Posts Tagged ‘HR Tech’

News Analysis: ERP Arrives To Signal The Era Of Best Of Breed Cloud Suites

FinancialForce Debuts Its Full ERP Suite

On February 19th, San Francisco headquartered, announced the launch of its full suite of ERP offerings built on the Salesforce1 platform.  Backed by investments from UNIT4 and, the cloud based vendor began as a single ledger financial management system built on the platform.  The announcement and product launch shows how FinancialForce:

  • Delivers a full ERP suite on the Salesforce1 platform. The platform brings together a series of organic products and recent acquisitions in HR, supply chain, and project management (see Figure 1).  The December 2010 acquisition of Appirio’s professional services automation assets form the Professional Services Automation offering.  The 2013 acquisitions of Vana Workforce and Less Software brought the human capital management (HCM) and supply chain management (SCM) capabilities.

    Point of View (POV):
    The management team at was smart to bring in acquisitions built on the original platform.  Post merger integration was greatly simplified as the products shared a common architectural base.  More importantly, the acquired solutions were easily upgraded to the Salesforce1 platform to create an end to end ERP cloud based ERP suite.  Customers gain the full advantages of the Salesforce 1 platform and integration with the core Salesforce CRM offerings.
  • Demonstrates focus on long term growth and viability . showed 80% year over year growth in revenue run-rate compared to 2012.  Headcount grew 62% year over year with over 260 global employees.  Furthermore, customers represent a global base with 27 countries and users in 45 countries.

    Cloud has gone mainstream and customers now expect their cloud companies to demonstrate viability.  The mergers and acquisitions required to build a full cloud ERP suite signal a maturity by and the market.  Early customers of the full suite provide positive references on both the synergies of the ERP offering and the flexibility of the Salesforce1 platform for extensibility.

Figure 1. Launches A Full Integrated ERP Suite


Event Report: Seven Trends From This Year’s Human Resources Technology Conference 2013 (#HRTechConf)

2013 Marks A Change Of Guard In The HR Technology Conference

Over 8,000 attendees gathered for the industry’s biggest and baddest event around human resources technology and the future of work at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.  This year marked a few key milestones:

  • Legendary HR icon, Bill Kutik steps down from the conference chair role but will still be very active
  • Steve Boese takes over as the new HR Tech conference chair
  • HR Tech category pioneer Naomi Bloom announced her transition to a new business model
  • A record 303 vendors versus 257 from last year
  • 20% increase in buyers at the event
  • HR tonight show with co-hosts Bill Kutik and Naomi Bloom was a hit with Leighanne Levensaler, Brian Sommer, Patricia Milligan, and John Sumser.
The Buying Cycle Is Back!
From the level of attendees, quality of questions in the booth, conversation in the hall, and the number of prospect conversations about technology selection, it’s obvious the conversation has turned from kicking the tires to can we buy by Q4.  Some observations and trends from speaking with hundreds of attendees at the event:

Event Report: Customers Very Happy At Ultimate Connections 2013 (#ulticonnect)

Partnership Announcements Enhance Ultimate Software’s Offerings

Amidst a crowd of 1500 customers, partners, and attendees, Ultimate Software held their annual gathering from March 12th to March 15th, 2013 in Las Vegas.  Geared towards the medium sized to enterprise markets, Ultimate Software has steadily taken market share from ADP for payroll and expanded out into operational and strategic human capital management (HCM) capabilities.  New mobile access, generation 4 cloud architecture, and timeline features for employee’s highlight Ultimate’s growing ambitions and customer requirements.

At the event, Ultimate announced two strategic partnerships that bode well for customers and prospects facing an increasing level of customer complexity and growing need for global capabilities:

  • Celergo partnership adds global payroll capabilities to internationalization efforts. Celergo’s founder and CEO, Michele Honomichl, and Adam Rogers announced on stage global payroll services support for 110 countries and the ability to process payroll in over 150 countries.  In addition, Ultimate’s Spring and Fall 2013 release of the flagship UltiPro includes support for 28 country specific localizations such as Australia, Brazil, China, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, and Thailand.  Other key features include, global compensation management, localized compliance for data and employee privacy rules, and additional language translations.

