Posts Tagged ‘Enterprise’

Research Summary: Next Generation CIOs Aspire To Focus More On Innovation And The Chief Digital Officer Role

Executive Summary

Constellation shares with its clients the fourth annual groundbreaking survey of CIOs later this week.  The 2014 survey interviews respondents about their priorities by CIO persona.  Constellation identified infrastructure, integration, intelligence, and innnovaiton as the four personas of the next gen CIO in 2011.

Survey results show that while CIO’s prefer to spend more time on innovation projects, most CIOs must spend their time battling the reduction of cost in IT delivery.  In the shift towards dominating digital disruption, CIOs can only move as fast as their organization’s DNA will allow while driving transformation. Using Constellation’s organizational DNA framework, CIOs can understand how much change they can expect their organization to consume and gauge their ability to impact the thought process and culture.  An excerpt of some of the findings can be found below:

A. CIOs Must Battle Keeping The Lights On Despite A Desire To Focus On Innovation

In Constellation’s recent CIO survey of 119 respondents, over 44% expressed that reducing the cost of IT delivery remained the number one priority (see Figure 2).  However when asked what should be the number one priority almost 44% expressed that bringing innovation to the business was the number one requirement (see Figure 3).

Figure 1. CIOs Still Prioritize Reducing IT Costs

Figure 2.  Bringing Innovation to the Business Is Top Of Mind On The CIO Agenda

B. CIOs Must Overcome Three Barriers To Bringing Innovation To The Business

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News Analysis: Verint Announces Intent To Acquire Kana For $514M

Verint Adds to Vovici and Contact Center Assets To Expand Customer Engagement Offerings


On January 6th, Melville, NY based Verint® Systems announced a $514M intent to acquire Sunnyvale, CA, KANA Software.  Verint is a software vendor with a core in analytical software.  Verint’s core offerings provide enterprise intelligence and security intelligence.  The acquisition is significant in the market because:

  • Big data and analytics meet customer experience. Verint expects to expand its customer engagement optimization offering with the acquisition of Kana.  Verint’s core capabilites, Vovici’s voice of the customer assets, and Kana’s multichannel customer experience solutions allow customers to move from data to information to insight to action or decisions.

    Point of View (POV):
    Bringing intelligence into customer experience adds context and relevancy. This combination is a key step in moving from systems of engagement to systems of mass personalization at scale.  Constellation expects more acquisitions that combine the 5 pillars of digital business – social, mobile, cloud, big data and analytics, and unified communications.
  • Verint gains key customers and industries. Verint’s key customer base of 10,000 customers gets 900 new customers in six key industires.  Kana’s base includes a variety of marquee brands and public sector agencies in the mid market to enterprise space.  Business service customers include Hyatt, Starwood, USPS, and Priceline.com.  Communications and media customers include O2, Comcast, Cox, Quest, Talk Talk Group, Telekom Austria, Telus, Time Warner Cable,  Tracfone, Virgin Mobile, and Vodafone.  Financial services customers include Admiral, Bank Leumi, Capital One, Chase, Citigroup, Domestic and General HSBC, ING, Barclays,  Standard Bank, and VHI.  Retail and wholesale clients include American Greetings, Avon, Carglass, Conrad, Foot Locker, Hanes More…

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.

News Analysis: Acquisition Of Fiberlink Fills Key Gap In IBM’s One-Stop Mobile First Strategy

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.

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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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Trends: Real World Lessons In Optimizing The Customer Service Experience From Kana Connect

Workshop On Optimizing Your Customer Service Experience Identifies Eight Strategies
At the 2013 Kana Connect event from September 15th to 17th, 2013 in New Orleans, I had the pleasure of co-leading a workshop with Scott Hays a Sr. Director, Product Marketing for KANA Software.  The goal of the session was to explore eight strategies to improve customer experience. 

By now, you are well aware that “experience counts.” Your customers’ loyalty and future purchases hang in the balance. In this session, we’ll explore the key things you can do to make sure their experiences are positive. Ray Wang from Constellation Research and Scott Hays from KANA guide an interactive workshop to invigorate your future initiatives.

