Archive for the ‘market research’ Category
We’re finally getting some rain in central Texas. We’ll see how long it lasts!
And on the topic of rainmaking, this just in from our friends at Nucleus Research.
Nucleus conducted an analysis of 21 of IBM Smarter Commerce case studies and their ROI, and discovered that for every dollar spent, companies realized an average of U.S. $12.05 in returns.
According to the research, this payback occurred in an average of 9 months (with a high of 23 months, and a low of two).
The cases Nucleus analyzed included U.S. and European companies and government agencies which had deployed IBM Smarter Commerce technologies.
All the case studies were developed independently by Nucleus, following their standard ROI methodology, and IBM was privy to the results only after the research was completed.
In their analysis, Nucleus also observed some summary conclusions, finding that Smarter Commerce projects delivered both top-line and bottom-line benefits, with roughly 60 percent of returns coming from indirect benefits such as productivity, and the rest from direct savings such as reduced operational costs or hires avoided.
Specific key benefits included the following:
- Increased productivity. In many cases companies were able to accomplish more work with fewer staff or avoid additional hires as they grew by automating previously manual processes and increasing employee productivity.
- Reduced costs. Smarter Commerce customers experienced cost reductions in areas such as customer call handling costs, technology costs, and other costs associated with supply chain transactions.
- Improved inventory management. Greater visibility into customer demand and inventory levels enabled Smarter Commerce customers to gain better control over their inventory, reducing inventory carrying costs and increasing inventory turns.
- Improved decision making. Greater agility and rapid insight into data for decision making enabled companies using Smarter Commerce to more quickly make decisions and act on them with confidence.
- Reduced customer churn and increased customer satisfaction. Companies using IBM Business Analytics were able to more rapidly understand customer satisfaction and retain more profitable customers by proactively addressing customers’ propensity to churn. For example, one telecommunications customer was able to reduce customer churn by 8 percent in the first year and 18 percent in the second year by further refining its churn analysis.
Customers Leverage Prepackaged Functionality
Nucleus indicated that the $12.05 average return from Smarter Commerce was at the high end of the range of returns Nucleus had seen from other assessments of deployments such as analytics and CRM, and many IBM Smarter Commerce clients indicated they had achieved high returns by taking advantage of the investments IBM has made in providing integrated solutions, more intuitive user interfaces, and prepackaged industry functionality.
By way of example:
- Integrated solutions and prepackaged industry functionality accelerate time to deployment and time to value while reducing overall project risk.
- Usability improvements drive more rapid adoption and make it easier for companies to drive adoption of technologies such as business analytics to casual and business users beyond the data expert specialists that have historically been the primary users of analytics.
Industry-specific functionality and expertise were particularly important in the success of customers adopting Smarter Commerce technologies in the government sector, such as social services agencies and police departments, where IT often has limited resources.
You can go here to download the full report.
It’s that time of year. Google has released its 2012 Zeitgeist, telling us what’s on the minds of the world’s searchers.
Facebook, not to be out done, has released the Facebook Year In Review, “a look back at the people, moments and things that created the most buzz in 2012 among the billion people around the world on Facebook.”
Now, go and ask folks what they think about Facebook’s everchanging privacy controls, and we’ll see if the Facebook Year In Review gets soon revised.
But I’m actually more interested in a big report from a small, but growing networking software and social business upstart located right here in Austin, Texas.
Spiceworks connects 2.2 million IT professionals with more than 1,300 technology brands, and offers its IT management software through a novel ad-supported model. In turn, it claims to “help businesses to discover, buy and manage $405 billion worth of technology products and services each year.”
Spiceworks just released its semi-annual “State of SMB IT Report,” a collection of statistics, trends and opinions from small and medium business technology professionals from amongst their community.
This December’s study is the seventh edition, and claims to “keep the pulse on the happenings of small and medium business IT professionals and IT departments.”
First, I’m just happy to discover they still have a pulse.
