Data Analytics – Big in 2013…Bigger in 2014

Posted on : 31-01-2014 | By : john.vincent | In : Data

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We didn’t produce our annual predictions this year, but as we approach the end of January we thought the topic of data analytics trends deserved some attention. So, we’ve listed the Top 5 trends in this space that we believe will be prominent, or emerge stronger, during 2014. We strongly believe that the data analytics theme and driving decisions and future strategies will be at the forefront (see our other article on moving from hype to execution).

As always, we are interested in your thoughts!

1) More emphasis on Predictive Analytics

Looking back on past performance, peer groups and trends has been the traditional way of shaping and product and service strategies. However, with the improvement in predictive analytics, both from an infrastructure perspective with products like Hadoop managing unstructured data inputs, tools and a new breed of Data Scientists, technology leaders can now work closely with the business to drive decision making.

2) The Mobile Data surge continues

Seems that consumers can’t operate now with their trusty smartphone or tablet. Indeed, it is estimated that in 2014 mobile internet traffic will overtake desktop usage. With the amount of data that consumers download (and tariff limits increasing accordingly), the possibilities of companies using this information to analyse customer behaviour and adapt accordingly is huge.

3) Wearables and the “Internet of Things” revolution

For the first time we are seeing this whole subject make its way onto the CIO agenda. In 2013 we saw some activity, with the release of watches from Samsung and Sony (and the continued speculation of iWatch in 2014), smart health monitors, telematics devices and so on. For this year, expect the pace to pick up with organisations looking at new products and how to tailor the data to differentiated service offerings (such as insurance premiums).

4) Data Visualisation – Part of Business as Usual

The ability of business users to take more control of the organisational data, drive “what if” scenarios and visualise through dashboards have really taken off in the last few years. Once the data was transported out of the rigidity and control of central IT departments through to the users for agile manipulation, products like Qlikview, Tableau, Board and the like have really taken off. We expect this to become an expected part of the end user toolkit in 2014 and also see some consolidation/acquisition in the provider market.

5) On-Demand Analytics develops further

Cloud computing made great steps in 2013, with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and other providers extending the infrastructure, product sets, security and pricing to a level that is starting to entice customers away from build to buy.  We expect a further increase in shifting from on-premise infrastructure to running data compute analytics and business intelligence in the Cloud in 2014.

 

 

Broadgate 2013 Predictions – how did we do?

Posted on : 30-12-2013 | By : richard.gale | In : Innovation

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In December 2012 we identified some themes we thought would be important for the coming year. Let’s see how we got on…

1. Infrastructure Services continue to commoditise – for many organisations, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is now mainstream. Technology advancement will continue to move the underlying infrastructure more towards a utility model and reduce costs in terms of software, hardware and resource.

This has happened and is continuing to grow, most organisations have the infrastructure in place to support IaaS with private clouds and virtualised environments. However, the flexibility and agility benefits have not always been realised as large organisation IaaS have sometimes been weighed down with the legacy change and build processes of the previous model. To circumvent this, many businesses are looking at public cloud for more flexible capacity. This will be the big growth area of 2014 especially with financial services organisations that, previously, have been hesitant in adopting public cloud solutions.

2. Application/Platform rationalisation – for many large firms there is still a large amount of legacy cost in terms of both disparate platforms, often aligned by business unit, and their sheer size/complexity. The next year will see an increase in rationalisation of application platforms to drive operational efficiency.

In 2013 the understanding and scale of the problem became more apparent but, with limited change/transformation budgets (in financial services mainly due to the burden of regulatory compliance requirements) not much action. Now these complex webs of legacy applications are starting to fail and seriously constrained business growth. 2014 will be a ‘crunch’ year when these expensive problems have to be tackled head on either through wholesale re-architecting or giving someone else the problem of running them whilst new solutions are built.

3. Big Data/ Data Science grows and market starts to consolidate – 2012 was the year that Big Data technologies went mainstream…2013 will see an increased focus on Data Science resource and technology to maximise the analytical value. There will also be some consolidation at the infrastructure product level.

In financial services we saw a fair amount of discussion, some large proof of concept projects focusing on consolidation (many seem to be targeting the risk and finance areas), but not the levels of take up we expected. MasterCard have come in with a big data restaurant review concept. We may have been slightly premature with this one. We think the understanding of Data Science is starting to go mainstream and, as with Cloud, the demand will come more from the business rather than IT architects in 2014.

