Posts Tagged ‘business value’

News Analysis: SAP Business Suite on HANA

Next Stop On The Road To HANA: SAP Business Suite

In a global announcement in Palo Alto, New York and Frankfurt, SAP’s top executives Dr. Vishal Sikka, Rob Enselin, Jim Haggeman Snabe, and legendary founder and chairman Dr. Hasso Plattner announced availability of SAP’s Business Suite powered by SAP HANA.  SAP has rewritten the Business Suite to work on SAP’s HANA platform and believes that customers will benefit for four reasons:

  • Smarter. The embedding of intelligence at the transactional level opens up new business models and process transformation.  SAP’s customer Derek Dyer, Director of Global SAP Services for Deere and Company, emphasized that SAP ERP powered by SAP HANA has “revolutionized” how products and services are introduced to the market, especially in the MRP world.  They see some transformational innovation as a result to faster MRP runs.

    Point of View (POV):
    Embedded intelligence has been a key failure in today’s existing transactional applications.  Customers have sought access to not only real time reporting, but also prediction.  The goal is to get to smarter decisions at all levels of the organization. Customers will benefit from embedded intelligence.  However, this will require people and technology training of the system to identify the patterns and algorithms required to serve up insight on demand.  This will require intelligence at every vertical and micro vertical business process.  Moreover, right-time requirements for in-context computing will turn out to be the surprise benefit as relevancy becomes more important through time, location, role, relationship, sentiment, and intent.  Relevancy and context provide the smartness that is missing in today’s systems.
  • Faster. SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA addresses the need for speed.  The in-memory columnar database reduces the input/output (I/O) time and allows for fast access to information.  The result – faster processing and faster scenario evaluation.  Fast transaction management times lead to faster decision making.

    (POV):
    The analytics and crunching capabilities is what’s driving organizations to seek faster speed.  Speed is the difference between a five day drug recall and a five minute drug recall.  Speed is the difference between a 30 day supply chain plan versus the ability to reroute 2 iPhones to your store in 30 seconds.  The impact is huge for customers if SAP does succeed.  SAP’s not the first to do this as Workday has already done this for HR and Finance.  However, for the entire SAP suite and given SAP’s market share, this is a big deal as this reduces the need for separate business intelligence systems.  The performance difference will create a huge competitive advantage for those who adopt versus those who do not.
  • Simpler. SAP Business Suite on HANA delivers consumer grade user experiences.  The goal is to embed live insight into business processes to drive immediate action.  Today, people expect consumer-grade user experiences and the power to translate their live insight into immediate action. Enzo Bertolini, CIO, Ferrero Group expects to improve the trade promotions and supply chain planning process through both better simulation and mobile access.

    (POV):
    SAP Business Suite on HANA provides SAP an opportunity to rethink how information is created, consumed, and shared.  The push to a design thinking focus within SAP has led to significant improvement of the user experience throughout their portfolio of products.  SAP Business Suite on HANA will be an opportunity to show case this new user experience.
  • Open. SAP plans to support database technology and vendor choice for its customers.  Many database partners have committed to work with SAP support in-memory optimizations and provide the necessary support to ensure that customers will succeed.  SAP is providing rapid deployment solutions, trained implementation consultants, and a comprehensive set of services to help clients make the migration to SAP HANA.

    (POV):
    SAP has the opportunity to drive down database costs and improve performance.  While the pricing model will be based on the percentage of application value, SAP must find a way to drive down overall costs if it is serious about improving adoption.  This licensing requirement must be addressed as it will emerge as the most significant barrier to adoption.

