Valuable services lurk behind confused marketing of 'managed cloud'

Paul Miller

(Confusing messages. Image by Wikimedia Commons user 'Melburnian')

Again and again, we hear examples of companies struggling as they try to realise the benefits of moving to cloud. They know what they want to achieve as a business, they know that cloud can help, but they cannot translate that understanding into the way they specify, procure, and run the technology.

There are plenty of organisations willing to help, offering everything from design and migration services through to management of infrastructure and applications on an ongoing basis. Even in the public cloud world, it's easy to find companies eager to take your money, and then start and stop workloads on your behalf.

But, as the blurb for my latest report states,

"Cloud computing changes the way that applications are designed, built, and run. It is often part of a broader organizational change, as enterprises move to embrace digital opportunities. Providers of managed cloud solutions need to recognize this shift: They must do more than simply run a customer’s computers. But CIOs seeking a trusted partner to assume this broader role find that too many managed cloud offerings fail to rise above basic management of infrastructure."

Read more

Brexit Vote Means Weaker UK And European Tech Market In 2016 And 2017

Andrew Bartels

As soon as the news of the Brexit vote in the UK came out, the Forrester team began revising our UK and European tech market forecast to take into account the economic implications and uncertainties of the voters’decision that the UK should leave the EU. Based on this revised analysis, we predict the UK tech market will grow by just 1% (pounds sterling) in 2016 with zero growth in 2017, compared with our prior forecast of 5% in both years.

Europe as a whole, will post no growth in 2016 (euros), and just 1% growth in 2017  two percentage points slower than our earlier forecast. With the plummeting pound and enervated euro, European tech market measured in US dollars will be similarly weak with 0.2% growth in 2016 and 1.1% in 2017.

The slowing of UK and European tech market growth results from multiple uncertainties created by the Brexit vote coming on top of what was already a weak and shaky European economy. As a result:

  • The UK economy, which had been outperforming most of the Eurozone countries, will take a hit. The Belgian, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Swiss economies, which are growing by 1-1/2% or less, are vulnerable to declines, with Italy especially exposed due to a looming banking crisis.
  • Greece and Portugal are struggling once again, with threats of renewed recessions leading to declines in tech spending.
  • The only countries with decent economic growth and above average tech market growth are Ireland and Spain in the Eurozone, and Sweden, Poland, and other Central European countries outside it.
Read more

Forrester’s CX Marketing Forum 2016 In Shanghai: Fuse CX, Brand, And Marketing To Create Your Competitive Advantage

Travis Wu

Following last year’s highly successful Summit for Marketing Leaders in Shanghai, I’m excited to take on the role as the forum host for Forrester’s upcoming Customer Experience (CX) Marketing Shanghai 2016 Forum, taking place just seven weeks from now on September 1 at the JW Marriott Shanghai.

The line between CX, brand, and marketing disciplines has blurred as empowered customers now have more knowledge, more power, and more leverage than ever over companies, services, and products. This year’s Forum focuses on fusing CX, brand, and marketing, which is the first step to becoming customer-obsessed, to build the foundation for driving continuous business success in the age of the customer. We are here to help you answer these questions:

How do companies thrive in this dynamic environment?

How can I combine CX, brand, and marketing to create a core competitive advantage for my company?

How do I show the real value of CX to the rest of my organization, including senior executives?

Our CX Marketing Shanghai 2016 Forum brings together the best minds of marketing and CX from both Forrester and leading companies in different industries to discuss forward-looking trends and share best practices. Come attend this one-day forum to:

  • Understand how CX, brand, and marketing drive business growth
  • Learn best practices from CX and marketing leaders in different industries
  • Deepen your understanding of your rapidly evolving digital customers
  • Know how to boost marketing outcomes through digital technologies and advanced data analytics
  • See how design thinking and digital technologies can improve CX quality and increase your customer loyalty.
Read more

After Brexit, it's business as usual for most of Europe's public cloud workloads

Paul Miller

The flags of the European Union and the United Kingdom

(source: Wikimedia Commons)

Two weeks on, the result of the UK referendum on membership of the European Union (EU) continues to reverberate around the world. Forrester provided advice for clients needing to understand the business implications. Looking at the specific impact on public cloud deployments in Europe introduces a number of additional points. These are best considered in three separate contexts:

  • that of companies wishing to serve customers in the UK
  • that of companies wishing to serve customers in the remaining 27 EU member states (the EU27)
  • that of companies wishing to serve customers in the EU27 from a base in the UK.
Read more

Big Data Vendors See The Internet Of Things (IoT) Opportunity, Pivot Tech And Message To Compete

Paul Miller

Picture of a stream flowing over boulders.

(Source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/90000/velka/waterfall-stream-over-boulders.jpg)

Open source big data technologies like Hadoop have done much to begin the transformation of analytics. We're moving from expensive and specialist analytics teams towards an environment in which processes, workflows, and decision-making throughout an organisation can - in theory at least - become usefully data-driven. Established providers of analytics, BI and data warehouse technologies liberally sprinkle Hadoop, Spark and other cool project names throughout their products, delivering real advantages and real cost-savings, as well as grabbing some of the Hadoop glow for themselves. Startups, often closely associated with shepherding one of the newer open source projects, also compete for mindshare and custom.

