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    When Clippy, Microsoft's paper-clip assistant, disappeared in 1998, it was hardly missed; it was both annoying and offered little value to users. Zip forward 16 years: Microsoft has just introduced Cortana, a new personal digital assistant that the firm will launch on Windows Phone in the coming months. Powered by Bing, and about two years in the making, Cortana will be important if Microsoft gets it right. Here's why it's an exciting development:

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    Google acquired Nest for billions, and then Facebook spent several more billion on Oculus VR. We're only a few months into 2014, and already billions have been spent by some of the world's largest digital players, with each of these companies eager to own the next big thing. Mobile is right here, right now, but everyone knows that very soon, there will be something else. But what else?

    In the battle to find and claim the next device that everyone will want, these companies will soon realize that next big thing is not a thing at all: It's your voice.

    Voice control suffers from the same things plaguing augmented reality or virtual reality: It has been around for so long that we think we know what it is. Any fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation knows that voice control involves invoking an invisible computer with a command, "Computer," followed by a query, "How many Klingons does it take to screw in a light bulb?" Maybe that's a question you don't want the answer to, but the computer -- as voiced by Majel Barrett in the TV series -- would know it.

    It's possibly a long history of popular depictions of voice control that made us collectively show so much enthusiasm for Siri when Apple first debuted it in 2011. It's also partly to blame for why we quickly turned on Siri, declaring her soothing semi-robotic tones to be merely amusing at best or irrelevant at worst.

    When Microsoft recently announced its long-rumored Cortana voice service for Windows Phone 8.1 as a catch-up to both Siri and Google Now's own voice interface, the interest was modest, perhaps because if Siri hasn't changed the way millions of Apple users use millions of Apple devices, how can Microsoft initiate a wave of behavior change when it has so few Windows Phone users?

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    Enterprises deliver services poorly, especially to themselves. From onboarding employees to approving contracts, when you need someone else’s help, the results are often dismal. “Send an email to our shared Inbox so we can ignore it” is too often the default. This won’t work in the Age of the Customer. Your employees are full participants in […]

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    As our clients know, I’ve been writing a lot about strategies for recruiting and retaining developers, and building shop cultures where they can thrive. In the U.S. we’re currently in a sellers market when it comes to development talent. According to the BLS, firms will need to find almost half a million developers between 2014 […]

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    Mobile self-checkout technology promises to not only streamline the physical checkout experience, but more importantly, to bring an augmented digital shopping experience to the physical store. When mobile self-checkout shoppers scan items to put in their physical baskets, digital business leaders will have real-time digital basket data to drive more relevant up-sell, cross-sell, and contextual […]

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  • 08/07/17--09:05: The Battle For Talent
  • In last week’s episode of Forrester’s What It Means podcast, Marc Cecere and Jeffrey Hammond discuss today’s real and potentially dangerous gaps in talent — and how companies are making fundamental changes to strengthen their position in the market. Podcast Transcript Victor Milligan: Hi, I’m Victor Milligan. Jennifer Isabella: And I’m Jennifer Isabella. Victor Milligan: Your co-hosts for Forrester’s podcast What It […]

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    THE MANIFESTO Summer is a good time for reflection. At this time of the year, many take a week or two away from the crush of meetings and deadlines to spend time with friends, family, and to dwell in the clarity beyond the grind. I spent some of this time thinking about how the work […]

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    In five years you’ll be using Insight PaaS for big data in the public cloud. On-premise won’t be an option. Here is why. Cloud Is The Hottest Market For Big Data Technology The shift to the cloud for big data is on. In fact, global spending on big data solutions via cloud subscriptions will grow […]

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  • 08/09/17--07:01: Road Trippin’
  • I took a trip this past weekend and realized that part of my travel was a good reminder of how to think of the overall customer journey. So I thought I’d take the time to tell you all one example I had from this weekend as a consumer out in the wild. My fiance and […]

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    Forrester’s European tech market forecast for 2017 and 2018 has just been published (see “European Tech Market Outlook For 2017 To 2018”). We project that growth in purchases of technology software, hardware, and services by European businesses and government measured in Euros will hold steady at 1.6% in 2017, and increase to 2.2% in 2018. […]

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    It’s not quite the dog days of summer, so more often than not, I can keep my windows at home open. And at Forrester, the B2B marketing team is heads down, finalizing a lineup of amazing speakers and reviewing draft content for the (your) B2B Marketing 2017 forum coming up the first week of October […]

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    Marketers are having a Back to the Future moment: AdWeek, MarketWatch, MarketingProfs, and others have sung the praises of television. And in January, the CMO of Coca-Cola presented analytic proof that TV delivers stronger ROI than digital. With cable-cutters, cord-nevers, and Millennials’ preference for over-the-top (OTT) TV viewing, it’s easy to predict the demise of […]