    Point of View (POV):
    Ultimate’s customers operate in 144 countries.  As organizations follow the growth overseas, the global payroll connector and Celergo partnership gives mid market and enterprise customers a competitive option as they expand their presence abroad and usage of UltiPro.  These proactive steps to address global capabilities now, provide a key differentiation among potential competitors and places Ultimate Software in a potential position of international expansion.
  • Informatica partnership paves the way for future cloud partnerships.  At the conference, Informatica announced a self-service solution for HCM data connections.  Built on top of UltiPro Carrier Network (UCN), customers have access to over 100 packaged connectors to benefits carriers and third party solutions.

    Customers and prospects do not want to worry about integration of their employee records or people management solutions with medical, dental, vision, and other benefits providers.  In the long term, customers seek worry free integration platforms to third party applications, cloud ecosystems, and mobile ecosystems.  The partnership with Informatica solves the needs of complex integration scenarios and Ultimate customers do not pay for the integration tool.  However, customers who are looking for a lower cost integration solution for non-UCN endpoints may want to consider more cost-effective offerings for more point to point integration scenarios.


Market Maker 1:1: #HRTechConf Preview w/ Bill Kutik

15 Years of HR Technology At The Industry’s Premier Event

The fifteenth annual HR Technology Conference and Exposition returns to McCormick Place in Chicago October 8th to 10th, 2012.  HR Tech is the industry’s longest running event looking at technologies that influence the Future of Work.

The Inside View With Bill Kutik – Future of Work Pioneer And Co-Chairman of HR Tech

Since 1990, Bill Kutik has been a Technology Columnist for Human Resource Executive® (and for HREOnline™ since 2006,), also serving as co-chairman of the magazine’s famous annual conference, HR Technology® Conference & Exhibition, since it began in 1998. In 2008, he started The Bill Kutik Radio Show®, a bi-weekly online talk show with industry leaders.

HR World named him one of “The Top 25 HR Influencers of 2007.” More recently, he was named a “Top 25 HR Digital Influencer 2009″ and a “Top 100 Influencer.”

For 20 years, he was consulting editor for Esther Dyson’s leading computer industry newsletter, Release 1.0. Previously he was the founding editor of the monthly magazine, Computers in HR Management; managing editor of Ziff-Davis’ Computer Industry Daily; and a reporter for The New York Times and The New York Daily News. He has also published articles in Newsweek, Washington Post, Institutional Investor, New York Magazine, Business Month, IHRIM Journal, Cruising World and Backpacker (where he was the founding editor).

We sat down with industry pioneer Bill Kutik for a preview of this year’s event:

1. Where do you see the new trends in HR tech going? What’s changed since last year? (Have we moved beyond Cloud, is everything social?)

Bill Kutik (BK): This year marks an inflection point in HR technology – perhaps in all of IT – the end of one era and the beginning of another, a generational shift in computing.

It happens every 10 – 15 years and remarkably HR has often been at the leading edge of change, either because corporations thought it didn’t matter if IT experiments failed there or because it’s the only department that touches every employee in the company.

Remember, PeopleSoft released the first packaged client/server application (for HR but the first for any function) in 1989, which started the death of the mainframe. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s claims aside, HR has been using hosted applications (perhaps not anyone’s version of true SaaS) for recruiting since 1998 and major web-based applications since 2000.

Now the combination of SaaS (Cloud Computing) plus Social in the Enterprise – companies using private collaborative software to get real work done – are marking a new era in computing.

These will be among the major topics this year at the HR Technology® Conference in Chicago, October 8-10.

2. Why the continued interest and investment by organizations in HR and related technologies?

BK: The main reason is the 50-year-long lie in large type in corporate annual reports is finally seen as true: “People are our most important asset.” People costs, even in manufacturing firms with huge capital investments, are more than 50 percent of the annual run-rate. Obviously closer to 90 percent in knowledge-based firms like consulting, law, accounting and software.

To succeed in 2012, organizations must have an effective people strategy aligned with their goals. They must identify the best players, assign them to the right work and keep them engaged. Technology doesn’t create this strategy – executives do – but they can’t properly execute their strategy without the right technology to enable it.

HR technology isn’t for HR anymore. The latest applications reaching mass adoption – such as the Talent Management suite – are now used almost exclusively by line managers and employees after HR has purchased the software and configured it properly.