The National Federation of Independent Business’ “Small Business Optimism Index,” which is reported monthly, indicated in its November report one of the steepest declines in its history. In fact, it has reported a lower index value only seven times since it first conducted its monthly surveys in 1986.
The Index dropped a full 5.6 points in November, bottoming out at 87.5 (In 2000, by juxtaposition, it was well above 100), indicating something was rotten in November. The Index’s own Web statement suggested “it is very clear that a stunning number of [small business] owners…expect worse business conditions in six months,” and that nearly half are certain things will be worse next year than they are now, with a head nod to the looming fiscal cliff talks, the promise of higher healthcare costs, and the “endless onslaught of new regulations.”
Chicken Little, the SMB sky is falling!
Clouds, Virtualization, And Tablets Are Driving The SMB IT Spending Bus
But fear not, the SMB adoption of new technology is riding to the small business rescue, or so suggests the Spiceworks SMB IT study.
The headlines? Though IT budgets are on the rise in the SMB, hiring new staff is at a standstill. But for those still standing, in the last six months, SMBs adopted tablets and cloud services in fast-growing numbers.
Here are the four key findings:
- Tablet adoption keeps its momentum and nears smartphone levels. Hardware maintains the lion’s share of IT spend in the SMB.
- Adoption of cloud services spikes; desktop virtualization shows strong potential. (Can you say “Go long on VMWare??”)
- IT budgets reached their highest point in the last three years, while hiring freezes are up.
- BYOD is still a hot topic, though IT pros are split on the issue.
Diving down a bit, on the subject of tablets, 53 percent of SMBs now support tablets on their network, making them almost as popular as smartphones at 59 percent.
Cloud services are now used by 62 percent of SMBs, up from 48 percent in the first half of 2012.
With respect to IT budgets, they’re on the rise, averaging $162K, up from $152K in 1H 2012. But only 26 percent plan on hiring IT staff in the second half.
And on BYOD, whlie 14 percent fully embrace the trend, 32 percent say it works well for some devices, but not for others. Digging deeper, I discovered that smartphones led with 81 percent BYOD support, while tablets only garnered 62 percent.
And somewhat ironically, there’s more support for BYOD in much smaller organizations (defined here as less than 20 employees) than larger ones (50 percent in those above 250 employees).
I would encourage you to go here and register to download the full report, but the top line is this: If you’re an IT vendor looking for budget flush at the end of 2012, desktops, laptops, and servers are certainly low-hanging fruit, with tablets bringing on the most growth.
And on the software front, be on the lookout for disaster recovery and storage solutions (an IT mainstay through downturns), cloud-based solutions, and virtualization software.
Whatever you do make, just make sure you make those new purchases with “Gangnam Style” — and if you have no idea of what I’m referring to, see above with regards to the 2012 Google Zeitgeist!
In advance of IBM’s massive event next week in Las Vegas featuring all things information management, Information On Demand 2012, IBM and the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford today released a study on Big Data.
The headline: Most Big Data initiatives currently being deployed by organizations are aimed at improving the customer experience, yet less than half of the organizations involved in active Big Data initiatives are currently collecting and analyzing external sources of data, like social media.
One reason: Many organizations are struggling to address and manage the uncertainty inherent within certain types of data, such as the weather, the economy, or the sentiment and truthfulness of people expressed on social networks.
Another? Social media and other external data sources are being underutilized due to the skills gap. Having the advanced capabilities required to analyze unstructured data — data that does not fit in traditional databases such as text, sensor data, geospatial data, audio, images and video — as well as streaming data remains a major challenge for most organizations.
The new report, entitled “Analytics: The real-world use of Big Data,” is based on a global survey of 1,144 business and IT professionals from 95 countries and 26 industries. The report provides a global snapshot of how organizations today view Big Data, how they are building essential capabilities to tackle Big Data and to what extent they are currently engaged in using Big Data to benefit their business.
Only 25 percent of the survey respondents say they have the required capabilities to analyze highly unstructured data — a major inhibitor to getting the most value from Big Data.
The increasing business opportunities and benefits of Big Data are clear. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of the survey respondents report that using information, including Big Data, and analytics is creating a competitive advantage for their organizations. This is a 70 percent increase from the 37 percent who cited a competitive advantage in a 2010 IBM study.
Big Data Drivers and Adoption
In addition to customer-centric outcomes, which half (49 percent) of the respondents identified as a top priority, early applications of Big Data are addressing other functional objectives.
Nearly one-fifth (18 percent) cited optimizing operations as a primary objective. Other Big Data applications are focused on risk and financial management (15 percent), enabling new business models (14 percent) and employee collaboration (4 percent).
Three-quarters (76 percent) of the respondents are currently engaged in Big Data development efforts, but the report confirms that the majority (47 percent) are still in the early planning stages.
However, 28 percent are developing pilot projects or have already implemented two or more Big Data solutions at scale. Nearly one quarter (24 percent) of the respondents have not initiated Big Data activities, and are still studying how Big Data will benefit their organizations.
Sources of Big Data
More than half of the survey respondents reported internal data as the primary source of Big Data within their organizations. This suggests that companies are taking a pragmatic approach to Big Data, and also that there is tremendous untapped value still locked away in these internal systems.
Internal data is the most mature, well-understood data available to organizations. The data has been collected, integrated, structured and standardized through years of enterprise resource planning, master data management, business intelligence and other related work.
By applying analytics, internal data extracted from customer transactions, interactions, events and emails can provide valuable insights.
Big Data Capabilities
Today, the majority of organizations engaged in Big Data activities start with analyzing structured data using core analytics capabilities, such as query and reporting (91 percent) and data mining (77 percent).
Two-thirds (67 percent) report using predictive modeling skills.
But Big Data also requires the capability to analyze semi-structured and unstructured data, including a variety of data types that may be entirely new for many organizations.
In more than half of the active Big Data efforts, respondents reported using advanced capabilities designed to analyze text in its natural state, such as the transcripts of call center conversations.
These analytics include the ability to interpret and understand the nuances of language, such as sentiment, slang and intentions. Such data can help companies, like a bank or telco provider, understand the current mood of a customer and gain valuable insights that can be immediately used to drive customer management strategies.
Update: Also check out the new IBM Big Data Hub, a compendium of videos, blog posts, podcasts, white papers, and other useful assets centering on this big topic!
As IBM’s general manager for its Security Systems Division will tell you, we’re entering into a perfect IT security storm.
These days, hackers are more sophisticated, your data is increasingly accessed anytime and anywhere and often resides in the cloud.
Fewer access points are corporately-controlled, and there is a growing digital data explosion while the compliance demands on staff and systems escalate.
These trends mean corporate IT security can no longer be an afterthought where a secure perimeter is good enough. Instead, security intelligence preventing, detecting and addressing system breaches anywhere must start in the boardroom and become part of your organization’s IT fabric. It is now imperative to be woven into your everyday business operations.
Brendan Hannigan brings more than 25 years of industry experience to his role as general manager of the new IBM Security Systems Division.
Previously, he was the president and chief executive officer of Q1 Labs, the acquisition of which catalyzed the creation of the Security Systems Division.
This new division brings together many capabilities across IBM to respond to the market need for sophisticated, comprehensive and integrated approaches to enterprise security.
Prior to Q1 Labs, Brendan was vice president of marketing and technology at Sockeye Networks; director of network research at Forrester Research; and served in a variety of senior-level product development roles at Digital Equipment Corporation, Wellfleet Communications, and Motorola.
We discussed a number of security-related topics during our Q&A at IBM InterConnect, including browser exploits, the need for increased security intelligence, and IBM’s bi-annual X-Force Trends and Risk Report, which I’ve covered extensively in this blog.
You can see our interview here.