Blog archive - June 2012
Use the blog to discuss and comment on the latest industry insights provided by our analyst experts.
by Jannette Whippy 28 Jun 2012
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Inspiration hits at the strangest times: morning walks with my greyhound, a quiet moment sipping wine, or a busy and hectic day of running errands. It turns out solutions come more easily when I stop thinking about the problem. However, a key component of my ability to visualize solutions is having an understanding of the broader view. Telling someone else’s story can be challenging. As a designer of Best Practice Guidebooks, I am not involved in the primary research and robust storyboard discussions required to create our guidebooks. When a guidebook is passed to me the researcher must explain everything, in extreme detail and I am responsible for visualizing the story. However, I often find the details distracting and, while it is good to have them, I need the big picture. Working with researchers who have a superior understanding of the subject manner and are able to step back and explain the overall view helps me to create meaningful structures and visuals. When I step back from the details, clarity often ensues. Understanding the big picture helps me to better visualize graphical solutions to complex ideas. Once I design the concept, the details tend to slip into place within the larger, coheseive structure. Visualizing text can make presentations more interesting and help your audience grasp the core concept quickly. If you are looking to make your work more visual, more exciting, details are nice to have but if you don’t understand how they all work together, visualizing your text will not be easy. Take a step back from your page and think about what you are trying to communicate.
by Austin Pullmann 22 Jun 2012
It’s always nice to have your work enjoyed and shared by others. This is a primary reason for getting excited about my job, which is to document best practices executed by companies against a variety of challenges. Recently we created an infographic to tell the story of our research that covers a variety of approaches to leveraging social media effectively, entitled “Mastering the Social Media Universe” – for the record I came up with that title while sitting in a fast food restaurant with my kids. :) See a pasted version below: [INFOGRAPHIC] Mastering the Social Media Universe View more documents from Frost & Sullivan So I mentioned that this infographic has been shared far and wide. Indeed, it has been retweeted and posted in various blogs, dissected and interpreted. All of this is great news in that we were able to connect with others using this visual format, and address challenges that others are commonly facing. Wonderful. As in many aspects of social media, the benefit generated is simultaneously hard to dispute, yet hard to calculate. Wouldn’t it be great to know how this research materially changed the thinking of the reader, and by extension generated value for that reader’s business? We would love to know. So now’s your chance – reach out to us with any kind of feedback, positive or negative on how the infographic has influenced your thinking. We will welcome it with open arms! Kudos to our graphic designer, Jannette Whippy, who is the artistic genius behind this infographic. Austin Pullmann Austin is the North American Program Manager for the Growth Team Membership, a best practices research group within Frost & Sullivan.
by Brian Cotton 22 Jun 2012
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The blogpost below was first published on 18 June 2012 on the IBM website at http://tiny.cc/e0p3fw.
Today’s consumer is empowered like never before. The continued spread of mobile communications and the rapid rise of social media have become important parts of the buying process. Consumers are relying more on their social networks than on retailers' messaging during the buying process. Consider that a pair of recent surveys revealed that 90 percent of consumers trust the recommendations of their friends and family and 70 percent trust the recommendations of complete strangers, but less than 10 percent trust the recommendations of retailers. This means that consumers have 7 times the amount of influence over other consumers than retailers do! To read the full blog post, please visit http://tiny.cc/e0p3fw.
by Holly Lyke Ho Gland 21 Jun 2012
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The survey reveals that R&D executives in Asia Pacific are focused on challenges surrounding two topics: (1) managing the product portfolio and (2) integrating inputs from an array of sources outside of R&D. In regards to the first topic, R&D executives are struggling to generate an accurate technology map—that outlines customer needs, the current technology landscape, and gaps. Developing an accurate technology map is the first step to addressing R&D’s other portfolio management challenges—prioritizing and funding projects within the portfolio. A technology roadmap allows R&D executives to develop a portfolio strategy—that pinpoints which needs match company capabilities for development. Furthermore a formal portfolio strategy is necessary for an effective portfolio management process and measuring project ROI. Customer-facing functions such as Sales and Marketing are a rich source of innovation information on everything from customer needs to feedback on current products. However, R&D executives struggle with establishing a method to consistently capture and integrate this information with their product development process. Some solutions to this dilemma include establishing regular cross-functional exchanges of ideas, or interacting with customers directly—via crowdsourcing or a formal open innovation process. To examine these challenges in more depth, the survey asked respondents to “root cause” their top challenges by indicating if they stem from issues with staffing, process, technology/systems, or strategic alignment. R&D executives attribute their challenges to two causes: limitations in staffing and processes. Fortuitously R&D executes foresee additional resources to address their challenges—both staffing and budgets are expected to increase. In view of open innovation’s (OI) growing prominence and potential to systematically capture ideas from a broad network, the survey asked respondents about their use of OI. The majority of respondents include OI in their product development processes. Open innovation is largely employed for idea generation and concept testing and customers are the primary source of ideas. Most of the respondents have a dedicated OI team within R&D. Even though companies are committed to using OI—a concept that is founded on tapping into multiple sources for ideas—respondents still cite struggles with gathering and integrating insights from Sales and Marketing and customers. This may be attributed to respondents’ challenges with the fundamentals of establishing an OI program: overcoming the fear of lost IP, establishing a framework for collaboration, and garnering the resources needed to test incoming ideas and technologies. 2012 APAC Portfolio Management and Open Collaboration View more presentations from Frost & Sullivan
by Vivek Malhotra 18 Jun 2012
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The South Asian markets are of considerable importance within the context of global markets, as they are seen as fast and emerging markets, with vast growth opportunities. Inspite of the economic downturn in most economies, SAARC economies grew, way above the global average growth rate of 4 percent, at an average growth rate of 6 percent in 2011 and are slated to continue and grow at an average growth rate of 6 to 6.5 percent in 2012. Reducing tensions & change in political climate amongst neighboring states, Agreement to lower tariff and non-tariff barriers, reduction in the sensitive lists for tradable goods, streamlining cumbersome border and customs procedures, Seamless trade and transit connectivity in South Asia & linking up with markets of South-East, East, and Central Asia will improve opportunities in the region. Sri Lanka, after the civil conflict, has become a safe haven for foreign investors; With It's Per capita GDP having doubling in last 5 years and expected to double again in the next five years, New & Liberalized Trade reforms & less barriers, Strategic location with good air/sea connectivity, High Knowledge base with a literacy rate of nearly 93 percent, Significant decline in unemployment rates and a low inflation rate, The Lion’s Den is likely to continue to generate interest and be on the investor’s radar for the next couple of years.
