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... blogging on what is happening in enterprise software, with a focus on Future of Work and Next Generation Applications, sparkled with occasional musings on the the state of the industry and outlooks where we are heading.

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    Earlier today Salesforce launched Salesforce Shield, a set of administrative PaaS capabilities aimed at bringing to the Salesforce1 platform a number of key (and long desired) capabilities like archiving, encrypting and monitoring.



    But let’s dissect the press release in our common commentary style:


    SAN FRANCISCO--July 14--Salesforce [NYSE: CRM], the Customer Success Platform and the world’s #1 CRM company, today launched Salesforce Shield, a new set of Salesforce1 Platform services that include Field Audit Trail, Platform Encryption, Data Archive and Event Monitoring.
    Now, companies with compliance or governance requirements, or businesses in regulated

    industries can build trusted cloud apps fast--using clicks, not code.  Leading organizations such as First Data and Genomic Health are using Salesforce Shield today to build trusted apps. 

    MyPOV – Salesforce is adding key platform capabilities to Salesforce1 with audit, encryption, archive and event monitoring capabilities. It is good to see these coming, some of them like Archiving have been something Salesforce customers have been waiting for since some time. And the set of four capabilities is key for all companies, as literally all of them are confronted with an increase of regulatory and government requirements. To a certain point Salesforce has been lucky to focus on CRM, which traditionally has been less the focus of regulators. Had Salesforce e.g. originated in the Finance or HCM domain these four capabilities would have been built a few years ago. As Salesforce is attracting more ISVs to its platform (see since a long time Financial Force and more recently e.g. Lumesse), these capabilities become more crucial. And as mentioned before, Salesforce customers were looking for some of these capabilities in the past, and had to implement, operate and maintain 3rdparty solutions to address these.


    Comments on the News:

    ·       “While many companies are leveraging the cloud to build apps at the speed of business, those in regulated industries have struggled to take full advantage of the cloud due to regulatory and compliance constraints,” said Tod Nielsen, executive vice president of
    Salesforce1 Platform, Salesforce. “With Salesforce Shield, we are liberating these IT
    leaders and developers, and empowering them to quickly build the cloud apps their
    businesses need, with the trust Salesforce is known for.”


    MyPOV – Nielsen is correct that a more powerful platform makes for a more powerful developer, reducing time to go live. As mentioned before, the four capabilities are needed for best practice CRM operations, too – not just from a regulatory perspective. So a double benefit for Salesforce to add these.


    ·       "As a leading payments technology company serving millions of business owners around the globe, First Data adheres to rigorous federal and international compliance
    standards,” said Steve Petrevski, senior vice president of Technology, First Data.
    “Salesforce1 Platform allows us to incorporate compliance capabilities into our apps to
    better serve the needs of our global client base.”


    MyPOV – Firstdata is a powerful reference for salesforce1 and another one of the ISV mentioned before who need the four capabilities of Salesforce Shield. Not as optional ‘nice to have’ features, but as basic operation capabilities needed from version one of a product.


    How Salesforce Shield fits on top of the existing Salesforce plaform
    ·       “Salesforce Shield is going to provide a significant contribution to our infrastructure as
    we continue to enhance our systems and processes to support the growing demand for
    our products and services,” said Paul Aldridge, chief information officer, Genomic
    Health. “The new platform allows us to transition more of our business into the cloud
    environment, utilizing Salesforce technology to continue delivering practice-changing information to deliver care for cancer patients around the world.” […]


    MyPOV – After an ISV with First Data, now a key company in need of building next generation application capabilities with Salesforce1 to master genome processing with Genomic Health. Salesforce is never short of blue chip, marquee reference customers.   


    Now Every Company Can Build Trusted Cloud Apps Fast

    Every industry is in the midst of an app revolution, and companies are turning to cloud platforms to help them deliver high-quality apps quickly.  […]   But in their rapid
    transformation into app companies, businesses also need to ensure they are complying with
    internal governance policies and industry regulations. Until now, businesses often were required to develop or integrate compliance features on their own, compromising innovation and speed. 


    MyPOV – Good to see Salesforce expand the use cases to all enterprises. And next generation applications should be benefiting from capabilities as such as Salesforce shield is providing.