Speaker(s): Scott Hays, Ray Wang, Constellation Research

The event began with a overview of  Constellation 9C’s of customer engagement  and then an overview of the eight ways to optimize your customer service experience.  Teams were broken up to documen current state and to rank future state.  Teams were told to identify the top three ways among these eight strategies:

  1. Effortless and personalized
  2. Channel convenience
  3. Channel consistency
  4. Social media
  5. Unified agent desktop
  6. Agent knowledge
  7. Process-driven
  8. Internationalization

Results Show Future Focus on Channel Consistency, Social Media, and Effortless and Personalized

Given the Kana customer base, current state priorities of agent knowledge, process driven, and channel convenience came as little surprise to the participants.  In fact, most workshop attendees have had More…

News Analysis: Avangate Acquired By Francisco Partners For Matrix Commerce Capabilities

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

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Event Report: Dell’s Annual Analyst Conference INDIA #DAACIndia 2013

This post comes from Sachin Gosavi, our Vice President for South Asia

A First Peek Into Dell’s Private Affair

Constellation Research attended the DAACIndia 2013 on 26 and 27 Sept 2013 in Bangalore. Having won the go-private mandate barely a fortnight ago, ‘The World’s Largest Start-up’ message  dominated the conference theme.  Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell India, dedicated a sizable chunk of his keynote to sharing Dell’s focus and priorities post mandate (see Figure 1).  Moreover, Dell’s India customers speaking on the panel expressed a sense of relief that the uncertainty had passed.

Figure 1. Dell Unveils It’s World’s Largest Startup Messaging to India

Source: Dell India

Dell’s Future Is “Transform, Connect, Inform, Protect”
Dell continues to weave together it’s global theme of “Transform-Connect-Inform-Protect” for its customers in India, and is making investments in areas such as delivering new services/solutions, More…

Event Report: CRM Evolution 2013 – Seven Trends In The Return To Digital Business And Customer Centricity

Market Leaders Refocus On Digital Business and Customer Centricity

The annual gathering of the industry’s top thought leaders, users, and vendors of CRM converged at the Marriott Marquis in New York this past August 19th to 21st.  As with any good conference, the speaker tracks and the corridor conversations provided a glimpse of where market leaders and fast followers planned to make their future investments and provided key insights for 2014.  After speaking with over 100 attendees, the following seven trends emerged from this year’s event:

  1. CRM is dead, well not really. While the term CRM is loosely used to define many things.  Leaders realize that CRM is the technology.  Customer experience is the business process and journey maps.  Customer centricity is a state of mind that’s required of management and leaders.  While customer experience is the new term du jour, all three elements (i.e. technology, business process, and people leadership) are required for success.  Front office is more descriptive than Tom Siebel’s legacy term of CRM.
  2. Customers seek outcomes not products or services. Customers no longer buy products.  Customers expect products to be bundled with services.  Services providers now seek to sell experiences.  Experience providers now sell access to outcomes.  This evolution of what customer’s want and what’s delivered continues to accelerate.  With hipsters and millennials short on cash, access, experiences, and outcomes have emerged as one market category to deliver for in this growing sharing economy.  However, not all customers seek just access. A movement to move too far, will result in a backlash from a majority of customers who seek ownership without the shackles of renting.
  3. Transformation projects now rally behind the shift from social back to digital business. The social business and social crm era focused on a key aspect of CRM – the relationship.  In the past, CRM excelled at management, poorly accomplished customer, and failed at relationship.  Looking back three years,  the rise of social ties back to the need to address relationships.  Now that social moves to the mainstream, market leaders refocus to digital transformation of customer centric initiatives.
  4. Funnels make no sense in an asynchronous world. Classic sales, marketing, and service funnels force fit customers into unrealistic models.  Entry points will ebb and flow as channels and context drive demand into a variety of use cases.  Design must account for this constant state of change.
  5. Big data provides relevancy and context. All the hype on big data continues to miss the point.  Customer centricity requires context.  Context creates relevancy based on a customer’s roles, relationships, products, services, location, time, sentiment, and intent.  Without relevancy, acquisition, targeting, and personalization will fail.
  6. Front office still needs back office integration. Integration with back office is required for customer experience.  A customer who makes an order for a product or service that’s out of stock and billed twice for something they did not receive will most likely be upset.  Customer centricity is both a front office and back office exercise.
  7. Identity plays a key role. Identity plays a multi-faceted role for each individual. The business implications of identity after authentication, authorization, access, and availability touch on commerce, work lives, personal lives, and engagement with each other.  Identity is a unifying factor in the current transformation to a digital world and required for customer centricity.