And the opportunity is big. Hortonworks, for example, has described the global big data market as a $50 billion opportunity. But that pales into insignificance next to what Hortonworks (again) describes as a $1.7 trillion opportunity. Other companies and analysts have their own numbers, which do differ, but the step-change is clear and significant. Hadoop, and the vendors gravitating to that community, mostly address 'data at rest'; data that has already been collected from some process or interaction or query. The bigger opportunity relates to 'data in motion,' and to the internet of things that will be responsible for generating so much of this.

Read more

Digital Transformation - Part 2: Culture And Organization

Dan Bieler

The most digitally aware managers are realizing that cultural and organizational transformation will dominate their agenda for years to come. Emerging business models will not function based on old organizational structures, traditional innovation approaches, and outdated management techniques.

In the late 1990s, many traditional businesses mentally leapfrogged by adding a “dotcom” to their name. Those old enough to remember those days, know that many businesses failed miserably in their efforts and still have not fully adjusted to IP realities.

Today we see a similar trend, with every business claiming to be a "digital" business. To me, this is a clear sign that we have crossed the zenith of digital hype. This period is a risky one. Just as the once mighty telcos were blown out of the water by the much more agile and flexible social media and big data players in the 2000s, I believe a majority of traditional businesses will succumb to the forces of successful digital businesses. Declarations of digital intentions, the creation of chief digital officers, or the allocation of digital budgets alone will not translate into digital success.

Most grand digital visions and strategic ambitions that have become the staple diet of corporate presentations mostly fall short of concrete plans for management innovation. It is not conceivable how traditional management techniques can deliver on promises of ongoing and inside-out-driven innovation as well as responding instantaneously to fast-changing customer demand. The creation of a work environment that stimulates employees’ self-initiative and creativity as well as passion for one's work must be the central building block for an agile, flexible, and experimental digital business.

Read more

Microsoft’s Acquisition Of LinkedIn Will Not Translate Into A Revolution Of Enterprise Social Networking

Dan Bieler

In a report, Forrester discussed arguments made by Microsoft regarding the potential benefits of the tie-up. There are some additional aspects that I also consider important when discussing the implications of the tie-up:

  • LinkedIn's status of trusted independent platform for professional information exchange could be undermined. Although the deal, should it go through, would help Microsoft to strengthen its social networking services and professional content, there will be LinkedIn users that are not keen to become sucked into the Microsoft ecosystem as part of their social collaboration activities and abandon LinkedIn as active users.
  • Microsoft must be much faster to decide on LinkedIn's strategy than it did with Skype. It took Microsoft several years to define its strategy for Skype, and Yammer for that matter. This slow response to sort out Skype's place in the Microsoft family slowed down Skype's momentum significantly. By the time the new Skype strategy was announced, most of the hardcore Skype users had migrated away towards other social collaboration platforms like WhatsApp, Facetime, or WeChat.
  • Microsoft must redouble its mobile efforts. A large part of LinkedIn users’ activities are mobile based. Microsoft's weak position in mobile ecosystems could dramatically undermine LinkedIn's longer-term opportunities. If Microsoft underestimates the mobile dimension for LinkedIn, the future for LinkedIn could be very questionable. Users are fickle and there is no loyalty to outdated social media platforms.
Read more

One Million Thanks!

Nigel Fenwick

Thank you for your support!

I'm delighted to see this blog has officially had over one million views, making this one of the most read blogs at Forrester! 

I truly appreciate all the support of you, my readers, in helping share this content with your peers. So thank you a million times.

Here is a selection of the most popular reads based on your recommendations, page views and one or two I just like the most:

Social Media:

Read more

Mobile Edge Computing Will Be Critical For Internet-Of-Things And Distributed Computing

Dan Bieler

Computing at the edge of the mobile network will frame your IoT-enabled customer experiences in the age of the customer. As products and services based on the internet of things (IoT) continue to thrive, so does the reliance on the underlying network infrastructures to drive business success. Most IoT assets will be connected via mobile infrastructure, and cloud services are central to many IoT initiatives to deliver real-time and context-based services.

However, data transmission costs and the latency limitations of mobile connectivity pose challenges to many of these IoT installations that rely on cloud computing. Mobile edge computing (MEC) is an important technology that enables businesses to deliver real-time and context-based mobile moments to users of IoT solutions, while managing the cost base for mobile infrastructure.

  • Cloud and IoT solutions are increasingly intertwined and improve IoT experiences. IoT solutions gain functionality through cloud services, which in turn open access to third-party expertise and up-to-date information.
  • Mobile connectivity can create challenges for cloud-enabled IoT environments. Latency affects user experiences, so poor mobile connectivity can limit cloud computing deployments in the IoT context.
  • MEC provides real-time network and context information, including location. MEC gives application developers and business leaders access to cloud computing capabilities and a cloud service environment that’s closer to their actual users.
Read more

Established Chinese cloud providers hope to succeed in Europe's public cloud market

Paul Miller

When we think about the public cloud, the list of credible providers can sometimes seem rather short.

(The Great Wall of China. Source: Paul Miller)

In North America, Europe, and elsewhere, the same few names tend to dominate. But not in China. There, big local brands continue to command impressive market share. And now they're looking to expand into new territories, including Europe.

Huawei hardware and Huawei's distribution of the OpenStack open source cloud platform power T-Systems' Open Telekom Cloud. This was launched, with some fanfare, at CeBIT in Hannover. 

Alibaba Cloud, which leads the Chinese public cloud market, is also coming to Europe this year.

In my latest report, I take a look at what both Alibaba and Huawei bring to Europe's public cloud market, and ask whether they can repeat their domestic success in this market.

TL;DR - it would be unwise to discount either of them.