Posts Tagged ‘saas integration’

Research Summary: Constellation Cosmos – Cloud Bill of Rights for SaaS Apps, Actian and Netsuite Achieve Epic Status

Constellation Certifies Vendors On How Well They Perform To The Cloud Bill Of Rights

The Enterprise Cloud Buyer’s Bill of Rights provides a tool for clients and vendors to change the tenor of contract negotiations from user subservience to an equal and collaborative long-term partnership.  This Constellation CosmosCertification for the Cloud Buyer’s Bill of Rights: SaaS Applications is intended to help buyers and prospective buyers of enterprise cloud applications identify the vendors that meet the spirit of the Cloud. The certification applies four of the six Cosmos categories and includes ownership experience, use case support, corporate vision and ecosystem feedback. Constellation rates vendors on a 0- to 5-point scale.  Constellation’s goal is to recognize vendors for honoring these rights upfront in their existing contract language and throughout the buyer and ownership experience.

Behind The Scenes On How The Cosmos Works

Constellation CosmosTM is Constellation’s flagship quantitative and qualitative product and solution comparison tool.  A typical Cosmos contains 50 to 150 exception-based criteria used to help buy-side clients with product and solution selection across the galaxy of choices.  The evaluation comprises of six major categories on a 0 to 5 point scale where Constellation evaluates key criteria in:
  1. Ownership experience. Criteria evaluated include assessments on vendor executive advocacy and accountability, timely and meaningful interactions, professional customer support, overall sales cycle and buying process, quality of product and service, and ongoing transparency.
  2. Solution offering. Criteria evaluated include assessments of functional requirements, technical requirements, architectural considerations, and deployment options pertinent to the category.
  3. Use case support. Criteria evaluated include assessments on the ability to support anywhere from 3 to 12 popular use cases requested by end user clients.  Use cases typically align with a business process. Considerations include geographical requirements, market size requirements, and industry requirements.
  4. Market execution. Criteria evaluated include assessments of the total number of live customers, total number of customers including prospects, total number of customers over 1B in revenue, funding raised to date (if a startup), total annual revenues, total number of external trained professional service staff, total number of internal trained professional service staff, number of updates per year, and geographic penetration
  5. Corporate vision. Criteria evaluated include assessments of the strength of management team, product direction, level of innovation, market leadership, community stewardship, and investment in R&D.
  6. Ecosystem feedback. Criteria evaluated include assessments of vendor-supplied references (at least 3), direct customer feedback from inquiries and interactions, and partner feedback.
The final ratings place solutions into 5 categories
  1. Epic. Composite scores typically above 4.25
  2. Stellar. Composite scores typically between 3.25 and 4.24
  3. Emerging. Composite scores typically between 2.25 and 3.24
  4. Nascent. Composite scores typically between 1.25 and 2.24
  5. Laggard. Composite scores typically between 0 and 1.24

The Constellation CosmosTM graphic is a three-dimensional visualization tool built from three axes:

  • Capability represents the X-axis. Capability includes the use case support and solution offering categories.
  • Strategy and execution drives the Y-axis. The score comprises of market execution and corporate vision.
  • Reputation forms the Z-axis. The scores come from the ownership experience and ecosystem feedback categories.
  • Weighted score defines the radius of the sphere. The scores are the composite from capability, strategy, and reputation.

 

Constellation updates Cosmos’ periodically as client demand dictates.  Some reports may be deprecated over time based on lack of market interest.  Constellation reserves the right to determine when reports are updated and in what manner.

NetSuite and Actian Corp Achieve Epic Status In the First Of Many Certifications Of Cloud Companies
For the Cloud Bill of Rights: SaaS Applications, the application and the vendor contract were evaluated on 61 criteria.  Constellation evaluated the vendors based on the experience of over 1500 software contract negotiations.

Netsuite provides an end-to-end cloud business application suite and was certified against the 61 criteria listed in Constellation’s Cloud Bill of Rights and the Constellation Cosmos methodology. Netsuite achieved a 4.48 weighted score and achieved the highest certification – Epic for its achievement in meeting the 61 requirements of the Cloud Buyer’s Bill of Rights category

Actian Corporation was certified against the 61 criteria listed in Constellation’s Cloud Buyer’s Bill of Rights and the Constellation Cosmos methodology.  Actian Corporation’s acquired Pervasive Software on April 11, 2013. Constellation evaluated Pervasive Software prior to the merger. The cloud based integration application known as Actian DataCloud and its contract were evaluated on 61 criteria in the Cloud Buyer’s Bill of Rights: SaaS Applications.. Actian DataCloud achieved a 4.77 weighted score and achieved the highest certification – Epic for its achievement in meeting the 61 requirements of the Cloud Buyer’s Bill of Rights category.

Report Links

Download a snapshot of the reports at the Constellation Research website:

Constellation Cosmos – Cloud Bill of Rights: Saas Apps Actian Corp.

Constellation Cosmos – Cloud Buyer’s Bill of Rights: SaaS Apps – Netsuite, Inc.

Your POV.

