I’ve moved!

March 26, 2010

This blog has moved!

In case you’ve notice a distinct absence of activity on B2B Beyond Borders, I wanted to redirect you to my new home.

My blogging activity has been moved to the Forrester Community.  My ramblings and occasional insights will be available both on an individual blog and as part of the Forrester Tech Industry Vendor Strategy blog — which is also my way of announcing that I have moved from our Technology Product Management and Marketing team into Vendor Strategy.

If you haven’t been following my Forrester blog recently you might have missed quite a few entries:

Frequent Computing Customers Need Rewards Programs: Where’s the Cloud Team or Cloud Alliance?

A Tale of Two Cities: Two Approaches for Making Cities Smarter (a three part series)

On Your Marks, Get Set, . . . Invest: Brazil’s e-Government Portal Launches Its Olympic Tech Investments.

Appropriate Technology: The New Intel Classmate PC

Please update all of your feed subscriptions and bookmarks to http://blogs.forrester.com/jennifer_belissent.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to continuing the conversation.



IBM’s Growth Markets grow…and get smarter.

February 3, 2010

A couple of weeks ago IBM announced its 4th Quarter and Full-Year 2009 results.  Their Growth Markets Business Unit which includes 140 of the 170 countries that IBM operates in – grew 14% in Q4 compared to 3% decreases in the Americas.  For the quarter, Growth Markets represented 20% of IBM’s revenue.  For the year, Growth Markets were 19%, up just slightly from 18% of total IBM revenue in 2008.  The signs are clear: Growth Markets are growing, even as other markets fell.  Much of the success in Growth Markets has come from “Smarter Planet” solutions which are gaining traction among governments, utilities and private sectors.

NOTE: IBM’s growth markets are those that show increased potential for them.  They do not equate to emerging markets according to the financial world’s and economic discipline’s definition.  But, there is much overlap.

As I have been thinking about the role of “smarter computing” in emerging markets, and the opportunity to “do it right the first time,” several of IBM’s recent wins resonated with me.  Increased urbanization across China for example – and last year’s Chinese Government stimulus package – has spurred infrastructure development.  While much has been written about the resulting real estate bubble in China, there are other long-term infrastructure investments that will contribute not only to continued GDP growth but also to long term productivity and economic development.

“Smarter cities” that embed intelligence and data analytics across transportation systems, resource management, electricity grids, public health and safety and other municipal initiatives can help local governments to leap frog the traffic congestion, blackouts, crime waves, epidemics and other afflictions that have plagued urban areas throughout history.  These initiatives will also encourage civic engagement by providing channels for government officials to encourage and capture public opinion, enabling citizens to provide feedback on and potentially input into government initiatives.

Here are a few IBM Smarter Cities wins from China that are worth highlighting:

China: Kunshan Municipal Government

Kunshan Software Park

The Kunshan Municipal Government, CVIC Software and IBM announced a co-operation in Kunshan City, Jiangsu Province. The three parties will jointly set up the smart city strategy solution development center, laboratory and service center in Kunshan Software Park. The solutions will support the implementation of the Smart City solutions covering the areas of e-government, food management, water resources management, smart transportation, public sanitation and health management and city security areas.

China: Shenyang Government

The Shenyang government and IBM have embarked on a major collaboration project in an effort to help the Shenyang city fulfill its vision as an eco-city in China. The collaboration will see investment of RMB $300 million from the Shenyang Government, and will lead to the set up of an IBM Collaboratory in China. It covers areas of eco-city planning, water quality management and pollution control, carbon emission reduction, food safety as well as intelligence and public opinion collection and analysis for city development and environmental protection. Chosen by China’s State Council to be the model city for environment protection and development, Shenyang is committed to fulfilling its environmental responsibility goals. Shenyang, with a population of over 7.5 million, is the capital city of Liaoning province in Northeast China and an important industrial center in China. In the 1980’s, Shenyang was identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world.

China: ENN Group

IBM and ENN Group, an energy provider in China, entered into a strategic agreement where the two companies will work together to provide Intelligent Energy solutions for building smart eco-cities in China. The extensive collaboration includes strategic investment by IBM in ENN’s energy services business, joint development of “Intelligent Energy” solutions and combined efforts to build the industry expertise and skills to serve the energy market in China. In addition, IBM will provide Information Technology infrastructure management and services, as well as application management and maintenance services to ENN. As part of the multi-year agreement, which is also IBM’s largest contract sealed in China in the last 10 years, IBM will leverage its deep expertise in consulting services and enterprise transformation to help ENN reengineer its processes across the company’s core business areas, including corporate strategy, business development and marketing, accounting and financial management, project management and service delivery.

