Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘market research

Just How Big IS Big Data?

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So just how big IS big data?

This is your opportunity to find out, and, to contribute.

IBM’s Institute for Business Value is conducting a study on big data, and we’d like to hear from you.

The idea behind the study is simple: To develop a fact-based analysis of big data activities in the global marketplace.

Through this research, IBM hopes to help the marketplace better understand some key tenets behind the big data movement: To gain an organizational view of big data and organizations’ primary objectives for investments in this burgeoning area.  To understand better the drivers and leaders of big data activities. To understand the current and planned state of big data activities, and patterns that suggest best practices of big data implementations.

The survey is slated to run through June 29, 2012, and takes approximately 10-15 minutes per respondent.

All responses will be viewed in the aggregate, and individual responses will not be disclosed beyond the survey analysis team without expression permission of the respondent.

The audience for the survey: Global business executives, management and analysts, as well as IT professionals, across all levels of the organizational hierarchy (from C-suite to data analysts).

Once the fielding is completed, the survey results will be analyzed by a wide team of subject matter experts from within IBM, along with a team of faculty from a globally recognized university.

This data will be combined with interviews and case studies to develop a final reporting of findings and big data benchmarks to be published in October of this year.

So, in short, this is your opportunity to be part of the benchmarks that will define the big data era, one that you can use to compare with your own organization.

All participants will receive a copy of the final study, and will also be eligible to download the IBM e-book entitled “Understanding Big Data.”

Here’s the link if you’d like to be part of this exciting big data discovery!

IBM Midmarket CEO Study: Collaboration and Transparency Key to Providing An Edge

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IBM continued its rolling tide of market insights with the announcement this morning of its global study of midmarket CEOs.

The headline: Nearly twice as many smaller- and medium-sized business CEOs see creating a more collaborative work environment with a higher level of openness and transparency as a top priority compared to the findings from the IBM CEO study conducted in 2010.

A total of 45 percent of midmarket CEOs see the need to create a more open business environment, a close to 50 percent jump from two years ago.

The study also unearthed the following:

  • Nearly 70 percent of midmarket CEOs aim to partner extensively with other companies as external relationships will play a more critical role to CEOs’ overall business strategies
  • 64 percent of midmarket CEOs are focused on creating a more collaborative environment to engage employees with a new way of making faster and better decisions in an increasingly changing business environment
  • 71 percent are focused on improving their understanding of individual customer needs.

Impact of Social: Changing The Way Products And Services Are Marketed

CEOs also discussed the whirlwind of “social”change they’re witnessing. Facebook, Renren, Twitter, Weibo, Foursquare and other social media upstarts have changed the way products and services are marketed to consumers.

Despite the surge in social media adoption around the world, only 15 percent of midmarket CEOs are using social media platforms to connect with the individual consumer today. Three to five years from now, that number is poised to spike to 50 percent.

Market dynamics and technological advances continue to force more organizational change, significantly impacting how midmarket businesses engage with customers and employees and drive innovation.  Midmarket CEOs are now looking to technology not only to make them more efficient but also to enable increased collaboration and create relationships — essential connections to fuel creativity.

Rising Complexity, Escalating Competition Drive Partnering

Rising complexity and escalating competition have also made partnering a core innovation strategy for many organizations.  As midmarket businesses become more geographically diverse and interact with other organizations, the importance of sustaining a collaborative business culture will only continue to grow.

Those that are perceived to be collaborative often find it easier to partner with other successful companies.  In fact, about 50 percent of midmarket CEOs see partnering or collaborating as a way to stay on the path of innovation.

Greater Openness, Transparency, And Focus On Talent

In addition, given the market pressures to operate with greater openness and transparency, CEOs are looking for employees who will thrive in this kind of atmosphere. CEOs are increasingly focused on finding top talent with the ability to constantly reinvent themselves. These employees are comfortable with change; they learn as they go, often from others’ experiences.

CEOs regard interpersonal skills of collaboration (72 percent), communication (68 percent), creativity (58 percent) and flexibility (66 percent) as key drivers of employee success to operate in a more complex, interconnected environment.

Organizations are under intense pressure to respond to not only how customers want products and services delivered, but also when and where. Businesses can profit from unique insights they discover about customers. In fact, 65 percent of midmarket CEOs identify customer insights as the most critical investment area.

To effectively engage individual consumers and clients, organizations must weave together insights about the whole person from a variety of sources. They will need stronger analytics capabilities to uncover patterns and to act on insights. Two such examples are as follows:

Mobility: A Change Agent

Finally, mobility is elevating customer expectations and creating new challenges for CEOs.   Midmarket clients have a tremendous opportunity to create value out of immediacy to be ready with relevant services and information in the context of the moment.

As mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016, companies will need to take advantage of location based services and new forms of commerce in which mobile is integrated into a consumer’s multichannel experiences, tailored to the individual, to stay competitive.

