Published on November 25, 2013 by R "Ray" Wang
IBM Acquires Fiberlink (MaaS360) For Mobile Management And Security
On November 13th, Blue Bell, PA based Fiberlink Communications signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Armonk, NY based IBM for an undisclosed sum. Fiberlink has over 3500 clients in key verticals such as financial, retail, public sector, education, and healthcare. IBM expects to close the acquisition at year’s end. The deal is significant to customers because:
- IBM is committed to deliver one stop mobility via acquisitions and organic growth. IBM has made eight acquisitions in the last 18 months (see Figure 1). In 2012, IBM acquired Emptoris, Worklight, and Tealeaf Mobile. Urban Code, The Now Factory, Xtify, Trusteer, and Fiberlink formed the 2013 acquisition list. Along the way in 2012, IBM launched three mobile offerings: IBM Endpoint Manager for mobile devices, IBM Connections Mobile, and IBM Security Access Manager for Cloud and Mobile. In 2013, IBM made the IBM Mobile First announcement along with the IBM Message Sight solution.
Point of View (POV): Mobile is the key onramp to digital business. The average individual is no further than three feet from their devices and always on 14 to 15 hours a day. Unfortunately, today’s mobile offerings often are piecemeal and incomplete. IBM has made a strategic bet to provide the end to end mobile first life cycle. IBM sees four key entry points for mobile: build, engage, transform, and optimize. Worklight and Urban code addresses build. IBM Connections Mobile, Tealeaf CX Mobile, and IBM Xtify enable human interaction for engage while IBM MessageSight enables machine to machine (M2M) communications. Meanwhile, the Now Factory provides big data insights to support the transform entry point. Emptoris Rivermine Telecom expense management, IBM Endpoint Manager, IBM Security Access Manager, Trusteer end point security, and IBM Urban Code release automation are part of the optimize entry point.
- Mobile management is a critical function for successful BYOD and IBM’s Mobile First strategy. MaaS360 provides a cloud based mobility management platform and an on-premises version will be available shortly. The solution is policy based to support a wide range of BYOD security and privacy requirements. MaaS360 supports mobile device management (MDM), mobile content management, and mobile applicant management including containerization.
Published on November 22, 2013 by R "Ray" Wang
Commerce Server Finds Its Logical Home
On Wednesday November 20th, 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark based Sitecore acquired Ottawa, Canada based commerceserver.net for an undisclosed price. Originally known as the Microsoft Siteserver and Commerce Server 2000, the product was orphaned by Microsoft, then Ascentium, the key development partner were given the rights to further develop and market the product. Adding to the lore, Ascentium changed their name to SMITH in the Fall of 2012 and the product group was rebranded to commerceserver.net.
Sitecore’s acquisition continues a consolidation trend in the Matrix Commerce market where vendors are aggregating technologies to support a buyer centric approach to customer experience. Constellation believes customers should pay attention because Sitecore:
- Signals seriousness to deliver on end to end customer experience. Sitecore’s portfolio includes its core web content management offerings and an emerging set of digital marketing assets. Commerce Server adds key B2C functionality for hard goods, digital goods, and web based services; B2B capabilities in trading communities and e-procurement; complex B2X scenarios; and personalized portals.
Point of View (POV): Addition of commerceserver.net fills one key hole in Sitecore’s customer experience management portfolio. Customers and prospects can expect additional acquisitions from the new management team. In fact, the company has brought in heavy hitters such as a new CRO and CMO over the past 12 months. Constellation believes that Sitecore is serious in completing key holes in the end to end customer experience story and moving up the stack to support a range of small to large enterprise customers. In fact, Commerce Sever 10 scales up to support 220,000o orders/day on a 12 hour peak, 60 million user profiles, 10 million item catalogs, 100,000 catalogs and virtual catalogs, and hosting support for 100 active, 1000 provisioned. Constellation believes the acquistion places Sitecore in the direct battle with Adobe, IBM, Oracle, and SAP for customer experience and commerce.
- Ensures Commerce Server a friendly and natural home. Commerce Server brings its core Microsoft heritage. Dependencies include Microsoft SQL Server, .NET, Commerce Server Staging (CSS), and Component Object Model. Commerce Server also plays well with other Microsoft server stack components including Biz Talk Server and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. Sitecore’s software is built on a Microsoft.NET platform. Deployable in Microsoft Azure, the core CMS can use Oracle or Microsoft for the database and content can be stored in either .NET or XML objects.