Wouldn’t we all like the opportunity to get it right the first time? Or at least the opportunity to do it again?

Where in the world is the cloud going?

January 20, 2010

In a recent blog post and press kit on Building Confidence in Cloud Computing, Microsoft’s General Counsel, Brad Smith, calls for government action to “ensure that a robust privacy and security legal framework exists to protect and provide user rights and benefits in the cloud.”  Microsoft’s statement rightly suggests that in order for the promise of “cloud computing” — be it applications, software infrastructure for developers or physical computing capacity — to be realized issues of data protection must be better addressed. The statement appeals to the US government to to update, modernize and strengthen two existing pieces of legislation — the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The statement also promotes greater transparency regarding security provided by cloud services providers as well as global collaboration around rules governing access to data for law enforcement purposes.

These are all noble objectives.  However, the statement seems to miss a broader issue facing cloud customers that must be met by greater transparency on the part of providers.  Many customers need to know not only what security measures are provided,  they need to know where their data is located. And, they need help in understanding what the implications of that location may be.

Despite the buzz about its promise, global cloud computing adoption rates remain low.  Security and privacy are often top of mind as potential customers weigh the advantages and risks of moving their applications — and consequently their data — into the cloud.  That concern lies not only with the security measures provided but where the data will actually be located, and consequently the legislation which may apply.  With the amorphous, cross-border and global nature of the cloud customers can get spooked by the idea of their data leaving their country.  And, what that means from a regulatory perspective.  But often that perception of how restrictive data protection laws are with regard to transfers out of country are exaggerated.

Improving security and data protection legislation is clearly one step in overcoming barriers to adoption.  But so is a greater transparency on the part of vendors about where data is located, and in what that means from a regulatory perspective.  Advice to vendors: location, location, location… and a good dose of education.  That’s the transparency that we need.

Take a look at my recent Forrester report “As IaaS Cloud Adoption Goes Global, Tech Vendors Must Address Local Concerns.

Looking backward and forward, virtually.

January 15, 2010
Train for Success hosted a panel discussion today in Second Life to both look back to 2009 and forward to 2010 and discuss observations and trends in virtual worlds.  The other panelists — Sam Driver of ThinkBalm and Doug Thompson of Remedy Communications — are really the experts on virtual worlds and all that is developing in and around them.  I spoke primarily about the rise of virtual event platforms, which the other panelists referred to as “pseudo 3D” environments.  Despite the denigrating nature of the label, I accepted that the platforms that I have focused on are less rich, and less interactive than Second Life and other “real” virtual worlds.  However, as my previous blog post indicates, that richness comes with a downside.  The barriers to entry are just too high for the use cases that the “pseudo” virtual environments have specialized in.  When using a virtual platform (of any kind) for marketing purposes, targeting a large and diverse audience, the “real” virtual environments just aren’t there yet.
However, I did want to share some of the observations that I made on the panel.  My comments were really based on adoption and use cases for “pseudo” virtual environment as tools for B2B marketers.
Looking back at 2009, what did you see as highlights, lowlights, and trends in the virtual platform enterprise market?
  • We’ve seen what I call a new global imperative for marketers, in that they are now more than ever, expected to reach increasing far flung and diverse audiences with their marketing.  Among technology firms, global markets make up an increasing share of revenue.  69% of HP’s revenue comes from non-US markets, 65% of IBM’s revenues the same. But, at the same time marketers have faced often dramatic budget cuts – leading to the perfect storm for the need for new tools.
  • That trend has driven a sharp rise in the use of virtual events. We’ve seen an increased acceptance of the value of virtual events for marketing to global audiences – with events drawing thousands, and tens of thousands of participants from countries across the globe. =
  • Virtual events are now regularly used for product launches, trade shows (for brand awareness and demand generation), user group meetings, partner summits, customer events and sales trainings.
  • According to Forrester global technology adoption data, in some countries virtual events are a more influential source of information when making purchase decisions than traditional events.  In Mexico, Chile and Vietnam, buyers rely more on virtual events than on physical events.
  • At the same time, in some cases, this has brought a trial and error approach for effectively using them in that way – which leads to questions about best practices for reaching global audiences with virtual experiences: how do you structure a global event, how do you promote a global marketing event, do you need to localize the event etc.  Given the fact that it is very difficult to move beyond first impressions, virtual event platform vendors and the marketers using them need to ensure that the events are well planned, well designed and well resourced in terms of time, budget and subject matter experts.
Where do you see things headed in 2010?
A few of the things I see are:
  • An acceleration of the use of virtual events for marketing, particularly to wide global audience.
    • A greater maturity in planning, designing and executing virtual events with a greater emphasis on metrics capturing and developing qualified leads, through tighter integration with enterprise applications and CRM in particular.
    • A blurring of lines between physical and virtual event planning as all major and particularly global marketing events (product launches, trade shows, user group meetings) will increasingly be “hybrid” — virtual components will be a must-have for most physical events.  This trend increasingly recognizes the existence and value of audiences from far flung markets and those willing participants without the budget, or visa, to travel to an event.  We’ll likely no longer call them “hybrid” … that’s just what an event will be.