3. Are 2012 HR technology budgets increasing compared to prior years?


Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Cloud Computing – Adam Rogers, Ultimate Software

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.

Adam Rogers – Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Ultimate Software

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

Adam Rogers (AR): Ray, let’s call it like it is. Cloud isn’t really disruptive – it’s already  disrupted – and we’ve made that transition over the past 10 years.  The new frontier for enterprise software is building systems that conform and cater to the user and how they want to work.  Let’s use Amazon as an analogy. A core difference between Amazon and the dozens of other e-commerce sites that competed for mind share in the 2000′s is that they realized early on that doing great work on behalf of the PERSON was more important than the URL or the consumer product segment.

Our customers benefit from cloud computing by taking advantage of business solutions for managing their people, instead of dealing with the cost and expense of IT. Second, because we handle all upgrades, they gain access to the latest functionality and don’t get trapped in a legacy on-premise solution that is outdated. There’s no barrier to upgrading. However, you’ve heard this all before. Honestly, these are really table stakes in business software today.

What Cloud is transforming for our customers is their ability to tailor the solution to their specific needs. For example, Google wanted us to handle the administration of payroll and the system-of-record, but they wanted to maintain the user experience of their internally developed GHR system. By connecting Ultimate to GHR through the Cloud, they can deliver a familiar user experience for their people while taking advantage of our backbone.

Importantly, small businesses gain access to enterprise systems at an affordable price point because:

1. If done right, it allows smaller businesses access (via affordability) to what used to be very expensive enterprise applications.

⁃ up front through the economies of scale well-architected systems create, enterprise class software can be sold at much less expensive price points than previously.

⁃ ongoing costs are contained.. and running in world-class data centers that only fortune 1000 companies could previously afford.

2. It brings the benefits of consumer software (constantly improved, modern user interfaces and simple) to enterprise customers who demand secure, stable and reliable applications.

We moved to cloud computing and SaaS 10 years ago because we felt it was good for our customers but in the end it also opened up the market to smaller customers with much smaller IT budgets. This is obviously great for our business model but very rewarding to know we can offer a world-class solution to what used to be out of reach to many companies.

2. What makes cloud computing disruptive?

(AR): Disruption typically has two major components. The first is cost and the second is making products available to a new class of customers.

Cloud computing has not only reduced the cost of business software, it has also made sophisticated systems available to organizations that previously wouldn’t have been able to afford to purchase and maintain those products. I think that’s a fairly obvious outcome at this point as discussed already.

What is less obvious, but more important in the long term, is that Cloud computing means we can — for the first time, really — combine applications that are tailored to the person and the device (an iPad, for example) with a robust administrative system on the back end. Those applications can be really small, and highly tailored, while still connecting to the core. That means users don’t have to deal with a lot of complexity, they can just focus on the work at hand — while still participating in the company’s core system.

This is disruptive because as the end of the day, this is great for consumers and customers but to execute, it really flips all accepted thinking on it’s side.

- Now we have to update our software early and often – the consumers demand this kind of cadence to realize the value. Consumers are using consumer applications and consumer devices and demanding that same elegant experience from their Ent Apps. GenX/Y’s are taking over the executive offices and making decisions on business software.

- Think about what it takes to do that… it’s an agile/iterative development process with continuous integration and deployment. That’s a simple sentence that is a multi million dollar investment for development teams. It took us years to make this turn.

- Finally it’s disruptive because you have to be comfortable in the state of “blowing in the wind”. Typical enterprise companies built loyalty through ridiculously expensive upgrades and data that was so locked down you had to syphon your data out discretely if you were thinking about switching vendors. Now you MUST, absolutely MUST deliver a steady flow of functionality and make your data available and accessible via standard web protocols. That’s a scary situation for many established vendors. It’s disruptive because that’s what our customers want. That’s what we are giving them. But many won’t.

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

(AR): The intersection of consumer applications (more than just social) into Enterprise data. SaaS and cloud moved your data to the [potentially] accessible cloud. Soon it will be about making sense of all that data in the cloud. So Enterprise SaaS vendors will be forced to make their data accessible. That’s uncomfortable position for many traditional enterprise software companies who always felt the “hoarding” of their data is what kept customers paying their maintenance bills. So now the data must be “freed” and accessible through standard formats. And not only that, just like Gen X/Yers started bringing iPhones and Skype into the Enterprise without “permission”, we will need to be able to mash our Enterprise data up with consumer applications (especially social). Why not allow identity management via Facebook?