“Midmarket CEOs are establishing more open and collaborative cultures —in which employees not only connect more with each other and the outside world to innovate, but to reinvent themselves. Learning from each other, they stay ahead of the skills curve and open to change,”   said Andy Monshaw, General Manager of IBM Midmarket Business.

“Business leaders are embracing technology in completely new ways to spot oncoming threats, capture an immediate, unexpected business opportunity, address business challenges with a clear focus on partnering with other organizations to seize these opportunities to drive growth and innovate.”

You can learn more about the IBM Midmarket 2012 CEO Study here.

New IBM Security Study: Finding A Strategic Voice In The C-Suite

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I’m back from IBM Impact 2012…but my brain is still processing all the information I took in through all the interviews Scott and I conducted for ImpactTV and for all the sessions I attended…and I won’t mention all the cocktails in the evenings where I learned SO much from my industry peers.

The first ever IBM security officers study reveals a clear evolution in information security organizations and their leaders with 25 percent of security chiefs surveyed shifting from a technology focus to strategic business leadership role.

I’ll be putting together a recap post of some of the major announcements, and I’ve still yet to transcribe my interview with Walter Isaacson, but first, I wanted to highlight an important new study from IBM on the security front.

For those of you who follow the Turbo blog, you know the issue of security (particularly cybersecurity) is one I take very seriously and that I follow closely, partially because of my longstanding interest in the topic, and partially because I recognize we live in an imperfect world using imperfect technology, created and used by imperfect humans.

But the promise and hope for security, fallible though it may sometimes be, is a worthy aspiration.  There are ideas, assets, and often even lives at risk, and the more we move up the stack into an intellectual capital driven global economy, the more there is at stake and the more that will be needed to protect.

So, that’s a long way of saying expect to be hearing even more from me on this important topic.

Chief Security Officers: “We’ve Got Our CEO’s Attention”

To that end, now for the new information security study results. The new IBM study reveals a clear evolution in information security organizations and their leaders, with 25 percent of security chiefs surveyed shifting from a tech focus to one of a more strategic business leadership role.

In this first study of senior security executives, the IBM Center For Applied Insights interviewed more than 130 security leaders globally and discovered three types of leaders based on breach preparedness and overall security maturity.

Representing about a quarter of those interviewed, the “Influencer” senior security executives typically influenced business strategies of their firms and were more confident and prepared than their peers—the “Protectors” and “Responders.”

Overall, all security leaders today are under intense pressure, charged with protecting some of their firm’s most valuable assets – money, customer data, intellectual property and brand.

Nearly two-thirds of Chief Information Security Executives (CISOs) surveyed say their senior executives are paying more attention to security today than they were two years ago, with a series of high-profile hacking and data breaches convincing them of the key role that security has to play in the modern enterprise.

Emerging Security Issues: Mobile And A More Holistic Approach

More than half of respondents cited mobile security as a primary technology concern over the next two years.  Nearly two-thirds of respondents expect information security spend to increase over the next two years and of those, 87 percent expect double-digit increases.

Rather than just reactively responding to security incidents, the CISO’s role is shifting more towards intelligent and holistic risk management– from fire-fighting to anticipating and mitigating fires before they start.  Several characteristics emerged as notable features among the mature security practices of “Influencers” in a variety of organizations:

  • Security seen as a business (versus technology) imperative: One of the chief attributes of a leading organization is having the attention of business leaders and their boards. Security is not an ad hoc topic, but rather a regular part of business discussions and, increasingly, the culture. In fact, 60 percent of the advanced organizations named security as a regular boardroom topic, compared to only 22 percent of the least advanced organizations.  These leaders understand the need for more pervasive risk awareness – and are far more focused on enterprise-wide education, collaboration and communications.  Forward-thinking security organizations are more likely to establish a security steering committee to encourage systemic approaches to security issues that span legal, business operations, finance, and human resources. Sixty-eight percent of advanced organizations had a risk committee, versus only 26percent in the least advanced group.
  • Use of data-driven decision making and measurement: Leading organizations are twice as likely to use metrics to monitor progress, the assessment showed (59 percent v. 26 percent). Tracking user awareness, employee education, the ability to deal with future threats, and the integration of new technologies can help create a risk-aware culture. And automated monitoring of standardized metrics allows CISOs to dedicate more time to focusing on broader, more systemic risks.
  • Shared budgetary responsibility with the C-suite: The assessment showed that within most organizations, CIOs typically have control over the information security budget. However, among highly ranked organizations, investment authority lies with business leaders more often. In the most advanced organizations, CEOs were just as likely as CIOs to be steering information security budgets. Lower ranking organizations often lacked a dedicated budget line item altogether, indicating a more tactical, fragmented approach to security.  Seventy-one percent of advanced organizations had a dedicated security budget line item compared to 27 percent of the least mature group.

Recommendations to Evolve the Security Role in an Enterprise

To create a more confident and capable security organization, IBM recognizes that security leaders must construct an action plan based on their current capabilities and most pressing needs. The report offers prescriptive advice from its findings on how organizations can move forward based on their current maturity level.