    Now, with Salesforce Shield, IT departments and developers are empowered with drag-and-
    drop tools to quickly create trusted cloud apps with auditing, encryption, archiving, and
    monitoring built in, all delivered on the proven Salesforce1 Platform. 


    MyPOV – Good to see that Salesforce spent some thought on the ease of use of these capabilities, too. All too often administrative and regulatory functions don’t receive much user experience love, making them cumbersome and inefficient to use. We recently saw a demo of the soon to be released Shield capabilities and they are native to the Salesforce1 platform, and exposed at the same level as the rest of the Salesforce1 platform capabilities.


    Salesforce Salesforce1 Shield
    How Salesforce Shield fits in the overall Salesforce Platform


    Salesforce Shield includes:

    • Platform Encryption: Previously, companies would need to spend three to six monthsbuilding out hardware and software to implement encryption. Now, because Platform Encryption is native to the Salesforce1 Platform, customers can easily designate sensitive data to be encrypted while preserving important business functionality like search and workflow. For example, a health insurance company can manage designated personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI             ), without compromising the ability of customer service agents to search, view, modify, or run workflows and other key functions using that data. Agents can now search claims, determine coverage eligibility, and approve payments with enhanced security while delivering great customer service.

    MyPOV – A key capability for any modern platform, good to see Salesforce making encryption available for Salesforce1. And good to see it can be selective, as brute force encryption creates another set of problems (organizationally, administration and performance wise).  



    • Data Archive: The explosion of data creation is forcing companies to think differently about storage options. Instead of storing large amounts of historical data that does not need to be accessed regularly in Salesforce or moving data to another location, companies can now keep their data in “nearline storage,” an option that provides fast access at reduced cost, on the Salesforce1 Platform. Using Data Archive, customers can store long-lived business data in the Salesforce1 Platform, while still benefiting from maximum app performance and data availability. For example, hospitals are required to store patient data for decades, but they can transfer that patient data into nearline storage and access it via simple queries when necessary. 

    MyPOV – Advanced archiving and storage options are key for next generation applications, as the nature of these applications often deals with BigData volume or pushes into new applications that require different data handling (the sensitive storage of patient data is an example). Or next generation applications explore new use case scenarios, e.g. a patient relationship management system needs to bring together transactional information (from e.g. Salesforce1) and large video data (stored locally).



    • Field Audit Trail: Businesses desire certainty that their data is accurate, complete and reliable, enabling them to meet stringent industry regulations. With Field Audit Trail, customers can track changes at the field level for up to ten years and set different  policies for each Salesforce object to ensure data is purged when no longer needed. Life sciences companies running clinical trials in Salesforce, for example, can now maintain a complete audit trail of patient data so they can safeguard the integrity of clinical trial results and comply with FDA regulations.

    MyPOV – Audit trail has been a staple for enterprise applications since their very beginning of the mainframe. Ironically the state of field audit trail has only worsened since, as newer platforms were late or even never introduced the capability. So it’s good to see Salesforce adding audit trail capability at field level. Something that even benefits classic CRM scenarios (remember - ‘who has changed that forecast?’). The capability is easy to enable inside the Salesforce1 platform.



    • Event Monitoring: Event Monitoring gives businesses unprecedented visibility into how their applications are being used and by whom. IT organizations can use Event Monitoring to see which users are logging into Salesforce, what information they are accessing, from where, and through what channel. Not only can companies now better understand how their Salesforce apps are being utilized, they can also monitor if users download large amounts of data that might put their business at risk. For example, wealth management firms can use Event Monitoring to determine whether financial advisors are capturing the right client data in Salesforce. In addition, they can also determine if an employee is unnecessarily downloading sensitive customer information, pinpointing the exact time and location of that event. 

    MyPOV – Event monitoring is crucial for modern software. With more users coming from outside of the enterprise – consumers, customers, partners, freelancers and contractors and more, it is important to keep tabs on what is happening in an application user wise. But the same is valid for 3rdparty systems or events, something that Salesforce is not yet offering in this version. So a generic event monitoring capability will be something key for Salesforce to deliver in the (hopefully) not too distant future.