How’s contract negotiations with your Cloud Vendors? Let us know your experiences.  Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) com.

Reprints

Reprints can be purchased through Constellation Research, Inc. To request official reprints in PDF format, please contact sales (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com.

Disclosure

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 © 2001 – 2013 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC All rights reserved.

 

News Analysis: SnapLogic Snaps Up $20M In Series C Funding For Cloud Integration

Ignition Partners Injects $20M in Series C For Hot Cloud Integration Market

On September 19th,2012,  SnapLogic closed its Series C funding round.  The latest funding round:

  • Strengthens product offerings. SnapLogic offers an integration platform, integration server, integration design tool, and integration market place designed for the cloud world. With almost 100 Snaps in its appstore and almost 200 built to date, users can easily integrate best of breed cloud apps in thousands of combinations. The ecosystem includes free snaps such as Amazon EC2, Box, Clarizen, Facebook, Flickr, Four Square, Twitter, Yelp, and Zoho. Paid snaps include popular enterprise apps such as Coupa, Eloqua, Financial Force, MarkLogic, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, NetSuite, Oracle Peoplesoft, Parature, RightNow, Salesforce.com, SAP, and Zuora.

    (POV):
    Customers and prospects can expect SnapLogic to invest the new funds in engineering.  Key areas of focus include improving the user experience, easing the cost of ownership, and delivering improved SDKs. Expect Snaplogic to also improve the creation of plugins by enterprise customers.  Many customers have also built their own Snaps.
  • Opens up doors to the Igntion Partners network. Led by Ignition Partners and joined by Triangle Peak Partners, the Series C round complements Andreesen Horowitz existing investments of $10M in Series B and the Series A round of $4.8M with Andreesen Horowitz and Floodgate.

    Point of View (POV):
    Investment by Igntion opens up opportunities within the portfolio. Key synergies include companies such as Cloudera, DocuSign, Fireaps, mFoundry, Service Mesh, Visible, and Zenprise.  SnapLogic already works within several Andreesen Horowitz investments including TideMark.
  • Improves distribution. Success in the enterprise has focused around key industries such as telecom, technology, entertainment, financial services and retail.  SnapLogic has won many large accounts and sees continued growth in North America.

    (POV):
    Constellation expects SnapLogic to focus in on expanding their North American sales force and distribution channels.  EMEA growth will probably come from the more mature cloud markets in the UK over the next 12 months.

The Bottom Line: Best of Breed Cloud Hell Requires Next Generation Simple Integration Solutions

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Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Cloud Computing – Gaurav Dhillon, SnapLogic

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.

Gaurav Dhillon, CEO and Chairman, SnapLogic


Biography

An early investor in SnapLogic, Gaurav joined as CEO in 2009 when he saw the tremendous potential for the company’s cloud and on-premise integration products, strategy, and unique business model. Gaurav has spearheaded the rapid growth of the company and manages its financing, products, strategic relationships, and operations.

As the former CEO of Informatica Corporation, (Nasdaq; INFA) a silicon valley company that he co-founded in 1992, Gaurav feels that there is more to be accomplished in connecting companies’ applications and data sources. He should know; as he was Informatica’s first employee, and CEO for more than 12 years, where he led Informatica from a startup idea to a leading software enterprise with customers and operations around the world. His tenure at Informatica included the initial company launch, its successful IPO, and expansion to Europe and Asia. He was the leading figure in developing alliances with major technology players, ultimately forging a broad acceptance of the vision he pioneered in the software industry. Prior to Informatica Gaurav held management and engineering positions at Sterling Software and Unisys Corp.

The Interview

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

Gaurav Dhillon (GD): Three main changes impacting our customers today are the increasing number of business applications and application providers on the market, new application delivery platforms, and growing sources of complex data. Companies today use a much wider selection of best-of-breed, highly specialized applications than ten or fifteen years ago, many of which are cloud-based. These solutions are not hosted or accessed on-site over a Local Area Network during normal business hours, as was most common with legacy applications from the 20th century.

In addition, vast quantities of valuable business data now reside outside enterprise applications – in cloud-based solutions, externally purchased data, government-supplied information, and even social media streams and mobile sources. The majority of this data is non-relational, and often comes from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications that don’t provide access to underlying databases. All of these cloud-driven factors make integration a much more difficult task than it was just ten years ago, and drive demand for a modern connection architecture like SnapLogic’s.

2. What makes cloud computing disruptive?

(GD): Cloud computing is allowing companies to exploit the power and ease of the consumer Web to connect the Business Internet. By leveraging Web standards and private or public clouds, any organizations can be as responsive, accessible, and adaptable as the best consumer Internet services. In the age of the QR (Quick Response) code, information from sources like mobile devices and social media, as well as all kinds of new specialized applications, is growing faster in the cloud. In order to benefit from this, companies require data they can trust, at the exact moment it’s needed. With this, they can shift their business focus from the rear-view mirror to an over-the-horizon radar that looks ahead to accurately anticipate future customer needs before anyone else.