For example, those “Responders” in the earliest stage of security maturity can move beyond their tactical focus by establishing a dedicated security leadership role (like a CISO); assembling a security and risk committee measuring progress; and automating routine security processes to devote more time and resources to security innovation.

About the Assessment

The IBM Center for Applied Insights study, “Finding a strategic voice: Insights from the 2012 IBM Chief Information Security Officer Assessment,” included organizations spanning a broad range of industries and seven countries.

During the first quarter of 2012, the Center conducted double-blind interviews with 138 senior business and IT executives responsible for information security in their enterprises. Nearly 20 percent of the respondents lead information security in enterprises with more than 10,000 employees; 55 percent are in enterprises with 1,000 to 9,999 employees.

Click here to access the full study.

AIMing For An Immense Market Opportunity

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I made it to my first session at IBM Impact 2012 earlier this afternoon here at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Viva Las Vegas.

The session was a stage setter for the rest of the event, and I just HAD to share what I learned with the rest of the world.

At IBM Impact 2012 today, IBM market advisor Rahul Sahni provided a comprehensive overview of the application and middleware (AIM) market. Here, Sahni highlighted a few key macro-economic factors that are affecting the IT market.

Rahul Sahni, a market development advisor with IBM’s AIM and ICS organizations, shared a market view for the Application and Middleware Infrastructure market, which we know is changing underneath our feet.

Rahul’s presentation was excellent, hitting the highlights of both what is shaping the market, and what’s driving some substantial changes in it.

The Economic Shakeout

He set up his presentation with some macroeconomic data: Japan still coming out of recession, Europe still a wildcard with obvious volatility in the south, the US/Canada holding steady in the 3-4% GDP growth range, and the BRIC’s coming in for a gentle landing, some more softly than others.

There are some potential threats to business growth: In the developing markets, the currency devaluations.  In the mature markets, the sovereign debt crises.  And yet despite all this volatility, the storage and software infrastructure markets remain strong.

Mr. or Mrs. CIO, Can You Spare A Project?

Why?  CIO plans require strong IT infrastructures. If you look at where IT execs are spending, the sweet spots include AIM middleware, where often one or several IT projects will include parts of the AIM middleware portfolio.

Becoming Agile For The Upturn

Of those, projects required Agile/OOD systems, process simplification, industry and/or government compliance, cost reduction mandates, the amount and availability of data, and finally, workforce mobility and productivity are the top six drivers. Ergo, the AIM market is expected to grow some 6% in 2012, and will grow to an estimated $1 billion opportunity in 2013.

Economic conditions are such that key projects have resulted in more demand for small IT initiatives with short term ROI and a need for greater productivity and efficiencies.  Pie-in-the-sky projects with long-term prospects for growth have been mostly sidelined.  Show me the money, and show it to me soon (meaning, the value that will be returned against the project).

The AIM Market Is Growing…and Changing

Of the three AIM market segments, there’s Application Infrastructure (growing at 8%), Business Process Managment (11%), and Connectivity and Integration (2%).  In the first, key growth drivers are the enterprise need to provide transparency, reduce costs, and stay competitive.

For BPM, cloud adoption is now a key driver in BPM as smaller and medium-sized businesses’ processes become more complex and as BPM cloud solutions become more price-aggressive.

For Connectivity and Integration, on-premise integration can now be matched by cloud services in functionality and also aggressive pricing.

So, writ large, the AIM market is growing today because its products can help simplify IT complexity, and help organizations better understand, improve, and make more transparent their business processes.

Organizations also need to make the best use of what they already have in the way of IT investments, and AIM products provide the ability to integrate existing applications, infrastructure, and processes with new development initiatives.  This becomes especially critical as we see continued activity in mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures.  All to applications, infrastructures and processes have to be integrated somehow.

This Is Not Your Father’s Application And Integration Market

So what about some of these new arenas?  Mobile platforms will most definitely continue to grow and evolve, with market data suggesting that enterprise investment in mobile application development will increase at the rate of 20-30 percent per annum in order to meet the rising demand for customer applications.

Customer facing industries rank highest with need to develop mobile enterprises, with virtual guns being held to their heads as they compete for customer-centricity in a growing but younger customer base.

Application Convergence Will Rule The IT World

Also noteworthy, over the next few years, the lines between the Web, hybrid and native apps will blur and mobile enterprise application platforms (MEAPs), portals, other web development approaches will converge into a new generation multichannel application development tool. Those organizations unprepared for this transition may soon find themselves on Application Island with no place to row back to.

Become Your Cloud: The Great Mobile Gold Landrush of 2012

It goes without saying that the cloud is inherently critical to this new environment.  Cloud based development is lowering the cost of adoption and increasing the speed with which companies can roll out mobile solutions, and a significant portion of the IT opportunity associated with mobile enterprise initiatives will come not from the purchase of devices and network services — the bright and shiny objects that all your friends and family get so googly-eyed about — but from the associated software, consulting, system integration and security services.