For example, take Apple with iOS5 is delivering their notification center — one place for the person to direct all their important action items. It is our job to plug into that if the user wants us too. Same with social streams. People don’t want 10 different streams, they might want a couple… so how do we publish and subscribe into those places where a user already works. Instead of taking an application-centered view, it is time to take a person-centered view. Cloud lets us do that.

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


News Analysis: SAP Buys SuccessFactors for $3.4B Signals SAP’s Commitment To Cloud, HCM, and Social

SuccessFactors Acquisition Puts SAP In Direct Competition With Workday And Taleo

SAP (NYSE:SAP) announced its $3.4B acquisition of SuccessFactors (NYSE: SFSF) as it seeks to bolster its position in the Cloud and more importantly in the rapidly growing strategic HCM market.  Based in San Mateo, CA, USA, SuccessFactors brings over 15 million subscription users from 3,500 customers in 168 countries.  The company has 1450 employees and has been one of the SaaS/Cloud darlings of the industry.  When completed, SuccessFactors will remain an independent entity renamed, SuccessFactors, an SAP company.  Lars Dalgaard, Founder and CEO, SuccessFactors will lead the cloud business for SAP.  A quick analysis of the news reveals:

  • SAP seeking a comprehensive and complementary HCM solution. SAP believes the combination of SuccessFactors and SAP will create a comprehensive HCM solution, marrying strength in enterprise applications with people-focused cloud applications. Today, SAP serves the market with a comprehensive and international Core HR and payroll.  Other on-premise offerings include talent management, workforce analytics, and shared services delivery. Key offerings from SuccessFactors include areas such as talent management, recruiting management, goal management, performance reviews, and business execution.  Further, SAP believes the core SFSF offerings will be an attractive to more than 500 million employees of SAP customers .  SAP has 15,000 HCM deployments (not customers) that could benefit from one-stop shopping.

    Point of View (POV):
    While the core offerings provided a solid approach, these applications remained in the systems of transaction world and lacked many of the newer requirements for systems of engagement.  In fact, many customers left SAP to go to SuccessFactors to accelerate innovation in the talent space. The rise of Taleo, Workday, and Ultimate Software comes from the lack of general innovation in the HCM space by legacy vendors such as Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP.  Cloud computing provided the opportunity to deliver rapid innovation to customers.  Consequently, existing customers will welcome the move while best of breed purists will have to overcome the surprise and determine how innovative they expect SAP to become in HCM.
  • SuccessFactors’ provides SAP with massive cross-sell opportunities. SAP believes the core SFSF offerings will be an attractive to more than 500 million employees of SAP customers .  SAP has 15,000 HCM deployments (not customers) that could potentially go for one-stop shopping from SAP.

    Point of View (POV):
    SAP sees the acquisition as a great cross-sell opportunity for other cloud apps and analytics.  Other opportunities include CRM, Collaboration, Travel, and Procurement in the cloud.  In the past two years, Success Factors has made the shift to focus on business performance execution and provides a real time decision making platform.  While customers can acquire a solution from one vendor, the integration of the various cloud platforms may prove to be a challenge.  However, from a financial play, Co-CEO, Bill McDermott sees this as an easy way to meet his 2015 target of €20billion and move towards the 35% margin he seeks to bring shareholders.

Vendor Event: Workday Predict And Prepare 2011

Title: Workday Predict And Prepare 2011
Start Date:
2011-12-07  11:00 am PST
End Date:
2011-12-07   12:00 pm PST
Webinar Link

For the fourth year in a row, join the country’s top IT, HR and Talent Management analysts and consultants for their predictions of next year’s critical trends, plus their advice on how you should prepare for them.
Their predictions include

  • SaaS becomes mainstream, and IT’s job becomes integrations
  • Companies will “rip and replace” legacy systems even faster than before
  • Self-service will become social, mobile and more gamified
  • Talent Management as a separate software category will disappear
  • Mobile will soon become employees’ first contact with enterprise software
  • Companies will do Master Data clean up in order to do Analytics
  • Sponsored by Workday, Predict and Prepare features Knowledge Infusion CEO Jason Averbook, HR technology guru Naomi Lee Bloom, and R “Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst and CEO of Constellation Research.