    Turning on Salesforce Shield is easy – here it is a simple check box for File and Field 

    Extending to all Native Salesforce1 Apps

    Salesforce Shield also extends to the entire Salesforce partner ecosystem. Because it is part of the Salesforce1 Platform, now any app built natively on the platform can tap into its capabilities.
    Salesforce Shield empowers independent software vendors (ISVs) and systems integrators
    (SIs) alike to create an entirely new generation of apps that address corporate governance and industry requirements, and market and sell them on the Salesforce AppExchange, the world’s largest business app marketplace.


    MyPOV – Very good move by Salesforce to tap into the ecosystem and bringing these capabilities to its ISV partners. With that move, Salesforce should see good and early adoption of the Salesforce Shield capabilities. On the flipside, partners that needed some of these capabilities have 3rd party solutions in place now that they need to extract first technically and then switch commercially. And these 3rd party vendors will not stand still, the ball is in their court now to respond to the threat that Salesforce Shield poses to their business.


    Leading Global Companies Build Apps Faster with the Salesforce1 Platform

    With the Salesforce1 Platform, companies can transform IT departments into centers of
    Innovation and leapfrog the competition. Powered by the world’s #1 PaaS, leading brands like First Data and Genomic Health are building apps faster than ever before. With more than four million apps and two million developers, the Salesforce1 Platform is the trusted and proven platform for innovative companies around the world. The more than 4,100 customers that participated in a survey commissioned by Salesforce reported 52 percent faster application deployment, 50 percent faster new application design, 52 percent faster application configuration and 42 percent decrease in IT cost using the Salesforce1 Platform.


    MyPOV – And fair enough to point to the large number of enterprise customers who have built their own applications on the Salesforce platform. They sure will be delighted to see the new Salesforce Shield capabilities. We expect enterprises to try Salesforce Shield features first for new applications, learn and then gradually retrofit existing applications (and replace 3rd party solutions in operation right now).


    Pricing and Availability


    • Salesforce Shield will be priced at a percentage of a customer’s total Salesforce product spend. Customers can purchase components of Salesforce Shield together or individually.
    • Field Audit Trail, Event Monitoring, and Platform Encryption are generally available today; Data Archive is expected to be generally available next year.

    MyPOV – Good move to make Salesforce Shield a percentage sale of the existing license, which makes pricing easy. Salesforce will have to hit the right price / value point to see good adoption for Salesforce Shield. And often Salesforce is all about announcements, so kudos that 3 out of 4 Salesforce Shield capabilities are generally available now.


    Overall MyPOV

    Good to see the rise of more powerful and functional rich PaaS platforms. Administrative, regulatory and compliance automation needs have traditionally been not supported, an afterthought or something left to 3rdparty vendors. So it is good to see that Salesforce is adding these capabilities, natively in the Salesforce1 platform. It is also a smart move to add these and try to monetize them as they are added. We expect some of them to become commodities and basic platform features in the future, so Salesforce will need to make sure that pricing is competitive and that it keeps looking at the price / value relationship.


    Little concern with the offering, the question really is what took Salesforce so long to offer these, or the surprise is that Salesforce has been able to grow and thrive as well as it has, not having these capabilities. As with every platform rollout the capabilities will be available gradually to Salesforce products and it will be good for Salesforce to offer a roadmap when Salesforce Shield will be available across all Salesforce products.


    Overall a good move by Salesforce and it is good to see similar administrative features like the ones described in this initial release of Salesforce Shield becoming part of key PaaS capabilities. There can be little question that a PaaS level uptake is advantageous to the adoption of these administrative and compliance capabilities. 


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    We have the chance to attend the Ceridian user conference Insights this week in Las Vegas, happening at the beautiful Aria Hotel and Resort. The event is well attended with a record 2000+ attendees. 



