Posts Tagged ‘SaaS offensive’

News Analysis: Gainsight Spring 2014 Release Targets Large Enterprises Making The Transition To #DigitalBiz

Customer Success Management Pioneer Adds Key Functionality For March 2014 Release

On March 18th, Mountain View, CA based Gainsight announced the Spring 2014 release of its customerssuccess management platform.  Led by CEO Nick Mehta, the cloud software vendor has received over $29M in funding from key investors such as Bain Capital, Battery Ventures, Capital Innovators, Cultivation Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, and Summit Partners.  In addition to the latest release, the company added two industry veterans Sherif Botros from SAP as Chief Data Scientist and Puja Ramani from Facebook as Director of Product Management and Analytics.

Five key features designed for the largest of enterprises were announced for the Gainsight Spring 2014 release and include:

  • Support for sponsor tracking with LinkedIn and InsideView. New feature takes contacts listed in a client’s CRM system and monitors status changes in InsideView and Linkedin.  Known as Gainsight Sponsor Tracking, the feature also adds relevant news, events, and CRM intelligence.  These additional, external data points factor into a holistic customer health score that includes usage, support, engagement, and and other relationship health metrics.

    Point of View (POV):
    A top root cause for churn is an executive sponsor’s departure.  The automated system serves as an early warning indicator when status changes for key contacts to help provide the advantage of time and insight when protecting renewals and future upsell.  The feature also locates potential advocate or customers to on board.
  • Delivery of a Salesforce1 mobile app .  The Gainsight Salesforce1 Mobile App integrates natively with Salesforce (see Figure 1).   The Gainsight offering allows users access on Android and iOS phones and tablets.  Alerts, tasks, customer health data, and survey feedback are integrated with Salesforce system data.

    (POV):
    Mobility tops this year’s list of key enabling digital technologies in almost every Constellation survey.   Customers can take advantage of in-between and wait times to update customer health and fill notes via the application.  Many existing customers expect that this feature will improve team productivity from 10 to 25%.

Figure 1. Gainsight Delivers a Native Integration To Salesforce1

  • Release of  Gainsight Success Snapshots. As a new data visualization publishing feature, the solution helps clients build and publish data filled presentations, executive updates, and QBR reports.  Users can populate presentations with customer queries or templated reports.

    (POV):
    Customers seek not only good reporting tools, but also consumer grade user experience and ease of use. Data visualization tools play a key role in effectively democratizing the data to decision process among stakeholders championing customer success.

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: The Implications Of Oracle’s Acquisition Of Taleo

Catch my colleague Yvette Cameron’s point of view here. She covers Future of Work for Constellation Research, Inc.

Oracle Plays Catch Up With Public Cloud Ambitions

On February 9th, Oracle announced its intention to acquire Dublin, CA based Taleo for $1.9B.  Taleo is a cloud based talent management software provider with 5000 customers and 1400 employees.   Key take aways to consider:

  • Moves by SAP and Oracle intend to compete with next generation cloud HCM companies. Taleo provides recruiting and on boarding, performance management and goal setting, compensation, succession, and learning and development.  This complete suite tied to reporting and analytics is designed to streamline human resource operations and employee career management across retail and hospitality, travel, healthcare, media and entertainment, financial services, technology, and energy and mining.  Marquee customers include Starbucks, Starwood, Hyatt, JP Morgan Chase, HP, Dell, Conde’Nast, United, American Airlines, Tesora, Blue Cross blue Shield, and Sutter Health.to customers.

    Point of View (POV):
    Oracle sees advantages in acquiring a leading player in the talent management space .  For years, both Taleo and SuccessFactors ate into Oracle’s existing customer base for talent management.  Consequently, other cloud based HCM and HR Tech vendors such as Ceridian, CornerStone OnDemand, FairSail, Kinexa, UltimateSoftware, and Workday continue to attract line of business customers looking for innovations not being delivered by their core HCM providers (i.e. Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP).  More importantly, cloud computing if properly designed can improve the pace of innovation delivered to customers.
  • Oracle continues to buy its way into a public cloud. Oracle continues to react to buyer sentiment and preference for cloud based solutions with this second major acquisition in what they term the “public cloud” space.  Oracle purchased RightNow for $1.43B on October 24th to address its gaps in customer service solutions.  The Taleo purchase addresses a gap in Talent Management solutions that rival SAP plugged with its recent acquisition of Success Factors for $3.4B .