The Bottom Line: Business Leaders Must Embrace Customer Centricity In Order to Differentiate In A Digital World

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Monday’s Musings: NSA PRISM Scandal Hurts US Cloud Companies And Hastens The Return Of On-Premises Software

Non-US Based Organizations And Even Some US Organizations Will Not Tolerate Snooping In A Post PRISM World

Since the Edward Snowden PRISM revelations, Constellation has received a steady stream of inquiries on cloud strategy.   In fact, nervousness runs high among many non-US based companies using services from US based cloud companies across the cloud stack.  In early August 2013, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation put out its report “How Much Will PRISM Cost the U.S. Cloud Computing Industry” Assuming that 20% of current clients switch to a non US based provider,  the report estimates a loss of $22 to 35B by 2016.

Constellation agrees.  All signs point to an anti-US stance until the security issues is addressed.  The odds on the US government moving fast on this issue are as good as Major League Baseball players or Tour de France Cyclists honoring a performance enhancement drug use ban.  In fact, Constellation is aware of at least 50+ contracts that have been put on hold or cancelled in the past 30 days.  With the EU’s Nellie Kroes already sounding the alarm bells in a way she only can, cloud buyers have taken notice.

The Bottom Line: Clients Should Consider Alternatives To Pure Cloud Models And Encryption Technology

Interesting enough, fifteen years into the cloud revolution, talk has rekindled about building on-premises software in light of this scandal. Unfortunately, the last major on-premises software company to receive funding squandered it all in 2005 and retooled to the cloud. Furthermore, a few entrepreneurs are looking at VC funding to take some key systems back on-premises.

However customers do not have time to wait for new software to arrive in the on-premises deployment option.  In the meantime, a few near term strategies have emerged:

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News Analysis: Oracle’s Cloud Strategy – Revisionist History or Cloud Genius?

This is a joint post with my colleague Holger Mueller who looks at IaaS/PaaS and Future of Work technologies for Constellation Research.

At a press conference on June 24th, 2013 with Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer ,and Oracle’s President Mark Hurd announced a cloud partnership where Azure customers will be able to run Oracle Database (no version mentioned, but Constellation expects this to be 12c), Oracle Weblogic, and Java.

Oracle also announced availability of Oracle Linux for Azure customers. Constellation believes that the deployments of the Oracle 12c, Weblogic and Java stack pieces will be deployed on Oracle’s Linux.  Should this be true, the approach makes sense, as this is a tested and proven hardware and software combination. Further, Microsoft has already begun to run parts of Azure on Linux.

The partnership alliance poses significant implications for both vendors and more importantly customers moving to the cloud for three reasons:

  • Java comes to Azure, a sign of pax in the .NET vs Java wars. For Applications to run on Azure, they needed to be built in C# or compatible languages. Now, with the licensing of Java by Microsoft as part of this partnership, Java applications will run on Azure. This opens doors for Java applications on the Azure cloud, as well as general more portability for Java applications. And Azure becomes a friendly cloud for the 9 million+ Java developers out there. .

    Point Of View:
    Microsoft and Oracle strike a win-win here.  Microsoft gains more language derived potential for expanding Azure and Oracle adds a marquee cloud stack to support Java.  Given the substantial overlap of enterprise customers on both Microsoft and Oracle, customers will benefit from more cross cloud compatibility for Java while supporting Azure for IaaS.
  • Azure will run Oracle Weblogic and the Oracle Database. Microsoft will support Oracle Linux in Azure as the foundation to run the middleware and the database stack.  Though the press release and the press conference did not specify which Oracle database, Constellation speculates this is for Oracle Database 12c. In addition, Oracle announced license mobility for customers who want to run software on Azure and bring Oracle Linux to Azure..

