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.

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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