SAP Faces A Challenge of Adoption Not Because of Technology, But Because of Customer Vision

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Event Report: Dreamforce X (#DF12) Emerges As The South By Southwest (#SXSW) For The Enterprise

Dreamforce Represents The Mecca For The “Art Of The Possible” In The Enterprise

Whether Salesforce.com’s flagship conference at Moscone Center was the most attended conference (~48,000) or the most registered for event (~90,000), matters not.  When examined in context of the magnitude of what was accomplished, the impact of this 10th annual event transcends attendance numbers.  Business folks and the converted IT brethren converged on the week of  September 18th, 2012, to see what the future could be inside the enterprise.  They left with inspiration and the gospel of what was possible, as told by those before them.  The event represented the intersection of where aspiration meets innovation for the enterprise.

Key takeaways from interviews with over 100 attendees reflect the following trends:

  • Attendee sentiment signals the return of the front office.  Prior to the coining of the CRM term, front office was the term which defined marketing, service, eCommerce, and sales force automation.  The move back to integrated customer experiences reflects a renewed interest in all the front office touch points and all the support in the back office required to support the customer experience.  Attendees walked in with questions about how to integrate their legacy ERP and expose their transactional systems into the front office.
  • Customers seek knowledge and case studies on business transformation. Delegations arrived to see how they could change their business.  Most came with both business and IT to learn from the best practices of others.  Almost every customer case study session was packed and common questions revolved around, “How did you do that?”
  • Product announcements and pre-announcements bring the enterprise closer to the consumer experience. Pre-announcement of Salesforce Identity for Winter 2013 will provide users with Facebook-like single sign on and identity management services.  The availability of the Touch Platform services will provide a write once, deploy anywhere touch based mobile UI Experience.  The pre-announcement of the Force.com Canvas provides a UI layer to run any other application within the Salesforce.com environment.  The App Exchange Checkout delivers out of the box billing for developers and improves the users app store experience.  Geolocation capabilities in the pilot of database.com in the Winter 2013 release will improve mobile experiences.  Chatter communities pilot in Fall of 2012 and pre-announcement addresses the issue of multiple group management.
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Monday’s Musings: The New Engagement Platform Drives The Shift From Transactions

Convergence In The Five Forces Of Consumerization Of Technology Drives The Next Big Thing

Social has given us the tools to connect.  Mobile has given us the ability to interact any time and anywhere.  Cloud delivers access points to us with a rich array of content and information.  Big data provides us with the context and information to make decisions.  Unified communications and video transform how we share ideas.  This convergence of the five forces of consumerization drives the next shifts in technology.  The move from transaction to engagement and from engagement to experience is happening now.  The era of transactional apps rapidly makes way for the era of engagement.

If Business Value And Outcomes Are The Goal, Then We Need An Engagement Platform For The Enterprise

The arrival of engagement platforms does not signify time to throw out the transactional systems. In fact, those systems provide the foundation required for engagement.  The engagement layer exposes transactions and allow for deeper interaction and richer sources of information.  However, the transactional systems lack the ability to support engagement.

In fact, organizations around the world struggle with building the right engagement strategy for their customers and employees.  While crafting the right strategy should be designed prior to any technology selection, once completed, the technology to support the strategy does not exist out of the box from ANY solution provider.  Unfortunately, the technologies to achieve engagement remain disparate and hodge podge.   Many solution providers seek to achieve the engagement layer from different heritages:

  • Pure play social solutions morph to engagement apps.  Vendors such as Broadvision, Jive, Moxie, Lithium, Tibco, and Yammer have delivered many elements of the engagement layer.  These horizontal offerings provide an opportunity to assimilate disparate offerings across multiple processes and roles.  The challenge is finding the tools that support consistent integration at the process, meta data, and data layer.  Gamification vendors such as Badgeville, Bunchball, BigDoor, Crowdtwist, and Gigya play a key role in delivering outcomes and influencing behavior through engagement.  Platforms such as Atlasian, Box, GoodData, and Tidemark open the door to a new era of engagement apps.
  • Legacy transactional systems in transition to engagement. Major ERP and CRM vendors seek to address engagement with “social” and “mobile” features.  While many of the vendors have the components for engagement, the struggle will be to embed a sense and respond design point into both the interaction layer and process flows.  Salesforce embraces the social enterprise and uses Chatter as its entry point in creating engagement.  SAP attempts this with its CubeTree/SuccessFactors acquisition in Project Robus.  Oracle attacks this problem through a customer experience suite.  Microsoft acquired Yammer to create this layer inside Office and its Business Solutions portfolio. IBM embraces social business with a series of acquisitions and product enhancements to its IBM Connections product.  More importantly, IBM has built and acquired a portfolio of software solutions that sit on top of the legacy transactional systems, delivering high value and high impact.
  • Consumer offerings could enter the enterprise. With consumerization of IT increasing, platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter provide a rich engagement platform that could be adopted in the enterprise.  Meanwhile, solutions providers such as Adobe blend consumer with enterprise as they provide the tools for engagement on the web and in mobile.  The challenge is dealing with societal norms between work and personal information.  The challenge is meeting enterprise class requirements for safety, security, and sustainability.
  • Vertically integrated prosumer platforms already deliver engagement. Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft have the unique capability of delivering an end to end solution from hardware, consumer device, operating system, database, applications, and partner ecosystem.  Engagement platforms form the basis of future business models as consumer and enterprise blend into prosumers.  The challenge is meeting the disparate needs of enterprise and consumer.
  • Marketing and advertising networks provide rich profiles and targeting.  The ad networks are moving fast to shift engagement and offers.  While daily deal sites play one role, companies like Glam Networks also now deliver key components for ad targeting and optimization that compete with Google, Apple, Yahoo, and other media properties.   Marketing automation platforms such as
    Eloqua, Hubspot, InfusionSoft, Marketo, NeoLane, Pardot, and Parature already have may key components.  The challenge is engendering trust among the users or consumers to share more information in exchange for deemed value.

Figure 1. Technologies Will Evolve  From Transactions to P2P

The Engagement Platform Requires Nine Main Technology Components

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Tuesday’s Tip: The Big Question In Big Data Is…What’s The Question?

All The Current Talk Of Big Data Technology Misses The Point

The hype around big data has crescendoed to the levels of SOA in the early 2000′s, cloud in the late 2000′s, and social in the past few years.   Unfortunately the hype is creating three main pitfalls:

  1. A morass of confused definitions. In fact a quick survey of any educated audience, yields a multitude of definitions.  Some folks see big data as large data sets and data warehouses, others see big data as code for analytics and BI.  Many see the output of big data as infographics or the hardware behind the support of big data.  The V’s of big data continue to expand from volume, velocity, and variety to include veracity, viscosity, and virality.  Some folks even have 16 V’s in their definitions.
  2. Solutions confusion among buyers. A technology vendor land grab for mind share with big data is happening now the same way everyone adopted cloud.  Hardware vendors now enable big data.  Storage providers now deliver big data solutions.  Integration vendors provide plumbing and intelligent connections for big data.  Analytical vendors now all support big data.  Some folks like to confuse Hadoop with big data.  Everyone has a solution, just not the solution a buyer thinks they need.  Confused capabilities continue to proliferate amidst a lack of good customer references.  Customers feel the chaos.
  3. Discussion on technology options not business problems. The discussion about big data has evolved into a technology conversation not a business value or transformation conversation.  Clients immediately talk about products and technologies without defining the problem to be solved.  Technology investments take over the discussions on solution development.

Recommendations: Focus On the Questions To Ask, Not The Answers.