(POV): Customers should find relief that the Commerce Server assets return back to a product centric company. While SMITH (formerly known as Ascentium), a digital experience agency, served as a reasonable owner and even delivered the latest version 10 release, software cultures and services business models often clash. Why? The research and development investment required to take products to market work against the resource utilization and project focus required for successful services. Constellation will measure integration success by how well the team builds and accelerates the original major release plans (see Figure 1).
- Gains critical ecosystem assets. Commerce Server brings 3000 customers and 25 partners around the world. Partners range from 17 enterprise providers, hosting providers, training, ISV, and consultants. Key industries for Commerce Server include retail, manufacturing, and e-government. Sitecore brings over 3000 customers, 1000 certified business partners in 50 countries, 8,000 certified developers, and 17,000 active members in the developer ecosystem.
(POV): Prior to the acquisition, Commerce Server product holes included content management, search, analytics, campaign management, and other key customer experience management capabilities. Sitecore fills many of these product gaps and adds a larger ecosystem. Customers can expect significant cross-training among the partners as they integrate the Commerce Server assets into their portfolios.
Figure 1. The Pre SiteCore Acquisition Commerce Server Road Map Continue Reading…
Published on October 12, 2013 by R "Ray" Wang
Digital Distribution Leader Gains West Coast VC Backing
On October 7th, 2013, private equity firm, Francisco Partners acquired Avangate, a leader in digital commerce and subscription billing. Avangate serves over 3,000 customers across more than 100 countries. Avangate has experienced 70% year over year growth over the past six years. The deal terms were not publicly disclosed and was led by My Le Nguyen.
Constellation sees this development significant for buyers and prospects because Avangate:
- Gains critical west coast financial community backing. The acquisition of Francisco Partners supposedly includes a buy-out of existing investors. My Le Ngueyn of Francisco Partners is also an investor and board member at GXS, EF Johnson Technologies, and WatchGuard Technologies.
Point of View (POV): Avangate frees itself from the shackles of non-west coast investors who tend not to invest for high growth and lack the key networks of Silicon Valley based investors. My Le is a rising star at Francisco and will help Avangate invest in future areas of growth. The buy out of existing partners and shift to US-based ownership and technology ecosystem is critical to Avangate’s continued success trajectory.
- Invests in key customer facing and product areas. Avangate provides what Constellation terms as a matrix commerce platform. The product delivers a unfied online eCommerce, subscription billing, global payments, and reseller & affiliate management offering. Avangate targets individual developers and large organizaitons such as FICO, Kaspersky, and Software AG.
Point of View (POV): Constellation expects the management team to invest deeper in product development, sales, customer service, and marketing. Recent customer successes requires Avangate to adequately support its growing vendor customer base with more engineering support, professional services, and product management resources. Expect continued expansion of Avangate’s online commerce and subscription billing capabilities.
- Expands geographically and through mergers. New investment round provides opportunities to grow in new digital commerce hot spots as well as fund additional technology and customer base acquisitions.
Point of View (POV): Many opportunities exist in areas with high mobile penetration and digital commerce growth. Avangate could build upon its international strength given its European founding to expand its presence more into India, Indonesia, and Latin America to support both vendors selling into, as well as exporting out of those rapidly growing markets.
The Bottom Line: Matrix Commerce Platforms Continue To Gain Traction With B2B and B2C Customers
Published on October 8, 2013 by R "Ray" Wang
2013 Marks A Change Of Guard In The HR Technology Conference
Over 8,000 attendees gathered for the industry’s biggest and baddest event around human resources technology and the future of work at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. This year marked a few key milestones:
- Legendary HR icon, Bill Kutik steps down from the conference chair role but will still be very active
- Steve Boese takes over as the new HR Tech conference chair
- HR Tech category pioneer Naomi Bloom announced her transition to a new business model
- A record 303 vendors versus 257 from last year
- 20% increase in buyers at the event
- HR tonight show with co-hosts Bill Kutik and Naomi Bloom was a hit with Leighanne Levensaler, Brian Sommer, Patricia Milligan, and John Sumser.
The Buying Cycle Is Back!
From the level of attendees, quality of questions in the booth, conversation in the hall, and the number of prospect conversations about technology selection, it’s obvious the conversation has turned from kicking the tires to can we buy by Q4. Some observations and trends from speaking with hundreds of attendees at the event: