Monday, December 20, 2010

Gartner Says Worldwide Enterprise Social Software Revenue to Surpass $769 Million in 2011

Worldwide enterprise social software revenue is on pace to total $664.4 million in 2010, a 14.9 percent increase from 2009 revenue of $578.2 million, according to Gartner, Inc. The market is poised for continued growth in 2011 when revenue is forecast to reach $769.2 million, up 15.7 percent from 2010.

Enterprise social software enables participation through formal and informal interactions and aggregates these interactions to reflect the collective attitudes, dispositions and knowledge of the participants. Technologies include blogs, communities, discussion forums, expertise location, feeds and syndication, social bookmarks, wikis, and integrated platforms/suites.

Social software technologies can create business value by: driving changes in interpersonal interactions; improving operational efficiency and effectiveness; raising organizational performance; and leveraging internal and external social networks.

Cloud-based and software as a service (SaaS) delivery continue to be key adoption factors, and of the more than 80 vendors that Gartner tracks for this marketplace, more than 50 provide social software through cloud-based and SaaS delivery. Cloud-based and SaaS models have many potential advantages for social software deployments as buyers of these services tend to be business executives with specific marketing, R&D or HR budgets. Cloud-based and SaaS offerings have also opened up access to collaboration and social software technology to small and midsize businesses that would not otherwise consider on-premises deployments.

Aligned to the technology maturation of the enterprise social software market is the relative business maturity and business benefits that organizations are now deriving. Features such as blogs, bookmarks, discussion forums, presence, profiles, rating engines, tagging and wikis are now being combined into applications designed for specific business outcomes, including product reviews and testing, brand marketing, community development and other purposes.

Some deployments are more focused on internal users, with an emphasis on integration with existing infrastructure, business applications and other enterprise requirements. Others target internal communities of interest, aiming to capture and diffuse organizational knowledge, while others focus on branded external customer communities with good support for large deployments, consumer engagement and management of user-generated content. In all scenarios, social software improves the connectedness of workers, promotes collaboration and helps capture informal knowledge.

More information on social media can be found at

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Use of Smartphones by Bargain-Hunting Consumers is Changing the Customer-Retailer Relationship

A global survey by Accenture on mobile devices and shopping shows that smartphone users would find it useful to download money-off coupons to their phones (79 percent), and receive instant money-off coupons as they pass by an item in a store (73 percent). Conversely, fewer than half (48 percent) of smartphone users have downloaded a coupon from their PCs. The survey results highlight how the growing use of smartphone technology and the economic downturn have encouraged cost-conscious consumers to explore alternative retail channels, such as online and smartphones, to secure bargains.

According to Accenture, the findings of its study of 1,000 consumers in 10 countries suggest that couponing could become a more important part of the retail experience as smartphone technology becomes more widespread, and if retailers are adept at using customer analytics to target messages and deals to consumers. Notably, 48 percent of conventional cell phone users plan to buy a smartphone in the next 12 months.

The results of the survey also indicate that smartphone technology is changing the relationship between customers and retailers. Many smartphone users said that they prefer using their mobile device rather than interacting with a store employee for simple tasks. According to the survey, 73 percent favor using their smartphone to handle simple tasks compared to 15 percent who favor interaction with an employee. Similarly, 71 percent favor using their smartphone to identify a store with a desired item in stock, while 17 percent would prefer to get that information by speaking to an employee.

Privacy, however, remains a key concern of consumers, and could have a negative impact on the growing use of smartphones for shopping. More than half of respondents (54 percent) worry that using smartphones will erode their privacy. Among the other smartphone shopping concerns voiced, 59 percent of respondents fear losing the personal touch from store employees, and 39 percent believe that products would get more expensive.

Among the additional survey findings:

--69 percent of smartphone users are aware of smartphone applications from large retailers and 48 percent have downloaded at least one application,

--90 percent of consumers who have downloaded an application from a large retailer found it “very useful” or “useful”,

--56 percent believe smartphones will make the shopping experience more enjoyable.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cloud Services, Mobile Computing, and Social Networking to Mature and Coalesce in 2011, Creating a New Mainstream for the IT Industry

In 2011, and certainly beyond, IDC expects cloud services, mobile computing, and social networking to mature and coalesce into a new mainstream platform for both the IT industry and the industries it serves.

The platform transition will be fueled by another solid year of recovery in IT spending. IDC forecasts worldwide IT spending will be $1.6 trillion in 2011, an increase of 5.7% over 2010. While hardware spending will remain strong (7.8% year-over-year growth), the industry will depend to a larger extent on improvements in software spending (5.3% growth) and related project-based services spending (3.5% growth), as well as gains in outsourcing (4% growth). Worldwide IT spending will also benefit from the accelerated recovery in emerging markets, which will generate more than half of all net new IT spending worldwide in 2011.

Spending on public IT cloud services will grow at more than five times the rate of the IT industry in 2011, up 30% from 2010, as organizations move a wider range of business applications into the cloud. Small and medium-sized business cloud use will surge in 2011, with adoption of some cloud resources topping 33% among U.S. midsize firms by year's end. Meanwhile, the more nascent private cloud model will continue to evolve as infrastructure, software, and service providers collaborate on a range of new offerings and solutions. Meanwhile, the vendor battle for two cloud "power positions" will be joined to determine on whose cloud platform will solutions be deployed, and who will provide coherent IT management across multiple public clouds, customers' private clouds, and their legacy IT environments.

Mobile computing – on a variety of devices and through a range of new applications – will continue to explode in 2011, forming another critical plank in the new industry platform. IDC expects shipments of app-capable, non-PC mobile devices (smartphones, media tablets, etc.) will outnumber PC shipments within the next 18 months – and there will be no looking back. While vendors with a PC heritage will scramble to secure their position in this rapidly expanding market, another battle will be taking place for dominance in the mobile apps market. The level of activity in this market will be staggering, with IDC expecting nearly 25 billion mobile apps to be downloaded in 2011, up from just over 10 billion in 2010. Over time, the still-emerging apps ecosystems promise to fundamentally restructure the channels for all digital content and services to consumers.

