What Is Salesforce1 Anyway?

Salesforce1 was the big development revealed at salesforce.com's huge Dreamforce 2013 conference. But many left the conference wondering the same thing: What exactly is Salesforce1? A new mobile app? New sales, service, and marketing applications? A new set of application programming interfaces (APIs)? New development tools? Our analysis gets under the hood of the announcement, finding that Salesforce1 is “all of the above” and a big step forward for the company, cementing its position as a top choice among public cloud development platforms.

Why?

Salesforce1 consolidates and modernizes salesforce.com's mobile client efforts into a single extensible app. There's a gap in offline work still to be fixed.

  1. The Salesforce1 mobile app required a major refactoring and expansion of salesforce.com's APIs. Developers now have a much wider range of functions available to work with salesforce.com's various Web properties. The new APIs are RESTful.
  2. The new APIs opened the door for much better integration between Heroku and salesforce.com's Web properties. Heroku is the company's environment for Ruby, Java, and other developers who don't or won't work in Force.com. Now both development environments are integrated with salesforce.com's applications and underlying application services. 
  3. Salesforce1 is a big set of developments, and addresses one of our biggest criticisms of the company's cloud platforms: that Force.com, Heroku, Chatter, and other services aren't well integrated. Well, now they are.
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Microsoft Gets A New Java License, Oracle Gets A Cloud Channel

Microsoft’s cloud partnership with Oracle gives the Redmond, WA giant a new license to distribute Java technology — something it hasn’t had since 2004. With this license, Microsoft can finally offer Java as a preinstalled, first-class environment on Windows Azure as well as its Hyper-V virtualization software. Microsoft and Oracle announced their cloud partnership on June 24.
 
Developers can and do run Java applications on Azure, but strictly as a “bring your own” exercise; they were not able to get usage rights to and support for the technology from Microsoft. Without a license, Java would always be a second-class denizen of Windows Azure. Now enterprise customers can get the legal air cover they require for crucial technologies. As a result, we expect to see much wider usage of Windows Azure for a wider range of Java applications. 
 
For both Microsoft and Oracle, life is about the enterprise. And Java is a foundation of enterprise applications. In Forrester’s Forrsights Developer Survey, Q1 2013, Java support was a top-five reason to select a cloud platform. Enterprise C# developers will naturally come to Windows Azure, but Microsoft needed to attract the Java shops as well. The most popular cloud platform — Amazon Web Services — has no problem with Java; neither does Google. And in the real world, most large enterprises use both .NET and Java, so why should developers need different public clouds for each?
 
 
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Which Cloud Platform Is Best?

To evaluate public cloud platforms, you have to look at the breadth of cloud services developers use, which means including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Windows Azure, and salesforce.com’s Heroku in the same comparison. 
 
That’s right — there’s a mix of IaaS and PaaS products in our evaluation. Why? Our job is to help AD&D leaders select the right platform for their public cloud deployments. Developers seek utility where they can find it. Thus, the most widely used public cloud platform in our surveys is not a PaaS, but rather AWS, which is commonly labeled an IaaS.
 
Public cloud platforms  unlock the flexibility, productivity, and economic advantages of cloud computing. Our just-published Forrester Wave™ on enterprise public cloud platforms evaluates the 14 leading providers of platforms  for the enterprise. We included AWS, CloudBees, Cordys, Engine Yard, GoGrid, Google, IBM, Mendix, Microsoft, MioSoft, Rackspace, salesforce.com, SoftLayer, and Verizon Terremark in the evaluation.
 
In conducting this research, we learned that cloud platforms don’t fit into neat product categories. AWS is much more than an IaaS; Microsoft and Google now provide both PaaS and IaaS products. This finding (previewed in this blog) is vital to helping AD&D leaders sort through a veritable explosion of new products labeled “PaaS”.
 
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SharePoint Enters Its Awkward Teenage Years

Rob Koplowitz and I collaborated on this research. Forrester clients can access the full report here. The research uses data from Forrester’s August 2012 Global SharePoint Usage Online Survey to analyze the current and likely future state of SharePoint adoption in enterprises. Selected results from the survey are available here.