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Monday’s Musing: Avoiding Social Media Fatigue Through Engagement

Social Media Moves From Ubiquitous Usage To Relevant Rationalization

Have we hit a social media plateau?  In recent client conversations on usage of social media, the trendsetters appear to be “socialed out”.   Most early adopters seem to be overwhelmed with their personal (Facebook, Google+), corporate (Yammer, Jive, Chatter, SharePoint), and professional (LinkedIn) social networks.  In fact, respondents feel that adding any additional network for anything social is quite overwhelming.  While early adopters are moving from ubiquitous usage to relevant rationalization, the majority remains in ubiquitous usage (see Figure 1).  Recent data on number of users at the Big 4 of social media show that we are in the middle of ubiquitous usage:

  • Facebook (901M users as of Feb 2012)
  • Twitter (500M users as of March 2012)
  • LinkedIn (161M users as of March 2012)
  • Google+ (100M users as of Feb 2012)

Early Adopters Facing Social Media Fatigue

As early adopters start rationalizing their networks, some are even pulling out.  From loss of interest in Google+, Empire Avenue, to even FaceBook, people have started to selectively choose networks to combat overload and social media fatigue.  The common theme – relevant rationalization by self-interest.   These trends parallel those for mail, phone, email, web and other disruptive technologies.  Going forward, users will move towards desensitization when the advertisers and companies abuse the channel by spamming users with an unwanted deluge of irrelevant offers.

The Bottom Line: Engage Users To Combat Fatal Fatigue In The Disruptive Tech Adoption Life Cycle

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Monday’s Musings: Why Are Innovative CIO’s Betting Less On Cloud And Virtualization?

Innovative CIO’s Betting On Disruptive Technologies That Impact Enterprise Business Value

In the Four Personas of the Next Gen CIO published March 3, 2012, four personas of the CIO were identified: Chief Infrastructure Officer, Chief Integration Officer, Chief Intelligence Officer, and Chief Innovation Officer (see Figure 1).  This research of 79 progressive CIO’s identified the key projects for each of the personas.  As part of the survey, respondents were asked what key disruptive technologies would make an impact in the enterprise in the next year.

Figure 1. The Four Personas Of The Next Generation CIO

Source: Constellation Research, Inc.

In Constellation’s latest update (to be published May 2012), 105 innovative CIOs participated in the survey.  The results indicate a shift away from cloud  (56.4%-2012) and virtualization (29.6% – 2012) to mobile (60.2%-2012) and big data and analytics (48.7%-2012) (see Figure 2).  Despite being the top projects in 2011, the drop in priority of virtualization (51.9%-2011) and cloud (69.6%-2011) doesn’t reflect the lack of interest.  In fact, these projects have matured and innovative CIOs have now prioritized the next wave of innovation.

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Quark Summary: What CFOs Need to Know About SaaS and Cloud Integration

Forward And Commentary

This document addresses many questions asked by CFO’s about cloud deployments and the top integration questions often asked by CFO’s responsible for key business initiatives that involve technology.

A. Executive Summary

Organizations have escalated their adoption of cloud computing and SaaS applications in the past 3 years. As part of the broader trend in consumerization of IT (CoIT), business leaders have slowly tipped the balance of power in determining technology acquisition. However, the proliferation of adoption has led to organizational chaos in data, process and meta data integration as users adopt and deploy the cloud in silos without considering the implications of organizational silos and services oriented architecture (SOA).  As cloud integration emerges as an enterprise-wide issue, CFOs must get acquainted with the cost-value equation of cloud and SaaS applications. Why? Cloud integration emerges as a key competency for successful organizations seeking to innovate while maximizing returns on investment. Consequently, CFOs should understand ten key points on why they must master cloud integration.

B. Research Findings

The rapid adoption of cloud computing by business leaders unfortunately creates a bespoke environment technically known as “best of breed cloud hell.” With so many disparate systems in a loosely federated model, data rapidly becomes siloed, business processes easily become fragmented, and coordination across functional fiefdoms quickly becomes difficult.  Consequently, cloud integration emerges as a key enabler in reducing the costs and improving the benefits of cloud computing. Recent conversations with 22 CFOs addressed these ten key questions:

  1. What is cloud integration?
  2. Why is cloud integration a growing competency for the CFO?
  3. Is cloud integration more or less expensive?
  4. Which integration approach is best in the long run?
  5. How does cloud integration mitigate project risk?
  6. What’s the business value for cloud integration?
  7. Will bring your own device (BYOD) policies require cloud integration?
  8. How can I support social media?
  9. Do big data and cloud integration go hand in hand?
  10. What kind of projects make sense for cloud integration?