    Their roundtable is moderated by Bill Kutik, host of The Bill Kutik Radio Show® and Firing Line with Bill Kutik, technology columnist for Human Resource Executive® and co-chair of the magazine’s 15th Annual HR Technology® Conference & Exposition.

    Your questions will be addressed throughout the discussion.

    Register here!


    Although we work closely with many mega software vendors, we want you to trust us. For the full disclosure policy, stay tuned for the full client list on the Constellation Research website.

    Copyright © 2011 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC All rights reserved.

    Press Release: HR Technology Visionary Yvette Cameron Joins Constellation Research, Inc.

    Denver, Colorado, United States – November 1st, 2011
    8:31 am (GMT – 7:00) Central Time

    Constellation Research Inc, a next generation research analyst and advisory firm helping clients achieve business value from emerging and disruptive technologies, announced today that Yvette Cameron has joined as a Vice-President & Principal Analyst for People Processes and People Technology.  Yvette will provide strategy and counsel to four key constellation client types: Chief People Officers, Chief HR Officers, software vendors, and professional services firms.

    Yvette is a proven executive leader and visionary.  She brings over 20 years of experience in designing, developing, communicating and managing global technology solutions.  Her work enables companies to align business objectives and workforce initiatives, foster employee engagement, and create a transformational workplace.

    Prior to joining Constellation Research Yvette was with Saba Software as their VP and General Manager of Talent Management solutions where she helped incubate and launch their social networking technologies, and advanced their integrated learning and talent management solutions.  Before Saba, Yvette led product and marketing strategy teams at Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP and JD Edwards.  In addition to extensive software vendor experience, Yvette brings more than decade of experience as an HR practitioner, where she honed her skills in communication, change management, and the translation of business objectives into effective workforce processes and technology strategies

    “Joining the Constellation Research team gives me the opportunity to continue sculpting the future of people processes and technologies from a new perspective”, says Cameron.  “It’s a highly respected organization and I look forward to bringing my experience and vision to Constellation to make it an even more dynamic presence for our clients.”

    Yvette’s coverage will cover broad themes such as the “Future of Work” and include areas such as:

    • Workforce collaboration and engagement
    • Social strategies and technologies for strategic people processes
    • Measuring and predicting results: Workforce Intelligence
    • Cultivating leaders and pivotal talent
    • Next generation HR leadership
    • Implications and opportunities of deployment and service platforms: SaaS, PaaS, DaaS, BPaaS

    “Yvette has both the practical experience and the thought leadership required to help people professionals bridge the gap between strategy and execution.  Her experience in advocating a client centric point of view coupled with credibility as an executive at many of the HR technology vendors provides our clients with invaluable and actionable advice.  More importantly, I’m energized by her passion for disruptive technologies in people processes.”, said  R “Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst and CEO.

    Please join us in welcoming Yvette Cameron to the Constellation Research family and our growing Colorado presence!


    Twitter: @yvettecameron
    Linked In:
    Geographical Location: Denver, Colorado
    : Y (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com.

    About Constellation Research, Inc.*
    Constellation Research is an award winning research analyst and advisory firm guiding organizations and their leaders through the hype and buzz of the latest disruptive technologies.  Constellation takes a holistic approach in achieving business value for board members, marketing, technology, operations, human resource, and finance executives.

    The firm’s analysts deliver pragmatic, creative, and impactful research focused on business value, profitability, and market differentiation.  Research analysts bring real world experience, independence, and objectivity to our clients.  Most analysts bring over 2 decades of hands-on experience in working with senior leaders in enterprise organizations.

    Constellation serves the needs of buyers and end users who seek insight, guidance, and advice in dealing with a dizzying array of disruptive business models and technologies.  The firm provide the bridge between legacy optimization and future innovation.  Constellation also advises sellers from both the buyer‚s point of view and how to deliver value to their customers.

    Constellation builds partnerships with its clients.  The client and their organization’s success is Constellation’s only mission.

    Insight. Inspiration. Impact.

    *Constellation Research, Constellation SuperNova Awards and the Constellation Research logo are trademarks of Constellation Research, Inc. All other products and services listed herein are trademarks of their respective companies.

