Posts Tagged ‘cfo’

Trends: [VIDEO] The Digital Business Disruption Ahead Preview – NASSCOM India Leadership Forum (#NASSCOM_ILF)

A 10-Minute Preview Video Interview Of The Digital Business Disruption Ahead From The #NASSCOM_ILF Team

On January 17th, 2014, the NASSCOM team interviewed Constellation Research about the digital disruption ahead.  The short 10 minute video covers key topics including:

  • Convergence of the five pillars of digital business drive the current digital disruption. The end of social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and UC (i.e. SMAC) as you know it.
  • The new ecosystems of digital business bring new opportunities. From GE’s industrial internet to mass personalization at scale, to augmented humanity, Constellation sees a new future beyond the traditional software ecosystems.
  • Everyone vs Amazon is becoming a reality. Insights on why everyone is competing with Amazon not only in retail, but also in the cloud, physical distribution, and media.
  • Mergers and acquisitions in software signal a maturing industry category. Large enterprise software companies no longer innovate fast enough and have to purchase startups for IP and growth.
  • Mobile first and cloud first drive key success factors. Constellation sees the need to move to mobile first in order to innovate and move at the speed of digital business change.
  • Service providers must focus on a higher stack. IT services firms traditionally deliver operations, maintenance, and transfer.  However the value add and higher margins are in design and build.
  • Preview of the Constellation Futurist Framework. Using a PESTEL model, Constellation provides a sneak peak in some of the big 2014 futurist trends.

VIDEO: The Digital Business Disruption Previw

Source: NASSCOM

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The Bottom Line: The Shift To Digital Business Disruption Will Forever Transform The Service Provider Landscape

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News Analysis: Acumatica Raises $10M In Series C Funding, Aims For 1B In Revenue By 2023

New Funding Round Fuels Road Map And Geographic Expansion


On November 18th, privately held Acumatica announced Series C funding from Runa Capital and Almaz Capital.  The  Kirkland, WA based Acumatica, has been quietly providing its partners a customizable, cloud-based ERP and CRM development platform for the SMB market.  Acumatica’s previous rounds were funded by Visma (a KKR company) and Almaz Capital (backed by Cisco).  The announcement is significant because Acumatica intends to:

  • Expand its partner base into new markets. Acumatica currently has offices in Washington DC, Singapore, and Moscow.  Through affiliates, resellers, and partners,  Acumatica is present in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, Nordics, The Netherlands, Africa, Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia.  Sales come exclusively from partners.  Thus, the company intends to recruit more partners for high growth markets such as Asia and Latin America.  European expansion will focus on a replacement ERP market of aging systems

    Point of View (POV):
    Early success with Acumatica has come from the ease of use and functional footprint that accelerates a partner’s ability to take a solution to market.  However, future growth will require the leadership team to increase its investment in brand awareness and partner enablement.  Expect key hires in partner sales, support, and R&D.  Given the limited number of qualified partners in the market, Acumatica will have to convince partners from competitors to switch.  Early indications show this market traction.  In fact, since August 2013, Acumatica has added 50 partners, bringing the total to 270.

Monday’s Musings: The Chief Digital Officer In The Age Of Digital Business

Market Leaders and Fast Followers Prepare for Digital Business In 2014

Conversations at Constellation’s Connected Enterprise last week validate a larger trend in the market place.  The audience of 220+ early adopters with 75% representing line of business and 25% in IT highlighted the convergence of the five forces of consumerization described in 2009 and 2010.  This convergence of these five pillars of digital business now form the foundation of all future digital business strategy and drive customer experience, matrix commerce, future of work, data to decisions, consumerization of technology, and digital marketing (see Figure 1.).  In fact, market leaders and fast followers have embraced this strategic direction in their 2014 planning.

Figure 1. Convergence Of The Five Pillars Drive Digital Business Strategy

Emerging Trends In 2014 Digital Business Strategy Reflect The Shift To Digital Business

As Constellation works with leaders to define their 2014 business strategies, digital transformation plays a key role.  Many organizations will:

  1. Recognize that they no longer sell products and services, as buyers seek experiences and outcomes.
  2. Democratize the data to decisions pathway to enable innovation.
  3. Realize that B2B and B2C are dead. It’s a P2P and M2M world.
  4. Focus on context as right time relevancy beats real time information overload.
  5. Shift from engagement to personalization at scale.