Microsoft SharePoint is the centerpiece of many enterprises’ collaboration and content strategies, but it isn’t clear to us that enterprises will continue to invest in SharePoint to provide a broad range of social, web content, and content delivery functions.

Our latest Global SharePoint Usage Online Survey (2012) suggests that customers struggle to adopt SharePoint’s full range of features, hurting the product’s long-term business value.  Many business managers (as opposed to IT managers) aren’t satisfied that SharePoint delivers good business value to their companies, citing uninspired user experiences, technical complexity, and other factors.

IT management is more satisfied with SharePoint than business management, and this satisfaction is driving aggressive adoption of new SharePoint releases. Plans to adopt the latest release (SharePoint 2013) are very strong.

In addition to challenging satisfaction levels with SharePoint among business managers, SharePoint faces three other barriers to its continued domination of enterprise collaboration and Intranet platforms:

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Create Your Transformation Strategy For Digital Experience Delivery

 

Forrester clients can access the full report here. The research is part of Forrester’s playbook (warning: pay wall) to advise application development and delivery (AD&D) leaders on strategies to deliver digital customer experiences. 

Digital customer experience is the next big opportunity for AD&D professionals. Business leaders responsible for marketing, sales, and support need advice and guidance from AD&D leaders as they select vendors and technologies. They need AD&D (working with colleagues in enterprise architecture) to establish the technical services and tools to deliver and optimize cross-channel customer experiences. And they need AD&D's expertise in project and program management and software quality assurance. To grasp this opportunity, the typical AD&D organization must transform to be quicker; master new technologies and relationships; and broker, as well as build, digital experience solutions. This research outlines how to create a strategy for this transformation, both for AD&D shops just beginning the digital experience journey and organizations already well down the path.

Key takeaways from this research:

  • AD&D should play a strategic role in digital experience delivery. Enterprises can outsource to consultants some, but not all, of the design and implementation work required for cross-channel digital customer experiences. Core services will remain strategic assets best managed by AD&D professionals. The question for AD&D leaders is how to gain a place at the table with their enterprise's business leaders.
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Cloud Keys An Era Of New IT Responsiveness And Efficiency

James Staten and I wrote this vision of the future of cloud computing. The full report is available to Forrester clients at this link. The research is part of Forrester’s playbook to advise CIOs on productive use of cloud computing and is relevant to application development and delivery leaders as well.  

This research charts the shifts taking place in the market as indicated by the most advanced cloud developers and consumers. In the future, look for the popular software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) models to become much more flexible by allowing greater customization and integration. Look for more pragmatic cloud development platforms that cross the traditional cloud service boundaries of SaaS, platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and IaaS. And look for good private and public cloud options — and simpler ways of integrating private-public hybrids.

The key takeaways from this research are:

  • IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS boundaries will fall. In the future, no cloud will be an island. SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS will remain distinct but expand to anchor cloud platform ecosystems that weave together application, development platform, and infrastructure services. Business services built in these ecosystems will be easier to develop, better performing, more secure, and more cost-efficient.
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Categories:

Big Data: The Worst Category Name Ever

Grant me a "crabby old guy" rant on big data. I continually hear people in our industry using the term big data as a product-category name -- and confusing everyone about the business value of big data solutions. Moreover, too many people now seem to think that Hadoop is big data, when Hadoop is just one of the several big-data solutions available -- and Hadoop isn't good for many big data scenarios.

Big data is a label for the trend toward processing dynamic (and therefore voluminous) data using in-memory architectures. This trend is being played out in 8 major scenarios that I can find. In each case, enterprises are struggling to understand how the various big data solutions will help generate revenue and profits, manage expenses, and service customers and citizens.

I posted a slide deck from a recent discussion of the big data trend on Slideshare. Here is the link: http://www.slideshare.net/johnrrymer/the-worst-category-name-ever. In that slide deck, you'll see this diagram listing the 8 big data scenarios we've seen in our work with clients here at Forrester Research.