Many companies are fundamentally transforming their IT strategies to make this all possible. Rather than relying on cumbersome stacks of enterprise applications to run their business, IT leaders are employing a new kind of loose coupling to create what Amazon’s Werner Vogals coined a “collection of services” – built, borrowed, or bought – that meets their exact technology needs. This disruptive approach results in a directory meta-application, which links (like a browser calling up a Web page) to every individual application, cloud service, or Web site employees need. As a result, the whole is made greater than the sum of its parts, and businesses can achieve unprecedented speed to innovation and speed to insight.

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

(GD): Ray, this might not be the next big thing tomorrow, but in the not-too-distant future, I think a big opportunity for cloud computing will be to power the “Internet of Things” and all the fascinating possibilities that creates. Remember how quickly bar codes shifted from being used for basic inventory management to enabling never-before imagined analytics for manufacturers and retailers via data warehousing? That changed retailing forever, and a massive new market around analyzing bar codes was established, which is probably ten times the size of the original market for managing inventory.

We think we have Big Data today, but when we start putting sensors and RFID tags on the physical objects we use daily, and collect more and more data from our fitbits, appliances, cars, etc., we’ll have a humongous new after market for analyzing the streams of information that flow from those things. Only cloud computing will be able to handle this next phase of Big Data and help us benefit from it.

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

More…

Event Report: Dell’s Annual Analyst Conference Highlights Enterprise Software Future

Annual Analyst Conference Highlights The New Dell Strategy

Dell held their annual analyst conference at The W Austin from May 3rd to May 4th, 2011.  The event featured multiple sessions including:

  • Services and Solutions For The Vitual Era
  • Data Center and Information Management – Trends & Business Issues – moderated by Brad Anderson Senior Vice President of Enterprise Solutions
  • A Side of Dell You May Not Know – moderated by Karen Quintos, Senior Vice President and CMO
  • CEO Perspective
  • Extending Dell’s Enterprise Solutions & Services – moderated by Michael Dell (@michaeldell)
  • Solutions Services Strategy Update

 

Figure 1. Flickr Feeds From Dell Annual Analyst Conference 2011

 

(Tag your images with #softwareinsider or #rwang0 to include into the feed)

Big themes at the event focused around the consumerization of IT (CoIT).  Dell’s revamped strategy responds to big trends such as the adoption of social media, changing workplace norms, proliferation of devices, and consumption of IT by end users.  Key messages from a software point of view across the consumer, SMB, mid-sized, and large enterprise markets highlighted a:

  • Dedication to BRIC and emerging markets. BRIC markets sustained market share and grew revenue at 17% during the downturn.  In fact, Dell held a #1 market share in India and #3 in China and Brazil.

    Point of View (POV):
    Emerging markets play well into the Dell mid-market heritage.  More importantly, developed markets have mostly tapped out.  Double digit growth will come to technology firms who master the international markets.
  • Investment in cloud computing. Initial strategies address the IT buyer, developers and end users. Dell intends to attack the related services market with remote infrastructure management outsourcing(RIMO), cloud services, and transformation consulting.  On the apps side, SaaS, cloud re-platforming, and cloud migration play big roles in future strategy.

    POV:
    While discussions around cloud focus mostly on the infrastructure layers, private conversations paint a picture of investment in Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and SaaS applications. Expect Dell to make more investments to bring solutions to market via the cloud.
  • Commitment to open solutions. Dell plans to ensure that all its acquired products and existing solutions maintain an open architecture.  Part of the strategy includes support for heterogeneous environments, virtual integration, and minimized technology lock-in.

    POV:
    Dell claims that moving from proprietary to open systems, organizations can go from 300 servers per admin to 6000 severs per admin.  Storage savings shift from $2.20 per GB/month to $0.40 per GB/month. However, delivering open systems will require a lot of engineering investment among competitors not seeking to stay open.
  • Upsell into software. Strong channel and direct success in the hardware market opens up opportunities to sell systems management (Kace), cloud integration (Boomi), data management (Compellent and EqualLogic), and security software (Secureworks).

    POV:
    Dell’s direct channels have proven that they can drop product into pipe and be successful.  For example, KACE grew revenues 400% since acquisition.   Long term, Dell must learn a software culture to be successful.  Not too many hardware vendors have made this transition.

More…

Research Report: Constellation’s Research Outlook For 2011

Organizations Seek Measurable Results In Disruptive Tech, Next Gen Business, And Legacy Optimization Projects For 2011

Credits: Hugh MacLeod

Enterprise leaders seek pragmatic, creative, and disruptive solutions that achieve both profitability and market differentiation.  Cutting through the hype and buzz of the latest consumer tech innovations and disruptive technologies, Constellation Research expects business value to reemerge as the common operating principle that resonates among leading marketing, technology, operations, human resource, and finance executives.  As a result, Constellation expects organizations to face three main challenges: (see Figure 1.):

