check out these Forrester posts on consumer functions and on mobile advertising.
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Cisco's IME: Step One In Bringing B2B Voice & Video Into The Internet Era

You can use Internet protocols to make phone calls inside your own network. And you don't have to pay for the minutes. But you can't do the same thing with a business partner. Instead, you have to pay a carrier like BT or AT&T to carry the phone call over the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

 

(PSTN is an analog network born in 1878 when Bell opened a switching office in New Haven, CT. It's done us proud, but it's time to move to a digital network.)

 

It's even worse for video conferencing. If you want to have a video conference internally, you can use your IP network to do it. But if you want to do a video conference with a business partner, you have to use a complex business gateway link and pay a lot of money for it.
 
Cisco thinks it's time to change that. We spoke with Cisco executives Tony Bates, Barry O'Sullivan, and Joe Burton about Cisco's intercompany media engine (IME), a new technology to replace PSTN with its Internet equivalent. Cisco's goals are audacious:
 
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Apple's iPad Will Come Into The Enterprise Through The Consumer Door. Again.

Apple just announced its media tablet (we coined these things mobile media tablets in 2005 in private client conversations and ) amidst much excitement and surprisingly little secrecy. There wasn't much if anything in the announcement that the bloggers hadn't anticipated.

This product will appear in 60 days with WiFi and in 90 days unlocked with AT&T data plan for $629 and $29/month. It will catch on quickly as an employee-provisioned third device, particularly for Mobile Professionals, 28% of the workforce. IT will support it in many organizations. After all, it's just a big iPhone to them and already 20% of firms support them.

Most of the media coverage will discuss the impact on consumer markets. I'm going to talk about the impact on businesses and on information & knowledge management professionals, the IT executive responsible for making the workforce successful with technology.

Make no mistake, this is an attractive business tool. Laptops will be left at home.

One thing's for sure, Apple knows how to time the market. And the market it's timed this time around is an important one: information workers self-provisioning what they need rather than what their employers provide. We have called this trend Technology Populism(AKA consumerization of IT), and it's important enough that we're writing a book called Groundswell Heroes about how to harness it.

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IBM's Project Vulcan: A Blueprint For Business Inbox Next

I can't deny it. Gmail intrigues me. No, not the idea of Web-based email client. That's old hat. Rather, it's that Gmail gives me a box of tools that taken together are my personal command and control center. Everything I need to be connected, get to appointments, find a friend, stay in touch, locate stuff I need, and remain on task is in one spot.

It's convenient. It's my inbox next. It's my touchstone for personal communications.

But at work, I'm using an email client, an IM client, a calendar client, a task list client, a microblogging client, a browser client, and a bunch of other applications. Just getting from one to another gives me a headache.

So where's my business Gmail?

From where I'm sitting, that's the mission of Project Vulcan. Read Ed Brill's post for the official IBM description of the vision of a hyperlinked, rapidly-evolving, highly tailorable, multi-modal inbox. I've spoken with Alistair Rennie, Lotus's new GM, and Kevin Kavanaugh, VP and head of Notes & Domino, about this project.

My take is that Project Vulcan is nothing less than IBM's blueprint for the future of business messaging and collaboration. In particular, it will:

 

  • Build on Lotus's market and technology foundations.
  • Unify many kinds of communication media and apps into a single frame
  • Provide an anchor point for employees' information work day.
  • Use Web deployment to rapidly experiment and learn what works. (Yes, it's a code fork.)
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Why VMWare Bought Zimbra: It's The Seats, Stupid

Zimbra has been the sleeper cloud-based email provider for the enterprise. I've known about the Bechtel deal -- roughly 50,000 seats globally -- for some time, but couldn't talk about it. Though it's been a while since I've spoken to Ramesh May, he did share some important facts with me:

1. Zimbra's code base is open source, with a 20,000 active members in the community. The Zimbra code base runs on Linux. It can be downloaded to run on-premises and it also is the foundation of Zimbra's cloud email service.

2. Yahoo! Zimbra was selling an email seat for $28/mailbox/year for 50+ seats. We'll be interested to see how the pricing changes.

3. The company was working with the community on adding instant messaging, expanding widgets, and building an offline email client. We also saw some interesting mashup and document viewing features.

4. Back in April, the company had 130 employees, 600+ .edu customers, 44M mailboxes, and 60,000 customers.

So why hasn't Zimbra been bigger on the national stage selling its hosted (80% of seats) and on-premises (20% of seats) email and calendaring solution? Two reasons.

First, Yahoo! did not build a direct sales force that way Google and every other enterprise email provider did.

Second, because a lot of these seats are sold through service providers. Comcast and NTT Communications have been selling Zimbra seats. You may be running Zimbra and not even know it.

So now it becomes clearer why VMWare bought this massively successful email provider. 

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Cloud-Hosted Collaboration: Multi-Tenant Or Dedicated?

We just had another of our regular cloud research meetings at Forrester. In these meetings, we cut across our research organization to examine cloud computing from every angle.