    Let’s look at the top 3 takeaways from the keynote today:

    3 Success Factors– Ceridian CEO David Ossip shared his three success factors for Ceridian to be successful and they formed the base of the structure of the keynote:

    • Employee Engagement– Kudos to Ossip to openly address that employee engagement was challenging at Ceridian two years ago, even showing the GlassDoor scores as part of the keynote.
    • Customer Experience – This is the area where Ceridian probably has made the most progress on the last 6 months. What looked like a solid but pedestrian effort from a user experience perspective has now turned into an appealing and user friendly user interface, from what we saw in the demos of the keynote. 
    • Product leadership– Is key in Ossip’s view (no surprise) – and Ceridian invests into product as we saw later with both basic tackling and some good differentiation. One area is significant user interface improvements that 
    Ceridian CEO David Ossip Insights
    David Ossip talks about Ceridian key Values


    Compliance Leadership is the leitmotiv– It is clear that the Ceridian credo is to bring better HR practices together in a single application across HR, Payroll, Talent and Workforce Management. We saw numerous examples, like instant benefits eligibility assessment, paycheck calculation and more. Watch for this in more detail in the upcoming event report. 

    TeamRelate  Ceridian Dayforce David Ossip
    TeamRelate is pervasive across the Dayforce product

    TeamRelate– The acquisition of TeamRelate is giving Ceridian a great differentiator, giving users an understanding how well they can work with and more importantly how the can improve relations with their co-workers. And Ceridian understands the value of the asset, as it has very quickly uptaken the TeamRelate functionality across the product. Not only in performance management, but also in employee profiles, the org chart and many more locations, the TeamRelate information is now surfaced and available for Dayforce users.


    MyPOV– A very good start to the Ceridian Insights conference, which keeps innovating with panache around the integrated vision of HCM, Payroll, Talent and Workforce Management. Stay tuned for the event report later this week.



    And some key tweets:






    More on Ceridian
    • Progress Report – Ceridian executes on product, next challenge – implementation capacity, then sales … Read here
    • Event Report - CeridianINSIGHTS 2014 - Ceridian innovates and adds key functionality - read here
    • First Take - Ceridian INSIGHTS Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • Progress Report - Ceridian makes a lot of progress - but the road(map) is long - read here
    • Ceridian transforming itself and with that the game – read here

    And unrelated to Ceridian - but how important payroll can be for HCM innovation:
    • Could the paycheck reinvent HCM - yes it can - read here
    • And suddenly... payroll matters again - read here

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.

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    We had the opportunity to attend the Couchbase user conference in San Jose back in June. The event had record attendance and was held in an usual setting, the 49ers new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Despite being a stadium, the event was well accommodated very well in the facility, which caters well to similar events of the size. 


    So here are my Top 3 takeaways of the event:

    N1QL– Couchbase unveiled N1QL, an extension to the SQL query language. Usually I am concerned about new programming languages / syntax, as my general position is that ‘the world does not need another programming language’. But as I learnt at the conference, N1QL is different as it is only an extension to SQL and it passes my general hurdle for creating a new programming language (or new commands in this case) – it makes developers more productive.

    Traversing document structures before the addition of N1QL was cumbersome and error prone. Now with the addition of commands like NEXT, UNNEST, WITHIN and more, it is easier for developers to work with information inside of documents.

    Finally a smart move by Couchbase to partner with UC San Diego, there the Database Group, which gives the whole extension more credibility and gravitas (more here). And it is good that the Couchbase remains open for more academic institutions and other standard bodies to join. 

     
    Couchbase CEO Wiederhold opens Couchbase Connect
    Couchbase CEO Wiederhold opens Couchbase Connect


    Customer Momentum– As Couchbase sees more developer uptake – it also sees more customers going live. I had the chance to speak to travel start up Roomlia and well established data vendor Nielsen. Both catered to unique strong points of Couchbase in terms of ease of use, productivity to build applications and cater for simplification of complex structures for relational databases in the form of XML, document formats. Informally I spoke to close a dozen other attendees, and all echoed similar advantages – performances in design, development and operation as well as enablement of new applications that were not able to be built before, with other database technologies.

     
    Couchbase Connect Presenter
    Presenters in costumes!

    Performance Wars– In the same week we learnt about performance statements from NoSQL vendors – not surprisingly both claiming leadership. It would be good to change the conversation away from the pure performance wars and look at architecture and resulting benefits. In this area Couchbase has done some good work, separating server loads in the previous release of Couchbase and now pushing performance critical processes into the query / storage layer. All good moves to make sure a database keeps performing well and scaling well. Let’s leave it there.