  • Navigating disruptive technologies. Innovative leaders must quickly assess which disruptive technologies show promise for their organizations.  The link back to business strategy will drive what to adopt, when to adopt, why to adopt, and how to adopt.  Expect leading organizations to reinvest in research budgets and internal processes that inform, disseminate, and prepare their organizations for an increasing pace in technology adoption.
  • Designing next generation business models. Disruptive technologies on their own will not provide the market leading advantages required for success. Leaders must identify where these technologies can create differentiation through new business models, grow new profit pools via new experiences, and deliver market efficiencies that save money and time.  Organizations will also have to learn how to fail fast, and move on to the next set of emerging ideas.
  • Funding innovation through legacy optimization. Leaders can expect budgets to remain from flat to incremental growth in 2011. As a result, much of the disruptive technology and next generation business models must be funded through optimizing existing investments. Leaders not only must reduce the cost of existing investments, but also, leverage existing infrastructure to achieve the greatest amount of business value.

More…

Research Report: 2011 Cloud Computing Predictions For Vendors And Solution Providers

This blog was jointly posted by @Chirag_Mehta (Independent Blogger On Cloud Computing) and @rwang0 (Principal Analyst and CEO, Constellation Research, Inc.)

Part 1 was featured on Forbes: 2011 Cloud Computing Predictions For CIO’s And Business Technology Leaders

As Cloud Leaders Widen The Gap, Legacy Vendors Attempt A Fast Follow
Cloud computing leaders have innovated with rapid development cycles, true elasticity, pay as you go pricing models, try before buy marketing, and growing developer ecosystems.  Once dismissed as a minor blip and nuisance to the legacy incumbents, those vendors who scoffed cloud leaders now must quickly catch up across each of the four layers of cloud computing (i.e. consumption, creation, orchestration, and infrastructure) or face peril in both revenues and mindshare (see Figure 1).  2010 saw an about face from most vendors dipping their toe into the inevitable.    As vendors lay on the full marketing push behind cloud in 2011, customers can expect that:

Figure 1. The Four Layers Of Cloud Computing

General Trends

  • Leading cloud incumbents will diversify into adjacencies. The incumbents, mainly through acquisitions, will diversify into adjacencies as part of an effort to expand their cloud portfolio. This will result into blurry boundaries between the cloud, storage virtualization, data centers, and network virtualization.  Cloud vendors will seek tighter partnerships across the 4 layers of cloud computing as a benefit to customers.  One side benefit – partnerships serve as a pre-cursor to mergers and as a defensive position against legacy on-premises mega vendors playing catch up.
  • Cloud vendors will focus on the global cloud. The cloud vendors who initially started with the North America and followed the European market, will now likely to expand in Asia and Latin America.  Some regions such as Brazil, Poland, China, Japan, and India will spawn regional cloud providers. The result – accelerated cloud adoption in those countries, who resisted to use a non-local cloud provider.  Cloud will prove to be popular in countries where software piracy has proven to be an issue.
  • Legacy vendors without true Cloud architectures will continue to cloud wash with marketing FUD. Vendors who lack the key elements of cloud computing will continue to confuse the market with co-opted messages on private cloud, multi-instance, virtualization, and point to point integration until they have acquired or built the optimal cloud technologies.  Expect more old wine (and vinegar, not balsamic but the real sour kind, in some cases) in new bottles: The legacy vendors will re-define what cloud means based on what they can package based on their existing efforts without re-thinking the end-to-end architecture and product portfolio from grounds-up.
  • Tech vendors will make the shift to Information Brokers. SaaS and Cloud deployments provide companies with hidden value and software companies with new revenues streams.  Data will become more valuable than the software code. Three future profit pools willl include benchmarking, trending, and prediction.  The market impact – new service based sub-categories such as data-as-service and analysis-as-a-service will drive information brokering and future BPO models.

SaaS (Consumption Layer)

  • Everyone will take the SaaS offensive. Every hardware and system integrator seeking higher profit margins will join the Cloud party for the higher margins.  Software is the key to future revenue growth and a cloud offense ensures the highest degree of success and lowest risk factors.  Hardware vendors will continue to acquire key integration, storage, and management assets.  System integrators will begin by betting on a few platforms, eventually realizing they need to own their own stack or face a replay of the past stack wars.
  • On-premise enterprise ISVs will push for a private cloud. The on-premise enterprise ISVs are struggling to keep up with the on-premise license revenue and are not yet ready to move to SaaS because of margin cannibalization fears,lack of   scalable platforms, and a dirth of experience to run a SaaS business from a sales and operation perspectives. These on-premise enterprise software vendors will make a final push for an on-premise cloud that would mimic the behavior of a private cloud. Unfortunately, this will essentially be a packaging exercise to sell more on-premise software.  This flavor of cloud will promise the cloud benefits delivered to a customer’s door such as pre-configured settings, improved lifecycle, and black-box appliance. These are not cloud applications but will be sold and marketed as such.
  • Money and margin will come from verticalized cloud apps. Last mile solutions continue to be a key area of focus.  Those providers with business process expertise gain new channels to monetize vertical knowledge.  Expect an explosion of vertical apps by end of 2011.  More importantly, as the buying power shifts away from the IT towards the lines of businesses, highly verticalized solutions solving specific niche problems will have the greatest opportunities for market success.
  • Many legacy vendors might not make the transition to cloud and will be left behind. Few vendors, especially the legacy public ones, lack the financial where with all and investor stomachs to weather declining profit margins and lower average sales prices.  In addition, most vendors will not have the credibility to to shift and migrate existing users to newer platforms.  Legacy customers will most likely not migrate to new SaaS offerings due to lack of parity in functionality and inability to migrate existing customizations.
  • Social cloud emerges as a key component platform. The mature SaaS vendors that have optimized their “cloud before the cloud” platform, will likely add the social domain on top of their existing solutions to leverage the existing customer base and network effects.  Expect to see some shake-out in the social CRM category. A few existing SCRM vendors will deliver more and more solutions from the cloud and will further invest into their platforms to make it scalable, multi-tenant, and economically viable.  Vendors can expect to see some more VC investment, a possible IPO, and consolidation across all the sales channels.