    Point of View (POV):
    These defensive plays indicate a realization that Cloud delivery emerges as the predominant option for applications. Based on Oracle’s current road map, one can expects Oracle to acquire its way into many other edge applications not listed on its Public Cloud road map (see Figure 1).  Some other applications could include social business solutions, expense management, learning solutions, pricing management, identity management, and mobile device management.   However,  Oracle’s public cloud acquisition strategy so far lacks a key requirement – a choice for multi-tenant architected solutions.  While both RightNow and Taleo have some modules that are multi-tenant, in most instances, these applications have been delivered in single tenancy or in multi-instance. Multi-tenant solutions will provide clients with the most efficient upgrade path and lowest long-term cost structure.  The lack of a public strategy to address this issue remains a significant concern for customers and industry observers.

Figure 1. Oracle’s Vision For A Public Cloud

Source: Oracle Corporation

 

  • Seats matter most in a world of CoIT. Oracle hopes to gain massive cloud scale through Taleo’s 74 million transactions per day and 240 million candidates on Taleo Talent Exchange.  The sheer number of users is massive.

    POV:
    Unlike CRM or ERP, the play for HR is all about acquiring the biggest base of users – employees.  With consumerization of IT (CoIT) in full swing, the goal is to grab as many users upfront and then over time cross-sell them into other edge applications which converge between enterprise and consumer.  Why?  The new strategy among the enterprise apps vendors is land and expand. The largest active user bases will win the war of attrition.

The Bottom Line for Customers: Goodbye On-Premises, Hello Cloud World!

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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.

Product Review: Inside SAP’s Line-of-Business OnDemand Strategy

SAP’s Sales OnDemand Strategy Reveals A Longer Term Product And Cloud Strategy

In an exclusive briefing on February 24th with SAP’s Executive Vice President of Line Of Business Applications, John Wookey, he provided fresh insight into the new product design and Cloud philosophy at SAP.  This pre-CeBit announcement coincided with the SAP Analyst Day in Boston.  A few take-aways from the briefing reveal:

  • An investment in design thinking behind future Line-of-Business products. With consumer technologies entering the enterprise at a blistering pace, it’s become obvious that today’s enterprise apps only support a small percentage of the work people must accomplish on a daily basis.  SAP’s Line Of Business apps team starts with a design thinking approach.  The initial objectives leverage SAP’s rich history of process excellence, focus on people empowerment, and align with business objectives to achieve a clear purpose.etc.

    Point of View (POV):
    The software industry has taken note in how Design Schools around the world solve problems in user experience and adoption.  SAP’s design thinking process reflects the classical 7 phases of define, research, ideation, prototype, objectives, implement, and learn.  Pairing a design thinking approach and agile development methodologies has led to an understanding of what tasks people need to get done and how to quickly create iterations.   The result – more intuitive user experiences and new product releases every 6 months.  More time is spent on upfront design not engineering.  If successful, Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe will have shown how his focus on agile will pay off across the development organizations.

  • Solutions such as Sales On Demand (Sales OD) that empower people to be effective. From the beginning, the product begins with collaboration through the use of activity streams (i.e. Facebook, Twitter like user experience).  Team collaboration is enhanced with access to key content, analytics, and even competitor information (see Figure 1).  Design points focus on delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time, on the right form factor.  Analytics provide self-service reports (see Figure 2).  Sales effectiveness concepts build around the 4Cs (i.e. the right context, right contacts, right content, and the right contract).

    POV:
    Sales Force Automation (SFA) solutions in the past failed to address the needs of the Sales Professional and the customer.  As with most customer relationship management solutions, they covered the “M” in CRM and ignored the customer (C) and the relationship (R). SAP’s Sales On Demand product is different as it addresses the key issues in helping sales professional receive relevant information and collaborate with their networks in an intuitive manner.  Users will be surprised that this is an SAP application. Despite only delivering 20% of the full SAP CRM suite Sales application capability, the 20% provided delivers 80% of the key capabilities to support sales person effectiveness.

Figure 1.  Activity Streams (Feeds) Deliver A Intuitive And Collaborative User Experience

(Source: SAP)

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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.

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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.