The Future’s So Bright…

I’ll call it “the Great Mobile Gold Rush of 2012” — remember, we’re laying the tracks for a new foundation of computing. The excitement may be in the devices, but a little sleight of hand reveals the ridiculously gargantuan opportunity in the virtual picks and shovels required to make it all work.

To which point Rahul began to close his session, reassuring the business partners in attendance and beyond that this is a market IBM is committed to.  WebSphere still makes up a substantial share of IBM Software revenues, and IBM’s 2015 roadmap reveals that 50% of segment profit is expected to come from IBM Software. (And no, we’re not feeling any pressure over here or anything!)

IBM’s four key growth initiatives against that 2015 roadmap reveal two obvious intersects with the AIM market, our growth markets, where much of the middleware layer is being laid for those future railroad tracks, and cloud computing, to which IBM has made massive investments in growth, organic and acquisition, over the past several years.

Throw in a little business analytics technology to help you understand your AIM infrastructure performance, and there’s plenty of upside in the AIM.

My takeaway: The AIM future’s so bright you gotta wear some of those Google augmented reality glasses, but if you can’t see your way through evolving with the convergence of the mobile enterprise and the cloud you’ll have few business processes left to worry about managing!

Warning Against Your Insecurities: The 2011 IBM X-Force Trend And Risk “Poltergeist”

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WARNING: This is an exceptionally long post intended for security and privacy geeks everywhere, including sys admins, Internet security hawks, CIOs, and innocent but interested bystanders everywhere.  No web servers were hacked in the preparation of this report: at least, none by me!

Okay, troopers, it’s that time of year again.  You know, the time when IBM releases its report card for security incidents, the X-Force Trend and Risk Report.

Google has the search “Zeitgeist” every year, we have the security “poltergeist!”

This time around, we’re looking back at the wild and wacky 2011, a year which showed surprising improvements in several areas of Internet security. Improvements, you ask?  Surely you jest, Turbo.

This figure from the 2011 IBM X-Force Trend And Risk Report shows a steady decline in the instances of input control related vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection since X-Force began recording these statistics in 2007. In 2011, the statistics suggest that the likelihood of encountering XSS in a given test continues to decrease but shows signs of leveling out at approximately a 40 percent chance of occurring. Injection vulnerabilities and specifically SQL injection appears to have leveled out at around a 20 percent chance of occurring in a given test.

No, no, there IS some good news.  Like a reduction in application security vulnerabilities, exploit code and spam.

But, good news leads to less good news on this front, as many of you who follow security well know, because the bad guys are being forced to rethink their tactics by targeting more niche IT loopholes and emerging technologies such as social networks and mobile devices.

The Top Line: Less Spam, More Adaptation

To get specific, the X-Force 2011 Trend and Risk Report demonstrated a 50 percent decline in spam email compared to 2010.

2011’s poltergeist saw a diligent patching of security vulnerabilities by software vendors, with only 36 percent of those vulnerabilities remaining unpatched in 2011 (compared to 43 percent in 2010).  The year also saw a higher quality of software application code, as seen in web-app vulnerabilities called “cross-site scripting” that were half as likely to exist in clients’ software as they were four years ago.

So, the net is, the bad guys are adapting their techniques to the changing tech environment. The report uncovered a rise in emerging attack trends including mobile exploits, automated password guessing, and a surge in phishing attacks.

It also witnessed an increase in automated shell command injection attacks against web servers, which may well be a response to successful efforts to close off other kinds of Web app vulnerabilities.

The Security Landscape Glass Half Full: Decrease In Unpatched Vulnerabilities, Exploit Code, And Spam

Getting even more specific, according to the report, there are several positive trends as companies adjusted their security policies in 2011:

  • Thirty percent decline in the availability of exploit code. When security vulnerabilities are disclosed, exploit code is sometimes released that attackers can download and use to break into computers. Approximately 30 percent fewer exploits were released in 2011 than were seen on average over the past four years. This improvement can be attributed to architectural and procedural changes made by software developers that help make it more difficult for attackers to successfully exploit vulnerabilities.
  • Decrease in unpatched security vulnerabilities. When security vulnerabilities are publicly disclosed, it is important that the responsible software vendor provide a patch or fix in a timely fashion. Some security vulnerabilities are never patched, but the percentage of unpatched vulnerabilities has been decreasing steadily over the past few years. In 2011 this number was down to 36 percent from 43 percent in 2010.
  • Fifty percent reduction in cross site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities due to improvements in software quality. The IBM X-Force team is seeing significant improvement in the quality of software produced by organizations that use tools like IBM AppScan OnDemand service to analyze, find, and fix vulnerabilities in their code.  IBM found XSS vulnerabilities are half as likely to exist in customers’ software as they were four years ago. However, XSS vulnerabilities still appear in about 40 percent of the applications IBM scans. This is still high for something well understood and able to be addressed.
  • Decline in spam. IBM’s global spam email monitoring network has seen about half the volume of spam email in 2011 that was seen in 2010. Some of this decline can be attributed to the take-down of several large spam botnets, which likely hindered spammers’ ability to send emails. The IBM X-Force team witnessed spam evolve through several generations over the past seven years as spam filtering technology has improved and spammers have adapted their techniques in order to successfully reach readers.

