Information Technology

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Information Technology

When people at your company talk about wanting to create great digital customer experiences (DX), do they quickly venture into the land of the abstract by talking about technology platforms and features?

If so, you're not alone. I see this every day in my research of web content management and related software that supports digital experience strategies. It's easy for technology, marketing and business people to embrace the concept of creating delightful multichannel digital experiences. But far too many organizations still find it difficult to actually create DX that matters to customers and helps their brand gain a competitive edge.

Fortunately, inspiration isn't far away. We've reached an inflection point in the evolution of digital experience where companies and brands are now selling the digital experience as much as they focus on what they're actually selling.

Suddenly, technology-enabled experiences have morphed into the product. This should be a wake-up call for application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals everywhere to grasp this challenge. The same goes for digital experience agencies and partners that service brands. When digital experiences become the product, technologists have the opportunity to help bridge the DX vision and DX technology planning and project execution inside organizations. Tech capabilities and features matter most when you interpret them for the business and show people what's possible.

Recent TV commercials here in the US from Geico, AutoTrader and La-Z-Boy each shine the spotlight not so much on their products (auto insurance, cars and furniture, respectively) but on sweet digital experiences that focus on the needs of their customers. Specifically:

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The role of the CISO is changing.

For years we have talked about the requirement to make the top security and risk (S&R) role increasingly business-facing, and this is now turning into a reality. Surprisingly, however, we see an increasing number of non-IT security folk stepping up to take the CISO role, often ahead of experienced IT professionals.

These "next-gen" CISOs are commonly savvy business professionals, experienced at implementing change and evolving processes, and adept at dealing with strategies, resource plans and board-level discussions. Their placement into these S&R roles often comes as an unwelcome surprise to those that have been working within the IT security teams; however, we have to recognise that this new breed are simply filling a gap. Unfortunately, although we have talked about the professionalization of the role and the need for greater business engagement, many S&R professionals are still not ready for the leap, and this opens up an opportunity for others to steal their way in.

Make no mistake; this is a significant change in the traditional S&R professional career path.

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This week Deloitte announced the acquisition of Vigilant. This is important news for several reasons. With over 14,000 consultants that specialize in information security, Deloitte is the largest and broadest of any security consultancy globally. Deloitte provides customized security solutions across a broad number of vertical industries, including financial services, aerospace, defense, retail, manufacturing, technology, communications, energy and pharmaceuticals. The company's offerings include[i]:

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How many of you suffer from at least mild "cyberchondria?" Do you run to the computer to Google your latest ailments? Are you often convinced that the headache you have is the first sign of some terminal illness you've been reading about?

Well, Symcat takes a new approach to Internet-assisted self-diagnosis. It provides not only the symptoms but the probability of getting the disease, using CDC data to rank results by the likelihood of the different conditions. It then allows users to further filter results by typing in information such as their gender, the duration of their symptoms and medical history. No, that headache you've had all week is likely not spinal stenosis or even viral pharyngitis. But if you've had a fall or a blow to the head you might want to consider a concussion.

As Symcat puts it they "use data to help you feel better." Never underestimate the palliative effects of peace of mind.

I had the chance to ask Craig Monsen, MD, co-founder and CEO of Symcat, a few questions about how they got their start with the business and their innovation with open data.

What was the genesis of Symcat? Can you describe the "ah-ha" moment of determining the need for Symcat?

Symcat has evolved a fair bit since its original conception. David, one of the other founders, and I first conceived of it during our time in medical school at Johns Hopkins. We (painfully) memorized commonly-observed associations in medicine: symptoms to diagnoses, diagnoses to tests, diagnoses to medications, medications to side effects. The ubiquity of computers and their comparative advantage in memory-based tasks invited our reflection about how we could ease our own cognitive load as students.

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At Forrester's North America CIO Forum two weeks ago, Frank Gillett, Chris Mines, and I presented a point--counterpoint debate on "The CIO's World in 2020". We debated and analyzed four key dynamics regarding IT and the CIO's role in the future, and asked the 325 attendees to vote on the outcome they think is most likely to occur. The audience members' votes were extremely telling:

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I recently returned from attending the opening of Belatrix Software's new office in Lima, Peru, where I was also able to meet with representatives of the Peruvian Association Of Software Producers (APESOFT), which aims to promote the software industry in Peru.
I was keen to travel to Peru to gain a better understanding of one of the fastest-growing Latin American economies, as well as to put this growth into the context of its technology industry. Peru was recently ranked fourth in Bloomberg's list of the top 20 emerging markets, just behind China, South Korea, and Thailand but ahead of other prominent Latin American destinations such as Mexico and Brazil. It is rated as one of the most attractive Latin American markets for doing business.
Peru has one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America, and although GDP growth has recently slowed slightly, its forecast for the medium to long term is positive. Although by total size, it is dwarfed by Brazil (whose GDP is approximately 14 times larger than Peru's), the IMF is expecting continued growth at approximately 6% in 2013 and 2014.
However, despite its fast-growing economy, Peru's IT market is one of the smaller and more nascent Latin American markets. Forrester estimates that total Peruvian IT purchases in 2012 were $2.5 billion -- compared with $23.4 billion in Mexico and $46.5 billion in Brazil.
Some key observations:
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This post originally appeared on destinationCRM.