    Press Contacts:

    Contact the Media and Influencers relations team at for interviews with analysts.

    Sales Contacts:

    Contact our sales team

    Kieran Barr

    Email: Kieran (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com
    Twitter: @

    David Stanley
    Email:David (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com .
    Office: +1.719.357.7826
    Twitter: @kiwigate

    Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Social Business – Bobby Yazdani, Saba

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

    Bobby Yazdani, CEO and Founder, Saba


    Bobby Yazdani is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Saba. He was an industry pioneer in creating the Human Capital Management category in 1997, and has grown Saba into a $100 million+ profitable enterprise software business providing premier software and service solutions for people management and collaboration.

    Saba’s people platform enables enterprise learning, performance and compensation management, succession planning, and workforce planning that align, engage, develop, mobilize, and foster collaboration across employees, customers, and partners. The company has been recognized by leading industry analysts for excellence and innovation in unified people management, collaboration, and social networking, and serves a roster of over 1,400 customers with more than 19 million users across 150 countries. Saba’s solutions are available on-premise or on-demand.

    Saba’s customers are global leaders across a broad range of industries and public sector organizations, and include BMW, Daimler AG, IBM, The American Red Cross, Procter and Gamble, Medtronic, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy, among many others. Bobby is a frequent spokesperson at industry events held by organizations such as the United Nations and The Economist. Prior to founding Saba, Bobby held various senior R&D management positions at Oracle Corporation.

    Bobby has a B.A. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley.

    The Interview

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

    Bobby Yazdani (BY): The world of work is changing – and we fundamentally believe social computing and cloud computing is at the heart of this. It impacts the speed, quality, expectations and characteristics of how we work. You can draw parallels between social computing and the effect email has had on the way we work, in terms of its transformative impact in how we engage and communicate.

    Our customers who are embracing social computing are finding that it’s dramatically changing the way they interact with their employees, customers, partners and suppliers. Through social computing, they’re creating significantly more transparency, increasing the speed of business, and generating and sharing more ideas and knowledge across their entire value chain – we call this the People Network.

    2. What makes social computing disruptive?

    (BY): Information used to be at the center of the workplace, but now people are. This is without a doubt the single most disruptive change brought about by social computing.

    Social computing is not just about sharing information but connecting people in real time – all the time – on a global and local basis. It’s essentially destroying the “functional organization” that’s based on a model of hierarchy, and replacing it with a fluid model that dramatically increases the rate of innovation, enables more intimate interaction and sharing of ideas and initiatives.

    Social computing allows organizations to unleash the collective wisdom of the People Network to deliver real-time insights that effectively drive innovation and increase productivity. Work can be done wherever talent resides, increasing efficiencies and making people more effective.

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

    (BY): Social business is going to become both global and local. It will be prescriptive, open and organic, and will involve both public and private social connections. And content will be highly curated and personalized to the experience of the way we work. This more dynamic environment will liberate employees, create better customer experiences, and yield new values to the entire organization value chain.

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


    News Analysis: Infor Launches New Era With Infor 10

    After 11 months of behind the scenes work, CEO Charles Phillips and the Infor management team unveiled the launch of Infor 10 in New York City on September 13, 2011, to customers, industry analysts, media, and investment analysts.  The new Infor has kept busy with key management team hires, the $1.84 B acquisition of Lawson, the launch of Infor10 CloudSuite, and partnerships in CRM with via Inforce.

    Infor currently serves more than 75,000 customers in 164 countries. With combined revenues greater han $2.5B, Infor/Lawson is the third largest enterprise apps company. The Infor and Lawson combination brings deep industry presence in key industries such as aerospace, automotive, chemical, distribution, equipment service maintenance repair (ESMR), fashion, food and beverage, general manufacturing, healthcare, high-tech, hospitality, high tech, industrial equipment and machinery, industrial manufacturing, and public sector.

    Key announcements from the September 13th launch event include:

    • Reintroducing ION as the ‘the heart of Infor10. Infor’s lightweight middleware solution provides an integration tool for Infor and non-Infor applications. The intent is to provide devices such as desktops, tablets, and other mobile devices to gain access to information in existing applications. Key components behind the technology infrastructure include a common user interface, workspace, reporting and analytics, workflow, event management, master data management, localizations, mobility enablement, and packaged integration.