(A full update will be posted in Harvard Business Review soon)

The Bottom Line: Organizations Can Expect The Rise Of Chief Digital Officers

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Event Report: Day 1 At Oracle Open World 2013: The Quest For Innovation #oow13

Past Oracle Open Worlds Have Disappointed Customers and Partners

Let’s be frank.  The past five years at Oracle Open World have disappointed even the faithful.   The over emphasis on hardware marketing and revisionist history on cloud adoption bored audiences.  The $1M paid advertorial keynotes had people walking out on the presenters 15 minutes into the speech.  Larry Ellison’s insistence on re-educating the crowd on his points subsumed the announcements on Fusion apps.   Even the cab drivers found the audience tired, the show even more tiring.

Oracle went from hot innovative must attend event to has been while most industry watchers, analysts, and media identified shows such as Box’s BoxWorks, Salesforce.com’s DreamForce, and Exact Target’s Connections as the innovation conferences in the enterprise.  These events such as Constellation’s Connected Enterprise, capture not only the spirit of innovation but also provide customers a vision to work towards.  Hence, most believe Open World could use much needed rejuvenation and a shot of innovation juju (see Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Oracle Open World Lights Up San Francisco From September 22nd to September 27th

“Next Slide Please”: Oracle Enters A Period Of Reinvention At #OOW13

Walking through the event on Saturday (Day 0) and today (Day 1), one will notice a slight change in the spirit of the event. While half the base is die hard Oracle Red Stack customers (i.e. those who grew up from database to middleware to apps), the good news is the other half of the Oracle customers who came in through acquisition (i.e. or some say by accident) are present in larger numbers.  These customers by acquisition sought best of breed, took more risks, and fought in some cases not to be on the Oracle Red Stack.

For Oracle to win the innovation battle, the company must win over the mind share of the Oracle customers by acquisition.  In fact, these customers represent the early adopters representing market leaders and fast followers while the core Oracle Red Stack is more cautious adopters and laggards (see Figure 2).  Market leaders and fast followers have key components required for successful building blocks of corporate IT and often have line of business leaders that push the envelope.  Oracle must tap into that spirit in order to move its base forward towards innovation.

Figure 2. Organizational DNA Determines Pace And Appetite For Disruptive Tech Adoption

Open World 2013 Attempts To Change The Tenor Of Oracle’s Outward Conversation

In the spirit of innovation, attendees can expect six distinct mega themes to emerge from this uber event catering to 60,000 physical attendees and potentially 100,000 online.

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Tuesday’s Tip: Putting the Kibosh On ERP Vendor Sales Reps Who Troll For Indirect Access

Constellation Sees An Alarming Increase In Inquiries

Constellation has received an alarming increase in inquiries about an unethical vendor sales practice coined as “trolling for indirect access”. Indirect access is when a vendor claims that a client is accessing their perpetually licensed software in an unintentional manner or inappropriately licensed manner.

One vendor uses a definition of, “any individual or machine that accesses the computing capabilities of the software must be a licensed user”.

Another vendor sees it as “any time a system is accessed by a non-vendor system, a license is required to access that data”

In fact, a rash of inquiries over the past two quarters has raised the alarm bells among software customers.

Unethical Sales Leaders Endorse This Practice To Make Their Numbers

While this practice is nothing new, the pickup by vendors raises serious issues as to why this practice remains in their sales play books. Constellation identifies five reasons why vendors continue this practice:

  1. Open up dormant accounts. After pleasant introductions, new sales reps will use this technique to further deals.  Former sales reps agree this is a shake down for cash technique.
  2. Drive sales through fear of audits. Audits are used to start the discussion.  Unsuspecting customers who no longer have context about the original contract may fear breach of contract.
  3. Scare customers into making additional purchases. Threats are used to set expectations.  The vendorsoften waives the issue if the customer buys additional licenses as a “compromise”
  4. Force compliance into new licensing policies. Vendors use this as a way to drive conformity to new license models.  The move from concurrent usage to named users was one example.
  5. Meet territory sales goals. Unscrupulous sales managers suggest this technique to meet their numbers.  Sales reps are told they are defending the vendors license rights.