The Security Landscape Glass Half Empty: Attackers Adapt Their Techniques in 2011

Even with these improvements, there has been a rise in new attack trends and an array of significant, widely reported external network and security breaches.

This figure from the 2011 IBM X-Force Trend And Risk Report shows an increase in mobile operating system exploits in 2011 due to an uptick in malicious activity targeting mobile devices. Because of the two-tiered relationship between phone end users, telecommunications companies, and mobile operating system vendors, disclosed mobile vulnerabilities can remain unpatched on phones for an extended period of time, providing a large window of opportunity to attackers.

As malicious attackers become increasingly savvy, the IBM X-Force documented increases in three key areas of attack activity:

  • Attacks targeting shell command injection vulnerabilities more than double. For years, SQL injection attacks against web applications have been a popular vector for attackers of all types. SQL injection vulnerabilities allow an attacker to manipulate the database behind a website. As progress has been made to close those vulnerabilities – the number of SQL injection vulnerabilities in publicly maintained web applications dropped by 46 percent in 2011– some attackers have now started to target shell command injection vulnerabilities instead. These vulnerabilities allow the attacker to execute commands directly on a web server. Shell command injection attacks rose by two to three times over the course of 2011. Web application developers should pay close attention to this increasingly popular attack vector.
  • Spike in automated password guessing – Poor passwords and password policies have played a role in a number of high-profile breaches during 2011. There is also a lot of automated attack activity on the Internet in which attacks scan the net for systems with weak login passwords. IBM observed a large spike in this sort of password guessing activity directed at secure shell servers (SSH) in the later half of 2011.
  • Increase in phishing attacks that impersonate social networking sites and mail parcel services – The volume of email attributed to phishing was relatively small over the course of 2010 and the first half of 2011, but phishing came back with a vengeance in the second half, reaching volumes that haven’t been seen since 2008. Many of these emails impersonate popular social networking sites and mail parcel services, and entice victims to click on links to web pages that may try to infect their PCs with malware. Some of this activity can also be attributed to advertising click fraud, where spammers use misleading emails to drive traffic to retail websites.

Emerging Technologies Create New Avenues for Attacks

New technologies such as mobile and cloud computing continue to create challenges for enterprise security.

  • Publicly released mobile exploits rise 19 percent in 2011. This year’s IBM X-Force report focused on a number of emerging trends and best practices to manage the growing trend of “Bring your Own Device,” or BYOD, in the enterprise. IBM X-Force reported a 19 percent increase over the prior year in the number of exploits publicly released that can be used to target mobile devices. There are many mobile devices in consumers’ hands that have unpatched vulnerabilities to publicly released exploits, creating an opportunity for attackers. IT managers should be prepared to address this growing risk.
  • Attacks increasingly relate to social media – With the widespread adoption of social media platforms and social technologies, this area has become a target of attacker activity. IBM X-Force observed a surge in phishing emails impersonating social media sites. More sophisticated attackers have also taken notice. The amount of information people are offering in social networks about their personal and professional lives has begun to play a role in pre-attack intelligence gathering for the infiltration of public and private sector computing networks.
  • Cloud computing presents new challenges – Cloud computing is moving rapidly from emerging to mainstream technology, and rapid growth is anticipated through the end of 2013. In 2011, there were many high profile cloud breaches affecting well-known organizations and large populations of their customers. IT security staff should carefully consider which workloads are sent to third-party cloud providers and what should be kept in-house due to the sensitivity of data. Cloud security requires foresight on the part of the customer as well as flexibility and skills on the part of the cloud provider. The IBM X-Force report notes that the most effective means for managing security in the cloud may be through Service Level Agreements (SLAs) because of the limited impact that an organization can realistically exercise over the cloud computing service. Therefore, careful consideration should be given to ownership, access management, governance and termination when crafting SLAs. The IBM X-Force report encourages cloud customers to take a lifecycle view of the cloud deployment and fully consider the impact to their overall information security posture.

The IBM X-Force 2011 Trend and Risk Report is based on intelligence gathered by one of the industry’s leading security research teams through its research of public vulnerability disclosures findings from more than 4,000 clients, and the monitoring and analysis of an average of 13 billion events daily in 2011.

“In 2011, we’ve seen surprisingly good progress in the fight against attacks through the IT industry’s efforts to improve the quality of software,” said Tom Cross, manager of Threat Intelligence and Strategy for IBM X-Force. “In response, attackers continue to evolve their techniques to find new avenues into an organization. As long as attackers profit from cyber crime, organizations should remain diligent in prioritizing and addressing their vulnerabilities.”

