Expecting the future with 4SIGHT

The "Expecting the future with 4SIGHT" webinar will be held December 4, 2018, at 10:00 am ET. After that date, the recording will be available below.

Planning for the future is a complicated business. Organizations have to align business objectives with market forces and the technology that they hope will support them. Early stage technologies can offer tempting options, but it can be hard to quantify the risk in using them.

451 Research has distilled two years of conversations with their clients, demand-side research and the insight of their analyst team into a planning framework that can help organizations take on the future on their own terms. It’s not a quadrant, a wave or a platform. It doesn’t admonish you with prescriptive technology imperatives. It’s our collective view of the most important factors shaping tomorrow, so we can begin to plan today. It outlines trends that are pushing them and the assesses the maturity of the technologies that are behind them. We have identified four key "forces" that define all the trends we foresee: Universal Risk, Invisible Infrastructure, Pervasive Intelligence, and Contextual Experience. Whether you’re an enterprise, a vendor or a service provider, these forces, together or in part, are rocking your world, and 4SIGHT is an essential tool to plan for better future outcomes. This webinar will look at 4SIGHT capabilities and some of the outcomes that it can achieve, and explore some examples of 4SIGHT dialogs.

Join Eric Hanselman, Robert Mahowald and Simon Robinson for this webinar and see how you can raise your planning game!
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Introducing 4SIGHT Part 1: Contextual Experience

At our 14th annual Hosting Cloud & Transformation Summit last month, 451 Research CEO Martin McCarthy unveiled 4SIGHT, a new extensive report detailing the major forces of innovation reshaping the digital enterprise landscape. Serving as a framework for our clients to help plan for the future – as well as underpinning our research agenda – the report describes four major categories that will drive the industry over the next decade: Invisible Infrastructure, Pervasive Intelligence, Contextual Experience and Universal Risk. In this post, we provide an overview of our thinking around Contextual Experience.

We define Contextual Experience as the interactions between a customer, worker or citizen and an organization that are augmented by rich sources of real-time information, delivered in the right way at the right time for a friction-free experience.

As technology becomes central to how individuals experience the world around them, it shifts the center of gravity from businesses to individuals in an unprecedented way. Business is being redefined from a transactional relationship between people into a more nuanced, tangled relationship between humans and the automated systems and devices they use to engage with the world. With it, the balance of power between organizations and their customers changes dramatically across virtually all industries. Prices and products are no longer enough to influence decisions. Instead, customers place a higher value on experiences. Employees will also value experiences and will need more motivation than compensation, benefits and an appealing corporate mission statement from their workplace.

With the explosion in new types of physical, digital and blended experiences, the battleground is moving beyond businesses providing ‘omni-channel’ strategies. Users will soon be expecting intelligent, immersive, pervasive and seamless experiences, all personalized to their own changing context.

For example, think about your relationship with your smartphone and how you use it. We found that 80% of online purchases in 2017 were influenced by mobile and that the average person will have more conversations with machine-learning-enabled bots than with other humans each day within a decade. It will behoove organizations to work toward delivering such contextual experiences to their consumers to avoid being passed over in the future.

From an enterprise perspective, successful organizations will adapt their technology stacks and utilize new inputs to create the Liquid Enterprise – enabling them to organize more fluidly around their customers and their workers. Businesses that can quickly and easily marshal and manage human resources to organize responsively around users’ ever-changing requirements will be on top in the future.

In short, technology will become central to how individuals experience the world around them, and enterprises will be expected to cater to the users’ preferred ways of consuming information, engaging the brand and completing work. We are starting to see these changes today, but these developments will increase over the next decade.

There is much more to learn about the long-term effects and predictions within the 4SIGHT report. Current customers can contact their sales rep; otherwise, apply for a trial to learn more.
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Empowered users drive Contextual Experiences

Contextual experiences are driven by changes in user behavior, empowered by technologies such as smartphones, machine learning and the cloud. However, they have as much to do with demographic and lifestyle changes as they do with the technology that enables them. Given that 80% of online purchases in 2018 will be influenced by mobile, and within a decade the average person will have more conversations with bots than with other humans each day, organizations that fail to deliver contextual experiences will be passed over for those that do.

Users, not organizations, will increasingly determine how they consume information, engage with brands and get work done. Today's empowered users can now dictate the terms of their business engagements. According to data from 451 Research's Voice of the Connected User Landscape (VoCUL): 1H 2017 Corporate Mobility and Digital Transformation, 82% of businesses say that machine learning for automated contextual recommendations is important to creating personalized experiences. Growth in data for contextualized experiences, empowered by technologies such as mobile, cloud and machine learning, will create a significant gap between digital leaders and laggards when it comes to using technologies for strategic innovation.

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As intelligence becomes pervasive, data becomes the ultimate asset

Matt Aslett, Research Director, Data Platforms & Analytics
John Abbott, Founder & Distinguished Analyst

'Intelligence' is the ability to capture, analyze, understand and act on information, including the ability to recognize patterns, comprehend ideas, plan, predict, problem-solve, identify actions and make faster decisions. Traditionally, business intelligence has almost exclusively involved humans analyzing data generated by enterprise applications. But we are now in the midst of a revolution toward 'Pervasive Intelligence,' fueled by self-service analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and deep learning, and business process automation tools and techniques – and enabled by the new economics of generating, storing and processing data.

Pervasive Intelligence has the potential to rapidly change the technology product and services landscape. Vendors that are able to translate data into value will survive and thrive. Those that do not will be left behind. We expect Pervasive Intelligence to be a significant catalyst for the rapid evolution of products and services. Those applications and services with the analytics and AI capabilities to translate data into intelligence will succeed, while those without will fall by the wayside. However, incumbent data platforms and analytics vendors hold the best cards due to their established installed customer bases and their substantial cash reserves, enabling them to acquire potential challengers and invest in research and development.

Pervasive Intelligence Data As The Ultimate Asset
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As infrastructure becomes invisible, we are all service providers

The following is an excerpt of 4Sight, 451 Research's newly-released research framework. In the coming months, we'll be releasing a series of Spotlights on 4Sight and its major themes--Invisible Infrastructure, Pervasive Intelligence, Universal Risk and Contextual Experience.

William Fellows, Founder & Research Vice President, Cloud
John Abbott, Founder & Distinguished Analyst
Al Sadowski, Research Vice President, Voice of the Service Provider

In the course of two decades, the hardware layer of infrastructure has mostly commodified, with the value shifting to software and services; consequently, to the consumers, the actual infrastructure itself – the place where logic is processed and data is stored – is less relevant. As long as it is secure, compliant, reliable, available on demand and cost-effective, they are happy. To the end consumer, the underlying infrastructure is almost entirely invisible. Service providers of all types have to automate service delivery and process – infrastructure is an afterthought at this point – and continually improve their speed and efficiency of reliable, repeatable, profitable services. The cloud era's consumption-based, service-driven, retail model discipline is the engine of transformation.

According to 451 Research's Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud, Hosting and Managed Services, Budgets and Outlook 2017, enterprises cite moving workloads off-premises as the top reason for increasing IT budgets – the clear beneficiary of this transition to hosted applications being hosters and public cloud providers. Every company is becoming a service provider, and software is the new hardware in the digital enterprise. Consequently, service providers will need to raise their software IQs in order to remain relevant.

We Are All Service Providers
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