It All Starts With An Innocent Sales Call From A New Sales Rep

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Tuesday’s Tip: It’s Time To Consolidate Social Business Platforms

Greater Adoption In Social Business Signifies A Move To Consolidate Platforms

Constellation’s buy-side clients tend to fit in the market leader or fast follower categories when it comes to organizational personas of disruptive technology adoption.  Since 2010, respondents have progressed through the DEEPR framework and the latest results from 2012 indicate that most survey respondents have moved to Level 3 (see Figure 1).  Changes between 2010 and 2012 show the following top three priority shifts as users move from Level 2 (Experimentation) to Level 3 (Evangelization):

  • The top challenge among respondents is choosing the right platform (63.8%) among the many inside an organization.
  • Over half (56.8%) of the respondents have incorporated social into business models.
  • Respondents fostering internal collaboration (53.5%) now must worry about adoption challenges.

Figure 1. Respondents Shift to Level 3 in DEEPR Framework for Social Business Adoption

The Bottom Line.  Its Time To Scale The Technology While Pushing Ahead On Innovation

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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: Act Now To Leave The Door Open For SAP Third Party Maintenance Options

The Real Deadline To Consider Third Party SAP Maintenance Is September 30th

In conversations with hundreds of SAP customers, many have not realized that they must act now in the next 30 to 45 days if they want to move off of SAP customer specific maintenance from extended maintenance for older products. Despite the support window ending in March 2013 for extended maintenance, SAP is requiring organizations to serve notice by September 30th, 2012 (see Figure 1). Key products impacted by this deadline include:

  • SAP ERP 2004 (ECC 5.0)
  • SAP NetWeaver 7.0
  • SAP CRM 6.0
  • SAP SCM 5.1
  • SAP SRM 6.0
  • SAP SRM 5.0
  • SAP CRM 5.0
  • SAP SCM 5.0
  • SAP Netweaver 2004
  • SAP SRM 4.0
  • SAP SCM 4.1
  • SAP R/3 Enterprise (4.7)
  • SAP R/3 4.6C

In past experiences, SAP has taken a hard line on the notification date and customers need to immediately take action should they wish to have the maximum support options available to them.

To be clear, those on SAP’s Business Suite 7 have a longer maintenance support window (see Figure 2.) Those products will be supported with mainstream maintenance until 2020.

Figure 1. SAP Maintenance Strategy and Support Time Lines For Older Releases (2010) Revised With 2012 Version

Figure 2. SAP Business Suite 7 Innovation Road Map Provides Longer Maintenance Until 2020

Customer Specific Maintenance Comes With Many Disadvantages

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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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Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Cloud Computing – Brad Smith, Intuit

Welcome to an on-going series of interviews with the people behind the technologies in Cloud Computing.  The interviews  provide insightful points of view from a customer, industry, and vendor perspective.  A full list of interviewees can be found here.

Brad Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Intuit

Biography

Brad Smith became Intuit’s president and chief executive officer in January 2008, culminating a five-year rise through the company where he successfully led several of its major businesses. Intuit is a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses, financial institutions, consumers and accounting professionals, and is consistently ranked as one of the most-admired software companies and best places to work.

As the company marked its 25th anniversary in 2008, Smith celebrated the past while creating a strategic vision that recognizes important market shifts that will serve as growth catalysts for Intuit’s future. Among the most significant trends is the accelerating shift to a “connected services” world, where people and businesses increasingly go online to manage their lives, and abandon the traditional paper-based, human-produced, brick-and-mortar bound services of the past. Intuit is uniquely positioned to take advantage of these trends and help drive the shift to a connected services economy.

In the midst of this change, Intuit’s mission remains enduring: To be a premier innovative growth company that improves its customers’ financial lives so profoundly that they can’t imagine going back to the old way. The company’s strategy builds on this sense of purpose and foundation of success, while capitalizing on the current market shifts to accelerate Intuit’s business performance.

Before being named CEO, Smith was senior vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Small Business Division. Appointed to this position in May 2006, Smith was responsible for the company’s small business division which included the portfolio of QuickBooks, Quicken and Payroll products, serving 7 million small businesses. Before moving to the small business division, he led the company’s Consumer Tax Group in San Diego from March 2004 through May 2005. The group produces TurboTax, the nation’s leading consumer tax preparation software.