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News Analysis: Spinnaker Expands JD Edwards Support With Versytec Acquisition

Versytec Acquisition Addresses Growing Demand For JD Edwards Support


Denver, Colorado based Spinnaker Management announced on March 6th, 2012 its acquisition of competitor Versytec.  For those who remember their third party maintenance (3PM) history, Versytec was among the first firms to announce third-party maintenance services within a year after PeopleSoft acquired JD Edwards in July 18, 2003.  Constellation estimates that Nashua, New Hampshire based Versytec had between 35 to 40 active 3PM customers.

Third-party maintenance describes support and maintenance offerings delivered by non-OEM providers. These vendors can provide a range of options from basic break/fix to bug fixes, performance optimization, tax and regulatory updates, and customization support. Keep in mind, 3PM does not provide access to upgrades and future versions of the OEM’s product. One big driver is the lower cost of delivery, as much as half the cost of the original vendor’s pricing.  Today most customers pay in maintenance and support the equivalent of a new license every 5 years without achieving the value.  For an average JD Edwards customer that upgrades every 15 years, that’s three times the cost of the original license cost.  In the latest Constellation research report, third party maintenance is one of many strategies to free up millions for customers to fund innovation.

The Spinnaker-Versytec deal is important for a few reasons:

  • Many JD Edwards customers seek alternatives to Oracle’s pricey maintenance fees. Software ownership costs continue to escalate as vendors accelerate their efforts to capture support and maintenance revenues.  From inquiries, surveys, and conversations on the ground, many Oracle JD Edwards World and EnterpriseOne ERP customers seek options to buy-time as they consider whether they upgrade or migrate from their current version.  Why?  Most JD Edwards customers run stable environments and do not gain any value from the Oracle one-size fits all 22% support policy.  Most customers seek phone support and tax and regulatory updates.
  • The market needs more options and choices in the third party maintenance market. Many OEM vendors have gone to the extreme to eliminate third-party options for their customers.  This anti-competitive behavior takes away choice for the customer. A bulked up Spinnaker creates a viable organization that has the critical mass to compete with Oracle.   The combined entity provides third party support services to an estimated 100 160 JD Edwards customers across the globe.
  • Spinnaker Support offers a different approach to third party maintenance. Spinnaker couples its third party maintenance options with consulting services providing a one-stop shop for JD Edwards customers.  Spinnaker also differentiates in its download methodology of customer entitled IP from Oracle.  Spinnaker provides customers with a checklist of what to download prior to migration off Oracle support.

The Bottom Line: Users Must Advocate for Third-Party Maintenance Rights Across the Technology Stack

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Research Summary: Best Practices – Three Simple Software Maintenance Strategies That Can Save You Millions

Forward And Commentary

Software ownership costs continue to escalate as vendors accelerate their efforts to capture support and maintenance revenues. Some vendors have gone to the extreme to eliminate third-party options for their customers. This best practices report examines three strategies to free up unnecessary costs to fund innovation and new projects.

A. Introduction

On average, IT budgets are down from 1-5 percent year-over-year, yet software support and maintenance costs continue to escalate ahead of inflation. Hence, continued pressure on IT budgets and a growing need for innovation projects have top business and technology leaders reexamining their software support and maintenance contracts for cost efficiencies.

Based on experience from over 1500 software contract negotiations, Constellation suggests three approaches to reduce the cost of software support and maintenance. Key strategies include third-party maintenance, shelfware reductions and unbundling maintenance contracts as part of every organization’s tech optimization strategy. Successful implementation can lead to savings from 10-25 percent of the IT budget, freeing up cash to fund innovation initiatives.

