The CIO And Digital Business

Nigel Fenwick

Digital footprintOver the past year, there has certainly been plenty of press coverage surrounding the emergence of the new “Chief Digital Officer” (CDO). And the research we published in 2013 on the CDO role does identify how some firms can potentially benefit from a CDO role working alongside the CMO and CIO. But I’m beginning to see more business-savvy CIOs follow Starbucks' ex-CIO Stephen Gillett’s example and step up to lead digital strategy and digital initiatives.

In fact, CIOs with experience in marketing and/or business-unit leadership — especially eBusiness — are well equipped to lead the future digital transformation journey in many companies. They understand business strategy; they can relate to the outside-in customer view; and they already have an enterprise perspective.

OK, so there are not many CIOs out there today with this kind of experience (my estimate is around 20%) — but this is exactly the kind of CIO that CEOs need to hire in the future.

So let’s not get too hung up on titles — what really matters is the ability to combine a deep understanding of the customer with an understanding of how digital technology will drive new sources of customer value.

That’s the focus of a new series of reports we’ve just published (see below). The reports help digital-savvy CIOs work with business leaders to create a clear vision for what it means to be a digital business and start down the path toward digital business transformation.

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Open Data And Trust Play An Important Role In Emerging Digital Ecosystems

Dan Bieler

Open data is critical for delivering contextual value to customers in digital ecosystems. For instance, The Weather Channel and OpenWeatherMap collect weather-related data points from millions of data sources, including the wingtips of aircraft. They could share these data points with car insurance companies. This would allow the insurers to expand their customer journey activities, such as alerting their customers in real time to warn them of an approaching hailstorm so that the car owners have a chance to move their cars to safety. Success requires making logical connections between isolated data fields to generate meaningful business intelligence.

But also trust is critical to deliver value in digital ecosystems. One of the key questions for big data is who owns the data. Is it the division that collects the data, the business as a whole, or the customer whose data is collected? Forrester believes that for data analytics to unfold its true potential and gain end user acceptance, the users themselves must remain the ultimate owner of their own data.

The development of control mechanisms that allow end users to control their data is a major task for CIOs. One possible approach could be dashboard portals that allow end users to specify which businesses can use which data sets and for what purpose. Private.me is trying to develop such a mechanism. It provides servers to which individual's information is distributed to be run by non-profit organizations. Data anonymization is another approach that many businesses are working on, despite the fact that there are limits to data anonymization as a means to ensure true privacy.

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Cognitive computing is changing healthcare: slowly

Skip Snow

Artificial Intelligence’s reputation is having a significant reputational uplift. We have an academy award nominated film, “The imitation Game” ( http://theimitationgamemovie.com/) about arguably the father of AI, or even modern computing, that advocates passionately for the power of AI. We have IBM founding a new division ‘Watson’ based on the premise that cognitive computing can in fact be a profitable cloud based business service that IBM offers.

Looking at my own domain of punditry ‘software for healthcare’  I have to ask what if anything all of this AI thaw means to the technology, operational, financial, and marketing executives in Forrester’s client base? To answer that we have to look what products or solutions have entered the marketplace that are capable of changing the core models of healthcare.

After over a year of research, we are capable of saying that cognitive computing is important to healthcare and is more than a science project.  What we have found is that there is a divide between big health care business and smaller ones. The big businesses, the ones that are true centers of excellence in the provider, payer, and drug research arena are using the advances of cognitive computing machine learning and big data to innovate in fundamental ways.

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Running A Micro Store: My Hands-On Experience With Social eCommerce In China (Part 1: Why Am I Doing This?)

Bryan Wang

Note: This is the first in a series of blog posts I am planning to document my eCommerce experience. 

Over the past 12 months, my colleagues and I have had many discussions about the next big thing for the eCommerce market in China. Key questions include:

  • Who will be the next Taobao or Tmall in China?
  • How will social commerce affect the dynamics of the current market, in which Alibaba owns the majority of the consumer traffic and overall gross merchandise value (GMV)?
  • Will WeChat be the top challenger and platform for social commerce?
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Anticipating Mobile World Congress 2015: Connectivity Trumps Mere Mobility

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

 

infographic-imageWe are now only a few weeks away from Mobile World Congress, historically the pre-eminent event of the mobile industry and now one of the largest global events across all industries. Last year’s even attracted almost 90,000 attendees from over 200 countries.  The event draws representatives from mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors, content owners and governments from across the world.  Executives from all industries pay attention to products demonstrated and announcements made.  While “mobile” remains in the event title, last year’s event marked a changing of the guard:  The large presence of car manufacturers and the buzz around Facebook reflected that shift away from the event’s telecom roots.  This year that shift will be even more pronounced as the reign of mobility gives way to the new rule of connectivity.  Yes, we are mobile but the key is that while we are roaming the halls at work or the streets of a foreign city, we remain connected to the people and things we want and need to interact with. 