You can learn more about IBM Security Solutions here.

Live From Pulse 2012: IBM Study — Cloud Computing to Rewrite Corporate Business Models

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The number of enterprises turning to cloud computing to revamp outdated business models will more than double in the next three years, as business leaders move to capitalize on the rapid availability of data and the growing popularity of social media, according to a new study released today by IBM.

Organizations clearly intend for cloud to improve their business capabilities, in addition to enhancing internal efficiencies.

Businesses that embrace the transformative power of cloud will have a significant advantage in the race to introduce new products and services and capture new markets.

To better understand the shift in how organizations use cloud today and how they plan to employ it in the future IBM, in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit, surveyed more than 500 business and technology executives worldwide. The findings were compiled in a new study, titled “The Power of Cloud: Driving business model innovation.”

“Companies are starting to understand — cloud isn’t just about gaining efficiencies and cost savings; it’s about driving the kind of fundamental innovation that provides lasting marketplace advantage,” said Saul Berman, IBM global strategy consulting leader and co-author of the study.

Changing Motivations for Cloud Adoption

According to the study, as they strive to better meet customers’ needs and drive future growth, business leaders will increasingly tap cloud to develop new business models that can exploit the capabilities resulting from these digital trends.

While 16 percent of the executives surveyed indicate they are already using cloud capabilities for sweeping innovation, such as entering new lines of business or reshaping an existing industry, by 2015 35 percent intend to use it to transform their business models. 

While a little more than half of the respondents indicated “improving organizational efficiency” as a top business challenge today, only 31 percent anticipate it will be a top challenge in three years. Instead the study indicates that their focus is shifting to growth and competitive initiatives in the future. The objectives cited by survey respondents for adopting cloud are in line with these business goals, indicating that business needs will soon rival IT motivations for cloud adoption:

  • 62  percent of survey respondents said increased collaboration with external partners is a key objective for adopting cloud;
  • 57  percent cited competitive cost advantages through vertical integration as a major motivation and;
  • 56 percent pointed to opening new delivery channels and markets as an important objective.

Examples cited in the report showcasing how cloud is being tapped to drive new revenue streams and enhance business models include an online marketplace for handmade goods that has taken advantage of cloud’s cost flexibility to gain access to more powerful analytics online.

The company is able to cost-effectively analyze data from the approximately one billion monthly views of its Web site and use the information to create product recommendations, providing it with access to tools and computing power that might typically only be affordable for larger retailers.

The study also cites an online health information network that enables the exchange of health information and transactions among healthcare providers, employers, payers, practitioners, third-party administrators and patients in India.

By connecting more than 1,100 hospitals and 10,000 doctors, cloud computing’s capabilities are facilitating better collaboration and information sharing — helping the network to pursue a more collaborative business model and deliver improved care at a low cost.

Masking Complexity, Enabling Consumer Needs

The study’s authors point to cloud’s capabilities to mask complexity and enable user-defined experiences, as well as its overall scalability and cost flexibility as key reasons companies are planning to move it into front office operations in the near future.

“Cloud has the power to open doors to more efficient, responsive and innovative ways of doing business, and we believe the companies that will come out on top will be the ones that find ways to leverage it as a key point of differentiation in driving business value,” Berman said. “Whether they choose to tap cloud to optimize, innovate or even disrupt their business models, they need to start working on it now.”
 
Visit here to download and learn more about the study.

Live @ Lotusphere 2012: Lotus Market Researchers On The Social Business Market Opportunity

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Whew.  Well, I seem to have scooted out of Orlando JUST in time.  As my JetBlue flight was careening down the runway prepared to take off for Austin, I was able to see the massive Boeing 747 that is Air Force One parked just across the tarmac.  Apparently, President Obama was in town to talk tourism at the Magic Kingdom.

But I didn’t leave before I had the opportunity to interview key IBM Collaboration Solutions market researcher, Carol Galvin, and senior consulting strategist, Catherine Lord, on the business opportunity and market landscape around social business.

If you’re trying to get a better understanding of “where’s the beef” around the social business opportunity, this is a great place to start. Let me just share one whopper of a sound byte that should capture your attention: The social business market opportunity is expected to reach $99 billion by 2015!

A special thanks to Scott Laningham, my remote videocaster-in-chief, who stopped working on his skateboarding bulldog videos long enough to help produce this video via Skype from Dolphin Studio 8004 (better known as my hotel room).

New TurboTech Episode: Scott and Todd on IBMers Tweeting About Stuff IBMers Say…& The IBM 2011 Tech Trends Survey

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So Scott Laningham and I haven’t seen one another lately, seeing as we saw so much of one another at Information on Demand 2011 in Vegas that, well, we probably just got plain sick of one another. Actually, that’s not true, but it makes for good drama as you try to figure out just why we hadn’t done a TurboTech episode lately.