B. Research FindingsWhy Every Organization Should Consider Third-Party Maintenance, Shelfware Reductions and Unbundling Maintenance Contracts

Most organizations suffocate from the high and hidden cost of support and maintenance. On average, Constellation’s surveys reveal global IT budgets trending down from 1-5 percent year-over-year since 2008. Consumerization of IT, rapidly changing business models, and aging infrastructure have exposed the high cost of software support and maintenance. Because most organizations allocate from 60-85 percent of their budget to keeping the lights on, very little of the budget is left to spend on new projects (see Figure 1).

Organizations can unlock millions by considering third-party maintenance (3PM), reducing shelfware, and keeping support and maintenance contracts unbundled. Each strategy on its own creates opportunities to drive cost savings. All three strategies combined, provide a roadmap for funding innovation.

  1. Third-party maintenance (3PM) delivers the most immediate cost savings and opportunity for innovation. Third-party maintenance describes support and maintenance offerings delivered by non-OEM providers. These vendors can provide a range of options from basic break/fix to bug fixes, performance optimization, tax and regulatory updates, and customization support. Keep in mind, 3PM does not provide access to upgrades and future versions of the OEM’s product. One big driver is the lower cost of delivery, as much as half the cost of the original vendor’s pricing.  The report shows a survey of 268 respondents and why organizations choose 3PM and who the key vendors are.
  2. Reduction of shelfware remains a key pillar in legacy optimization strategies.  Shelfware (i.e. purchased software, not deployed, but incurring annual maintenance fees) is one of the biggest drains on operational expenses for enterprises. The simple definition of shelfware is software you buy and don’t use. For example, an organization that buys 1000 licenses of Vendor X’s latest ERP software and uses 905 licenses, becomes the proud owner of 95 licenses not being utilized. That’s 95 licenses of shelfware because the user will pay support and maintenance on the license whether or not they use the software or not.  The report details 4 successful and proven approaches.
  3. Unbundling maintenance contracts prevents future vendor mischief. About a decade back, vendors would offer support and maintenance as two separate line items on their contracts. Support would run about 5-10 percent of the license fee and so would maintenance. Keep in mind, average support and maintenance fees were under 15 percent back then. Unfortunately, many users have expressed a growing and concerning trend with support and maintenance contracts. Vendors concerns about support and maintenance contract retentions have led to new initiatives to consolidate contracts. At first glance, this may appear to be proactive and beneficial to customers, but the report details three rationales vendors provide and three strategies how to avoid bundling.

Figure 1. Visualizing the High Costs of Support And Maintenance

(Right-click to see full image)

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Monday’s Musings: Beyond The Three V’s of Big Data – Viscosity and Virality

Revisiting the Three V’s of Big Data

It’s time to revisit that original post from July 4th, 2011 post on the the Three V’s of big data.  Here’s the recap:

Traditionally, big data describes data that’s too large for existing systems to process.  Over the past three years, experts and gurus in the space have added additional characteristics to define big data.   As big data enters the mainstream language, it’s time to revisit the definition (see Figure 1.)

  1. Volume. This original characteristic describes the relative size of data to the processing capability. Today a large number may be 10 terabytes.  In 12 months 50 terabytes may constitute big data if we follow Moore’s Law.  Overcoming the volume issue requires technologies that store vast amounts of data in a scalable fashion and provide distributed approaches to querying or finding that data.  Two options exist today: Apache Hadoop based solutions and massively parallel processing databases such as CalPont, EMC GreenPlum, EXASOL, HP Vertica, IBM Netezza,  Kognitio, ParAccel, and Teradata Kickfire
  2. Velocity. Velocity describes the frequency at which data is generated, captured, and shared. The growth in sensor data from devices, and web based click stream analysis now create requirements for greater real-time use cases.  The velocity of large data streams power the ability to parse text, detect sentiment, and identify new patterns.  Real-time offers in a world of engagement, require fast matching and immediate feedback loops so promotions align with geo location data, customer purchase history, and current sentiment.  Key technologies that address velocity include streaming processing and complex event processing.  NoSQL databases are used when relational approaches no longer make sense.  In addition, the use of in-memory data bases (IMDB), columnar databases, and key value stores help improve retrieval of pre-calculated data.
  3. Variety A proliferation of data types from social, machine to machine, and mobile sources add new data types to traditional transactional data.  Data no longer fits into neat, easy to consume structures. New types include content, geo-spatial, hardware data points, location based, log data, machine data, metrics, mobile, physical data points, process, RFID’s, search, sentiment, streaming data, social, text, and web.  The addition of unstructured data such as speech, text, and language increasingly complicate the ability to categorize data.  Some technologies that deal with unstructured data include data mining, text analytics, and noisy text analytics.