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News Analysis: New HP Leadership Indicates Interest In Enterprise Software

Two Seasoned Software Veterans Join Hewlett-Packard

On September 30th, 2010, Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced two significant changes in its leadership structure.  Former SAP CEO Léo Apotheker was named as CEO; and Kleiner Perkins partner and former Oracle COO, Ray Lane was named as non-executive Chairman.  These two appointments signal a seriousness to shake things up for the better at HP because:

  • Cloud computing and consolidation forces hardware companies such as HP to seek higher margins. Most hardware vendors face single digit margins in their core business.  To bolster margins, many vendors acquired system integration and BPO firms.  For example, HP purchased EDS and Dell acquired Perot Systems.  The next logical step requires the hardware vendors to get into software (see Figure 1).  Software margins hover from 10% to 50% depending on the market.  Expect a hardware vendor such as Cisco, Dell, or HP to acquire a cloud based company such as Salesforce.com or Rackspace to move into the software business.  HP should go on the SaaS/Cloud offensive if they want to deliver rapid innovation to customers and break the cycle of dependence on packaged apps vendors such as Oracle and SAP.  HP can challenge Oracle through a complete cloud stack of SaaS, Paas, DaaS, and IaaS by investing in white spaces in the solution road map with verticals and other pivot points that have not been well served.  In addition, expect forms of SaaS BPO to emerge as clients seek best of breed SaaS and hybrid deployments.
  • Oracle’s acquisition of Sun follows the 1970′s IBM playbook and HP will compete with Oracle in the long run. Oracle’s going after the “golden age of computing”.  The impact — the tech industry reverts back to the beginning of a 40 year innovation cycle.  For example, mainframe time sharing manifests as SaaS/Cloud.  AS/400 and integrated computing evolves into appliances or cloud in a box.  Oracle’s strategy takes silicon to software and signals a need to deliver turnkey verticalized, integrated offerings.  Should HP continue to just serve in the commoditized infrastructure market, Oracle will beat HP in joint accounts for thought leadership and mind share.  Oracle’s going after the high end server market and the verticalized appliances market.  HP must have something to offer business leaders other than faster, better, cheaper boxes.  Software solutions are admission to the party.  HP could and should partner more closely with SAP in the short term to double up and battle Oracle.

Event Report: Oracle Open World 2010 – Beyond The Day 1 Hype

(Photo: Copyright © 2010 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.)

Oracle Day 1 Focused On Showcasing Both Software And Hardware Prowess

The Day 1 keynote kick-off from Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison, touched on the wide spectrum of Oracle’s broad software and hardware portfolio.  Despite an over-emphasis on hardware and appliances, Oracle also pre-announced the launch of Fusion Applications.  A closer analysis of the announcements show:

  • Fusion Apps unveiled and announced for GA in Q1 2011. Joking about the length of time its taken since the halfway to fusion event on January 19, 2006, Larry Ellison finally announced the availability of Fusion Apps.  The seven products include Financial Management, Procurement and Sourcing, Human Capital Management (HCM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC), and Project and Portfolio Management (PPM).  Oracle’s engineering team built 20,000 objects, 10,000 business processes, and 100 modules from scratch (see Figure 1).  Fusion Applications meet 8 of the 10 criteria for next generation social enterprise applications. Oracle intends to target the best of breed SaaS products such as Concur, Salesforce.com, Success Factors, Taleo, and Workday.  At this point, no pricing information has been provided but Oracle has promised like to like upgrade parity for existing customers.

    Point of View (POV):
    Fusion Apps highlight a new level of design.  The apps infuse Web 2.0 paradigms with enterprise class sensibilities.  Role based screens present relevant tasks, alerts, and analytics.  Adoption will depend on the customer’s existing landscape.  Oracle customers generally fall into 3 categories: Die Hard Red Stack Believers, Best of Breed Customers By Accident, and Net New Greenfield.  Expect Net New Greenfields to consider the full Fusion App suites as they compare existing Apps Unlimited products and SAP.  Best of Breed Customers By Accident will most likely be drawn to the 100 modules to be delivered on demand and on premises.  Die Hard Red Stackers most likely have upgraded to the latest Fusion Middleware and will consider product replacements and module adoption.  Fusion Apps remains fairly horizontal and those customers with rich and stable vertical capabilities will most likely hold off for future releases.  Customers should keep an eye on the middleware pricing associated with Fusion Apps.

Figure 1.  Scenes From Oracle Open World And Screen Shots Of Fusion Apps

(Photo: Copyright © 2010 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.)