Meanwhile, social business software has gained significant momentum in the enterprise over the past 18 months and this trend is expected to continue with IDC forecasting a compound annual growth rate of 38% through 2014. In a sure sign that social business has hit the mainstream, IDC expects 2011 to be a year of consolidation as the major software vendors acquire social software providers to jump-start or increase their social business footprint. Meanwhile, the use of social platforms by small and medium-sized businesses will accelerate, with more than 40% of SMBs using social networks for promotional purposes by the year's end.

As the new mainstream IT platform coalesces in the months ahead, IDC expects it to lay a foundation for IT vendors to support, and profit from, a variety of "intelligent industry" transformations. In retail, mobility and social networking are rapidly changing consumers' shopping experience as they bring their smartphones into the store for on-site price comparisons and product recommendations. In financial services, mobility and the cloud are bringing mobile banking and payments closer to reality. In the healthcare industry, IDC expects 14% of adult Americans to use a mobile health application in 2011.

More information on CRM can be found at

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The top ten enterprise IT trends for 2011

Security, cloud services and sustainability will be three of the most important trends in enterprise IT in 2011, according to Ovum.

The independent technology analyst has named its top ten trends for the coming year, which also include mobility, data management and data centre transformation. Business analytics, collaboration, IT financial management and context-aware computing also make the list.

Security continues to be high on the IT agenda as the number of threats to businesses increases rapidly.

Data management
Data management will be a key area due to the sheer volumes now passing through enterprises.

Business analytics
The technologies’ ability to improve decision-making, identify new business opportunities, maximize cost savings and detect inefficiencies is driving its importance for organizations.

In IT management, the mobility challenge in 2011 will be to embrace the new technology while developing a strategy that maintains a balance between user preference and productivity and corporate security and compliance.

Data center transformation
The role of the data center is witnessing a dramatic shift as the cloud computing era heralds a new dawn in the delivery of IT services in 2011.

Cloud services
Cloud computing will continue to grow steadily in 2011. Ovum believes that it is no longer a question of whether or not enterprises will use cloud computing, they already are. However, it is still early days for both providers and CIOs, who will grapple to take advantage in 2011.

To cater for changes in work practices, an integrated approach to collaboration is needed which includes social networking and video conferencing.

New opportunities will continue to emerge in 2011 which allow organizations to work in a more environmentally-friendly way.

IT financial management
The CIO should talk the language of business and put in place better IT financial management in 2011.

Context-aware computing
In 2011, CIOs should be looking to instrumentation, metering and wireless technologies to play a significant role in providing the context which can lead to automated business processes and increased productivity. 

More information can be found at

Monday, November 29, 2010

Study Finds Blind Spots in Go-To-Market Process Limit Demand Chain Performance and Revenue Optimization

A new study by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council reveals significant blind spots in the go-to-market process as marketers focus on strategy, creative development and campaign execution to the detriment of effective demand chain provisioning. The latter includes the efficient and timely delivery of marketing and merchandising materials to dealer, agent, franchise, retail and brand office locations, as well as the processing of customer requests for sales literature and samples through web, call center and email channels.

According to the report, entitled Competitive Gain in the Demand Chain, many marketing executives admit they have never assessed demand chain performance, nor given it high priority within the marketing operational mix. This may be contributing to the belief, expressed by 80 percent of respondents, that their organizations are not efficient or effective enough in provisioning all of the demand chain. A surprising 20 percent of more than 250 marketers audited by the CMO Council in the past three months admit their demand chain is under-performing or in need of improvement.

Marketers agree that demand chain provisioning is critical to business competitiveness and performance (38 percent of respondents), while an additional 31 percent believe it is important to sustaining sales and channel operations. Yet, only 25 percent of respondents are ensuring sales support materials and resources are delivered on-demand, which would improve sell-through and customer conversion. Only 15 percent are taking steps to audit and assess marketing supply chain effectiveness, indicating that there is little to no visibility into the demand chain provisioning process to truly gauge content, material or operational impact and performance.

While 56 percent of marketers are focused on campaign design, development and execution, only 16 percent are looking to production, warehousing, inventory management or delivery as critical elements in an effective demand chain. In addition, just two percent are looking to optimize the actual delivery, fulfillment or distribution of their critical marketing materials.

One area that potentially holds an immediate opportunity for improvement and value creation is specific to vendor selection or management. Nearly half of respondents view demand chain procurement and fulfillment as a compilation of individual vendors, asking each vendor to bid on individual elements of the demand chain. Only seven percent of marketers view the demand chain as an area for consolidation and rationalization to gain more control and efficiency. As nearly 60 percent of respondents plan on introducing a more disciplined approach to marketing execution systems, vendor visibility is likely an ideal place to begin demand chain transformation.

More information on CRM can be found at

Monday, November 22, 2010

New IDC Report Discusses Formula for Determining Social Business ROI

One of the top challenges associated with implementing enterprise social software is measuring the impact on business goals. A new International Data Corporation (IDC) study, Determining the Value of Social Business ROI: Myths, Facts, and Potentially High Returns, reveals that enterprise social software adoption still has room to grow, with 41% of respondents indicating that they have already implemented an enterprise social software solution -- leaving 59% who have yet to implement a solution. With this much adoption anticipated, IDC forecasts the emerging social platforms market will generate revenues of nearly $2 billion by 2014, experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.2% over the 2009-2014 forecast period.

When conducting ROI on social business initiatives, the rules of business still apply, regardless if a company deploys social business initiatives to assist customer service, marketing, public relations, product innovation, employee collaboration, or other functional areas of the organization. IDC believes business executives need to understand not only the traditional metrics and value calculations of ROI, but also the impact that social business initiatives have on these computations and their interrelatedness. 

More information on social media can be found at

Friday, November 19, 2010

Global Survey Reveals Companies Are Addicted to "Big Data"; Executives Report Feeling Overwhelmed by Flood of Business Data but Still Seek More, Faster

Avanade, a business technology services provider, announced the results of its global survey, "The Business Impact of Big Data," which examines executive attitudes about how enterprises are managing the exponential growth of data.

The survey, conducted by Kelton Research, reveals that big data is creating very real business challenges for executives. In fact, more than half -- 56 percent -- of C-level executives, IT decision makers and business unit leaders report they are overwhelmed by the amount of data their company manages. Many also report they are often delayed in making important decisions as a result of too much information. Forty-six percent report they have made an inaccurate business decision as a result of bad or outdated data.

Data Addiction

Despite the challenges created by the proliferation of data, executives report they desire more data and they want it faster. One in three executives believe access to even more sources of data would enable them to do their job better, while 61 percent say they still want faster access to data. According to the survey, this desire for more data and need for speed is driven by the ability to keep up with customer service expectations.

Executives do recognize there is value in the data, from improved business forecasts to reduced uncertainty in decision-making and improved competitive positioning. Sixty-one percent of companies believe the flood of data entering the enterprise fundamentally changes the way their businesses operate.

CRM and Security

When it comes to the most important kinds of data, companies report that customer relationship and sales information are critical to their strategic decision-making process. They recognize the opportunity to grow their top line revenue by harnessing customer information, and this focus is driving additional technology investments in customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Sixty-seven percent of executives have invested or are seriously considering investing in CRM in the next 12 months.

With growing data, there is also a growing requirement for data security. Seventy-eight percent of companies report that they are investing in security solutions or will do so in the next 12 months. In the public sector, pressures are even greater with 74 percent of government organizations investing in CRM and 85 percent investing in security.

Struggle to Derive Business Value

The survey also reveals a big data disconnect. Despite the increasing volume of data, pressure to keep up with customer expectations and focus on technology investments, today's companies are still struggling to see big data as a driver of real business value. On the one hand, executives surveyed say there is value in the data. On the other hand, less than half of respondents -- 46 percent -- view the available sources of data as a strategic differentiator for their organization. Rather, the majority -- 54 percent -- consider data as a consequence of doing business.

The "Business Impact of Big Data" survey was conducted by Kelton Research, an independent research firm, in August 2010, and surveyed 543 C-level executives, IT decision makers and business unit leaders at top companies located in 17 countries across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. 

More information on CRM can be found at

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Social-Networking Services to Replace E-Mail as the Primary Vehicle for Interpersonal Communications for 20 Percent of Business Users by 2014

Greater availability of social-networking-services, coupled with changing demographics and work styles, will lead 20 percent of employees to use social networks as their business communications’ hub by 2014, according to Gartner, Inc. Analysts said that this is one of a wide range of capabilities that have emerged in communications, social Web and mobile, enabling richer interactions among people and expanding collaboration to a broader level.

While microblogging is reshaping enterprise communications, business communications are evolving. Newer employees will enter the workforce with a predisposition to communicate via a social network, but they will use e-mail in parallel -- optimizing the business need with the communication modality.

Vendors such as Microsoft and IBM will add links to internal and external social networks from within e-mail clients and servers, making services such as contacts, calendars and tasks shareable across e-mail and social networks. By 2012, Gartner said contact lists, calendars and messaging clients in any smartphones will be social-enabled applications.

Collaboration is slowly moving to the cloud, and Gartner analysts expect to see steep growth rates for sales of premises- and cloud-based social networking services. Organizations will deploy hybrid models where some services live on-premises and some are in the cloud. Gartner predicts that the percentage of e-mail accounts on cloud services will grow to 10 percent by year-end 2012, up 7 percent from 2009.

From a vendor’s perspective, the market is consolidating around Microsoft and Research In Motion (RIM), the two market leaders. Gartner forecasts that by 2012, RIM and Microsoft will own 80 percent of the enterprise wireless e-mail software market.

More information on social media can be found at

Sunday, November 14, 2010

With Millions of Brands to Choose, New Media Users Follow Only Five

Even as new media adoption explodes – up 48 percent from 2009 – loyal followers can be hard to come by for companies trying to reach consumers online. With the world’s most loved brands a click of the mouse away, new media users still choose to demonstrate affinity (e.g., “like” on Facebook, “follow” on Twitter or subscribe to an RSS feed) for an average of only 4.6 companies online, making this club one of the most exclusive to which a company can hope to gain access. These are among the findings of Cone’s latest research, the 2010 Cone Consumer New Media Study.

Consumers are more open than ever to engaging with companies via new media (86 percent vs. 78 percent in 2009), but it still takes a big effort on the part of the company to reach the upper echelons of the consideration set. To stand out, companies need to incentivize new followers. Before deciding whether to engage with companies online, 77 percent of new media users look for free products, coupons or discounts. And they expect to find them in the following places:

Social networks – 48%
Mobile devices – 20%
Message boards – 20%
Blogs – 13%
Online games – 12%

It may be difficult for companies to get to the top, but it’s even harder to stay there. Nearly two-thirds (59%) of new media users say they are satisfied with their online experiences with companies, but that doesn’t mean they won’t hesitate to punish companies by disengaging. More than half of users will stop following a company if it acts irresponsibly toward its consumers (58%), over-communicates with them (58%) or provides irrelevant content (53%). Under-communicating (36%) or censoring user-generated content (28%) is also grounds for falling out of favor.

Companies that can deliver high-quality customer experiences are richly rewarded.
Users who engage with companies via new media are more likely to:

Share information about the company across their own social networks – 62%
Feel a stronger connection to the company – 61%
Feel better served by the company – 60%
Purchase the company’s products or services – 59%

As new media usage grows, so too do the myriad touch points. No longer satisfied to sit still, users are increasingly taking their online experiences on the go, as nearly one-in-five (18%, up from 13% in 2009) look to interact with companies via their mobile devices. Other touch points include social networks (38%), message boards (16%), online games (15%), blogs (13%), photo-, audio- or video-sharing sites (11%) and microblogs (3%).

More information on social media and customer service can be found at

Monday, November 8, 2010

EMEA Enterprise IT Spending to Rebound in 2011 with 1.3 Percent Growth After Two Consecutive Years of Decline

Enterprise IT spending in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is forecast to rebound in 2011 and reach $795.2 billion, a 1.3 percent increase from 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. However EMEA will be the only region to show a decline in IT spending in both 2009 and 2010, with enterprise IT spending forecast to total $784.8 billion in 2010, a decline of 2.1 percent from 2009.

The European sovereign debt crisis is heralding a period of austerity that is affecting the mature economies of Western Europe. Faced with increased market scrutiny of their public finances and hoping to avoid following in Greece’s footsteps, a number of other European countries, most notably the U.K., have since followed suit and adopted public sector austerity measures of their own in an effort to scale back their public deficits and debt.

Looking forward, the ongoing drop in the value of the Euro and the British pound should promote healthy export growth in Western Europe and with it, positive economic growth. Gartner analysts said as governments scale back their spending and social support, Western Europe is not expected to return to stronger enterprise IT spending growth until 2012.

The IT services market continues to struggle in EMEA and will be the slowest to return to growth. It is forecast to decline 5.6 percent and reach $234.0 billion in 2010. Unlike in the past where IT services spending showed relative resiliency in tight times, a risk-averse and cost-focused mindset is today broadly persisting. While a lot of efficiency can be won through a productive focus on controlling cost, the emerging problem is a lack of balance, which inhibits investment in changing the business through new strategies, productivity enhancement, and process and product innovation.

From 2012, Gartner predicts that enterprise software spending in EMEA will surpass growth in spending on hardware, and this trend will continue through 2014 as organizations begin a new software applications replacement cycle. In Western Europe, countries leading the rebound, such as Germany and France, contrast sharply with those including, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal still struggling with weak growth.

More information on Enterprise IT can be found at

Thursday, November 4, 2010

CFOs Concerned About Time Waste but Also See Business Benefits in Social Media Use

As social media makes its way into the workplace, executives are weighing the potential risks and benefits. Approximately half (51 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed recently for an Accountemps survey said their greatest concern is that employees are wasting time during business hours using sites such as Facebook and Twitter. CFOs also expressed worries their staff may behave unprofessionally or post inappropriate information online. However, three in 10 financial executives (28 percent) said using these sites can improve customer service.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, a staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, "What is your greatest concern for your company regarding employees using social media?" Their responses:

Wasting time at work - 51%
Behaving unprofessionally - 18%
Posting financial/confidential company information - 11%
Posting negative comments about company - 10%
No concerns - 10%
Don't know/no answer - 1%

CFOs were asked, "What is the greatest benefit to your company of employees using social media?" Their responses:

Provide better customer service - 28%
Enhance company's reputation - 22%
Expand networks of valuable contacts - 20%
Can secure new business - 18%
No benefits - 10%
Don't know/no answer - 2%

More information on CRM can be found at

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gartner Says Mobility will be a Trillion Dollar Business by 2014

Worldwide mobile voice and data revenue will exceed one trillion dollars a year by 2014, according to Gartner, Inc. Mobile will generate revenue from a wide range of additional services such as context, advertising, application and service sales, and so on. Each of these will be a significant business worth several tens of billions of dollars per year.

In mature markets, smartphones will dominate device sales for the foreseeable future. However, the dominant mobile device type shipped globally will be feature phones without an identifiable OS because emerging markets dominate handset demand. Organizations operating in emerging markets should assume smartphones will be a niche device beyond 2014.

Many new device types such as tablets and e-book readers will emerge through 2012 and some will find a role in corporations. However, none will achieve a market share comparable to smartphones or laptops, which will remain the dominant corporate mobile devices. Mobile knowledge workers will require both a PC and a smartphone through 2014.

The smartphone platform space is very competitive, and the leaders will change through 2014 with Symbian is losing share to Android and iPhone OS (iOS). Android is gaining ground fast and will appear on consumer electronics and non-handset devices such as tablets.

Gartner believes that context will be a defining principle of mobile business for the next decade. It will play a key role in many areas of mobile business, especially advertising and marketing.

More information can be found at

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Research Finds Nearly 90% of IT Organizations Lack a Collaborative Interdepartmental Web Strategy

InformationWeek Analytics announced the release of its latest research report, The Well-Integrated Web, which provides strategies and practices to create a cohesive customer-facing online presence.

The report, based on an analysis of 326 business technology professionals, shows that 44% of respondents run more than five distinct sites, and only 39% of those with consumer sites provide integrated cross-site search and navigation. The vast majority -- 89% -- lack a collaborative interdepartmental online approach.

Companies aiming to improve their business online must coordinate their Web efforts across departments and divisions; simplify access, navigation and search; and incorporate social networking—all without jeopardizing security. After years of scrambling to keep up with new Internet technology amid budget and staff cuts, it's time for IT, working collaboratively with the business office, sales, marketing and customer service, to guide this essential change.

Other Key Findings:

-- 44% of respondents rate their customer-facing Web setups average to poor.

-- Nearly 45% say they operate more than five distinct sites; 14% run more than 50 sites.

-- Only 39% offer consistent navigation and search across their customer-facing Web sites.

-- Just 56% provide customers with single sign-on access to their various sites.

-- Only 11% report a truly collaborative approach to their company Web strategy; 6% say their strategy "changes with the wind."

More information can be found at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Most Executives See Their Organizations Moving To Cloud-Based Services Within Two Years

Business and government executives overwhelmingly expect their organizations to use Cloud computing within the next two years, according to results of a survey by KPMG LLP, the audit, tax, and advisory firm.

Taken at the recent Oracle OpenWorld 2010 trade show in San Francisco, the survey of 174 show attendees found that 90 percent of the executives and 68 percent of the middle managers said they are using or plan to use Cloud-based services within two years.

Specifically, 82 percent of all the respondents, which consisted of executives, middle managers and staff, said that migration to the Cloud raises a broad set of issues around business transformation that should be understood and managed across the entire organization.

When asked to rate the importance of four factors driving a company or organization to pursue Cloud-based activities, 84 percent of those surveyed rated "technical" (ie., scalability, security) as important or extremely important, while 78 percent viewed "economics" (cost savings, shifting capital expenditures to operational expenditures) as important or extremely important, and 76 percent placed "functional" (ie., capabilities, accessibility) in that category, with 66 percent rating "strategic" factors (ie., business process transformation, speed to market) as important or extremely important.