Figure 1. The Three V’s of Big Data

Contextual Scenarios Require Two More V’s

In an age where we shift from transactions to engagement and then to experience, the forces of social, mobile, cloud, and unified communications add  two more big data characteristics that should be considered when seeking insights.  These characteristics highlight the importance and complexity required to solve context in big data. More…

Research Summary: Best Practices: Consolidated CRM Deployments Drive Paths to Modernization And Social CRM (SCRM)

Forward And Commentary

As with any maturing product category, CRM applications have evolved over time from point applications to best of breed solutions to end-to-end suites. This report examines some common styles of modernization as CRM emerges from the systems of transaction era to the systems of engagement era and beyond.

A. Introduction

With the average CRM deployment nearing the end of their useful life, over 85 percent of line of business executives and CIOs intend to upgrade their CRM systems in the next 24 months.  Why? Customer expectations and a slew of innovative solutions have changed the delivery of customer centricity. Key factors include the need to adopt disruptive technologies, complete the customer view, and achieve business value.

Constellation’s latest survey of over 200 CRM decision makers highlights a trend to consolidate the CRM core as organizations chart four paths to CRM modernization.  The four paths – stay with status quo, move to shiny new CRM, consolidate and augment, and modernize and surround with best-of-breed – represent pragmatic approaches to achieve customer centricity.

Regardless of approach, Constellation recommends that executives approach CRM modernization with a lens that accounts for including tangibles, intangibles and contingencies in the calculations of business value. Using the Constellation Business Value Framework, organizations can quickly compare the four paths of CRM modernization and determine the most appropriate path.

B. Research FindingsBest Practices Indicate That a Consolidated Core Is the First Step to Modernization

Among 203 respondents, the majority (85.7 percent) intends to make significant efforts to modernize their CRM efforts in the next 24 months (see Figure 1.). The four paths to modernization include:

  1. Stay with status quo (14.3 percent). Organizations may choose to continue business as usual. The catalysts for change include major events such as new business models, merger and acquisition, or regulatory requirements. Status quo includes keeping the system as is. Most organizations in this category have either really good adoption or overbought and barely take advantage of existing capabilities. Backers of the status quo scenario find little business value justification and line of business support in making any changes. Many line of business executives and CIOs gain peace of mind knowing that their CRM landscape remains consolidated on one or two platforms and can deliver the power of an integrated core.
  2. Move to shiny new CRM (21.2 percent). Organizations may choose to stay with their existing vendor to avoid any mass changes in training, adoption and implementation costs. Another popular option will be to do a full out rip and replace. The financial wonks will weigh the cost of a reimplementation against the cost of doing nothing – status quo and making an upgrade with an existing vendor. CIO-led organizations will want the power of an integrated core and minimize point solutions.
  3. Consolidate CRM and augment with best-of-breed (37.9 percent). Organizations may choose to consolidate their CRM environment and surround with best-of-breed applications. SaaS applications and CRM point solutions now play a key role in enabling extensibility to CRM customers. Augmentation with third-party solutions with an integrated core not only ensures that business users gain critical functionality, but also provides users with leverage in future contract negotiations. With CMOs and line of business executives in the front office taking back IT budgets, expect CIOs to argue for consolidation of the core as a call for sanity in overall IT strategy.
  4. Upgrade CRM and surround with best-of-breed (26.6 percent). CRM deployments typically run a five to seven-year life cycle. With the last big set of implementations in the 2004 to 2005 era, almost 50 percent of organizations plan an upgrade. Many line of business executives want to upgrade their core CRM system and then modernize their integrated core by adding best-of-breed apps on top of CRM. This option resonates best with line-of-business-led organizations and those with rapidly changing business models and dynamic businesses.