4. Data Centre/Hosting providers continue growth – fewer and fewer companies are talking about building their own data centres now, even the very large ones. With the focus on core business value, infrastructure will continue to be hosted externally driving up the need for provider compute power.

 Many organisations either use external more flexible hosting solutions or have an excess of capacity in their existing data centres. This will continue and grow in pace in 2014.

5. More rationalisation of IT organisations – 2012 saw large reductions in operational workforce, particularly in financial services. With revenues under more pressure this year (and in line with point 1) we will see further reductions in resource capacity and relocation to low cost locations, both nearshore and within the UK.

In the financial services sector this may be at an end. There will be growth in demand for IT skills in 2014 but there will be some reductions particularly in the infrastructure/BAU space due to the continued commoditisation of technology and move to XaaS services.

6. Crowd-funding services continue to gain market share – there have been many new entrants to this space over recent years with companies such as Funding Circle, Thin-Cats, Bank-to-the-Future and Kickstarter all doing well. We see this continuing to grow as access to funds from traditional lenders is still hard. The question is at what point will they step in.

This one was an easy prediction as a low starting point combined with the banks reluctance to lend, low interest rates and increasing interest in the tech sector inevitably led to high levels of growth. 2014 will continue this trend but with a higher degree of regulation after the first high profile failure of a lending exchange…

7. ‘Instant’ Returns on investment required – growth of SaaS & BYOD is changing the perception of technology. People as consumers are now accustomed to an instant solution to a problem (by downloading an app or purchasing a service with a credit card). This, combined with historic patchy project successes, means that long lead-time projects are becoming harder to justify; IT departments are having to find near instant solutions to business problems.

Business users are leading IT departments on the adoption of SaaS in particular. IT is playing catch-up and the race will continue. We are not sure what 2014 will bring on this. It could be that IT departments regain control or, alternatively, are bypassed on a more frequent basis by impatient, IT savvy business users.

8. Technology Talent Wars – with start-ups disrupting traditional players in areas such as data analytics, social media and mobile payment apps, barriers to entry eroding and salaries on the rise we see a shift from talent wanting to join industries such as financial services and choosing new technology companies.

Relatively low demand from financial services firms (except for a few specific skills such as security) has deferred this. This is more likely to impact 2014 change and innovation programmes now.

9. Samsung/Android gain more ground over Apple – we already have seen the Apple dominance, specifically in relation to the Appstore, being eroded and this will continue as the potential of a more open platform becomes apparent to both developers and users of technology.

This has happened and will continue unless Apple can come up with some new magic. Phones/tablets are the new battleground, other operating systems such as Windows and potentially Jolla could disrupt the trend in 2014.

10. The death knell sounds for RIM/Blackberry – not much more to say. Most likely they will be acquired by one of the big new technology companies to gain access to the remaining smart phone users.

The only thing to add to this is that there may be a ‘dead-cat’ bounce for Blackberry in 2014.

 

Once again we hope you have enjoyed our monthly articles and have had a successful 2013. We wish you all the same for 2014!

 

Smartphone Wars – Android firmly in front

Posted on : 02-09-2013 | By : jo.rose | In : Innovation

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At the beginning of 2013 we published our 10 predictions for the year. At numbers 9 and 10 they included:

  • Samsung/Android gain more ground over Apple – “we already have seen the Apple dominance, specifically in relation to the Appstore, being eroded and this will continue as the potential of a more open platform becomes apparent to both developers and users of technology”.
  • The death knell sounds for RIM/Blackberry – “not much more to say. Most likely they will be acquired by one of the big new technology companies to gain access to the remaining smart phone users”.

Not everyone agreed (surprising in our view regarding Blackberry…) – but we thought that with the recent media focus now was a good time just to cast a few further thoughts.

A few weeks ago IDC published their worldwide phone tracker stats including the smartphone OS shipments (see below)

 

So, it looks like the Android is unstoppable at the moment with a 73.5% increase in the year to 2Q13, now commanding some 79.3% of the market. Whilst “technically” they were outperformed by Windows phone with 77.6% increase, the volumes pale in comparison.

On the mobile handset side, Samsung was the largest vendor in the world by a huge margin according to IDC’s data. The South Korea-based giant shipped an estimated 113.4 million cell phones worldwide in the second quarter to take 26.2% of the global market, up from 23.9% in the same quarter last year (Nokia retained the No.2 spot, but it handset shipments dropped 27% to 61.1 million units).

Apple sold 31.2 million iPhones last quarter which according to IDC represents 7.2% of the mobile handset market in Q2 (up from Apple’s 6.4% market share in Q2 2012).