by Holly Lyke Ho Gland 12 Jun 2012
One of my roles in my household is mediator between my son and husband. Like many a father and son, they are so much alike that sparks fly on a fairly regular basis. Not surprisingly, nine times out ten, their frustrations stem from a lack of communication. Needless to say, pointing this out results in an emphatic eye roll from my son and gruff sigh from my husband. However, once they do talk, there is peace in the house for at least 24 hours. So what does this have to do with business? Part of my job is to conduct annual priorities surveys, to pinpoint role-related challenges for executives in Marketing, R&D, Corporate Strategy and Development, Market Research, Competitive Intelligence, and Sales. Some challenges that come up year after year include: How do we get buy-in at all levels of the company for strategy adoption? What’s the best way to get support for that promising innovation? How can we get the strategy team to integrate our insights into the annual planning process? Why won’t Sales use the collateral we developed? Any of these sound familiar? In addition to picking their top challenges, the surveys also ask respondents to pinpoint the root cause of each challenge. In addition to limited resources, there are three recurring culprits—ineffective processes, a lack of common objectives, and inadequate communications. Another key part of my job involves creating best-in-class case studies (Best Practice Guidebooks) that address the challenges identified in the surveys. In almost every case study our team produces, the best practices require developing communication mechanisms—to generate buy-in, break down silos, tap into out of the box ideas, and create transparency and trust between stakeholders. Here are two common methods we have found for creating sustainable communications: Formal cross-functional committees—these committees tend to meet monthly and include representatives from all the relevant stakeholder groups/functions. These committees are useful to discuss resources, create transparency on project milestones, and supply information on project status prior to hand-off. Informal monthly meetings—these meetings tend to include staff from related functions (such as Marketing and R&D) and are particularly useful for sharing best practices, breaking down silos, and brainstorming long-range or disruptive ideas. Much like with my son and husband, when left to their own devices, business communications tend to break down or be shifted aside for more pressing priorities. Communications are vital to ensuring the health of any project or process and require commitment and nurturing equal to the multitude of benefits it offers. Holly is the Research Lead for the Growth Team Membership, a best practices research group within Frost & Sullivan. Follow her on twitter at @hlykehogland.
by Jake Wengroff 01 Jun 2012
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Some thoughts on what this acquisition will mean for enterprise software and social business.
by Bisakha Praharaj 01 Jun 2012
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The typical cloud triad- IaaS, PaaS and SaaS can be served in various settings such as public, private, hybrid and community. While creating a database of cloud deployments in the Indian region, one cannot help but notice the preference large companies have towards creating private clouds. Ranging from verticals such as BFSI, IT/ITeS perceived as early adopters of technology, we witness participation coming from Healthcare, Retail, Government, Manufacturing and Education segments as well. Figure 1: Companies chosen to deploy private clouds in-house The commonality amongst all the above companies is a cautious CIO wanting to improve utilization and efficiency of current resources and hence transcending legacy data centers to an agile cloud center. The top three commonly stated reasons to move to a private cloud are as follows: IMPROVE Resource Utilization Introduce IT ACCOUNTABILITY Carry out the above 2 without discarding current investments and jeopradizing company's vital data assets In the current economic environment, IT investments need to be modest and tend heavily towards supporting new product innovations and research rather than management and maintenance of installed base. Successful companies need to be lean and learn to do more with less. From a large company's point of view, who have already made significant past investments in IT, abandoning and switching to a public cloud shared resource model available via non-secure internet lines might sound sacrilegious! No wonder the list of companies opting for private cloud especially for their core production applications is expanding. One key observation point here is these companies value data security and control equally as important as costs which is why they choose to adopt a private model which brings down costs by around 25% as against the public cloud model which is significantly much cost effective. Also the market is warming up to hosted private cloud options offered by Third-party providers of the likes of Netmagic Solutions, Reliance Communication, Airtel, CtrlS, ESDS and some more. IT accountability is a key parameter, which means having a usage report indicating which project is using how many resources, something that only a cloud provisioning can showcase reliably. Infact some companies plan on adopting a utility billing model wherein a usage bill will be presented to internal projects and departments ensuring a level of responsible spending. While private clouds are here to stay for large companies, that doesn't prevent them from benefiting off public clouds especially SaaS based Email, HR, Collaboration and Business Productivity applications. So while in the long run hybrid cloud is a good possibility, the current scenario is all about private clouds and keeping one's guard up! Bisakha Praharaj Bisakha is a Senior Research Analyst with the Information & Communication Technologies Practice for Frost & Sullivan South Asia & Middle East region.