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Yesterday, we published a press release on some research that we commissioned from a independent research firm. I wanted to give a bit more background to the research and how we intend to use it.
Our intent in doing this research was twofold:
(a) To discover something new about the markets that Progress operate in and validate some of our own beliefs about the market (or dispel them).
(b) To gather some interesting and relevant information to act as talking points around the things we think are important for our customers and prospective customers, as well, of course, as being commercially relevant to us.
We commissioned the research company Vanson Bourne to do this research and whilst we worked with them on the scoping of it, it was left entirely to them to execute on that scope.
We wanted to hear from end-users so a range of questions were posed to 400 organisations in Europe and the US in three industries - telecommunications, energy generation and logistics. No vendors, analysts or systems integrators were approached.
The questions were all around the theme of "operational responsiveness" - how good are firms at monitoring their operations, identifying issues with process execution, interacting with their customers, extracting and integrating information etc. In particular how good are firms at dealing with the business events which are flowing around, both internally and externally, and how good are they at acting on them in a timely fashion?
Why did we pick these three verticals? Firstly, we couldn't cover everybody and we wanted to go to more companies in a few verticals rather than go very broad. Secondly, we believe that these three verticals are the most interesting when it comes to the demands being placed upon them to cope with business events (Financial services is another obvious one but we know quite a lot about the demands in that industry already). Telecommunications firms are very dependent upon IT to differentiate their services; logistics companies are using more and more technology to track goods, trucks, ships etc. to streamline and automate their operations; energy producers are having to rapidly plan for the introduction of smart metering.
We're still digesting the results. But a few are worth highlighting here. Social networking is creating a significant challenge for all organisations in dealing with customer feedback - consumers expect instant feedback to their interactions. Organisations aspire to more dynamic and real-time pricing of goods and services to increase their competitiveness and maintain margins. And companies struggle with achieving a holistic view of how their processes are operating, both to operationally identify issues before they become expensive to fix or affect customer services, and to identify ways in which processes can be shortened.
We'll be talking more about the research results soon, both qualitatively and quantitatively.
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