    Second attempt at a Second Life

    January 14, 2010

    I participated in a panel today on Train for Success in Second Life in which three panelists discussed:

    • Highlights, lowlights, trends in the 2009 virtual world enterprise market
    • Directions for 2010

    The other panel members included Sam Driver of ThinkBalm and Doug Thompson of Remedy Communications, and the event was moderated by Anders Gronstedt .

    While the discussion was lively, engaging, and interesting my experience was impacted by the environment itself.  The organizers had assumed that I was a veteran Second Lifer and that I was familiar and comfortable with the platform.  They were wrong.

    When I sat down to enter Second Life about 15-20 minutes before the start of the event I realized that I had changed laptops and had never accessed Second Life on my current machine.  I clicked on the link that they had provided me, which was to take me to the specific venue in world.  However, without the Second Life application on my computer I got an error message.  It was actually only then that I realized that I hadn’t ever downloaded the app on my new laptop.  I first had to find my login and password, which is not easy.  I had been initiated into Second Life through a product demo by Linden Labs and my user name was pre-selected as JenniferB Vyceratops – and I certainly hadn’t remembered that.  Not using your real name is the convention with Second Life.   I was not alone with my animal persona; I was joined by Gentle Heron and Anders Wildcat among others.

    Blond in a grey suitAfter doing a login lookup, a password reset, and downloading the app, I was able to get in world and to the correct venue – the Train for Success stage.  However, I appeared in the audience with an avatar that I didn’t recognize.  Not being a Second Life user, I’d never “dressed” or “coiffed” my avatar.  Apparently, I was still using the default which is a perky blond in a grey suit.  At least I wasn’t a spikey rocker in a lace-up leather halter, a short skirt and boots.

    Fortunately, the hosts noted my arrival and invited me to the stage.  So, disguised as a professionally dressed blond, I next had to figure out how to move.  Rather than taking a step forward, I accidentally hit the up arrow and did a giant leap into the air.  That went unnoticed, I think.  Or else the audience, host and fellow panelists were too polite to comment.  The bigger challenge was figuring out how to sit down – for those who don’t know, you click on the object and choose what you want to do with it (pick it up, hop over it, sit on it etc).  I fortunately correctly clicked this time and took my seat on stage.

    Finally, I was in place as a panelist ready to discuss the increasing role of virtual environments in global marketing, or so I thought.

    As the audience numbers grew, however, my ability to communicate ground down to next to nothing.  My typing was so delayed that I couldn’t respond to anything via the chat window.  Conversations had moved on before I could type a complete thought.  I had much to contribute and comment on but couldn’t make it work.  Then, I was asked to speak.  Needless to say if typing was a challenge, speaking was at first a complete failure.  Fortunately that reversed as I connected my headset and learned the idiosyncrasies of the talk button – press and hold, but with the delay I had to wait seconds for the button to activate.

    The conversation was informative for me, and I hope valuable for the audiences.  I did manage to contribute despite feeling completely humiliated by the experience.  In the end I think I got more out of the panel than it got out of me.  My fellow panel members were very knowledgeable and, better yet, patient (and seemingly non-judgmental) with my maladroit performance in Second Life.

    However, my take on the experience:  If Second Life is going to become a useful enterprise application — be it marketing venue, simulation environment or collaboration tool — it must markedly enhance its user experience by improving its ease of use, simplifying the interfaces and increasing the scalability to eliminate the debilitating degradation in service that comes with larger audiences – and our audience was in the environs of 50.

    I look forward to seeing a more enterAfter the Second Life panel... recovering in the bar.prise-ready Second Life soon.  For now, I’m still in the virtual bar recovering from my experience.  I’m the blond in the grey suit.

    Taking a stand. You go Google!

    January 13, 2010

    Just sharing a blog that could make a huge impact on the business, economics, and politics of China.  I’ve excerpted the key portions for you below:

    A new approach to China

    1/12/2010 03:00:00 PM

    Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident–albeit a significant one–was something quite different.