There really was no good reason, except that we’ve just both been so busy with our “day” jobs that we hadn’t gotten in touch.  Well, that all changed yesterday, when one of our colleagues started a trending theme on Twitter called “StuffIBMerssay” that probably witnessed a $200 million productivity hit to the IBM company as hundreds of we IBMers, former and otherwise, stopped what we were doing and stared in fascination as the hilarious Tweets about being an IBMer scrolled by. I’m guilty as well, having provided several contributions.

Just use the hashtag #stuffibmerssay and I’m sure some doozies are still rolling by.

We also just haven’t had much to say, Scott and I, but with the recent launch of the 2011 IBM Tech Trends report, that all changed.  So, click on the play button below, and you, too, can lose 15 minutes of your day.

But you also might just learn something….that’s doubtful, of course, but there’s always the possibility.

IBM’s 2011 Midmarket CMO Study: Sustaining Brand Loyalty With Today’s Social Consumer

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IBM is on a roll recently with its market research, and this go ‘round centers on the concerns of chief marketing officers (CMOs) in the midmarket (small-to-medium sized businesses).

CMOs from midsize firms are striking a better balance today between investing in solutions that drive efficiency and those that improve decision making, foster collaboration, and enhance customer relationships.

First, the headline: Building and sustaining brand loyalty is the top concern for midmarket CMOs, yet 72 percent of them are not sure how to effectively build this loyalty.

Additionally, 70 percent of these CMOs are concerned about data explosion, as they are tasked with making sense of highly complex information generated constantly from a variety of sources such as consumer blogs, Tweets, mobile texts, and videos.

Calgon, take me away!

The report also suggests that today’s CMOs need to be better prepared with an empowered consumer that is impacting brands instantly on Twitter, Facebook, and other social channels (Look no further than this week’s challenge that Bank of America faced when its Google+ channel was “brandjacked”!)

Sixty-one percent of midmarket are struggling with how to transform this shift into a business opportunity. Many CMOs are focused on understanding the markets versus understanding the individual consumer in order to shape marketing strategies.

Only 40 percent of midmarket CMOs are taking the time to understand and evaluate the impact of consumer generated reviews, blogs and third party rankings of their brands!

What’s the Problem?

The proliferation of social media and mobile devices is creating a new breed of consumer that is digitally savvy and is able to quickly compare and evaluate which products and services they want to buy.

Mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016, yet 62 percent of midmarket CMOs are not prepared to capture the business opportunity mobile commerce presents. This increase in the mobile shopping trend further increases marketing challenges, complicates data collection and analysis, and threatens both customer service and customer retention.

Like their peers in larger organizations, midmarket CMOs are also being held more financially accountable to their organizations to produce business outcomes at a faster pace.

The study also revealed that while midmarket CMOs believe ROI on marketing dollars spent will be the most important measuring stick for determining success of their business by 2015, the survey noted 72 percent of CMOs are unprepared for the plummeting level of brand loyalty.

Aside from current economic conditions, there’s an even bigger factor impacting brand loyalty.

Innovations in technology and the spread of social networking have provided buyers with new tools for discovering, comparing, evaluating, choosing and experiencing brands.

With the growth of social networks and a need for transparency, trust and personal exchanges between the consumer and the marketplace are now forming the cornerstone of small and midsize marketing efforts.

Everyday consumers are creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data with 90 percent of the world’s data created in the last two years alone. Savvy marketers are gaining insight from social media and incorporating it into their strategies.

The key is predicting what consumers will want and then adapting marketing strategies to give them the right product when, where, and at what price they want it.

Today, retailers are embracing technologies such as analytics to make sense of massive amounts of data consumers are generating every single second to effectively target the individual consumer and enhance the shopping experience.

IBM Case Study: Lee Jeans Teams Works to Understand the Individual Consumer

Lee Jeans, one of the most recognizable apparel brands in the world faced the challenge of capturing and analyzing the huge volume of information being generated by a variety of sources before any merchandising decisions could be made on its website, Lee.com.

By adopting analytics technology, Lee employees now have the capability to quickly make informed decisions that will improve the consumer’s shopping experience.

Now, all the information that merchandisers need such as how well items sell, what is currently in stock and what consumers are saying through social media channels is organized into simple visuals that are shown over product thumbnail images on the Lee website.

With this visual layout that mirrors Lee.com, the merchandisers can easily move products around based on popularity and availability.

Merchandisers are able to see which products are being viewed most often and most importantly, which ones are being purchased most often. This ultimately allows the Lee team to display the site in a way that provides the best shopping experience for consumers.

Lee is now also able to obtain all product view data, online sales, abandonment rates and conversion rates to give Lee merchandisers a quick snapshot of product performance.  Lee is also capturing consumer sentiment data generated from social media channels such as Facebook and brand rating website Bazaarvoice.