    MyPOV

    A very good event for Couchbase, which showed that it is getting more and more traction in the heart of Silicon Valley. It keeps innovating and expanding the use cases, developer productivity of Couchbase, while doing all the key housekeeping activities that may not be flashy at first sight, but pay off in the longer run. Intuitively developers and customer know that, and the strategy will help Couchbase going forward.

    On the concern side, Couchbase has the good problem to have to a manage growth, in product, sales go to market on a global scale. Competition for developers and talent is global, and Couchbase is competing needs to keep competing on a global level for both customers and developers.

    But overall good progress and traction for Couchbase. We will be analyzing, stay tuned.



    More on Couchbase

    • News Analysis - Couchbase unveils N1QL and updates the NoSQL Performance Wars - Read here

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.


    A few good tweets: 



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    We had the opportunity to attend the Ceridian user Conference Insights in Las Vegas at the beautiful Aria hotel. The event had record attendance with over 2000 customers, partners and employees participating. Ceridian also got a very good showing from the analyst community, despite the summer time and related Las Vegas heat.


    Always tough to pick the Top 3 from a multiday event – but here you go:

    Ceridian is going ‘soft’(and it is good)– As blogged earlier, Ceridian is one of the HCM software vendors that are doing the ‘hard’ stuff, and with that I refer to software that needs constant updates because of legislative changes, is by itself an architectural challenge to run and has major repercussions when it fails. Or in other words Payroll, Workforce Management and Benefits. The more remarkable was that CEO Ossip did not refer to any of the above in the Day 1 keynote – but choose a softer route with core values, employee engagement and Talent Management. Bolstered also by the recent hire of industry veteran Sperling, Ceridian seems to be committed to move out of the ‘compliance’ corner – at least for the opportunity to upsell Talent Management to its customer base. It was interesting that the audience – that is primarily also doing the ‘hard stuff’ at their employer – was quite open for the more ‘soft’ positioning that bides well for the future upsell efforts by Ceridian. But let’s be clear, Ceridian will not abandon any compliance work, it is even doubling down more in the area e.g. referring multiple times to the San Francisco Retail Worker Bill of Rights, that the vendor will be one of the first to endorse (it has taken effect July 3rd, more e.g. here). Nonetheless a very different key message compared to previous Insight editions.

    It also looks to us that Ceridian has earned back a lot of trust from the customer base, something that was in a sour state even two years ago. But Ceridian did what software vendors need to do – issue a (realistic) roadmap and deliver to it. Be transparent on challenges and changes, communicate and deliver to it. In previous years there was a lot of conversations amongst the attendees on where to trust the roadmap or not – that was absent in 2015. Even more, the attendees did not even miss that a roadmap wasn’t offered in the keynote. It is possible that the 20+ customer advisory boards that met before the event took the edge off the topic, but a remarkable change of attitudes and relation towards Ceridian.
     
    Talent Managemen Sperling addressed the Ceridian Insights audience
    Talent Managemen Sperling addressed the Insights audience

    Much improved user experience– An area where Ceridian has been lacking in the past had been user experience. Two years ago the vendor tried to emulate Microsoft Office, and approach that had some valid arguments on the familiarity side, but would have been disastrous if followed through, given the everlasting permutations the Microsoft Office user interface is going through. The good news was (like overall) that Ceridian has been listening to customers (and influencers) and has been working at innovating on the user experience side. It is also remarkable that the vendor went back to the drawing board when the first effort fell short of industry standards, a decision that takes guts and nerves for an executive team. From what we saw and was demoed at Insights, the decision was the right one, the newest version of the user interface is modern, easy to use and even ahead of the fast moving industry benchmark. The main innovations are a reduction in navigation needs, less screens, less pop ups, more consistency and some innovative overloading of UI elements, e.g. the employee picture with information from TeamRelate and actions pertaining the employee. As with all software innovation does not happen overnight and Ceridian will gradually roll out the new user interface in the coming fall and spring releases. As with all gradual user interface rollouts, making smart decisions on how to split uptake across release matters, it looks like with focusing on ESS and MSS Ceridian is making the sensible decision. The good news for customers is that in case they do not want to operate with two different UI paradigms, they can keep working with the old user interface. From my impressions that would be short changing their employee base, but each project and enterprise is unique and needs to make their own decision. It is good to see that Ceridian offers choice. 