    (POV):
    Interesting enough when Larry Ellison spilled the news for this announcement during the Q4 Oracle earnings call, this was not about the Oracle Database, but very specifically about Oracle 12c. It’s not clear why 12c is not specifically referenced in the press release – but with the ORacle 12c general availability slotted for June 25h, 2013, this moment may not have been the time to steal the thunder.  Of note, it is not only the database, but also the Weblogic application server which will be deployed on Azure. This comes as a surprise at first, but given the work Oracle has done to integrate the former BEA flagship product with 12c and Java – it was a question of taking whole technology building and avoiding too many interfaces. Why run Java apps through Biztalk to an Oracle database?  Constellation views this as a smart move by both companies, as it allows Azure customers to utilize more of the Oracle products, that are more and more entwined due to the Fusion and Exaxxx products.
  • The hypervisor is where Microsoft and Oracle draw a line in the sand. Oracle will support Microsoft’s hypervisor Hyper-V to be the demarcation line between higher level application code and the Oracle products that now run in Azure.  The combined offering will be running on Hyper-V, which creates some headaches for Oracle on the hypervisor level as Constellation predicted, and will be supported by Oracle support as running on Windows Azure. .

    (POV):
    This poses some engineering work for the Oracle hypervisor teams, but nothing impossible to achieve. And the benefits are tangible, Hyper-V built applications will now be able to run on the Oracle Database (12c, and on Oracle Linux). This will give a lot of performance critical (think Dynamics) applications that were limited by SQL Server scalability before, new breathing room.  Microsoft was able to protect higher level applications of its technology stack with this agreement and at the same time Oracle benefits from a whole ecosystem of Hyper-V compatible applications. The cost of supporting Hyper-V for Oracle, which is tangible, is however dwarfed by this additional market potential. And it gives Mircosoft an important leg up against VMware’s vSphere.  Constellation believes this has significant implications in the cloud stack wars among Amazon, Google, HP, IBM, and VMware.  In unusual candidness for these  Oracle listed the current and future deliverables for the alliance in an blog post here.

Why did this happen?

As previously mentioned, this would have been a very good April Fool’s headline – even back on April 1st 2013. So this alliance comes as a surprise pretty much to all industry observers, at least we have not seen anyone claiming to see this one coming.

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Research Summary: Demystifying Social Business – Optimizing the Lead to Deal Process (Sales)

Forward And Commentary

Constellation Research pioneered the complete set of front office and back office use cases for social business in 2010. This report provides insight into a key mega-area — lead to deal use cases. This best practices research report offers insight into two of Constellation’s primary research themes, the Next-Generation Customer Experience and the Consumerization of Information Technology/The New C-Suite.

A. Introduction

Social business initiatives have gained acceptance as a key driver in business innovation. Since 2010, organizations have experimented and successfully deployed social business initiatives across a variety of business processes. In Constellation’s recent 2013 survey of 237 social business adopters, more than a majority (57.8 percent) of the market leaders and fast follower respondents had moved from experimentation to scaling social business initiatives to match demand. This trend signifies the successful growth of social business across a number of use cases.

With over 50 use cases identified in the survey, organizations now have defined entry points to begin social business initiatives. Consequently, many businesses can learn from the experience of market leaders and fast followers. Constellation has curated eight mega-use cases for social business that cover key business processes such as:

  • Campaign to lead
  • Lead to deal
  • Incident to resolution
  • Kick off to delivery
  • Concept to production
  • Sourcing to acceptance
  • Hire to retire
  • Invoice to payment

This report focuses on the lead to deal mega-use case, which includes both traditional business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) situations such as territory management, collaborative selling, partner selling, crowdsourced intelligence, matrix commerce, save the deal and steal the deal. These use cases should provide a starting point for mapping out the sales journey.

B. Research Findings – As Adoption Progresses, Seven Major Use Cases Emerge for Sales Processes
The recent 2013 survey of 237 global social business adopters shows 57.8 percent of the market leaders and fast follower respondents scaling social business initiatives to match demand (see Figure 1). This shift from choosing the right go-forward platform in 2012 highlights a move from Level 3 (Evangelization) to Level 4 (Pervasiveness).  This first wave of people has started to see the benefits of social business initiatives and intends to scale them out throughout their organizations and value networks.  They have succeeded by finding executive sponsors, measuring metrics that matter and aligning with business processes.

Figure 1. Social Business Adoption Moves From Platform Consolidation to Scale

(right click to view image)

Seven Key Use Cases Emerge in Lead to Deal

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