    First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses–including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors–have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.

    Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.

    Third, as part of this investigation but independent of the attack on Google, we have discovered that the accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties. These accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users’ computers.

    These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

    Posted by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer


    What’s tough got to do with it?

    January 12, 2010

    Why does “tough” as an adjective usually mean something bad? “Tough luck” isn’t something you want to have.  “Tough love” … nope.  But, a “tough book”… yep.  I am the proud owner of a new Panasonic Toughbook F8 with AT&T Laptop Connect, and it is so cool.  But, so far, it really doesn’t seem very tough.  Not in the figurative sense as used with love or luck, nor in the literal sense.  And, so far I mean that in a good way.

    Here are some of my first reactions:

    1. Light as a feather. OK, when I first picked it up it didn’t have the battery in it.  But, even with the battery it weighs next to nothing… at least compared to my Dell Latitude which I might start using as a free weight instead of a laptop.

    2. Cute little handle.  I feel like a little girl with a new purse, and I’m sure that’s what I looked like as I pranced (yes, pranced) around my office holding my new laptop by the handle.  Did I mention that it’s so cool?

    3. It works.  I’ll admit that I haven’t done a whole lot with it so far.  But, I get pleasure from the really simple things in life… it connects to the internet, the mouse takes me where I want to go, a click is a click and a double click is just that … two clicks.  A working mouse is not to be taken for granted, believe me.

    The image of someone prancing around with a light as a feather laptop doesn’t conger up the image of tough as in “tough guy/girl”.  And, it actually doesn’t seem like it would survive a fall which I really want to test.  It’s just calling out to be dropped!  But, it does feel really plastic and I don’t want to hurt it.   It just doesn’t feel tough at all.  We’ll see if it can survive me.

    I’ve never had a Panasonic.  I started with Thinkpads, then moved to Toshiba which I had great luck with, except for the water on the keyboard and the hot chocolate spill.  ( As an aside, if your kids have a hot chocolate with you and your laptop in a cafe, make sure the hot chocolate has whipped cream.  When spilled, the whipped cream clogs the fan and prevents the hot chocolate from getting into the laptop.  Yet another reason to like whipped cream.) However… back to my laptop history… in the past year I’ve been through three Dell Latitudes.  The first one blew up.  Not literally but it overheated and died.  Then the screen on the second one gave out on me.  And, I lost a hard drive somewhere in there as well.  And, I’m 0 for 3 for the internal mice which is why I’m so excited about the mouse in my Toughbook.  I’m actually on my third Dell so I haven’t really “been through” three yet.  Working on it, though, I’m sure.

    Now here’s the bad news.  While I have this great new perfect-for-work-travel laptop, my employer will not officially allow me to use it yet.  I’m still lobbying but in the meantime I’ll just call it my…  my Toughbook… I just like the name too!

    Disease, drug wars and data centers

    December 7, 2009

    Just thinking about Mexico and the cards it was dealt getting blamed for swine flu. I was recently in Europe, and was surprised to hear friends refer to H1N1 as the “grippe mexicaine” or “Mexican flu”. There is even a dedicated website by the same name — http://www.lagrippemexicaine.com/. You don’t hear that in the US. We may demonize the swines but not our neighbors, the Mexicans. But, even the Mexican press attributes the outbreak to local pigs, hence the theory this particular flu had its origins in Mexico.  That theory or the flu itself is blamed in part for the severity of their economic downturn – along with the global financial crisis (and in particular its dependence on the US) and domestic drug wars.

    But, I also can’t help thinking that despite all of these scares, Cisco forged ahead with their activities in Mexico. Mexico is one of the countries that Cisco targets with its country transformation initiatives. Country transformation is their strategy for going to market in high growth or emerging markets (I will be publishing a Forrester report on this soon, entitled “Building Business Technology Markets”). In Mexico they have worked closely with local private and public sector influencers, and assigned appropriate high-level Cisco executives in a board designed to help identify projects that would address critical economic and social development issues. In addition they have invested locally – in manufacturing and academic initiatives – in order to demonstrate their seriousness about transformation and establish a stake in the development of the local economy.

    My point is — thinking back to my previous posts on identifying events that spark investment — that it takes more than just looking for catalysts to IT investment. Sometimes it takes overlooking what’s going on in the press, and involves serious commitment to technology-led transformation.

    Now let’s go to Rio 2016

    November 23, 2009

    There is another fever in Rio these days, since it was selected as one of the exotic and exciting new Olympic venues.  Brazil will host Latin America’s first Olympic Games in 2016, and is already gearing up for investment spending of over US$50 billion on facilities and infrastructure between 2010 and 2016.