It is rapidly becoming a two horse race, with Android representing more units in the last quarter than the entire smartphone market in the same quarter in 2012!.

Can IOS keep pace? On the current evidence it seems not. They are, however, still a long way ahead of the pack of which Windows phone seems the only credible each way bet.

So, on to Blackberry. BB10 hasn’t been the success that they desperately needed and will give the Windows Phone platform a boost. Indeed, as I write this article the rumour doing the rounds is that T-Mobile are stopping sales of Blackberry 10 devices in store and will offer online only…another blow.

Bert Nordberg, ex Sony Ericsson CEO and now on the board at Blackberry, is helping to shape the strategy going forwards, which includes operating as a more “niche maker of mobile hardware” and selling off certain assets. He recently told The Wall Street Journal “BlackBerry has cash and it has no debt, so I’m sure that we’ll piece something together”.

Not the most resounding endorsement or encouragement for Blackberry employees. The For Sale sign is firmly up…but the question is who will buy?

Laptop, Tablet and Smartphone – convergence or confusion?

Posted on : 31-05-2013 | By : john.vincent | In : Innovation

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Last month we wrote an article around the demise of the desktop led among others by consumerisation, cloud, tablets/smartphones and the need for user mobility.

This of course brings another question to the forefront. Whilst for now the race between laptops, tablets and smartphones gathers pace, what devices will we be pinning our digital work and social lives to in the future?

IDC recently produced some shipment predictions and market share on the future “Smart Connected Device” from 2012-2017 (see below);

The figures, indicate (and underpin) a 50% decline in the desktop market share (although still significant volumes) and a slower decline for laptops. This against a near triple growth for the tablet market.

Maybe not a real surprise, but 2017 is a long way off and there is certainly some uncertainty on how this will develop, winners/losers and possible convergence.

As recently as April, Blackberry’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, actually questioned the future of the tablet computer. In an interview with the Milken Institute conference he stated “In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore”, adding “Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”

Now, this may be somewhat influenced by the disappointing debut of the Blackberry Playbook , on which they took a $485 million write down in 2012, but could he have a point?

Amazon recently filed a patent application for the future of “remote displays”, where the portable devices we currently carry are transformed into simply screens with minimal storage and no “bulky” batteries or processors. How? By delivering these key components wirelessly from a nearby base station. Perhaps interesting for workplace/campus based deployment.

Anyway, back to today…Looking around the our own office, and that of our clients, I see little evidence of anyone ditching their laptop and docking station in favour of performing all of their day-to-day activities only on a tablet. The estimated 20% of work activity that requires PC based application software still dictates user requirements. Likewise, almost no one seems to use a laptop “on the move” where speed of use and form factor are important.

And then there’s the ubiquitous Smartphone. I haven’t heard of anyone predicting the demise of that, although with screen sizes continuously edging up, maybe it is? (and we all seem to have forgiven it for often being fairly useless at it’s primary function….as a phone).

So, are we destined for a life of being laden down with three devices for the foreseeable? Opinions differ but both the physical and financial burden will naturally drive convergence over the coming years. What is will look like is still fuzzy.

You could argue that the laptop and tablet market is already converging with the Windows 8 or Android hybrids, with detachable screens from the keyboard. The problem is, they are generally not great (according to a less than scientific straw poll in the office ;-)….based on compromises such as weight, screen size and battery life.

This area is naturally the most ripe for convergence. We believe the device boundaries will become more and more blurred to the point where the differentiation between laptop vs tablet is negligible in terms of functionality and value (driven by technology maturity, diminishing application dependencies through hosted/cloud based delivery and mobile data access improvements).

What is clear, is that Smartphones are getting Smarter (some would argue too much for their own good). If you look at the current inn0vation driven by manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC with the inclusion of sensors such as gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer to interact with the environment, you can predict where this is heading (with the Galaxy S4, Samsung slipped in pressure, temperature, and humidity sniffers).

So, it looks like maybe a dual mobile device strategy will emerge. A content driven compute product, predominantly for work and input intensive tasks sitting somewhere between the tablet/laptop, and the smartphone bringing a new connected experience with the outside world, augmented reality etc.

And then there’s the whole wearable technology, such as Google Eye glasses and “iWatch”…we are set to be an “always on” human race.

 

Broadgate Predicts 2013 – Preview

Posted on : 29-01-2013 | By : john.vincent | In : Innovation

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Last month we published our 2013 Technology Predictions and asked our readers to give us their view through a short survey. We have had a great response…so much so that we are keeping in open for 2 more weeks.

