Smart City Expo 2014: Cities Take Over The Show

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Last week I participated in the 4th annual Smart City Expomy 4th Smart City Expo.  I’ve always enjoyed the event as it is a well-balanced mix of technology vendors, academics across various disciplines and government practitioners – a refreshing change from many tech industry trade shows.  In the conference sessions, panels reflect that mix with academics sharing their research on urban studies, vendors promoting their wares, and government leaders discussing their pain points and efforts to address them – oh, and an occasional industry analyst sharing observations on best practices. This year, however, the exhibitors reflected a different mix.

In the first years of the Expo, the exhibition hall featured technology vendors preaching salvation through connected and intelligent city systems – classic “vendor push.” City leaders were eager to see the light but their conversion was not so straightforward. Most city systems were not ready to be connected, and many were far from intelligent. This year cities are ready – or significantly closer. As the CIO of Madrid acknowledged at an IBM-sponsored lunch, two years was the time needed just to transform the thinking of the city council. Now work on their technology platform, called Madrid iNTeligente (MiNT) – which addresses urban mobility, public facilities, road infrastructure, waste, and parks – is well under way. Evidence of that shift was plentiful on the exhibition floor as cities – often sponsored by economic development and investment boards or vendor partners – demonstrated their progress in:

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Storytelling: The Key To Connecting With Business Buyers

Laura Ramos

It's the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US tomorrow. Soon we will gather around the table with family and friends to feast and give thanks for our many blessings and the things we most appreciate in life. If your home is anything like mine, it's also a time when we get together to share stories, both past and present.

What is it about stories that makes them so compelling?

Neuroscientists have shown stories stimulate our brains.  Actually, our limbic systems which house our emotional life and form memories. Anthropologists identify storytelling as a universal feature of every culture and country. As humans, we are hard-wired to want to listen to, remember, and retell stories. And attention is the reward listeners bestow on the storyteller. What marketers doesn't want that?

Well, look at any business-to-business website and you would never know this to be the case.

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Elephants, Pigs, Rhinos and Giraphs; Oh My! – It's Time To Get A Handle On Hadoop

Brian  Hopkins

By now you have at least seen the cute little elephant logo or you may have spent serious time with the basic components of Hadoop like HDFS, MapReduce, Hive, Pig and most recently YARN. But do you have a handle on Kafka, Rhino, Sentry, Impala, Oozie, Spark, Storm, Tez… Giraph? Do you need a Zookeeper? Apache has one of those too! For example, the latest version of Hortonworks Data Platform has over 20 Apache packages and reflects the chaos of the open source ecosystem. Cloudera, MapR, Pivotal, Microsoft and IBM all have their own products and open source additions while supporting various combinations of the Apache projects.

After hearing the confusion between Spark and Hadoop one too many times, I was inspired to write a report, The Hadoop Ecosystem Overview, Q4 2104. For those that have day jobs that don’t include constantly tracking Hadoop evolution, I dove in and worked with Hadoop vendors and trusted consultants to create a framework. We divided the complex Hadoop ecosystem into a core set of tools that all work closely with data stored in Hadoop File System and extended group of components that leverage but do not require it.

In the past, enterprise architects could afford to think big picture and that meant treating Hadoop as a single package of tools. Not any more – you need to understand the details to keep up in the age of the customer. Use our framework to help, but please read the report if you can as I include a lot more there.

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Mobile-Fueled Valuation: Uber at $40B?

Julie Ask

I am not a financial analyst so will not speak to the specifics on the $40 billion.

Uber isn’t a mobile app service. (I heard a taxi driver call them “app cars”). Uber is a business enabled by mobile.

Mobile changes consumer expectations of convenience in three dimensions:

  1. Immediacy. I may wait three to 10 minutes for a ride, but I have instant access to information (e.g., the location of the vehicle and when it will arrive).
  2. Simplicity. I press a button “pick me up” and a car is ordered for my precise location. Ordering a ride could not be any simpler — well, at least until someone learns to anticipate when I need a ride and asks me before I order. (I’m waiting on my airline to do this for me).
  3. Context. Context is the sum of all of the information that a company has about a consumer (or employee — in this case supply of rides also) including situation (time, location, etc.), past behavior or preferences, and emotions inferred from one’s logistics. Uber depends primarily on real-time context or location in the moment to match supply and demand. Drivers also use ratings to decide if they want to pick up a passenger.
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What Startups Teach

At Forrester's CIO/CMO Summit in Napa Valley this week I moderated a panel of executives from three digital companies. The panelists were: Liz Crawford, the CTO at Birchbox; Allan Jones, the CMO of ZipRecruiter, and Blair Ethington, the VP of Marketing and Brands at Crowdstar. The audience was primarily large company CIOs and CMOs.  My panel was a chance for them to see the other side of the tracks -- how digitally-native companies are organizing, behaving, recruiting, developing, and thinking. Here are the lessons.