Figure 1.  Get To SCRM By Taking The Four Paths To CRM Optimization

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Personal Log: Reflections On Constellation Research’s First Year

How It All Began (One Humble Analyst’s POV)

Time flies when you are having fun.  One year ago, we launched at the E20 Conference in Santa Clara.  Our mission – focus on the disruptive technologies of social, mobile, cloud, unified communications, and Government 2.0.

It does seem like just a few months ago, I was planning an exit from Altimeter Group.  It was a critical point in time for Altimeter as there were some differing opinions on the direction of the firm and four of the original partners sought new pastures.   During that change of management, I realized I didn’t want to build the next great social media consulting firm based on open research.  So, I went back to the post I wrote on July 24th, 2010 about the 7 tenets of the next generation research firm.  I reached out to other industry analysts, bloggers, and influencers to see who’d be interested.  I was hoping to find other like-minded folks who hoped to disrupt the industry analyst business.

As luck would have it, a number of fine folks were set to show up at Oracle Open World 2010 in September.  At Moscone Center, Paul Greenberg, Dennis Howlett, Esteban Kolsky, Maribel Lopez, Oliver Marks, Vinnie Mirchandani, Sameer Patel, Frank Scavo, Alan Silberberg, Brian Sommer, and I discussed the idea of starting a new analyst firm.  The conversations were intense and valuable in shaping the original structure of Constellation.  In fact, many of the ideas were battle tested from the experience of the Enterprise Irregulars and many other great independent firms before us including RedMonk and HFS Research.

After six weeks of planning, engaging in heated debates, and agonizing over the details, we went from concept to company with six analysts: Maribel Lopez, Oliver Marks, Sameer Patel, Frank Scavo, Alan Silberberg, and myself.   Staff wise, our former Executive Admin – Elaine Chan and our former VP of Sales – David Stanley, joined us.  On the board of advisors, we were fortunate to have Paul Greenberg, Dennis Howlett, Erin Kinkin, and Esteban Kolsky on the team.  Zoli Erdos has been helping us w/ curation on the Constellation website.  A few days later we added our 13th member, Elizabeth Herrell, who had retired from Forrester/GigaGroup.  Along the way, we’ve added some great team members and have added to our alumni ranks as well.

What We’ve Accomplished

Overall, it’s been a busy, exciting, and productive year. We’ve got a lot to be thankful for including:

  • 100 buy-side and sell-side clients around the globe
  • 31 team members including 13 research analysts and futurists, 5 sales professionals, 6 professional staff, and 7 industry recognized board of advisors (see Figure 1.)
  • 735 Open Research insightful blog posts, 25 premium research reports, 15 webinars
  • A website receiving 2.4 million page views per year. Q4 page views per day have averaged above 10,000.
  • Recognition by the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) as the New Analyst Firm of the Year in 2011.
  • Creation of the Constellation Supernova Awards – the industry’s first and largest recognition of innovators, pioneers, and teams who apply emerging and disruptive technology to drive business value
  • Production of Constellation Connected Enterprise – an innovation summit and best practices knowledge sharing retreat for business leaders with 102 attendees and 25 wonderful sponsors

Figure 1. The Constellation Research Team At Connected Enterprise 2011 In Scottsdale, AZ

(Photo: Ken Yeung)

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