In addition, 79 percent of executives, middle managers and staff said that Cloud is a viable option for enterprises to be more agile and cost competitive and 74 percent said that organizations adopting Cloud can experience long-term competitive advantages. 

More information on Cloud Computing can be found at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2011

Gartner, Inc. recently highlighted the top 10 technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2011. Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.

A strategic technology may be an existing technology that has matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses. It may also be an emerging technology that offers an opportunity for strategic business advantage for early adopters or with potential for significant market disruption in the next five years. As such, these technologies impact the organization's long-term plans, programs and initiatives.

The top 10 strategic technologies for 2011 include:

Cloud Computing. Cloud computing services exist along a spectrum from open public to closed private. The next three years will see the delivery of a range of cloud service approaches that fall between these two extremes. Vendors will offer packaged private cloud implementations that deliver the vendor's public cloud service technologies (software and/or hardware) and methodologies (i.e., best practices to build and run the service) in a form that can be implemented inside the consumer's enterprise. Many will also offer management services to remotely manage the cloud service implementation. Gartner expects large enterprises to have a dynamic sourcing team in place by 2012 that is responsible for ongoing cloudsourcing decisions and management.

Mobile Applications and Media Tablets. Gartner estimates that by the end of 2010, 1.2 billion people will carry handsets capable of rich, mobile commerce providing an ideal environment for the convergence of mobility and the Web. Mobile devices are becoming computers in their own right, with an astounding amount of processing ability and bandwidth. There are already hundreds of thousands of applications for platforms like the Apple iPhone, in spite of the limited market (only for the one platform) and need for unique coding.

Social Communications and Collaboration. Social media can be divided into: (1) Social networking —social profile management products, such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendster as well as social networking analysis (SNA) technologies that employ algorithms to understand and utilize human relationships for the discovery of people and expertise. (2) Social collaboration —technologies, such as wikis, blogs, instant messaging, collaborative office, and crowdsourcing. (3) Social publishing —technologies that assist communities in pooling individual content into a usable and community accessible content repository such as YouTube and flickr. (4) Social feedback - gaining feedback and opinion from the community on specific items as witnessed on YouTube, flickr, Digg,, and Amazon. Gartner predicts that by 2016, social technologies will be integrated with most business applications. Companies should bring together their social CRM, internal communications and collaboration, and public social site initiatives into a coordinated strategy.

Video. Video is not a new media form, but its use as a standard media type used in non-media companies is expanding rapidly. Technology trends in digital photography, consumer electronics, the web, social software, unified communications, digital and Internet-based television and mobile computing are all reaching critical tipping points that bring video into the mainstream. Over the next three years Gartner believes that video will become a commonplace content type and interaction model for most users, and by 2013, more than 25 percent of the content that workers see in a day will be dominated by pictures, video or audio.

Next Generation Analytics. Increasing compute capabilities of computers including mobile devices along with improving connectivity are enabling a shift in how businesses support operational decisions. It is becoming possible to run simulations or models to predict the future outcome, rather than to simply provide backward looking data about past interactions, and to do these predictions in real-time to support each individual business action. While this may require significant changes to existing operational and business intelligence infrastructure, the potential exists to unlock significant improvements in business results and other success rates.

Social Analytics. Social analytics describes the process of measuring, analyzing and interpreting the results of interactions and associations among people, topics and ideas. These interactions may occur on social software applications used in the workplace, in internally or externally facing communities or on the social web. Social analytics is an umbrella term that includes a number of specialized analysis techniques such as social filtering, social-network analysis, sentiment analysis and social-media analytics. Social network analysis tools are useful for examining social structure and interdependencies as well as the work patterns of individuals, groups or organizations. Social network analysis involves collecting data from multiple sources, identifying relationships, and evaluating the impact, quality or effectiveness of a relationship.

Context-Aware Computing. Context-aware computing centers on the concept of using information about an end user or object’s environment, activities connections and preferences to improve the quality of interaction with that end user. The end user may be a customer, business partner or employee. A contextually aware system anticipates the user's needs and proactively serves up the most appropriate and customized content, product or service. Gartner predicts that by 2013, more than half of Fortune 500 companies will have context-aware computing initiatives and by 2016, one-third of worldwide mobile consumer marketing will be context-awareness-based.

Storage Class Memory. Gartner sees huge use of flash memory in consumer devices, entertainment equipment and other embedded IT systems. It also offers a new layer of the storage hierarchy in servers and client computers that has key advantages — space, heat, performance and ruggedness among them. Unlike RAM, the main memory in servers and PCs, flash memory is persistent even when power is removed. In that way, it looks more like disk drives where information is placed and must survive power-downs and reboots. Given the cost premium, simply building solid state disk drives from flash will tie up that valuable space on all the data in a file or entire volume, while a new explicitly addressed layer, not part of the file system, permits targeted placement of only the high-leverage items of information that need to experience the mix of performance and persistence available with flash memory.

Ubiquitous Computing. The work of Mark Weiser and other researchers at Xerox's PARC paints a picture of the coming third wave of computing where computers are invisibly embedded into the world. As computers proliferate and as everyday objects are given the ability to communicate with RFID tags and their successors, networks will approach and surpass the scale that can be managed in traditional centralized ways. This leads to the important trend of imbuing computing systems into operational technology, whether done as calming technology or explicitly managed and integrated with IT. In addition, it gives us important guidance on what to expect with proliferating personal devices, the effect of consumerization on IT decisions, and the necessary capabilities that will be driven by the pressure of rapid inflation in the number of computers for each person.

Fabric-Based Infrastructure and Computers. A fabric-based computer is a modular form of computing where a system can be aggregated from separate building-block modules connected over a fabric or switched backplane. In its basic form, a fabric-based computer comprises a separate processor, memory, I/O, and offload modules (GPU, NPU, etc.) that are connected to a switched interconnect and, importantly, the software required to configure and manage the resulting system(s). The fabric-based infrastructure (FBI) model abstracts physical resources — processor cores, network bandwidth and links and storage — into pools of resources that are managed by the Fabric Resource Pool Manager (FRPM), software functionality. The FRPM in turn is driven by the Real Time Infrastructure (RTI) Service Governor software component. An FBI can be supplied by a single vendor or by a group of vendors working closely together, or by an integrator — internal or external.