Facebook ‘Likes’and Bazaarvoice ratings are also included in the tool at the product level and these insights are used to help with marketing and merchandising decisions.  Using social media and analytics Lee can now make faster and more informed merchandising decisions targeted at its customers with a simple click of the mouse

Go here for more information on the IBM Mid-Market CMO Study.

You can also register for the IBM Smarter Commerce webcast on Nov. 17 at 10am ET to learn more.

Managing & Mitigating Risk: The 2011 IBM Global Business Risk & Resilience Survey

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Once again, IBM has published a global business risk and resilience study, this year in partnership with Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of IBM.

The study was conducted in June of this year, and included responses from 391 senior executives…Thirty-five percent of the respondents were C-level executives…About 39% were from North America,38% from Western Europe, 20% from Asia Pacific, and 3% from Eastern Europe.

Companies with less than U.S. $500M in revenue comprised 39% of the responses, and 48% of the respondents hailed from companies with more than U.S. $1 billion in revenue…The survey also covered a gamut of industries, including financial services (16%), IT and technology (16%), professional services (13%), manufacturing (8%) and healthcare (7%).

Click on the image to enlarge. The IBM Global Risk & Resilience Study revealed that to date, companies around the world are focused heavily on building out their resilience and risk plans, as well as putting the supporting technologies and processes in place to get them into effect.

Before I dive into the results, here’s the setup: Global organizations are increasingly emphasizing business resilience; that is, the ability to rapidly adapt to a continuously changing business environment. Resilient corproations are able to maintain continuous operations and protect their market share in the face of natural or man-made disasters as well as radical changes in the financial or economic climate. They are also equipped to seize opportunities created by unexpected events.

So, the question is, are they?

It’s a mixed bag.

The research suggests that more and more businesses will adopt a more holistic approach to risk management in the next three years ass they deal with growing uncertainty and the increasing interconnectedness of the varied risks they face.

That’s the good news, aspirational though it may be.

But in terms of today’s reality, the study indicated that only a minority of companies (37%) has implemented an organization-wide business resilience strategy…with 42% saying they’ll do so in the next three years.

Almost two-thirds (64%) say they have a business continuity plan of some sort, and a robust 58% have dedicated contingency plans for dealing with a variety of risks.

That’s the topline…now on to the deeper dive:

  • Larger organizations are more likely than smaller ones to have an integrated strategy.  They, of course, typically have more to lose, and complexity increase’s an organization’s exposure to risk. Larger firms are more likely to have assigned overall responsibility for enterprise risk management to a single executive (which means, of course, direct accountability). Still, there is a contingent of small companies that have adopted integrated strategies. These companies also rank highly with regard to indicators of success such as revenue growth, profitability, and market share.
  • Continuity, IT and compliance risks remain in the foyrefront, but companies are diversifying their strategies to build business resilience. Nearly 40% of respondents say their organization regards business continuity as primarily an IT issue. However, when they’re asked to name their “primary risk management concern,” some name more than one, including disaster recovery (47%), IT security (37%), and regulatory compliance (28%). Though most have started by addressing the largest threats first, they increasingly are expected to turn to such things as communications and training programs designged to build a more resilient culture overall.
  • Business resilience planning increasingly involves specialists from across the organization, yet CIOs and IT pros remain the most prominent stakeholders.  Hey, what happened to sharing the love…and the risk??  Because a culture that imbues responsibility for risk management at every level enables companies to respond to changes and unexpected events. A solid majority of respondents (60%) say that business resilience is considered a joint responsibility of all C-level execs. Yet as IT penetrates more deeply into every aspect of company operations, CIOs and IT pros remain key players in building more resilient organizations. Fifty-six percent of respondents say the CIO collaborates with top IT strategists much more frequently than three years ago.

Click on the image to enlarge. Silos, budget and predicting ROI were cited as the biggest barriers in the study to adopting an holistic approach to business resilience and risk.

How Can I Better Manage Risk Moving Forward?

In most organizations, improving business resilience requires a shift in corporate culture because that is what shapes values and behavior. If a company’s culture blends risk awareness with other corporate values, then people instinctively know the right thing to do when confronted with an unexpected situation, and that reduces risk.

Understanding these principles is a good first step, but in interviews, executives are clear that buy-in from the top is essential to foster broad organizational change. Promoting holistic risk management concepts to peers and employees is also critical.

Taking an incremental approach with broad participation in strategy development can help, because it is easier to promote change if a new initiative is not seen as being pushed by one particular faction.

Senior-level commitment and adequate resources are also needed to develop comprehensive communications and training programs to support integrated risk management. One of the distinguishing features of the most resilient companies is that they are much more likely than other firms to have developed a communications strategy to push the message of resilience out to every corner of the organization.

Companies that embrace these measures are more likely to create an effective business resilience plan. This will provide a robust foundation on which to build a long-lived competitive position supported by end-to-end risk management.

Go here to download the full report.

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