More…

Research Report: How SaaS Adoption Trends Show New Shifts In Technology Purchasing Power

SaaS Adoption Surveys Often Overlook Audience Composition

Over the past year, analyst firms, tech media, and even mainstream business media have happily showcased positive news about SaaS adoption.  The common theme remains clear – SaaS adoption moves beyond the tipping point in 2010.  Cloud adoption will reach a tipping point in the next 12 months.  All this bodes well for customers and SaaS providers as organizations now embrace SaaS as an acceptable deployment option in their apps strategy.  Unfortunately, recent SaaS/Cloud adoption surveys continue to provide confusing and sometimes contradictory data about adoption.  Close examination of these surveys reveal that not all adoption surveys are equally created.  The unspoken question, who’s answering the surveys?

SaaS Decision Making Firmly In The Hands Of The Business Buyer

Anecdotally, business users drive SaaS decisions, while IT leaders remain skeptical.  To validate this hypothesis, Software Insider conducted a quick survey of 100 Global 2000 organizations.  Starting with the most senior IT leaders, the question was posed, “Are you using SaaS in your organization for major business processes?” (see Figure 1).  Of the 46 organizations who responded, the procurement leaders were then asked the same question (see Figure 2).  After comparing survey results, the following conclusions emerged:

  • IT leaders aware but hesitant on SaaS adoption. A little under a quarter of IT leaders (23.91% or 11/46) responded that they were using SaaS applications.  Key applications deployed include CRM, strategic HCM, expense management and project based solutions (PBS).  Delving deeper into these verbal and in-person interviews highlighted a desire to learn more about SaaS.  As one CIO at a major food and beverage concern stated, “The business heads keep showing up with these SaaS apps and then want us to integrate them.  We need to get a handle on all this!”  Key concerns included, “I don’t know if we can integrate all this in the future”, responded the CIO of a large Fortune 500 retailer and “I think we need better governance and security”, remarked the Director of Enterprise Apps for a Top 25 banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) entity.
  • Procurement leaders reveal surprising adoption by business leaders en masse for SaaS solutions. Conversations with the procurement managers highlight how business users have taken matters into their own hands.  Every one of the surveyed organizations (100% or 46/46) had an existing SaaS contract, contradicting the IT leaders who did not respond that they ran SaaS solutions.  In fact – these contracts ranged from five seat deals to 2000 seats at one organization.  As the procurement head at a large professional services firm indicated, “The teams will buy whatever they need now.  IT has no clue!”.  “Business has to go around IT because they are too busy keeping the lights on”, retorted a procurement manager at a global 10 pharma.  A procurement manager for a large multi-national manufacturer stated, “Our main issue with SaaS is finding enough solutions that will support our needs.”
  • Business leaders take charge but fail to communicate with IT leaders.  The key finding – lack of coordination among business, IT, and procurement.   Amazingly, the 35 IT leaders who stated they did not run SaaS apps for major business processes still may not know about the CRM, HCM, Project Based Solutions, and Finances deployments in their organization.  When some of them were shown the results, these leaders expressed amazement and surprise.  Organizations should be alarmed but not surprised by this lack of coordination between business and IT.

Figure 1.  IT Leader Responses Show Muted Adoption

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Thursday’s Disruptive Tech Showcase: SnapLogic Tackles Cloud/SaaS Integration Challenges

screen-shot-2010-04-22-at-103741-pm

Demand For Complex Cloud/SaaS Based Integration Continues To Increase

Organizations face a deluge of data from more and more new sources, especially in the Cloud.  Existing integration solutions often require expensive custom coding that’s purpose built; but rigid and disposable.  A change in business objects or swap out of new solutions often require brand new investments in integration.  SnapLogic solves a key piece of the Cloud integration problem with modern, pluggable, and reusable pieces of code called Snaps.