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TCS’ CrewCollab Solution Fills a Gap In Airlines’ Digital Transformation Journey

Fred Giron

Earlier this week, TCS launched its CrewCollab Solution at the Singapore Aviation Festival. The sector has attracted a lot of investments from service providers lately with companies like NIIT Technologies, Pactera, Hexaware and others strengthening their portfolio of software assets for airlines. The TCS CrewCollab mobile solution – co-developed in partnership with Singapore Airlines – fills an important gap in the digital transformation strategy of airlines globally. Why is that?

  • The in-flight experience remains disjointed from the rest of the customer journey. Airlines like Delta, United and Emirates have already invested in developing successful digital customer experience initiatives covering the pre- and post-flight phases of the customer journey. However, airlines typically struggle understanding and serving their customers as they board the flight, customer data being seldom available to the cabin crew.
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Forrester's China Summit For Marketing Leaders: Connect, Engage, & Deliver To The World's Most Digitalized Consumers

Bryan Wang

In the age of the customer, marketers face three acute strategic and operational challenges: how to powerfully and consistently connect with distracted, empowered customers; how to deeply engage with customers once you make that connection; and how to consistently deliver on customer obsession throughout your organization. In China, this is even more critical and challenging for marketing leaders, as they face the most digitalized and mobile consumers in the world — 90% of the metro Chinese online adult population used a smartphone as their primary phone in 2014, according to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data. At the same time, China has emerged as the world’s largest eCommerce market, estimated at $440 billion in 2014 and expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 19.9%, topping $1 trillion by 2019.

With this in mind, we are kicking off our third annual Summit for Marketing Leaders in Shanghai on March 25, 2015. The agenda will focus on real-world solutions to each of these critical challenges — taking into consideration the China context, where traditional retailers and brands are far from prepared for the age of the customer, and emerging digital service and platform providers are actively disrupting businesses.

Our program will deliver outcome-oriented analysis and advice, driven by Forrester’s latest research and detailed case studies from industry leaders in China and around the world. Learn how to:

  • Master the key concepts and skills for brand leadership across the age of the customer.
  • Create seamless brand experiences across the digital and physical divide.
  • Lead a customer-obsessed marketing organization.
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Mobile World Congress 2015 Promises Greater Focus On Use Cases Away From Technology Obsession

Dan Bieler

Once again, the mobile world is getting ready for the most important mobile event of the year, the Mobile World Congress (MWC), which will take place in Barcelona from March 2 to 5. In my role as analyst with a focus on CIO requirements, I expect the following themes to dominate this year's show:

  • Everybody will talk about data — and many about data privacy. The long-anticipated marriage between big data and mobility is finally happening. I expect just about every vendor at MWC will claim a stake in these mobile data wedding arrangements. However, many big data business models remain building sites, and it remains far from clear which players will benefit via which types of business models. The growing awareness of regulatory constraints on the use of customer data as well as what the Financial Times recently called the "creepiness quotient", i.e., hyper-personalized advertising, further complicate a convincing business model for mobile analytics on a mass scale. Despite all the hype, mobile data is one of the must-focus areas for CIOs who attend MWC.
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A Glimpse Into The Future: Software Goes Invisible

Michael Yamnitsky

Software is getting smarter, thanks to predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI). Whereas the current generation of software is about enabling smarter decision-making for humans, we’re starting to see “invisible software" capable of performing tasks without human intervention. 

One such example is x.ai, a software-based personal assistant that schedules meetings for you. With no user interface, you simply cc “Amy” on an email thread and she goes to work engaging with the recipient to find a date and optimal place to meet.

It’s not a perfectly automated system. AI trainers oversee Amy’s interactions and make adjustments on the fly. But over time, she becomes a great personal assistant who is sensitive to your meeting and communication preferences. 

One can imagine Amy extending into new domains — taking on parts of sales/customer service operations or business processes like expense management and DevOps. Indeed, we’ll see a new generation of AI-powered apps, as predicted here.

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Embrace Shared Services To Improve Outcomes–Not Only For Cost Savings

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

The perennial call for public sector reform has not slackened. The pain of austerity measures and the pressures for increased efficiency heighten that call.  And, the hype around “smart cities” amps up the pressure for municipal leaders faced with decisions about which problems to attack first, and which tools are most appropriate.  But most organizations are not starting from a clean slate. That’s exactly the issue. In most cases we’re talking about reform, about doing things differently, not starting from scratch. 

When we asked government leaders what their top priorities are, improving the customer experience comes in on top: 68% report the customer experience is either a high or critical priority.  But reducing costs is right up there with it. That’s the age-old do-more-with-less mantra.  And, from a technology perspective their top priority is to upgrade or replace legacy systems, which might not sound like the wiz bang “smart” technology we’ve been hearing so much about.  But it’s likely the smartest thing these governments can do; and when they do, they should do it together. 

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