Posts Tagged ‘user experience’

News Analysis: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Acquires Parature For Customer Service Capabilities

Dynamics CRM Gains Key Technology and Team To Take Existing Customer Care Assets To Next Level


On January 7th, 2014, The Microsoft Dynamics CRM team announced a definitive agreement to acquire Herndon, VA based Parature for an undisclosed sum.  This acquisition is Microsoft Dynamic’s CRM’s largest to date. Parature is an East Coast software start-up success story founded in 2000 by five Cornell students including Duke Chung.  Originally named Cyracle Technologies, the company’s first product addressed the live chat market.  Current CEO, Ching-Ho Fung, the first angel behind Blackboard, provided the initial angel investment in 2001.  Parature’s key investors include Valhalla Partners, Sierra Ventures, and Accel Partners.  The acquisition is significant for both Parature and Microsoft Dynamics Customers because:

  • Parature fills in a key gap in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM offering. Microsoft CRM currently has a customer care offering that delivers core customer service with case management, universal queuing and routing, and light scheduling and field service.  Parature provides key self-service knowledge base software, core customer service,  live chat, mobile access, survey and feedback capabilities, social monitoring, and Facebook portal capabilities to the Microsoft service offering.

    Point of View (POV):
    Microsoft’s core strengths have come from the sales automation product and the tight integration with Office.  Since 2012, with the arrival of Corporate Vice President, Bob Stutz, the Dynamics CRM team has sought to round out the rest of the customer experience offering.   (Note: Bob Stutz was a key force in the development of Siebel CRM and SAP CRM.)  The acquisition of Marketing Pilot provided a key building block for marketing automation.  This acquisition of Parature adds to General Manager Jujhar Singh’s investments in customer care.  Dynamics CRM customers gain the knowledge base functionality in Parature, which is the crown jewel.  This knowledge base was recently rearchitected and one of the most modern in the industry.  Parature customers will gain greater investment in the customer service and support product line with deeper integrations to a full customer experience suite.
  • Parature adds 70 million end users to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM ecosystem. The company has built a strong foothold in key industries such as education, gaming, high-tech, non-profit associations, online media, public sector, and travel.  Major brands include Ask.com, Asure Software, ATRA, Brenau University, BuilderMT, CompTIA, e-MDs, EPA, Florida Atlantic University, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, IGN Entertainment, iWin, NASA SEWP, PlayFirst, SoftChalk, Threadless, Top Down Systems, TMA Resources, and Travel Lodge UK.

    (POV):
    Parature’s relentless focus on customer success has led to tremendous growth.  In 2013, Parature doubled its end user count from 35 million in 2011 to 70 million.  Microsoft’s team will More…

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

Past Oracle Open Worlds Have Disappointed Customers and Partners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. More…

Event Report: Microsoft Dynamics Convegence 2013 (#conv13)

Customer Success, Acquisition, And New Features Drive Day 1 Headlines

Almost 12,000 Microsoft faithful converged in New Orleans for the flagship Dynamics event.  Wayne Morris (@WayneMorrisOz), CVP kicked off the event reiterating the theme of “A World Ahead”. Meanwhile, Kirill Tatarinov (@KirillTatarinov), President of Microsoft Business Solutions Division, led the session with a series of impressive brands and compelling customer success stories.  Highlights from the day include:

  • Impressive Global 2000 customer wins. Kirill hinted at wins at SpaceX and followed with live customer presentations from ShockDoctor, Chobani, Weightwatchers, and Revlon.  Dennis Goetz (CFO) of Shock Doctor shared how they grew their business moving away from spreadsheets to Microsoft Dynamics GP.  Maureen Hurley (VP of IT) and James McConeghy (CFO) explained how Chobani installed Microsoft Dynamics AX in their main New York plant in less than a year and then implemented Dynamics AX at a new plant in less than 27 days. Christine Butler (VP of CRM and Business Development, and Loic Vienne (VP of Systems) at WeightWatchers discussed how they put in Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage with 500 million customer touch points a year.  David Giambruno (SVP and CIO) and Steven Berns (Executive VP and CFO) of Revlon, made the impressive move to consolidate 21 ERP systems into one on Microsoft Dynamics AX.

    Point of View (POV):
    The Microsoft Dynamics team has successfully moved up market from a previously SMB centric message.  The rise of global 2000 customers in the $500M to $5B revenue range shows the growing presence, success, and scalability of Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM.  Though the business is estimated to bring $1.4B in revenue, Microsoft Dynamics still represents a small fraction of Microsoft’s overall revenue ($73.72B 2012).  However, success in the Microsoft Dynamics business improves attach rates and cross-sells into Sharepoint, Office, SQL Server, and Azure.  Microsoft’s small investment in Dynamics reduces customer fragmentation and plays a key role in long-term growth.
  • Acquisition of Netbreeze for social analytics. The Netbreeze acquisition brings data mining, natural language processing (NLP), and text analysis to social signals such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, 6,000 online news websites, 500,000 message boards, and 18M blogs.   The system supports 28 different languages including Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. Direct language translation beats translation back to one language.

    Point of View (POV):
    Netbreeze and Marketing Pilot address a growing need among the customer base for marketing automation and management.  Netbreeze is key to merging both the structured CRM information and the unstructured social signals.   As the CMO role continues to reclaim its technology destiny, we are moving away from transaction integrity and moving towards surfacing insights.  Netbreeze provides insight into marketing spend effectivity.
  • Announcement of Marketing Pilot 15.  MarketingPilot 15 adds improved user experience and analytics.  In addition, the long awaited connector to Microsoft Dynamics CRM arrives on March 2013.  International general availability is planned for later 2013.

    (POV):
    Marketing Pilot provides core marketing capabilities that were missing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.   Customers seeking an integrated marketing solution should consider Marketing Pilot.  However, the technology platform is dated.  For those customers seeking a cloud based approach, Silverpop, InfusionSoft, Aprimo, and Marketo may serve as better alternative today.  Compared to CMS marketing products like SiteCore or Adobe CQ, Marketing Pilot remains a distant second in features, but a top contender when cost is considered.
  • Windows Azure partner hosted offerings for ERP. Partner hosting for Dynamics GP 2013 and NAV 2013 will be available in June 2013.  Dynamics AX will see an Azure hosted version in 2014.

    (POV):
    Among the Dynamics ERP customers, partner hosting remains a popular option for dipping their toes into cloud ERP.  A key barrier to Azure hosting has been the performance issues with SQL Server for Azure.  Resolution of those issues will free Dynamics to deploy more of its capabilities in Azure.  The go forward architectural model for Dynamics AX resembles Dynamics CRM where a VM is assigned per tenant but all management is done by Microsoft.
  • New mobile applications for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.  New mobile apps will address key horizontal functions such as expense management, time tracking, and approvals.  The expense management offering will capture and reconcile expenses, time allows the completion of time sheets, and approvals allows managers to complete business requests.  Microsoft intends to support Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, Windows Phone 8, Android phones, and iOS phone devices

    (POV):
    Customers are increasingly asking for a mobile experience.  The move to address mobility focuses on “in-between time” tasks that improve productivity for employees and bolsters offerings for services based industries and public sector.

 

Figure 1. Ongoing #Conv13 Flickr Stream

<iframe align=center src=http://www.flickr.com/slideShow/index.gne?user_id=35408001@N04&set_id=72157633038407298&detail=yes frameBorder=”0″ scrolling=no width=”600″ height=”500″></iframe>

The Bottom Line:  Progression In The Dynamics Product Line Results In A Competitive Alternative For Customers

On December 21, 2000, Microsoft announced the intention to acquire Great Plains.  In July 2002, Microsoft bought Navision A/S, the foundation of Dynamics NAV and AX.  Until 2007, Microsoft Business Solutions had struggled to find and grow beyond its SMB niche. Over the past seven years, the team has focused on deepening vertical capabilities, improved integration with Microsoft components, expanding partner programs, and making strategic acquisitions for product and technology features.  The process has been slow but steady but increased investment in Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM has paid off.

Fast forward to 2013, Microsoft now has a strong portfolio of solutions that Global 2000 organizations can deploy with confidence.  The MBS team is not afraid of tuck in acquisitions nor purchasing common IP from trusted partners.  The rearchitecture efforts and gradual hosted capabilities have helped move the product forward.  Consequently, customers and prospects seeking a newer architecture, Microsoft footprint, and deeper micro-vertical capabilities now consider the core Dynamics products for both ERP and CRM in short lists.  Key use cases include the consolidation of ERP, move to Two-Tier ERP, and primary CRM system of record.   However, customers should be cautioned that success will require selection of the right Microsoft Partner.  Selection of the right partner is never an easy process as many partners exist and validation of capabilities still remains a challenge for prospects and existing customers.

Your POV

Are you Microsoft Dynamics customer? Do you plan to invest more or less with them in 2013?  What do you think about their strategy?   Are you ready to consolidate on Microsoft? Add your comments to the blog or send us a comment at R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) org or R (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com

Please let us know if you need help with your apps strategy.  Sign up for a Constellation Academy Workshop or let us assist with:

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Resources and Related Research

Event Report: The Sentiment At Microsoft Convergence 2011

Friday’s Feature: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010

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

Monday’s Musings: The Hidden Value In SaaS Deployments

Trends: 2011 Cloud Computing Predictions For CIO’s And Business Technology Leaders

Research Summary: Best Practices – The Case For Two-Tier ERP

Tuesday’s Tip: When To Go With A Two-Tier ERP Strategy

Strategy: 5 Lessons Learned From A Decade Of Naught

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

Tuesday’s Tip: 2010 Apps Strategies Should Start With Business Value

Best Practices: Lessons Learned In What SMB’s Want From Their ERP Provider

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Monday’s Musings: Trends In The Top Software Insider Posts of 2012 (#softwareinsider)

Thank You For Your Support

SoftwareInsider.org generated almost 10 million page views in 2012 (see Figure 1).  This does not include syndication through Constellation Research, Forbes (discontinued in 2012), Enterprise Irregulars, Computerworld UK, and other great media partners.

Figure 1.  Software Insider Achieved 9.8M Page Views for 2012

Classic Posts Address The Key Fundamentals In The Disruptive Technology Shift

Four posts have made the all time favorite list and address the 5 consumer technology forces that influence enterprise software.

  1. Monday’s Musings: How The Five Consumer Tech Macro Pillars Influence Enterprise Software Innovation
  2. Research Report: The 18 Use Cases of Social CRM and The New Rules of Relationship Management
  3. Tuesday’s Tip: Understanding the Many Flavors of Cloud Computing
  4. Best Practices: Five Simple Rules for Social Business

2012 Top 40 Reflects A Broader Shift To Business Outcomes And Technology Adoption

Analyst Relations and the World of Influence - The top blog post of 2013 discussed the future of the industry analyst versus legacy analyst firms.

Consumerization of Technology and The New C-Suite – The impact of technology on the C-suite has never been greater.  As business strategy relies more on technology, CMOs, CFOs, and other line of business heads can expect to work more closely with the CIOs and CTOs.

More…

Monday’s Musings: Understand The Four Organizational Personas Of Disruptive Tech Adoption

Pace of Innovation Exceeds Ability To Consume

Rapid innovation, flexible deployment options, and easy consumption models create favorable conditions for the proliferation of disruptive technology.  In fact, convergence in the five pillars of enterprise disruption (i.e. social, mobile, cloud, big data, and unified communications), has led to new innovations and opportunities to apply disruptive technologies to new business models.  New business models abound at the intersection of cloud and big data, social and mobile, social and unified communications, and cloud and mobile.

Unfortunately, most organizations are awash with discovering, evaluating, and consuming disruptive technologies.  Despite IT budgets going down from 3 to 5% year over year, technology spending is up 18 to 20%.  Why?  Amidst constrained budgets, resources, and time limits, executives are willing to invest in disruptive technology to improve business outcomes.  Consequently, successful adoption is the key challenge in consuming this torrent of innovation.  This rapid pace of change and inability to consume innovation detract organizations from the realization of business value.

Organizations Fall Into Four Personas Of  Disruptive Technology Adoption

A common truism in the industry is “Culture trumps technology”.  As organizations apply methodologies such as Constellation’s DEEPR Framework in improving adoption, leaders must first determine which of the four personas best fits their organization’s appetite for consuming and innovating with disruptive technologies.

The personas of disruptive technology adoption assess organizational culture in two key axes (see Figure 1).  The first is how incremental or transformational an organization looks at applying disruptive technology to business models.  The second assesses how proactive or reactive an organization is in carrying out new initiatives.  Based on these dimensions, the four personas include:

  1. Market leaders. Market leaders prefer to drive transformational innovation.  They look at technologies as enablers in disrupting business models.  They see competitive differentiation in delivering outcomes to customers. Market leaders accept failure as part of the innovation process.  They fail fast and move on.
  2. Fast followers. Fast followers prefer to react to the success of market leaders and their experiments.  When they sense success, they tend to jump in.  Fast followers do not like to fail and rapidly apply lessons learned from market leaders into their road maps.  Fast followers tend to deliver scale in the markets as a counter balance to arriving later in the market.
  3. Cautious adopters. Cautious adopters proactively deliver incremental innovation.  They tend to take a more measured approach and spend more time studying how they can improve an existing success than creating a transformational change.  Cautious adopters often come from regulated industries where security and safety are paramount objectives.
  4. Laggards. Laggards tend to procrastinate on applying innovations to their business models.  They prefer not be bothered by trends and will only react when the trends have moved beyond mainstream.  They see value in waiting as prices will drop over time as success rates increase over time.  Laggards enjoy waiting.

During the interviews and discussions with the 2012 Constellation SuperNova award participants, key questions emerged in the decision process on whether to adopt or pass on a disruptive technologies.  These questions aligned well with the four personas of disruptive technology adoption.

Figure 1.  Organizations Should Understand Which Persona Of Disruptive Tech Adoption Describes Them Best

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Event Report: IFS World Conference 2012 – Innovations Abound Beyond ERP (#IFSWoCo2012)

Key Themes Include Mobility, User Experience, and Innovation

Over 1100 IFS customers convened October 15th to 17th, 2012 in Gothenburg Sweden for the IFS World Conference.  The conference brought together the world of projects, service and asset, manufacturing, and supply chain.  The conference highlighted the:


  • Massive move to mobile. IFS continued their push into their mobile apps portfolio with seven touch apps.  Martin Gunnarsson director of research and development, discussed how the mobile solution addresses three personas: casual, professional, and transactional. IFS Time Tracker addresses project time and attendance reporting, confirmation, etc.  IFS Trip Tracker simplifies travel expense reporting.  IFS Sales Companion helps sales professionals manage their accounts, tasks and opportunities. IFS Quick Reports provide the ability to create and view ad-hoc reports on a mobile device.  IFS Quick Facts enables fast keyword search of any object in IFS Applications.  IFS Flight Log allows the management of platform operational data in the aerospace and defense industry.  IFS Support Companion delivers interaction with IFS support centers.

    Point of view (POV):
    The move to mobile continues the user experience emphasis of IFS.  These new Touch Apps address specific work processes and allow for quick to complete tasks.  By calling on services running inside IFS Cloud, users gain direct access without having to talk to the ERP back end.  IFS should be lauded for support of the three key mobile apps ecosystems: Google Play Store, Apple App Store and Windows Marketplace.  pushing out to public apps stores provides customers with an easy and frictionless experience.  Customers and prospects can expect more touch apps to address areas in CRM, HR, reporting, search, and projects in 2013.
  • Launch customers on IFS Applications 8. Customers on hand at the conference provided upfront honesty of the migration to IFS Applications 8Early adopters, Remmele Engineering, Portsmouth Aviation, VBG Group, Bright Point, and Teracom shared insights on their move to IFS Applications 8.  Some customers moved from IFS 2003, others from IFS 7.5.  Right now 40% of the customer base has made the move to 7.5 or 8.  IFS has 34000 users are live or implementing and expect 25 customers by year end to be live on IFS applications 8.

    (POV):
    The different release paths, industries, and use cases reinforced the marketing messages that the move to IFS Applications 8 was worth the trouble.  Customers cite the user experience, business intelligence, and the move to mobility as the key reasons for the shift.  Regulatory compliance and new industry specific features also played a significant role. More…

News Analysis: Informatica Launches MDM 9.5

New Product Addresses The Social, Mobile, Cloud, and Big Data World

The convergence of social, mobile, cloud, big data (analytics), and video/unified comms changes the playing field from transactional applications to engagement applications.  The result – a sea change of new data types from structured and unstructured sources.  With greater volumes of data, demand for information shifts from real time to right time inside and outside the enterprise.  Context by process, by roles, by location, and by any other segmentation requires a robust MDM solution to improve the return on #bigdata.  Unfortunately, many master data management solutions have not been designed to handle this new world of business led requirements.

Enter Informatica’s MDM 9.5 product launched May 15th, 2012 at Informatica World (#IW2012).  Some key features in 9.5 highlight the move to social, mobile, cloud, and industries:

  • Versioning – effective dates deliver timelines. The new product delivers effective dating to define and manage past, current, and future versions of a record.  Delivered at the base object level, relationships are automatically version-enabled.

    Point of View (POV):
    Future analysis of social and mobile data will require the ability to segment and correlate by time.  The solution can model hierarchies and entities by past, present and future. More importantly, versioning provides rich compliance information that will serve as a backbone for information governance of a wide variety of data types and sources..
  • Social MDM – Facebook apps connect to customer profiles. The new Facebook and MDM connectivity provides a social graph of the customer and friends of the customer. Users gain bi-directional connectivity.

    Point of View (POV):
    Connection to Facebook not only brings rich profile information, but also delivers key multichannel connections.  This linkage exposes and identifies common interests and relationships which build richer customer profiles.  Customers should work hard to drive data out of Facebook and not into Facebook, reducing the trading of privacy for convenience.

Event Report: Clarabridge Customer Connections 2012 #cbc312

Clarabridge “Turns Up The Heat” On Delivering Context For Customer Experience

CEO, Sid Banderjee, opened up Clarabridge‘s 4th annual user conference to 350 customers at the Doral Golf & Spa in Miami, FL on March 5th, 2012.  Clarabridge, a sentiment and text analytics software provider helps companies discern insight from their text based customer feedback and the growing plethora of social and mobile data points.  The goal – aggregation of insights from qualitative analytics that transform key organizational processes in customer experience, new product development, and employee satisfaction.

Clarabridge has shown success with a Global 1000 customer list that spans key verticals in technology/telco, retail/CPG, manufacturing, travel/hospitality, financial services/insurance.  Major clients include Bank of America, Best Buy, Cisco, Dell, Disney, Fidelity, General Mills, Hilton, IHG Hotels, Kaiser Permanente, Marriott, Siemens Sony, T-Mobile, United Airlines, Verizon, Visa, Walgreen’s, Walmart, and Zynga.

Some highlights from the event include:

  • Keynote from customer experience transformist Bruce Temkin. Bruce’s keynote discussed how organizations apply Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs to augment customer experience.  Temkin highlighted his VoC Maturity assessment methodology that drills in on six key areas – detection, dissemination, diagnosis, discussion, designing, and deploying.  The key quote from Bruce was “Customer feedback is cheap, actionable insight may be valuable, but taking action on insight is precious. VoC programs are useless unless you act on what you find”
  • Best practices discussions from Global 1000 companies.Leading brands such as Acer, Best Buy, B/E Aerospace, Charming Shoppes, Choice Hotels International, Inc., Dell Inc, Expedia, Estée Lauder, Fidelity Investments, GE Appliances, United Airlines, Sage, Verizon, Vodaphone, Wendy’s, Walmart, and Zynga shared best practices.   Experiences from Wynn Parrish, VP Product Support of B/E Aerospace showd how customer management and warranty liability could be minimized.  Michael Silverman at Silverman research highlighted how Unilver uses VOC for internal employee programs.  One of the highlights was Jared Anderson (Best Buy) and Jonathan Sunberg’s (Confirmit) panel on voice of the customer at the leading edge/
  • Official details on the Clarabridge 5.0 launch. The launch of Clarabridge 5.0 provides the foundation for a customer insight data analytics hub (See Figure 1).  As part of the launch, Clarabridge Collaborate adds integrated notifications and alerts.  A new satisfaction scoring and sentiment transparency capability brings customer satisfaction scores into the equation to determine customer loyalty and retention programs.  Many attendees expressed interest in the new theme and event detection capabilities which provide custom categorization models to quickly surface new trends.  Last but not least, the natural language processing engine now supports Italian, Dutch, and Japanese.

Figure 1. Transforming Feedback Into Insight


More…

Event Report: The Sentiment At Microsoft Convergence 2011

Refresh Cycle Reflects Bullish Outlook By Partners and Customers

Microsoft Convergence kicked off over the weekend in Atlanta, GA at the Georgia World Congress Center.  With an anticipated increase in attendance, many new product announcements, and a technology refresh cycle in play, attendees seemed upbeat.  The event kicked off in true tradition including the must attend Randy and Andy (IBIS, Inc) welcome party.  Anticipated cloud announcements, new features, and industry extensions dominate discussions among partners.  Through a survey of over 60 customers, we found the following observations:

  • Customers expect to upgrade ERP and CRM in 12 to 18 months. Good news for Microsoft partners.  Most ERP and CRM customers plan to upgrade within the next 12 to 18 months (see Figure 2).  Many plan to upgrade ERP (18.0%) and CRM (13.1%) in the next 6 to 12 months.
  • Cloud adoption remains partly cloudy. While there are numerous benefits to cloud adoption for clients,  34.4% of ERP customers showed no interest.  Most CRM customers expected to make the shift to the cloud (see Figure 3).  As for the shift to office in the cloud, 18.0% planned to make the shift 24 months from now.
  • Attendees seek to leverage Microsoft investment. Informal conversations highlighted interest in mobile development, greater sharepoint adoption, and interest in Power Pivot.  Most customers felt Microsoft had turned the corner and began to innovate as of the Windows 7 launch.
  • Large customer prospects explore Two Tier ERP. In speaking with 13 divisions of large enterprises at the event, most attended to explore the option of adding Microsoft Dynamics ERP into their subsidiaries.  Eight of the ten companies ran SAP while three ran Oracle, and another two ran custom legacy systems.  Surveyed prospects believe that Two-tier ERP strategies will dominate future apps strategy.

Figure 1.  Flickr Feeds From Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2011

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

Figure 2. Most Microsoft Dynamics Customers Plan To Upgrade ERP & CRM In 12 to 18 Months

(Right click image to expand)

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Monday’s Musings: Why Next Gen Apps Must Improve Existing Activity Streams

Upcoming Data Deluge Threatens The Effectiveness Of Activity Streams

Activity streams, best popularized by consumer apps such as Facebook and Twitter, have emerged as the Web 2.0 visualization paradigm that addresses the massive flows of information users face (see Figure 1).  As a key element of the dynamic user experiences discussed in the 10 elements of social enterprise apps, activity streams epitomize how apps can deliver contextual and relevant information.  Unfortunately, what was seen as an elegant solution that brought people, data, applications, and information flow into a centralized real-time interface, now faces assault from the exponential growth in data and information sources.  In fact, most people can barely keep up with the information overload, let alone face the four forces of data deluge that will likely paralyze both collaboration and decision making (see Figure 2):

  1. Massive activity stream aggregation by enterprise apps. Every enterprise app seeking sexy social-ness plans one or more social networking feeds into their next release.  The mixing and mashing of personal and work related feeds will leave users confused about context and lower existing signal to noise ratios.  Yet, proliferation will continue as users seek to bring aggregated sources of information into one centralized feed.
  2. Explosive growth in the Internet of Things (IOT). Beyond just device to device communications, the web of objects, appliances, and living creatures through wired and wireless sensors, chips, and tags will drive most of the growth in the internet in the next 5 to 10 years.  With an estimated 100 billion net-enabled devices by 2020, these networks seek to discover activity patterns, predict outcomes, and monitor operational health.  The massive amounts of sensing data driven into systems will not only overwhelm users, but also handicap the performance of today’s data warehouses, analytics platforms, and applications.
  3. Flood of user generated content (UGC). User generated content continues to grow.  Facebook has over 500 million users populating pages with rich social meta data.  There are over 300 million blogs.  Wikipedia has more than 15 million articles.  Content sources will propagate at geometric rates, especially as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries up their adoption.
  4. Proliferation of social meta data. Organizations seeking a marketing edge must digest, interpret, and asses large volumes of meta data from sources such as Facebook Open Graph.  Successful identification of social graphs require matching gargantuan volumes of meta data (e.g. likes, check-ins, groups, etc) through introspection across a vast array of objects.  Human centric and object centric events will inevitably coexist and engulf unified activity streams.

Figure 1.  Activity Streams Improve Collaboration And Deliver Dynamic User Experiences


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Friday’s Feature: Workday Release 10 Moves Users One Step Closer To ERP Replacement

Workday Continues To Pioneer SaaS Success In The Enterprise

Founded by Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri in March 2005, Workday has grown the company to over 135 customers with 80+ companies in production, 17 enterprise payroll companies, and over 400 employees in 50 countries worldwide.  Key industries include services, technology, financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and others.  Unlike other ERP pure play True SaaS vendors (e.g. NetSuite, Intacct, and Ultimate Software), Workday uniquely serves the mid-size to very large enterprise clients.  Large production clients range from 26,000 employees at Chiquita to 200,000 employees at Flextronics.  Workday’s roots began with HR but Release 10 bolsters key financial and spend management capabilities, highlighting aspirations to be the SaaS option for Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP ERP replacements over the next 3 to 5 years.