      Point of View (POV):
      Unlike Oracle and SAP who have spent billions addressing the integration problem through a comprehensive and heavy middleware strategy, ION take a more pragmatic approach. Through loose coupling, Ion gives the Infor family of products increased agility that matches use cases for a mobile, social, and analytical world. While ION aims to provide better integration, streamlined workflows and end to end business process integration, Constellation believes it will take at least 6 to 9 months before the first set of end to end processes span across the major product lines (e.g. Infor10 ERP Enterprise (LN) and Infor 10 Lawson M3).  The good news – Integration between Infor10 Lawson S3 and Infor EAM is planned for November, just 100 days after acquisition.

      On the management team side, customers and prospects will be reassured that both Infor’s second employee, Soma Somasundaram, senior vice president of Global Product Development and Dean Hager (i.e. originally from Lawson) remain key driving forces for carrying out this completed vision.

    Figure 1. ION Plays A Key Role In Infor’s Long Term Strategy

    Source: Infor

    • Delivering a consumer grade experience. Duncan Algove, President of Products and Support introduced Infor10 Workspace. With an intention of bringing consumer world experiences to the enterprise, Infor10 WorkSpace provides a fresh start to helping users “work the way they live”. Key elements of the ION experience include role-based screens, role-based workflows, in-context business intelligence, event management, activity streams, tasks and alerts, and consumer-like search capabilities).

      Existing customers and new prospects expect next generation applications to meet the Six S’s of Enterprise Class Consumerization of IT. Infor’s key design principles of flipping the structure of work to be data and event driven, contextual data at the point of decision, social computing metaphors, and design for mobile play a key role in making this a reality for Infor customers. This provides a compelling reason for customers to put their maintenance fees to use in an upgrade or purchase of Infor10 components.

    Figure 2. Scenes From The New Infor User Experience


    Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Social Business – Daniel Debow, Rypple Software

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

    Daniel Debow, Co-CEO,  Rypple Software


    Daniel is co-founder and co-CEO of Rypple, a social performance management platform that helps Facebook, Gilt Groupe, and other innovative companies recognize great work, run fast, efficient feedback loops, and coach employees to achieve their goals. A sought after speaker on how social media is changing the workplace, Daniel is a regular contributor to and the Huffington Post. He’s been widely quoted in Wired, the Financial Times, the Economist and Bloomberg Businessweek. He holds a JD/MBA from the University of Toronto and an LLM in Law, Science and Technology from Stanford University.

    The Interview

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

    Daniel Debow (DB): Ray, Social Performance Management (what we do) is changing the world for our customers because it takes a dreaded and ineffective process—the performance review—and makes it relevant again.

    Over the last decade, the review process has become disconnected from real business performance. By delivering key feedback and information in real-time, rather than in six-month batches, we are helping managers and their teams work more effectively, efficiently, and collaboratively. At the end of the day, this is the core promise of any type of business software: improved business results.

    More generally, social computing is effective because in many cases, it is more efficient. While it may seem like an oversimplification, large corporations have succeeded by standardizing the delivery of products and services as they scale. These large-scale standardizations of “process” work incredibly well when it comes to managing supply chains or product pipelines. But when it comes to the management of people, standardization of process has translated into enterprise applications that suck. They remove the “human” from the workplace, and are major contributors to the alienation of people from their work.

    In order to get people to the next level, we have to bring the “human” back into the work place. A huge amount of value-creating work gets done outside standard process—through social interaction. Today’s enterprise applications don’t model the corporation this way. But social computing does.

    Social computing is about taking the metaphor, modelling the reality, and moving faster. It recognizes that when it comes to people, companies are not simply processes moving mechanistically. Instead, the social computing metaphor reflects more accurately what companies actually are: groups of people talking—and coordinating—with each other to deliver productive goods and services in a highly non-standard world. By recognizing this more accurate representation of the corporation, social computing has the potential to make companies more efficient by optimizing the faster, more natural flow of information between people.

    In our case, we’ve found that the interactions related to human performance and getting the most out of people are absolutely social. They involve helping people talk to each other in a more collaborative and real-time way: How do we recognize people in real-time? How do we help managers and teams collaborate on people performance. How do we recognize and account for the reality that managers aren’t omniscient about team performance? How do we get one-on-one’s with the boss to be high impact and frequent? How do we create agile goals that reflect changing business reality rather than reality as it existed six months ago? The answer is social computing, which views a company not as a static org chart and a number of interconnected process flows—but rather as a social network with ad-hoc and ever changing relationships and interactions.