We've heard a lot in the past year about the future role of marketing technologists as solvers of the "IT/marketing clash of the titans" (as one Forrester client put it to me recently). These technologists are more than just your basic webmasters. Instead, they are professionals with deep knowledge of how technology can deliver on marketing strategies in order to bring about better digital customer experiences. At Forrester, we've started to see an emerging trend of shared services groups whose goal is to bridge the marketing technology divide. Our latest research found that organizations have turned to this model -- which we call the marketing technology group -- to foster tighter integration between IT and marketing and between strategy/design professionals and technologists. Defining characteristics include:

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Social sign-in has become a powerful force for marketers and consumers, validating the notion of federated identity in consumer-facing contexts. (Ironic that consumerization of IT is successfully tackling even the single sign-on problem that has bedeviled IT, showing how identity for the top line of the business can overcome resistance in ways that business-to-employee scenarios typically can't.)

But not all consumer-facing federated SSO is social. When I was with PayPal, our team worked on the underpinnings of what eventually turned into Log In with PayPal, which is strictly about federated identity flows for commercial purposes. And today Amazon has come out with Login with Amazon, a powerful statement of Amazon-as-identity-provider. They've been testing this with their own web properties Zappos and Woot; now they're enabling third-party merchants and other sites to use Amazon for authentication of people who already have active Amazon accounts, along with learning a few selected user attributes: name, email, and optionally the zip code of the default shipping addresses. No huge social graphs here, just data that partner eCommerce sites need to function (and make money).

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The Asia Pacific mobile payment landscape is currently in an exciting phase of development, but remains fragmented. Asian telcos will likely need to wait at least another two to three years to see traction with mobile payments. Here's why:

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Notes from the IQPC Enterprise Mobility Exchange 21-23rd May, 2013 in Rotterdam:

Last week I chaired, presented and discussed the future of mobility with suppliers and IT leaders at this year's Enterprise Mobility Exchange. During the event professionals representing many leading European MNCs emphasized themes including best-in-breed customer experience and workforce productivity. IT leaders giving account of their current mobility deployments included BAT, Procter & Gamble, Enel, the National Grid and Lafarge.

Summary: IT departments of European MNCs clearly see the writing on the wall

European decision makers focus on the second wave beyond device management and communication services. They look to balance the response to fundamental trends together with the need to support necessary business requests. The winner won't necessarily be the one who supports the most devices and the most applications. Successful mobile deployment happens when the IT side understands and caters for the specific needs of the business.

BYOD is no single answer to taking mobile enterprise into the second wave

The discussion on BYOD remains complex. Many participants voiced reservations due to European data protection laws, compliance issues and acceptance of purchasing plans. Interestingly, security issues came second to a more fundamental requirement in the energy sector: safety. Electricians are expected to be on call when power is down, construction workers are on roads, and operations dealing with gas, electricity and water must remain fool proof and protected against unauthorized access to avoid life threatening situations.

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I had the chance once again to do a podcast with Mike Gualtieri as part of his wonderful Forrester TechnoPolitics series, talking about the usability affordances of passwords that make them natural targets for consensual impersonation. As Mike memorably puts it, is this behavior frisky, or risky? Just like in our last podcast together, I found myself confessing deep dark authentication secrets. Take a listen and let me know your thoughts.

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Two days ago I had an interview with the Head of End User and Desktop Services of a global pharmaceutical company. He mentioned that he's working through Windows 8, VDI, BYO and other key initiatives facing IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals.

As a quick thank you, I sent him Dave Johnson's recent report on Windows 8. This report is part of Forrester's Workforce Enable Playbook (click here for a free copy of the exec overview) that Dave along with J. P. Gownder, Michele Pelino, Christian Kane, Chris Voce and Thayer Frechette all contribute to. Here's what he had to say:

Your Windows 8 report is in direct alignment with the position we have taken. Now we have good industry data to support our position with the business as they push for Windows 8. When they challenge why we don't have [an enterprise rollout] 'plan' for Windows 8, this is a report we can utilize to demonstrate we are in line with a lot of companies in this approach.

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Back in October 2011, Microsoft named the initiative to introduce Windows Azure cloud platform into the Chinese market "Moon Cake," which represents harmony and happiness in Chinese culture. On May 23, 2013, Microsoft made the announcement in Shanghai that Windows Azure will be available in Chinese market starting on June 6 -- almost half a year after its agreement with Shanghai government and 21ViaNet to operate Windows Azure together last November. Chinese customers will finally be able to "taste" this foreign moon cake.

I believe that a new chapter of cloud is going to be written by a new ecosystem in China market, and Microsoft will be the leader of this disruption. My reasons:

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China's GDP growth slowed to 7.7% in Q1 2013. While below market expectations, this growth rate still ensures strong continued IT spending, as local organizations seek to meet ongoing demand for products and services. At the same time, we expect Chinese government stimulus packages to drive increased consumer demand, particularly in the retail, supply chain, and banking industries. Chinese organizations wishing to capitalize on these opportunities are currently seeking ways to transform their business and decision-making processes and broaden their product portfolios. This, in turn, has driven increased interest in third-party service providers as organizations seek to augment limited (or, in some cases, nonexistent) internal IT capabilities.

Recently I spoke with IT managers at two local Chinese companies; they shared their recent experience with third-party service providers.

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Shame on you if you share your password. The consequences can ruin your sterling reputation, violate legal terms of service, promote fraud and identity theft, and give ex-lovers weapons of mass digital destruction. We all do it, despite the risks. Share your Netflix password with your BFF so she can watch House Of Cards and season 4 of Arrested Development. Reveal your Amazon password to your teenage son so he can rent college textbooks using your account. The list of examples goes on.

Forrester Principal Analyst Eve Maler returns to TechnoPolitics to enlighten us about what she calls "consensual impersonation". It sounds frisky rather than risky, but it is about the common practice of sharing passwords to get stuff done. Eve's advice to firms is not to clamp down on this practice by forcing customers to change their passwords frequently. Instead, she offers practical advice to firms that give customers the power of consensual impersonation safely. Listen to learn.

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