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When CRM Fails On Customer Information

Michele Goetz

Early this year a host of inquires were coming in about data quality challenges in CRM systems.  This led to a number of joint inquires between myself and CRM expert Kate Legget, VP and Principal Analyst in our application development and delivery team.  Seems that the expectations that CRM systems could provide a single trusted view of the customer was starting to hit a reality check.  There is more to collecting customer data and activities, you need validation, cleansing, standardization, consolidation, enrichment and hierarchies.  CRM applications only get you so far, even with more and more functionality being added to reduce duplicate records and enforce classifications and groups.  So, what should companies do?

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Predictions 2015: Make This A Key Transformation Year

Eveline Oehrlich

In case you missed it, Forrester recently published its predictions on what and how I&O organizations must prioritize in 2015 to pursue the Business Technology agenda. The predictions are focused on how to innovate so that you can meet the speed, quality and agility your business demands. It also discusses the transformation needs I&O organizations are facing across people, processes and technology -- in particular how you must focus much of your efforts on enabling your workforce to be productive. 

As I have been in I&O since the beginning of my professional career (which means forever), I see 2015 as a year to transform our I&O profession and organizations. The opportunities are spanning from partnering with your Application Development & Design team in a new way of operations -- we call this Modern Service Delivery (you might have seen this as DevOps); explore new ways to enable your workforce and how to change your approach to the technology supply chain and ecosystem. See for yourself what our predictions are. The full details can be found here in the November 20, 2014 report, "Predictions 2015: Infrastructure & Operations Prioritizes Pursuing The BT Agenda". 

I&O leaders and members: what are your KPI's and metrics of today and in the future?

Eveline Oehrlich

Are you struggling with the "right" key performance indicators and metrics for your I&O team/subteam/function?  Let's struggle together and help each other.  We are working on a research project to establish a new I&O Balanced Scorecard for 2015 and we need your help.

We have questions like: 

(1)    What performance does your organization/company require from the I&O organization?

(2)    How do you balance both the performance focus on internal IT (systems of record) with the performance of external (systems of engagement) BT requirements?

(3)    How do you translate these performance needs into objectives for your I&O organization?

(4)    What metrics are key to track to make sure that your I&O organization is meeting its objectives?

(5)    What should a best practice I&O Balanced Scorecard (BSC) look like in 2015?

Help us and help the rest of I&O leaders to develop a new I&O Balanced Scorecard to stay and be relevant to your company.  Reach out to me via a inquiry or email me at eoehrlich@forrester.com and lets talk!

Eveline 

It’s Time To Revamp Your Agency Roster

Sarah Sikowitz

Continuing the theme of agency selection, my next report, Revamp Your Agency Roster To Lead A Connected Brand Experience (subscription required), came out yesterday. 

This report helps CMOs reorient themselves to the shifting agency landscape and identify partners to help move them from channel expertise to leading a connected experience.

In establishing this new model, CMOs must partner with agencies to:

  • Create transformative experiences
  • Craft and distribute a connected brand story
  • Deliver technology to drive a connected brand experience

This report makes up the Performance Management module of the Brand Experience Playbook.

Please reach out to schedule an inquiry if you would like to discuss further.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Carefully Navigate Malaysia's Jungle Of Service Providers

Fred Giron

While Malaysia's tech services market is mature compared with other fast growing ASEAN markets like Indonesia, it remains very fragmented. Some vendors also tout capabilities in technology services that fall outside of their core competencies and for which they have not yet developed a strong track record. The fast-rising digital expectations of business stakeholders are making it increasingly difficult for client organizations to find the right partner for their requirements. In a new report, my colleague Zhi Ying Ng and I provide a detailed analysis of the leading consulting and technology service providers in Malaysia. Here are a few high-level recommendations when choosing a service provider in Malaysia:

  • Reset your expectations when engaging with local service providers. Organizations looking to expand in Malaysia will find it beneficial to tap into these providers' local knowledge and experience. However, companies looking for sophisticated skills — like those related to enterprise applications — should be aware that providers might lack experience even though they claim otherwise. As such, it is crucial that enterprises set a clear strategy based on the goals and objectives that they want to achieve, together with a road map that aligns services sourcing with internal capabilities before beginning such engagements.
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