Compared with even just a year ago, it's amazing how important and pervasive cloud computing analysis (as opposed to cloud computing guesswork) has become in our research calendar.

You can see the existing cloud/*aaS research here and our planned research here. As the meeting host, I mostly listen, probe, and take notes, but ocassionally I get to jump in with a thought.

To wit: We are often asked about whether cloud-based collaboration (email, team sites, instant messaging, Web conferencing, social computing, etc.) works best on multi-tenant, dedicated solutions, or both. The answer is both, but trending towards multi-tenant. Our clients are interested in both multi-tenant and single-tenant or dedicated cloud solutions -- as long as the price is right.

The future of cloud-based collaboration is clearly multi-tenant for two economic reasons:

1. Multi-tenant enables the fundamental economic benefits of a shared resource. We can see this in the price war going on in email right now -- a 50% price cut in the last 12 months with multi-tenant cloud email. The floor on email cost keeps dropping, fueled by the better economics of multi-tenant solutions and high capacity utilization.

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Announcing Forrester's Next Book, "Empowered"

[Updated 7-27-2010: We've finished the book, picked the final name, and said a lot about in other places (like here and here).]

Josh Bernoff and I have begun work on Forrester's next book to be published by Harvard Business Press on September 14th in the Fall:

Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, Transform Your Business

Groundswell Heroes: Harnessing The Power Shift In Your Workplace And Marketplace

 

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Consumer Broadband Is The Workforce Technology Of The Decade

That call may surprise you. You might have put storage or Gigabit ethernet or the Internet itself at the top of the list. But when I think about what's different in the life of your average information worker as the decade comes to a close, it's the instant-on access to just about everything that the adoption of consumer broadband has fueled.

From our Consumer Technographics(r) survey of over 50,000 consumers every year for the last 12 years, between 2000 and 2009, consumer broadband soared from 2% to 63% of US households. For context, home PC adoption grew from 51% to 77%.

But why is consumer broadband the workforce technology of the decade? Three main reasons:

1. Telecommuting has become a way of life for xx million information workers. We have been watching -- and forecasting -- the growth of telecommuting. The impact is immediate and obvious: more hours to work; more location flexibility in hiring and retaining; and more work-life control. Telecommuting in the US is dependent on cheap broadband to the home. Telecommuters will rise to include 43% of the US information workforce by 2016.

2. Broadband-enabled markets have triggered massive IT innovation. Google; Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and LinkedIn; WebEx, ZoHo, and Smartsheets.com; Amazon EC2, Google App Engine; and Windows Azure; open source and Web 2.0. All of these and thousands of other technologies and companies are built on the back of broadband to the home. The network innovation over the last 10 years makes the Internet 1.0 era look like a pre-season warmup game.

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IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5 Is "Click To Conference"

Ted-Schadler  by Ted Schadler

Pal Henry Dewing and I heard yesterday from IBM's Rob Ingram about Lotus Sametime 8.5, the real-time collaboration product available on December 22. Lotus Sametime is the client/server product that first made enterprise instant messaging a global possibility back in 1998.

This dot release is IBM's first major overhaul of its real-time messaging product in three years. (My take is that IBM kept the 8.x version number to align it with the current Notes/Domino version.) For those firms that understand the power of real-time collaboration tools -- the ability to get an immediate answer, hold a virtual ad hoc meeting, or ping someone without bothering them with a phone call -- this product is an important upgrade.

Why? Because it's got the core elements of click-to-conference -- not just instant messaging and presence -- baked into it. And for ad hoc collaboration, click-to-conference is a much richer and easier thing to do than loading up separate applications for instant messaging, video conferencing, and Web conferencing.

I think of click-to-conference is "the ability to have an ad hoc meeting supported with rich media whenever you are online." It includes these elements:

  • One click to send out an invitation via instant messaging.
  • One click to join a meeting.
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Telepresence As Global Conference -- It's Almost Like Being There.

Ted-Schadler  by Ted Schadler

I had the chance to join 50 other people at a telepresence event last week. This one took place in real-time using Cisco's TelePresence rooms. (Okay, full disclosure, it was a Cisco industry analyst event held on December 9th.)

(This is a long post, so for those looking for key lessons and gotchas, just scroll now to the bottom.)

For those of you who've been asleep for the last 4 years as first HP and then Cisco followed by LifeSize, Polycom, RADVISION, Tandberg, and Teliris demonstrated the like-being-there experience of telepresence, it's pretty amazing stuff. Video conferencing with near face-time quality. You can in fact see the whites of their eyes.

Companies like P&G, GE, and Dreamworks are using telepresence technology to slash executive travel and give technical staff the tools to collaborate across massive distances with almost the same experience as being there (save the ability to shake hands, share a meal, and have a side conversation).

I first experienced telepresence in 2004 at HP's Corvallis, OR, lab, and it blew me away back then. It's only gotten better. (Colleague Claire Schooley has calculated the ROI of telepresence for those thinking about this technology.)

Back to this telepresence event:

  • Cisco used 12 telepresence rooms in at eight cities: Boston, New York, San Jose, Toronto, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Bedfont outside London.
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