More information can be found at

Monday, October 18, 2010

Social Media and Mobile Tech Trends

The 2010 Social Media Index: Wave VI was conducted between July 28 and August 18, 2010. A total of 2,222 IT professionals from 109 countries participated. The goal of this survey was to gain insights from executives and professionals on topical issues that affect decision making. Participants shared input on their use of social media and mobile technology to solve problems, stay current, and collaborate with peers.

The results of the survey revealed:

-- Among IT professionals, social media consumption outpaced editorial and vendor content consumption. Respondents consumed social media at a rate of 5.86 hours per week, versus 3.81 for editorial content and 3.41 for vendor content.

-- Social media represents 45% of total media consumption among IT professionals (compared to 29% for editorial and 26% for vendor content).

-- More than 55% of IT professionals use social media to make better decisions based on insights from like-minded professionals.

-- More than 53% of IT professionals state that their company does not have a social media policy or they are unsure if one exists.

Other results include:

-- The top 3 benefits of mobile devices are the ability to respond to work issues in real time (31.3%), connectivity to e-mail (23.7%), and the ability to work at home (14.2%).

-- Less than 30% of respondents feel that advertisers understand their use of mobile devices for professional purposes "well" or "very well".

-- A larger screen, faster performance, and longer battery life are the top three features that respondents would value in their next mobile phone.

More information on social media trends can be found at

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Customers Will Pay Organization More For A Great Customer Experience

According to the fifth annual Customer Experience Report, a Harris Interactive study sponsored by RightNow Technologies, customer experience is playing a significant role in determining where consumers choose to shop and how much they are willing to spend. Results show that exceptional customer experience creates loyal customers and has the power to impact a company’s top and bottom lines.

Nearly all consumers (85 percent) said they would be willing to pay more over the standard price of a good or service to ensure a superior customer experience. Of those consumers that said they would pay more for an excellent customer experience:
-- 55 percent would pay 10 percent or more
-- 27 percent would pay 15 percent or more
-- 10 percent would pay 25 percent or more

This year’s research also shows that a great customer service experience significantly impacts purchasing decisions:

-- Nearly all consumers (82 percent) have stopped doing business with an organization as a result of negative experience and most (75 percent) do not return

-- 55 percent of consumers became customers of a company based on its reputation for great customer service, and 40 percent of consumers have switched to a competitive brand simply because of its reputation for exceptional service

Consumers not only voice their customer experience preferences with their own wallets; they also influence their peers. According to the 2010 Customer Experience Report, customer advocacy should be a key focus for businesses because:

-- Customer service is still the number one reason consumers recommend an organization, more than products or price

-- Word of mouth is the number one influence on consumers’ purchasing decisions (76 percent), followed by customer reviews and online feedback at 49 percent

-- 79 percent of consumers that have had a negative experience with an organization told others about it, and 97 percent chose to share their experience via word of mouth

-- 85 percent wanted to warn others about the pitfalls of doing business with that company and 66 percent wanted to discourage others from buying from that company

The 2010 report outlines why consumers stop doing business with a company:

-- Rude staff (73 percent)
-- Issues weren’t resolved quickly (55 percent)
-- Unknowledgeable staff (51 percent)

More information on CRM can be found at

Monday, October 11, 2010

Shifting Customer Expectations Will Affect Adoption of Outsourced Cloud Service Delivery Models

Recently published demand-side research by International Data Corporation (IDC) reveals that the move toward outsourced cloud services will dramatically change the requirements that outsourcers and service providers will need to meet to align with the performance and relationship expectations of customers.

IDC believes that players looking to compete successfully in the market for outsourced cloud services will need to develop robust road maps of how customers are looking to adopt these utility-based services that cut across entire organization requirements. As part of succeeding, many outsourcers and providers will need to make radical adjustments to their delivery capabilities, partnership ecosystems, business models, and service offerings. They will also need to extend their view of who they are and who they will be competing with within and beyond the traditional market of IT and business process services.

More information can be found at

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Spending on Social Media Highest Among U.S. Marketers Using the Emerging Channel to Deepen Customer Loyalty

U.S. companies that use social media primarily to deepen customer loyalty spend almost twice as much on this emerging channel as competitors who use it for brand awareness, customer acquisition and other core marketing purposes, according to national survey results jointly released by COLLOQUY and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

Specifically, the survey results show the average social media spend for marketers whose primary objective is to obtain customer loyalty was $88,000 last year, compared to $53,000 for brand awareness and $30,000 for customer acquisition, the objectives that attracted the next highest spending levels.

Additionally, the survey shows that the amount of social media budget marketers allocated to loyalty objectives increased by 293% over the past 12 months, easily surpassing allocation increases for all other social media-related marketing objectives.

One of the key revelations from the research is that the absolute dollar amount marketers are setting aside for social media is low:

* When asked what percentage of their company’s overall marketing budget is spent on social media, the largest group, covering 24% of survey takers, selected "don’t know"

* 17% of respondents said they allocated only 1% of their annual marketing budget to social media

* 16% said they allocate 4-5%

* Smaller companies with tighter budgets are significantly more likely than large companies to say they spend almost 50% of their marketing budget on social media.
Another key finding reveals a lack of metrics for success differentiated by objective:

* When asked to identify the most important measure of social media success, nearly two-thirds of respondents selected "don’t know"

* Of those who identified a measurement, the largest group, covering 20%, said engaging customers to respond and provide feedback

* 65% of respondents said they’re not using any listening tools to monitor what their customers are saying about their brand.