    This is the essence of social computing.

    2. What makes social computing disruptive?

    DB: As with all disruptive technologies it meets three key criteria:

    1. It attacks a problem in an orthogonal way.  Almost all social technology appears at first to be a toy.  Customers don’t asking for them, yet they spread into companies like wild fire.  Users say, “I’d never do this in the enterprise.”
    2. It breaks the price-performance curve on a different scale. In many cases, Rypple included, we make it cheaper to deploy than existing technology.
    3. It appears as an incomplete solution from the perspective of incumbents.  Incumbents will state you don’t have the 1000 features they have.

    The telegraph, the phone, and email all changed the number of nodes of communication and improved the flow of information between people. Social technologies take communication to the next level. This isn’t just a technological shift; it’s a societal one. We are taking the same metaphors of openness and transparency that have been used to describe the web and applying them to organizations.

    When you value results above internal politics and velocity over caution, you create a more innovative, less hierarchical—and ultimately disruptive—organization.

    3.  What is the next big thing in Social Business software?

    DB: Recently I was on a panel on the future of the workforce, where I talked about two huge developments on the horizon. The first is the shift from an economy of companies to an economy of individuals, as everyone’s reputation and personal brand moves to the cloud. It will be interesting to see what this means for consumer brands like Nike and Pepsi, and how people interact with them.

    The second big shift is the ability of social media to create more meritocratic systems for rating true influence and power within organizations. Cloud-based social applications are asking people to rate one another and provide opinions based on far more objective data than the vague subjective impressions that often determine influence.

    As that data migrates to the cloud and becomes portable, it will have profound changes on the labor market. It will transform how we look for talent, where the power resides, and potentially the very nature of the corporation.
    As reputation becomes a more objective measure, it will force companies to become more fluid in their hiring practices and their operations.

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


    Research Summary: Introducing The 43 Use Cases For Social Business (Social Enterprise)

    The Social Business (Social Enterprise) Moves Beyond The 18 Use Cases Of Social CRM

    As social media adoption continues to move from mainstream to pervasive ubiquity, enterprises will begin to benefit from these advancements in the consumerization of IT (CoIT).  Just 18 months ago, early adopters identified 18 Use Cases for Social CRM (SCRM).  These ground breaking use cases showed enterprises how to bring social into existing CRM processes.

    Consequently, the market has moved on beyond just marketing, service, and support use cases.  In the latest Software Insider “State of Social Business” survey, 103 respondents identified 25 additional use cases that spanned across key enterprise business processes that impact eight key functional areas, from external facing to internal facing (see Figure 1):

    1. Public relations/ marketing (PR/MA).  Key impacted business process: Campaign to lead
    2. Sales (SFA).  Key impacted business process: Lead to deal
    3. Service and support (CSS).  Key impacted business process: Incident to resolution
    4. Projects (PBS).  Key impacted business process: Kickoff to delivery
    5. Innovation/ product life cycle management (PLM). Key impacted business process: Concept to production
    6. Supply chain (SCM). Key impacted business process: Sourcing to acceptance
    7. Human capital management (HCM). Key impacted business process: Hire to retire
    8. Finance. Key impacted business process: Invoice to payment

    Figure 1. Constellation Defines 43 Social Business/ Social Enterprise Use Cases and 24 Key Analytics

    (Hint: right click to expand and view the full image)

    Early Adopters Identify HCM And Projects As The Next Growth Area For Social Business

    Survey respondents chose their top 3 internal collaboration and external engagement social business use cases (see Figure 2).  Not surprisingly, service/support use cases led the pack with Reactive support-External (68.9%) and Support escalation and resolution – External (64.1%).  Lead generation – External in the PR Marketing category rounded out the top 3 at (63.1%).  Meanwhile, Projects and HCM gain traction among the top 5 use cases. Respondents report an increase in adoption of Projects Workspaces- Internal (36.9%) such as wiki’s and similar internal collaboration tools.  Meanwhile, HCM Recruiting – External (34.0%) emerged as the fifth most utilized use case.