    Here are some highlights from a recent US Commerce Service report:


    Although more than half of Rio 2016 venues are ready, since Rio hosted the 2007 Pan American Olympic Games, about 20 new facilities are to be built. They include:

    • An aquatic sports stadium with 18,000 seats with an estimated construction cost of US$40 million.
    • An Olympic Park to host gymnastics, cycling, handball, and other sports competitions with an estimated building cost of US$200 million.
    • An Olympic village of 32 buildings with 12 floors each and a capacity of over 17,000 beds estimated at US$450 million.
    • An Olympic Tennis Center with 16 courts (US$45 million).
    • An arena in Copacabana for beach volley (US$7 million).
    • A renovated rowing stadium at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon will cost approximately US$2 million.
    • The renovation of Maracanã Stadium (where the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies will be held as well as soccer games) will cost approximately US$400 million, and must be completed before 2014 to use in the 2014 Soccer World Cup.


    The estimated investment in infrastructure is about US$15 billion, including US$5 billion in logistics upgrades at seaports and airports.

    The main projects include:

    • the modernization and enlargement of the two International Airport terminals (increasing the airport’s capacity from 15 million passengers per year to 25 million),
    • Highway widening,
    • construction of “Olympic lanes”,
    • the Port of Rio area revitalization to include a new 30,000 square meter leisure area featuring bars, restaurants, an amphitheater, a multi-use space and parking,
    • port dredging,
    • construction of two new subway lines,
    • the creation of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system,
    • housing projects (including low income housing) and
    • Water sanitation.

    While details of the technology investments are not yet available, these lists give an idea of the magnitude of the build-out, and an inkling of the opportunity for technology vendors.

    The report also provides some recommendations for those companies interested in the bidding processes.  One note, government procurement processes require foreign companies to have a local representative to participate, at least legally or commercially.


    • Note that the Brazilian Constitution provides that all governmental purchases, at Federal, State and Municipal levels should be contracted through public tenders.  This is regulated by the Brazilian Bid Law (Law # 8,666, introduced in 1993).  Sales to the private sector are not subject to this Law.
    • Although the law forbids preferential treatment to Brazilian firms over foreign companies bidding for new projects, when local and foreign competitors offer equivalent conditions in terms of price, quality and delivery time, the Law ensures preference for: goods produced or supplied by a Brazilian firm of national capital; locally produced; and produced or supplied by Brazilian firms.
    • As most of the sporting facilities and urban infrastructure-related equipment and services will be acquired by governmental entities under Law 8,666 rules, note that foreign companies must have a local representative (commercial and legal) to participate in Brazilian government procurement tenders.

    And, not to be forgotten is the upcoming FIF World Cup.  An upcoming virtual trade mission sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association will sponsor a series of webinars on investment opportunities.  The next is the series highlights preparations and opportunities around the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil: FIFA World Cup in 2014 Creates New Opportunities in Brazil.

    Olympic ICT Investment in Sochi

    November 20, 2009

    As I asserted in my last entry, “Olympic events have Olympic-sized IT budgets. ”

    Let’s take a closer look at Sochi 2014.  Several years ago, the Russian federal launched their “Sochi-2014” investment program to develop the infrastructure required to host the upcoming Olympic games.  Among other projects, that program includes plans to build and expand the network of mobile radio communication, fiber optic and radio relay communication lines, and to improve broadcasting, postal and telecommunications services.

    According to Network Work Сети online article “Sochi goes online,” of the $12.2 billion allocated in 2007 for the preparation of the Olympic Games in Sochi, $580 million will be spent on modernization of telecommunications infrastructure in the region.  As sponsors of the games, several telecom operators will also contribute and participate in the infrastructure buildout: Rostelecom and Megafon.

    In a more recent September 2009 meeting of investors and Olympic organizers, these two sponsors outlined their commitment to the infrastructure buildout:

    • Megafon, the Sochi 2014 Telecommunications/Mobile Partner, outlined to IOC experts their plans to ensure mobile reception at each of the 15 Olympic venues that are situated in the Mountain Cluster (Krasnaya Polyana) and the Coastal Cluster (Imeretskaya Valley).
    • Sochi 2014 General Partner, Rostelecom, announced that its total investment in Games preparation and the development of infrastructure in the South of Russia would be 2 billion Rubles ($34 million) demonstrating that the company is fulfilling its commitment not only to the Games, but to the entire Krasnodar Region.

    As one of my colleagues says “Now that’s adult money.”  Olympic games certainly catalyze telecom and other IT investments.