More information on social media can be found at

Monday, October 4, 2010

Operational Transformation Needed to Align Marketing and IT Groups as Companies Seek Competitive Advantage

Operational change is required for corporate marketers and information technology (IT) professionals as they seek to "lead not lag" to embrace new digital marketing technologies and channels in the quest to acquire, maintain and enhance customer relationships and increase revenue, according to a new report from the CMO Council and Accenture. Another key finding of the report, titled "The CMO-CIO Alignment Imperative: Driving Revenue through Customer Relevance," is that marketing and IT executives do not believe they are highly effective partners, as they struggle to achieve common goals in the race to adopt and keep pace with rapidly evolving digital marketing capabilities.

In fact, very few marketing and IT executives surveyed for the report believe their companies are prepared to exploit the new digital channels, despite their shared conviction that technology now underpins and shapes the entire customer experience. Specifically, just 4 percent of more than 300 marketing executives and 7 percent of the more than 300 IT executives who participated in the study said their companies are very prepared to exploit digital marketing channels. Additionally, only 8 percent of marketers and 6 percent of IT executives said they believe their data and analytics are completely integrated. And nearly than one-third of marketers and IT executives alike (29 percent and 27 percent, respectively) said they are either having difficulty integrating critical analytics capabilities or believe they are not integrated at all.

As customers increased their demand for always-on access points, service options and interactive experiences, a large majority of marketing executives (78 percent) and IT executives (68 percent) said that digital marketing is important to their organizations. Yet, only one-third of marketers (35 percent) and one-fifth of IT executives (20 percent) said their companies are "heavily committed and invested" in digital marketing.

In further findings, the research reveals that both marketers and IT professionals appear to be in close agreement on the value and impact of digital channels of engagement and the strategic areas of focus for closer CMO-CIO alignment. However, challenges and roadblocks remain, as nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of marketers and half (48 percent) of IT executives said they have experienced problems or challenges with implementing marketing solutions or IT projects to further marketing effectiveness.

Both groups agree that delivering more timely and relevant transactional, behavioral and customer insight data is at the top of the list. But on the IT side, there also is a focus on automating customer interactions, improving customer care and handling, as well as furthering the use of social media for online listening and interaction. Marketers, however, said they would like IT to improve the links and alignment between functional marketing, sales and channel groups, and to deploy better marketing execution platforms and operational systems.

Neither IT nor marketing seems prepared to capitalize on investments once they have been made and implemented. Insufficient funding (cited by 59 percent of marketers) and a lack of understanding of the opportunity by senior management (cited by 46 percent of IT executives) are viewed as the primary constraints for those who were unprepared to capitalize on the opportunities. However, while marketers believe that customer insight and intelligence are critical to competitive advantage, they are finding it difficult to gain IT support for better integration and mining of disparate customer data that is often isolated and under-utilized across organizational silos.

The study found that, in the absence of top-down engagement in the digital reinvention of marketing, there is a noticeable disconnect between IT and marketing executives about who they believe is leading the digital strategy for their company. More than half (58 percent) of IT executives said they were championing, spearheading or shaping the digital agenda at their company, whereas fewer than one-fifth (19 percent) of the marketers said that the digital agendas at their companies were being shaped by IT executives. Instead, 69 percent of marketers said they were the ones in the driver's seat.

Timing, resources and support are also key constraints to a more collaborative, fluid and profitable IT-marketing relationship, as both marketing and IT executives admit to following different schedules, priorities and paths to implementation.

Further, 64 percent of marketers said implementing new solutions has been a challenge; 46 percent of marketers said marketing is not seen as a priority by the IT executives; and 44 percent of marketers said their budgets aren't big enough to execute their plans. From the technology side, 30 percent of IT executives said they lack the time and technical resources to help marketing; 39 percent of them said that marketing bypasses them and works directly with the vendor; and 31 percent said marketers hinder progress by taking control and isolating IT from solution selection, strategy or implementation.

More information on CRM can be found at

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Global Report Reveals Security Concerns Hinder Adoption of Web 2.0 and Social Networking in Business

McAfee, Inc. revealed that business leaders worldwide see the value of Web 2.0 in supporting productivity and driving new revenue - but remain deeply concerned about security threats associated with deploying the technology. A survey of over 1,000 global business decision-makers in 17 countries found that half of businesses were concerned about the security of Web 2.0 applications such as social media, micro blogging, collaborative platforms, web mail, and content sharing tools. More than six out of ten organizations have already suffered losses averaging $2 million, for a collective loss of more than $1.1 billion in security related incidents last year. There was another 60 percent concerned about loss of reputation as a result of Web 2.0 misuse. Brazil, Spain and India led in adoption of Web 2.0 technology for business, while adoption was lowest in Canada, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Key Report Findings:

-- Web 2.0 adoption rates vary across countries - Overall, Web 2.0 adoption rates are high, reaching 90 percent or above in Brazil, Spain and India. Adoption is lowest in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

-- New revenue streams are the highest driver of Web 2.0 adoption - Three out of four organizations reported that expanded use of Web 2.0 technologies create new revenue streams while 40 percent said the tools have boosted productivity and enhanced effective marketing strategies.

-- Security is the leading concern – Half of respondents named security as their primary concern for Web 2.0. There was also a third that identified fear of security issues as the main reason Web 2.0 applications are not used more widely in their business. Companies’ top four perceived threats from employee use of Web 2.0 are malicious software (35 percent), viruses (15 percent), overexposure of information (11 percent) and spyware (10 percent).

-- Reputation damage is the biggest business consequence – Sixty percent of companies reported that the most significant consequence from inappropriate Web 2.0 and social media usage is loss of reputation, brand, client or confidence. One third of respondents reported unplanned investments related to “work arounds” related to social media in the workplace. Fourteen percent of organizations reported litigation or legal threats caused by employees disclosing confidential or sensitive information, with more than 60 percent of those threats caused by social media disclosures.

-- Many businesses block Web 2.0 rather than put policies in place – Worldwide, 13 percent of organizations block all Web 2.0 activity while 81 percent restrict the use of at least one Web 2.0 tool because they are concerned about security. Yet almost one third of organizations reported that they do not have any social media policy in place. A quarter of organizations monitor how staff use social media and 66 percent have introduced social media policies, 71 percent of which use technology to enforce them.