Smith joined the company in February 2003 as the vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Accountant Central and Developer Network in Plano, Texas. Previously, he was senior vice president of marketing and business development at ADP. Smith also held various sales, marketing and general management positions with Pepsi, Seven-Up and Advo, Inc.

Smith earned his master’s degree in management from Aquinas College in Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Marshall University in West Virginia.

The Interview

1. Tell me in 2 minutes or less why Cloud Computing is changing the world for your customers

Brad Smith (BS):

Ray this plays in our favor. We see the old paper-based, human produced bricks and mortar economy quickly shifting to connected services. As you get more devices in people’s hand and the digital generation coming of age growing up with PlayStations, iPods, and iPads, the shift is inevitable. People are going online to manage their lives. Here are some interesting anecdotes:

Historically our challenge with small businesses was getting them out of a shoe box. Now you have more and more of small businesses starting up. They see opportunities to save time and money. We have one million customers on SaaS solutions in small business. Customers gain a tremendous win. They get better value in terms of the ability to discover additional products and services, and they get anytime access online or with a mobile device. Overall, they gain a higher lifetime value for their customers.

Take the tax business, 75% of the filings are online. The fastest growing product for us is Intuit Online Payroll. Everything is happening in the mobile phone. Our customers preference is that they want data in the cloud, and they want to have proof that it’s secure. They want to, and can get access to multiple devices, anytime and anywhere. This is transforming our customers and their lives.

2. What makes cloud computing disruptive?

(BS): This is where I’ll give you 3 anchor points:

1. From a social perspective cloud allows a massive base of users and employees to get involved to create the value. I’ll talk about Brainstorm.  Two of our newer employees, Tad and Vlad, identified that we had a problem. Employees had lots of great ideas but they didn’t necessarily go anywhere because people didn’t know about them. So they invented a tool called Brainstorm. It’s a tool for employees to log ideas, comment on ideas, find ideas to work on, and mobilize teams to implement. We now can answer each other’s questions. Brainstorm allows us to collaborate in 60 cities. This used to happen only in a conference room. Since its launch, employee contribution has fueled more than 5,500 ideas which have materialized into nearly 250 new products or features that have been launched in the commercial market.

2. From a mobility point of view, here’s what’s opening up our eyes. Six billion people in the world and two billion have access on the PC but guess what? Five billion are walking around with a phone. This is crossing the digital divide. We’ve got a whole new set of services for people who didn’t have access. For years we’ve had a vision since Scott bought TurboTax – the 10 minute tax return. Now, 60% of Americans can use their iPhone, take a picture of their W-2, and in the 1040 EZ we can pull the info off the picture and pull it into the return. This is SnapTax. Isn’t that amazing? Mobile also allows us to use sensory capability and GPS for helping someone find the right deal. Take a picture of a receipt and it’s loaded in QuickBooks. We now redefine how data is entered for the customer.

3. From a global view, it’s so much easier to take a service to multiple countries and localize the offering to meet a customer’s needs. Cloud enables both social contribution and user contribution. Cloud makes it easier for us to provide services a customer wants. Mobile, tablet, and iPad can easily access the data in the cloud.

Cloud is changing business models, reaching a broader array of customers and enabling them to participate in the process.

3. What is the next big thing in Cloud Computing?

(BS): Ray, cloud computing is about putting the power of data at the center. Two key components drive the next big thing – privacy and security of that data. You have to trust and earn the trust of the customer to do things that benefit them. Companies like LinkedIn and Facebook are trying to learn how and what the right way to use this kind of information. The first point is ensuring the stewardship of the data.

The second point is how do you use this data to create more customer value? One example is what we’ve done for the QuickBooks franchise- in particular; QuickBooks Online trends for small businesses. A four person florist in Boston can now compare their cost of goods and see whether or not they have a better or worse performance with a similar business in another city. It can be lonely as a small business owner without having someone to talk to. One powerful way to improve customer value is to take the data, aggregate it, and anonymize it. One of the big things we’re focusing on right now is, can we get to a unique and common identity so that we can find all this information for you and we can know who you are and all the different pieces of your life and treat it with the right privacy.

4. What are you doing that’s disruptive for Cloud Computing?

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