Snaps represent an integration task or subtask frameworks of light weight services (a.k.a. SnAPI’s).   SnapFlows orchestrate Snaps to solve the end to end integration that maps back to end to end business process flows.  Through the DataFlow Platform’s open API’s, enterprises can connect a wide variety data sources including (see Figure 1):

  • Enterprise vendor API’s and ODBC
  • Web based REST and http
  • Cloud SOAP and WS*
  • Social Media RSS and atoms

Figure 1. SnapLogic DataFlow Server Provides A Data Integration Platform Through Open-Component APIs and RESTful ARchitecture.

screen-shot-2010-04-22-at-105058-pm

(Source: SnapLogic)

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News Analysis: Hasso Brings More Changes to SAP’s Management Team

New Changes Hint At Hasso’s Priorities

In a not surprising update, SAP makes changes to Executive Board and management.  Here are the changes:

  • Gerhard Oswald becomes COO. Gerhard has experiences in support, consulting, education, custom development, and quality.Gerhard’s contract has been extended till December 31, 2011.

    Point of View (POV):  Gerhard’s been a long-timer at SAP with 30 years of experience.  He replaces Erwin Gunst who’s been out for almost a year with medical issues.  SAP needs a strong COO in place and Gerhard has the credibility and experience to execute.  Hasso’s putting a trusted lieutenant in charge.

  • John Schwarz resigns. The former BOBJ leader leaves.  He was responsible for SAP BusinessObjects, Ecosystem and Corp Dev.

    POV: After being passed up for the CEO job, it was obvious that John would be leaving.  Expect many of the BOBJ members in product management,  product marketing, and development to be reshuffled as their support will be shifted.  Those who didn’t fight hard for embedding T-Rex (inMem) and pushing out “Timeless Software” may be most impacted.

  • Peter Lorenz named as a corporate officer. Peter currently is the Executive Vice President for Small and Mid-size Enterprise (SME).  He reports to Jim Hagemann Snabe.

    POV: The corporate officer position serves as an extended board member role.  This hints at the importance of SME to SAP’s strategy.  SAP also needs to build bench strength in SME.

The Bottom Line – SAP’s Making Big Changes.

Hasso’s acting fast to make changes.  John Schwarz will be missed by many of the BOBJ team. Expect a ripple of changes as the management shake out finalizes over the next 8 to 12 weeks.   Look for new product road maps to arrive prior to Sapphire 2010.

Your POV

Are you an SAP customer?   How do you feel about the transition?  Would you like to learn more about:

  • Building a next gen SAP roadmap?
  • Improving your SAP apps strategy?
  • Augmenting SAP with SaaS?
  • Putting third party maintenance and optimization to work?

Please post or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity.

Related Links And Resources

Official SAP Press Release

Here’s a list of related reports.

20100114 News Analysis: SAP Revives Two-Tier Maintenance Options

20091211 Event Report: 2009 SAP Influencer Summit – SAP Must Put Strategy To Execution In Order To Prove Clarity Of Vision

20091125 Speaker Notes: Keynote – SAP UK & Ireland User Group Conference 2009

Here’s a list of related links of news during Léo’s tenure.  They will be added on an ongoing basis and updated as appropriate.

Copyright © 2010 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.

Tuesday’s Tip: 10 Cloud and SaaS Apps Strategies For 2010

Keep In Mind Basic Rules Still Apply Regardless Of Deployment Option

The proliferation of SaaS solutions provides organizations with a myriad of sorely needed point and disruptive solutions.  Good news – business users can rapidly procure and deploy, while innovating with minimal budget and IT team constraints.  Bad news – users must depend more on their SLA guarantees and deal with a potential integration nightmare of hundreds if not thousands of potential SaaS apps.  Though the 7 key benefits of SaaS outweigh most downside risks, organizations must design their SaaS apps strategies with the same rigor as any apps strategy.  Just because deployment options have changed, this does not mean basic apps strategy is thrown out the window.  Concepts such as SOA, business process orchestration, and enterprise architecture will be more important than ever.  Here are 10 strategies to consider as organizations take SaaS mainstream:

  1. Begin with the business process and desired business value. Understand the desired business value and outcome.  Map back the key performance indicators (KPI’s) to the business processes. Identify what processes will be covered by the SaaS solution.  Determine overlaps and hand-offs between on-premise and SaaS to SaaS that are required to measure the desired KPI’s.
  2. Engage stakeholders early and often. Today’s apps strategies must constantly evolve. Change is happening so fast that line of business leads and IT leaders must collaborate in real time.  The result – an ever changing list of requirements.  While SaaS allows business leaders to make go-it-alone decisions, success will require close collaboration on short term and long term requirements, dependencies, and strategy.
  3. Bet on future suites, SaaS platforms or PaaS (Platform-as-a-service). Winners and losers will emerge in this wave of Cloud computing.  Vendors such as Netsuite, Workday, Zoho, Epicor, and SAP have built or will be building suites.  They provide safe bets as more and more functionality will be rolled into their offerings. Concurrently, organizations should also choose vendors who bring a vibrant and rich ecosystem to the table because those vendors will win in the market.  Salesforce.com and NetSuite already provide users with a platform to build on apps.  Other vendors such as as Google Apps Engine, Microsoft Azure, IBM, and Zoho provide rich developer communities.  Partner and customers will drive innovation which is why platform adoption (i.e. today’s middleware) makes a difference.
  4. Augment with best of breeds, but avoid best of breed hell. No one platform can provide every solution, but choose wisely.  Best of breeds provide deep vertical capabilities and rich last mile solutions.  However, no one wants to manage hundreds of vendor relationships.  Create frameworks that allow business users to work with vendors which support open standards, integrate well with your existing integration strategies, and follow the bill of rights.   Reduction in the number of vendors will become a priority in 2010 going on into 2011.
  5. Assume hybrid will be the rule not the exception. Prepare for hybrid deployments throughout the decade.  Despite the benefits of SaaS and broad adoption in 2010, legacy apps will not go away.  Just count the number of mainframe and client-server apps still in use today.  Many on-premise apps will take time to migrate to SaaS. In some cases, legal requirements will prevent data from being stored off-site.  Software plus services offerings from companies such as Infor, Lawson, Microsoft Dynamics, and SAP may become the norm in 2010 as companies seek private and public cloud solutions.
  6. Design with good architecture. Keep your enterprise architects (EA’s) or hire some more.  Inevitably, more and more SaaS solutions will enter the organization.  EA’s will proactively plan for new scenarios and account for future business requirements.  Organizations should keep some rigor in terms of standards for solution adoption while accounting for the need to rapidly innovate.  Business leaders will need some frameworks on which solutions to adopt.
  7. Choose the right integration strategy for the right time. SaaS integration strategies will evolve based on the organization’s SaaS adoption maturity.  The first set of solutions will probably require point to point integration of data.  Over time, users often migrate to centralized integration services that account for process.  Some will go full enterprise service bus (ESB) and look at business process orchestration as well.  Consider solutions from CastIron, Boomi, Pervasive Software, Informatica, and SnapLogic.  Going forward customer data integration and master data management will be more important than ever.
  8. Minimize long-term storage costs with archiving. Storage represents a significant long term SaaS cost.  Savvy clients can reduce the cost of SaaS storage with a myriad of technologies such as EMC, IBM Optim, and RainStor.  By archiving, organizations will experience faster transaction times, maintain compliance, and reduce storage fees.
  9. Hedge risk with SaaS escrows. Most SaaS vendors will require 5 to 7 years to achieve profitability.  End users often demand software escrows in the on-premise world when they are concerned about vendor viability, takeover threats, and other related breaches to performance or service level agreements.  Software escrows vendors serve as the trusted third party independent organization which holds a copy of the software code.  This often includes user data, source code, documentation and any application executables. SaaS escrows work in a similar way.  Vendors such as EscrowTech, InnovaSafe, Iron Mountain, NCC Group. and OpSource can provide such services.
  10. Protect your rights. Client – vendor relationships in SaaS are perpetual.  Organizations have one shot to get the contract right and begin the relationship with the right tenor.  Apply best practices from The Customer Bill of Rights: SaaS. Work with vendors to find the right balance in approach.

The Bottom Line For Customers – Build Frameworks That Support Easy Line Of Business Adoption

The broad adoption and trajectory of SaaS solutions requires organizations to rapidly replace edicts and 5 year plans with guidelines and policy frameworks.  The goal – enable anyone in the organization to procure a SaaS solution that meets key guidelines and standards.  The result – flexibility, security, and scalability that allows solutions to be used on-demand and in concert with existing applications.

Your POV.

As you work out your SaaS apps strategies, drop us a line and let us know how you are deploying, what challenges you’ve faced, and what successes have you achieved.  We’re happy to weigh in.  Feel free to post your comments here or send me an email at rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwareinsider dot org.

Copyright © 2009 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.

Monday’s Musings: SaaS, SOA, Integration and How To Make A Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich In The Cloud

Rapid SaaS Adoption Will Lead To A Repeat Of 1990′s Best Of Breed Integration Challenges

The proliferation and rapid adoption of SaaS solutions stems from 7 key benefits: richer user experience, rapid implementation, frequent cycles of innovation, minimal upgrade hassles, always on deployment, subscription pricing, and scalability (see Figure 1). Despite these benefits, organizations head full circle towards the same best of breed dilemma they faced in the late 1990′s.  In that era, organizations sought innovation from more nimble and agile competitors.  The result – a concerted effort to deploy a number of on-premise, point solutions.  Willing to sacrifice not having a single instance for functionality, they invested heavily in integration.  Almost a decade later, organizations will encounter similar challenges with harmonizing a plethora of SaaS entry points in the next 2 to 3 years. Given the growing number of SaaS solutions at cost-effective price points and easy adoption, today’s organizations face problems in a geometrically larger scale.