More information on Web 2.0 and Social Networking can be found at

Monday, September 27, 2010

Survey Shows Cloud-Computing Services Represents 10 Percent of Spending on External IT Services in 2010

Cloud-computing services consumed from external service providers (ESPs) are estimated to be 10.2 percent of the spending on external IT services, according to a worldwide survey by Gartner, Inc. Forty-six percent of respondents with budget allocated to cloud computing indicated they planned to increase the use of cloud services from external providers. Gartner analysts said there is a shift toward the "utility" approach for noncore services, and increased investment in core functionality, often closely aligned with competitive differentiation.

More respondents expected an increase in spending for private cloud implementations that are for internal or restricted use of the enterprise (43 percent) than those that are for external and/or public use (32 percent).

On a regional basis, Asia/Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and North America spent between 40 and 50 percent of the cloud budget on cloud services from ESPs. Latin America was the exception, with a notably larger portion of budgets being spent on developing and implementing private and public cloud environments, reflecting the need to cater to the close business relationships and high-touch interactions that are characteristics of the Latin culture.

More information on cloud-computing can be found at

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

IDC Survey Shows Sales and Marketing Budgets Will Rise in 2010

The International Data Corporation (IDC) Executive Advisory Group forecasts that IT vendor marketing budgets will increase by 3.7% and vendor sales budgets (investment) will rise by 5.6% for the full year 2010.

Richard Vancil, vice president of IDC's Executive Advisory Group noted some key trends and offered guidance for the tech executives. "The recession has brought major changes to the level and shape of marketing investment. At the macro level, overall investment is likely to lag revenue growth this year and this is the first 'watch-out' for executives, as our research consistently shows that marketing leaders tend to keep budgets in-line with revenue growth. The second factor is the major shift in the shape of the marketing mix. Traditional media spending has declined by 43% this year, and the category of digital marketing has grown by 53%.

"These shifts were expected and our forecast accuracy from earlier this year was excellent. Now, the question for marketing and marketing-operations executives is: How do we adjust our execution and processes to adapt? IDC suggests two key steps. First, seek process improvement to address the complexity of multi-path marketing. Think about separate process paths for Waterfall versus Agile execution. Second, look for processes that will improve the capability for personalized marketing. It is counter-intuitive, but consolidation and centralization of marketing processes and IT will precede the ability to de-centralize and personalize. The top marketers are putting more intelligence and process in place at corporate to make this happen."

More information can be found at

Monday, September 20, 2010

Worldwide Enterprise Software Revenue to Surpass $232 Billion in 2010

Worldwide enterprise software revenue is on pace to surpass $232 billion in 2010, a 4.5 percent increase from 2009 revenue of $222.4 billion, according to the latest forecast from Gartner, Inc. The enterprise software market is projected for continued growth in 2011 with revenue forecast to reach $246.6 billion. Through 2014, the market is expected to reach $297 billion at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6 percent.

Some regions will fare better than others with five-year CAGRs to 2014 varying from 2.7 percent in Western Europe to 11.5 percent in Asia/Pacific. Emerging regions, such as Asia/Pacific and Latin America, which were less affected by the latest economic downturn than the U.S. and Europe, are expected to invest heavily in enterprise software initiatives in the next few years as they continue to round out the IT infrastructures necessary to do business.

Enterprise software spending in North America is forecast to reach $110.8 billion in 2010, an 8.5 percent increase from 2009 revenue of $102.1 billion. The market will experience consistent growth through 2014, when spending in North America will surpass $143.6 billion.

Gartner analysts said enterprise software growth in North America is significantly front-loaded to the first half of the year, as evidenced by stronger vendor earnings in the first half of 2010.

The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region will see a fall in enterprise software spending this year. Gartner estimates 2010 revenue at $64.5 billion, a 3.4 percent decline from 2009 revenue of $66.8 billion. In 2010, the majority of software market segments are predicted to see a slight decline in EMEA, although by 2014 the market is expected to reach $76.2 billion.

The slow rebound of the market in Western Europe -- which in 2010 and 2011 is set to post only a mild recovery -- is in striking contrast with Eastern Europe and the MEA region. Gartner analysts said Eastern Europe is proving to be a highly volatile region with a boom and bust tendency, which can bring huge gains to companies that invest during good years (e.g., 2007 and 2008) but great pain in years of recession (e.g., 2009).

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) is expected to have the fastest growth in software revenue of all the regions in 2010. The market for enterprise software in Asia/Pacific is estimated to reach $22 billion in 2010, up 13 percent from 2009 revenue of $19.5 billion. Gartner believes that both enterprise application and infrastructure software will demonstrate a strong rebound in 2010, and this positive momentum is expected to continue through 2011.

More information on enterprise software can be found at

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting Collaboration Right Pays: Small Efforts Can Improve Bottom-Line Performance by 0.3 to 1.0% of Total Enterprise Costs

The Corporate Executive Board (CEB), a research and advisory services company, revealed new research and related economic modeling that indicates even small efforts to improve collaboration through technology can improve bottom-line performance by 0.3 to 1.0 percent of total enterprise costs. The research findings, part of CEB's Social Computing and Communications Adoption Curve, offer businesses a unique view into the value of Enterprise 2.0 technologies, including what's working based on actual deployments.

In addition to providing valuable insight into cost savings and ROI, the findings behind the Social Computing and Communications Adoption Curve also show that:

-- Reaching planned levels of user adoption of Enterprise 2.0 technologies takes five-to-eight quarters after initial deployment of a given technology.

-- Social content technologies, such as wikis, social networking, and prediction markets, are falling short of adoption targets in as many as two-thirds of organizations.

-- Location-aware technologies, enterprise search capabilities, and synchronous document creation technologies are seeing the most growth in companies, with each expected to increases in employee adoption and use by 10 percent or more over the next year.

-- Organizations are realizing the most immediate value from technologies that help employees communicate faster. Implementation of mobile technologies, room-based telepresence, unified communications, and synchronous project planning technologies have either met or exceeded adoption targets in a majority of organizations. 

More information on CRM and collaboration can be found at