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The Future Of Digital Customer Experience Is More Than Mobile

Stephen Powers and I wrote this research together. The full report is available to Forrester clients at this link. The research is part of Forrester’s playbook to advise application development and delivery professionals on how to support their organization’s digital customer experience strategies.

Today’s rush to reach customers on their smartphones and tablets is just the beginning of an explosion of software-fueled digital touchpoints. Smartphones, tablets, eReaders, games, smart TV, goggles . . . there’s no end in sight. As Internet-connected devices spread and people adopt them, companies can reach and engage with their customers wherever they are and in new ways not possible through brick-and-mortar stores, television advertising, and catalogs. Each of these digital touchpoints enables continuous relationships between enterprise and customer.

But digital touchpoints cannot be islands. Customers expect a unified, consistent experience across the several touchpoints they use when engaging your firm. The vast majority of companies don’t yet have the design disciplines, technologies, and organizations to support unified digital experiences. Application development and delivery (AD&D) pros can and should help lead the search for the right practices, talents, and technologies to create unified customer experiences.

Key research takeaways:

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The Future Of Microsoft .NET: New Options, New Choices, New Risks

Jeffrey S. Hammond and I wrote this research together. The full report is available to Forrester clients at this link.

One Microsoft platform era is ending, and another is beginning. The .NET era as we’ve known it is winding down. .NET doesn’t go away — it becomes Microsoft’s preferred server environment for a broader platform that also includes Windows 8 clients, the Windows Runtime (WinRT) application programming interface (API), and the Windows Azure cloud environment. This collection of technologies will define the new platform era — Forrester calls the set the new Windows platform. Why is Microsoft making a big change now? The answer is simple: Mobile devices from Apple and based on Google’s Android threaten Microsoft’s “Wintel” client franchise. Microsoft must introduce major change to its platform to keep up with advances in client hardware and device acquisition as well as an evolution in the very nature of software applications.

Microsoft has endeavored to make introduction of its new platform technologies evolutionary, and application development and delivery (AD&D) pros won’t face a forced march to the new technologies. But few AD&D leaders yet see the big picture of the new Windows platform, much less understand its implications for their .NET strategies. Our research report advises clients on how Windows 8, WinRT, Windows Azure, and .NET Framework 4.5 can help them develop and support mobile and cloud applications, create new styles of web and desktop applications, and deliver solutions faster, all while minimizing the disruptions to their current .NET activities.

Key research findings:

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Digital Customer Experiences: The Next Frontier For AD&D Pros

 

Forrester analysts Stephen Powers, Ron Rogowski, and I collaborated on this research.

Digital customer experience has become a key business differentiator, and application development and delivery (AD&D) leaders of front-office, web, mobile, and digital development must step up to support their firm's initiatives. A broad focus on digital customer experiences carries great risks for your firm: too much experimentation for not enough return; too much duplication and waste; and too little use of data to drive and measure business results. To overcome these risks, marketing, eBusiness, and AD&D pros must collaborate on a comprehensive strategy. Today, AD&D pros rarely help lead their firms' digital experience efforts; interactive marketing pros call the shots. Worse, interactive marketing pros see AD&D pros as obstacles to great results. To partner with marketing and business leaders in digital customer experience strategy, AD&D pros must transform their organizations, platforms, and processes. This research describes this opportunity for AD&D — and how to create an AD&D digital customer experience strategy that supports marketing and business counterparts, from vision to implementation to ongoing optimization.

Most firms still don't treat the design, creation, and execution of digital customer experiences as strategic but rather as a special category of marketing-led projects. Digital customer experience practices require a set of competencies that take tactical projects to the next level — requiring leaders of software development, web development and architecture, solution architecture, front-office applications, and project management offices (PMOs) to take on new obligations.

Even leading-edge consumer-brand companies struggle to get the full measure of benefits that a focus on the quality of digital experiences can provide:

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