Design Points Reflect The Principles Of Social Enterprise Apps

With the business user in mind, Workday incorporates 8 of the 10 essential elements for social enterprise apps.  These include (see Figure 1):

  1. Role-based design. Software designed around how users perform work including applicable security models.
  2. Consistent experience across channels & deployment options. Software that is agnostic to where or how that software is deployed and accessed.
  3. Contextual & relevant delivery of information. Software which understands what information to provide users at a point in time
  4. Configurable & adaptive. Software that can be modified to meet changing conditions.
  5. Outcome-focused & results-oriented. Software that tracks key metrics across an end to end process.
  6. Proactive, predictive, & actionable. Software that anticipates requests and supports decision making.
  7. Engaging for all stakeholders. Software that opens up the system to new types of users, collaborators, networks, and communities.
  8. Secure & safe. Software that meets security and disaster recovery thresholds.

Figure 1.  Workday’s Design Incorporates 8 Of The 10 Elements of Social Enterprise Apps

Software Insiders Point of View Photo Stream (click image for details)

(Source: Workday)

Release 10 Features Move Users Closer To An ERP Suite

  • HCM adds Succession Planning and expands geographic reach. HR managers gain new functionality with succession planning by candidate names and positions.  Succession profiles track potential, achievable levels, and retention risk.  Improved enhancements touch absence, benefits, compensation, performance management, and staffing.  Cuba and Guernsey are added as 2 new countries.   Global personal data already supports 297 countries and all UN member nations.   Employee contracts now support Chinese and EMEA requirements.
  • Financials expands horizontal capabilities. Key updates include improved customer contracts, scheduled billing, revenue recognition, and milestone recognition.  New financial reporting features allow cost center and regional managers to run reports.  Users receive new project billing, basic VAT, sales tax, and customer statement capability.
  • Payroll augments existing capability.  New features include new off cycle calculations, worker history enhancements, gross-up, and off cycle billing.  Payroll remains focused on primary processing.  Multiple job processing is not available yet but planned for future releases.
  • Spend management adds a supplier invoice workbench. Additional enhancements span procure to pay, contingent worker procurement, resource tracking, and purchase order review.
  • User experience focuses on role based designs. Worker and talent profiles receive new looks that build off of the design elements in the “All About Me” and “My Team” pages in Release 9.   Multi-currency display for compensation now displays local and preferred currencies.
  • Analytics and reporting simplify data creation and consumption. Simple enhancements such as default values for report inputs, report tags for categorizing and search, and data creation from any source accessible by the user improve the ability to turn data into information.  Export now supports CSV, XML, and GData formats.
  • Ecosystem integration expands to new partners. New linkages include MrTed TalentLink, 15 new providers to the Workday Benefits Network (WBN), and improved integration security in the Enterprise Interface Builder

The Bottom Line – Consider Workday In Shortlists For HCM Upgrade/Replacement And Two Tier ERP

With the bulk of most HCM solutions deployed prior to Y2K, many organizations now actively consider upgrade/replacement strategies.   Most users expect upgrades to result in expensive replacement scenarios.  Hence, organizations must determine whether or not to continue with incumbent vendors or pursue a two-tier ERP apps strategies using SaaS deployment.  For mid-sized to large enterprises, Workday provides a unique option to take a phased approach with HCM and grow into the full suite as the product matures.

Your POV

Are you considering an ERP replacement? Will Workday 10′s new features compel you to migrate from your existing apps?  If you are a Workday customer, how’s your experience been with the SaaS vendor?  Add your comments to the discussion or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity. Please let us know if you need help with your apps strategies.  Here’s how we can help:

  • SaaS/Cloud strategies
  • Crafting your next gen apps strategy
  • Short listing and vendor selection
  • Contract negotiations support
  • Market evaluation

Related resources and links

20100316 The Enterprise System Spectator – Frank Scavo “Workday pushing high-end SaaS for the enterprise”

20100324 InformationWeek – Doug Henschen “Workday 10 boosts HR capabilities”

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