News Analysis: Infor’s Cloud Strategy Goes Azure With Infor24

On July 12th, 2010, Infor announced its Infor24 initiative at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).  Infor24 represents the Alpharetta, GA software titan’s foray to deliver its solution offerings in the cloud and a continued bet on Microsoft for key technologies.  Here’s the first take on the news and from exclusive conversations with Soma Somasundaram, SVP of Development and James Willey, Senior Director of Solutions Management:

  • Three “on-demand” cloud solutions available today. Infor offers Expense Management, Asset Management, and ERP.  ERP SyteLine represents the first cloud based ERP offering from Infor.  These solutions will move to the cloud powered by Windows Azure, Infor ION, and a future portal product by 2011.  InforION provides key hybrid on-premises and cloud integration.

    Point of View (POV):
    Delivery of expense management (Infor XM) and asset management (Infor EAM) as a cloud solution allows Infor to expand out to non-Infor base.  Existing customers can take advantage of the solution and integrate back through InforION.  To become a true software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, multi-tenancy will have to occur not only at the app server tier but also at the database level.  Infor will most likely make the move to SQL Azure to achieve this.  Customers should look forward to seeing how these solutions take advantage of the full Azure stack.
  • Next generation solutions in 2011 based on Microsoft Windows Azure. Infor’s future solutions will be powered by the Windows Azure development environment (see Figure 1).  Infor’s cloud strategy includes Microsoft Reporting via Infor Ion, Microsoft Analysis Services powering Infor Business Intelligence, and Microsoft Portal powering a future product.  Next generation solutions will run on Microsoft Azure data centers.

    POV:
    As Infor makes the shift to Azure, customers can expect other areas such as public sector solutions to be delivered by the second half of 2011.  Infor customers on IBM i-Series based products should seek a roadmap for their product lines onto Azure.

Figure 1. Infor 24 Bets On Microsoft Windows Azure For Current And Future Roadmap

Source: Infor

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Research Report: Microsoft Partners – Before Adopting Azure, Understand the 12 Benefits And Risks

It’s All About The Cloud At WPC10

Attendees at this year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 in Washington, D.C. already expect Windows Azure development to be a key theme throughout this annual pilgrimage.  Microsoft has made significant investments into the cloud.   Many executives from the Redmond, WA, software giant have publicly stated that 90% of its development will be focused on the Cloud by 2012.  Delivery of the Cloud begins with the Azure platform which includes three main offerings:

  1. Microsoft Windows Azure
  2. Microsoft SQL Azure (formerly SQL Services)
  3. Microsoft Windows Azure Platform: AppFabric (formerly .NET Services).

Therefore, Microsoft partners must determine their strategy based on what part of the cloud they plan to compete in and which Azure services to leverage.  As with any cloud platform, the four layers include infrastructure, orchestration, creation, and consumption (see Figure 1):

  • Infrastructure. At a minimum, Windows Azure provides the infrastructure as a service.  Data center investments and the related capital expense (capex) is replace with oeprational expenses (opex).  Most partners will take advantage of Azure at the infrastructure level or consider alternatives such as Amazon EC2 or even self provision hosting on partner servers and hardware.
  • Orchestration. Microsoft Windows Azure Platform: AppFabric delivers the key “middleware” layers.  AppFabric includes an enterprise service bus to connect across network and organizational boundaries.  AppFabric also delivers access control security for federated authorization.  Most partners will leverage these PaaS tools.  However, non-Microsoft tools could include advanced SaaS integration, complex event processing, business process management, and richer BI tools.  The Windows AppFabric July release now supports Adobe Flash and Microsoft SilverLight.
  • Creation. Most partners will build solutions via VisualStudio and Microsoft SQL Azure (formerly SQL Services).  Other creation tools could include Windows Phone7 and even Java.  Most partners expect to use the majority of tools from Microsoft and augment with third party solutions as needed.
  • Consumption. Here’s where partners will create value added solutions for sale to customers.  Partners must build applications that create market driven differentiators.  For most partners, the value added solutions in the consumption layer will provide the highest margin and return on investment (ROI).

.NET:.NET (tongue and cheek here) – Microsoft partners and developers can transfer existing skill sets and move to the cloud with ease, once Microsoft irons out the business model for partners on Azure.

Figure 1. Partners Must Determine Which Layer To Place Strategic Bets

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