However, we thought we would share a few of the findings so far, prior to us producing the final report.

Current Ranking

As we stand, the predictions that generated the most agreement are;

  1. Infrastructure Services Continue to Commoditise
  2. Samsung/Android gain more ground over Apple
  3. Data Centre/Hosting providers continue to grow

Some interesting commentary against these;

Many companies have come to terms with the security/regulatory issues concerning commoditisation and cloud services, although still chose to build in-house for now. It will take some significant time to see IaaS address the legacy infrastructure burden.

On the Apple debate, respondents agreed enough to place in 2nd place but differed a lot in terms of how this will develop…there is a feeling that Apple are struggling to continue to innovate ahead of the market and consumers are wiser now, together with a cost pressure that, if it is relieved, will cause users to stay with them.

Regarding Data Centres, the importance of cloud and managed services continues to drive expansion. Within heavily regulated industries such as Financial Services there continues to be a desire to Build vs Buy, but respondents questioned for how long. Having your own DC is not a competitive advantage.

At the other end of the scale, the prediction that respondents disagreed most with was;

  • Instant Returns on Investment required (followed closely by)
  • More Rationalisation of IT Organisations

Again, a pick of some of the additional comments;

Whilst there still exists demand for long term and large corporate technology initiatives, the stance is starting to change somewhat towards more agile, focused investments. Unfortunately, legacy issues and organisational culture continue to block progress.

Whilst the market conditions and technology evolution is facilitating a reduction in workforce, respondents cited other equal forces in areas such as risk and control, plus offshore operations delivering less value than expected, working to counteract this.

Please continue to send us your thoughts before we close!

Interestingly the largest number of No Comments (40%) came against the prediction that “Crowd-funding services continue to gain market share”…maybe an article for February.

Broadgate Predicts – 2013

Posted on : 31-12-2012 | By : jo.rose | In : General News

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As 2012 draws to a close we look forward to some themes for 2013.

These are our views, not analysts or market research firms. They are general observations and what we have determined during our interactions with clients over the past 12 months as to how we see the industry shaping. Let us know what you think if you can by completing the survey.

  1. Infrastructure Services continue to commoditise – for many organisations, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is now mainstream. Technology advancement will continue to move the underlying infrastructure more towards a utility model and reduce costs in terms of software, hardware and resource.
  2. Application/Platform rationalisation – for many large firms there is still a large amount of legacy cost in terms of both disparate platforms, often aligned by business unit, and their sheer size/complexity. The next year will see an increase in rationalisation of application platforms to drive operational efficiency.
  3. Big Data/ Data Science grows and market starts to consolidate – 2012 was the year that Big Data technologies went mainstream…2013 will see an increased focus on Data Science resource and technology to maximise the analytical value. There will also be some consolidation at the infrastructure product level.
  4. Data Centre/Hosting providers continue growth – fewer and fewer companies are talking about building their own data centres now, even the very large ones. With the focus on core business value, infrastructure will continue to be hosted externally driving up the need for provider compute power.
  5. More rationalisation of IT organisations – 2012 saw large reductions in operational workforce, particularly in financial services. With revenues under more pressure this year (and in line with point 1) we will see more reductions in resource capacity and relocation to low cost locations, both nearshore and within the UK.
  6. Crowd-funding services continue to gain market share – there have been many new entrants to this space over recent years with companies such as Funding Circle, Thin-Cats, Bank-to-the-Future and Kickstarter all doing well. We see this continuing to grow as access to funds from traditional lenders is still hard. The question is at what point will they step in.
  7. ‘Instant’ Returns on investment required – growth of SaaS & BYOD is changing the perception of technology. People as consumers are now accustomed to an instant solution to a problem (by downloading an app or purchasing a service with a credit card). This, combined with historic patchy project successes, means that long lead-time projects are becoming  harder to justify; IT departments are having to find near instant solutions to business problems.
  8. Technology Talent Wars – with start-ups disrupting traditional players in areas such as data analytics, social media and mobile payment apps, barriers to entry eroding and salaries on the rise we see a shift from talent wanting to join industries such as financial services and choosing new technology companies.
  9. Samsung/Android gain more ground over Apple – we already have seen the Apple dominance, specifically in relation to the Appstore, being eroded and this will continue as the potential of a more open platform becomes apparent to both developers and users of technology.
  10. The death knell sounds for RIM/Blackberry – not much more to say. Most likely they will be acquired by one of the big new technology companies to gain access to the remaining smart phone users.
Click here to take part in our 2013 predictions survey.