Figure 1. Seven Benefits of SaaS Deployments

screen-shot-2009-11-08-at-22936-pm

Modeling How To Make A Peanut Butter And Jelly Provides Key Insights Into The Integration Challenge

Today’s integration challenges move beyond data integration to include process level and meta-data requirements that span across a range of business processes and relevant key performance indicators (KPI’s).  As more solutions are added, organizations will want to model their end to end business processes as web services and support synchronous and asynchronous communication protocols across hybrid deployments.   Organizations can expect canonical data models play a key role in harmonizing business objects.  To put this in real world terms, imagine describing how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich using a hodgepodge of solutions.  Let’s take a look:

Example 1:  Modeling in a .NET application

  1. Bread: take 2 slices of bread
  2. Peanut butter: spread peanut butter on one slice
  3. Jelly: spread jelly on the other slice
  4. Assembly: put the bread together
  5. Assembly: slice down the middle
  6. Delivery: serve on plate

Example 2:  Modeling in Force.com

  1. Bread: take 2 slices of bread
  2. Bread: determine whether or not to toast the bread
  3. Peanut butter: choose chunky or creamy
  4. Peanut butter: spread peanut butter on one slice
  5. Jelly: choose type of jelly
  6. Jelly: spread jelly on the other slice
  7. Assembly: put the bread together
  8. Assembly: determine if the slices is in half or diagonal
  9. Assembly: slice down the middle
  10. Delivery: choose type of plate (e.g. paper or plastic)
  11. Deliver: serve on plate

Example 3:  Modeling in NetWeaver

  1. Bread: take 2 slices of bread
  2. Bread: determine if the bread is organic or not
  3. Bread: determine whether or not to toast the bread
  4. Bread: determine how light or dark the bread should be toasted
  5. Peanut butter: determine if the peanut butter is organic or not
  6. Peanut butter: choose chunky or creamy
  7. Peanut butter: spread peanut butter on one slice
  8. Peanut butter: determine thickness of spread
  9. Jelly: choose type of jelly
  10. Jelly: determine if the jelly is organic or not
  11. Jelly: spread jelly on one slice
  12. Jelly: determine thickness of spread
  13. Assembly: put the bread together
  14. Assembly: determine whether you want the crust or not
  15. Assembly: determine how to slice the bread (e.g. diagonal, half, 4 cubes, etc.)
  16. Delivery: choose type of plate (e.g. paper or plastic)
  17. Delivery: determine garnishes with the sandwich
  18. Delivery: serve on plate

In these examples, notice how they granularity of processes become deeper and deeper within more complex solutions.  How would you take the peanut butter web service from the .NET example and harmonize this with the NetWeaver example?  Now take this real-life example at a hypothetical global pharma:

  • SAP financials (on-premise)
  • Oracle JD Edwards manufacturing (on-premise)
  • Salesforce.com CRM (SaaS)
  • Workday HR and Payroll (SaaS)
  • Concur Expense Management (SaaS)
  • Xactly Incentive Comp (SaaS)
  • NetSuite OpenAir Project Management (SaaS)
  • Ariba Spend Management (SaaS)
  • Gmail and Google Docs(SaaS)
  • Jive Community Platforms (SaaS)
  • SocialText (SaaS)
  • WebEx (SaaS)

Recommendations

As organizations consider SaaS adoption they must put into place an integration framework to support the competing forces of innovation and harmonization.  These integration frameworks must consider not only data, but also process, metadata, and business intelligence.  Key suggestions include:

  • Begin with the end in mind. Identify the key performance indicators.  Determine how to measure business value
  • Understand your key business processes. Classify your business processes into 3 buckets: commoditized, mission critical, and innovative.  This way you’ll know which processes can be put into an outsource, shared service, or internal ownership.
  • Map the granularity of the business processes.  Group similar processes across different solutions and understand the levels of granularity.  Identify points for harmonization.
  • Determine the data integration requirements. Identify the key business objects associated with the business process.  Ensure that the right data arrives to the right process at the right time for the right person.  Map key meta data to process and business objects.  Build out your canonical data models.
  • Build loose frameworks for evaluation of SaaS solutions. Give line of business teams guidelines to determine how SaaS solutions fit into existing processes.  Use this to jump start integration and proactively identify integration challenges.
  • Determine approach and SaaS adoption policies. In some cases, point to point will make more sense. In others, greater levels of integration and control may be required.  Avoid a one-size fits all methodology in setting up policies.  Consider the business case first and foremost.

The Bottom Line – SOA’s Not Dead And Integration Is Key To Successful Hybrid Deployments

Given these scenarios, CIO’s and line of business apps will need to rely on stronger enterprise architecture and integration in hybrid deployments.  In fact, au contraire on the death of SOA!  Introduction of next generation social enterprise apps will only accelerate the need for good architecture and services design. Expect solutions from Boomi, Cast Iron, Informatica, Pervasive, SnapLogic, and Talend to play a key role going forward.

Your POV

Where are you with your SaaS deployment strategy?  Have you considered SaaS integration tools? What are you using and why?  Do these issues resonate with you?   Who owns the larger integration problem in your organization? Let us know how we can assist or please post or send on your comments to rwang0 (at) gmail (dot) com or r (at) altimetergroup (dot) com and we’ll keep your anonymity.

Copyright © 2009 R Wang & Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.