     
    New Ceridian Dayforce Employee Profile inside of MSS
    New Dayforce Employee Profile inside of MSS
    On the flipside the early Dayforce adopters have been through the ‘innovation rollercoaster’ and are showing some tiring. E.g. we heard some concerns, on the main navigation moving from left to top back to left. But having to deal with more innovation than less is probably the better problem for enterprises to have. And on that point attendees emphatically agreed.

     
    Ceridian TeamRelate Screenshots
    TeamRelate Screenshots

    TeamRelate is major differentiator– We predicted already for 2014 that the ‘P’ (psychographic and psychologic) information would make its course to mainstream HR systems. Turns out we have been a little too optimistic on vendor innovation pace, but in 2015 Ceridian was one of the (few) vendors coming through on this prediction with the acquisition of TeamRelate. TeamRelate finds out how well two people relate to each other, which means how well they could work with each other. It also makes assumptions on roles, and which roles people can have and which roles are needed to staff teams and projects successfully. As such TeamRelate makes a key contribution to discover new working relationships beyond the experience and gut feel factor of managers, but discovers valuable potential work relationships beyond a manager’s perception and knowledge horizon. Ceridian has been aggressive at adding TeamRelate information to many areas of Dayforce – e.g. the employee profile, team composition, Recruiting (there for the applicants) and Performance Management. It is good to see the speed of the uptake – as the consistent application of the ‘P’ information is key for moving an organization’s performance.

    On the concern side, TeamRelate really needs to work, similar to the ‘true’ analytics scenarios. People need to use TeamRelate, and start trusting TeamRelate to make proper prediction on relatability. We spoke to some early prospects and they were encouraged by what they saw. Good news – but an area Ceridian (and we) will watch.


    Analyst Tidbits

    • ACA the gift that keeps giving– We saw renewed interest and much more urgency around the ACA topic. Practitioners now know that any hope of the law not making it in its full extent into daily practice (from an avoiding the work perspective) is mute, and they better get on top of it. That is good news for Ceridian, who has been preparing and building functionality to make the adoption and compliance with ACA easy for enterprises. 
    • Dashboarding– A year ago Ceridian showed natural language based search for insights, and the system works, but the results were visually less appealing. As part of the new user interface effort Ceridian has gone back and revisited the dashboards usability, and (apart maybe from the color palette, that matched the Aria’s earthy tones) it has become a much more polished experience. What a year ago was likely a backdoor tools for HR professionals, could now become (what it should be) an exploratory tool in the search of insights from the personal to the boardroom setting. 
    • Documents– Also a year ago Ceridian launched Documents, a Dayforce based document management system that is following the required compliance and statutory regulations. Uptake has been well, and customers are adding more information and documents to the system. To a certain point of course Ceridian has been ‘greasing’ the system by automatically moving paychecks, performance management and recruiting documents to the Documents system. But when you have it, you should use it, a good move to force adoption of new product functionality. Licensing is not a concern as we heard, which is a critical feedback from attendees is. 
    • Lifeworks– Ceridian has a sizeable employee assistance program, Lifeworks, that goes beyond the basic blocking and tackling and also supports wellness and lifestyle choices. In the UK it has found recognition and rewards vendor WorkAngel (more here) and plans to partner more with the vendor. WorkAngel has key experience in mobile platform, user interface and retailer gift card / payment management that are attractive for Ceridian. More will come here, watch the space. 


    MyPOV

    A very good event for Ceridian. User conferences with a growing user base and a growing customer base are easy setups from a motivational perspective. Attendees seeing more attendees, larger and better keynotes, nice show floors etc. get a basic positive vibe. When vendors get the messaging right, they turn out to be good events, like this Insights conference.

    It is good to see that Ceridian is finding more of Talent Management value propositions, which makes the vendor more complete in regards of competition in the market place. But even more important is that Ceridian stays true of its DNA of solving tough compliance problems for its customers, as mentioned above the ‘hard stuff’. There was a number of very good data points in regards of implementation and operation ROI. Ceridian keeps converting legacy customers at a quick pace and seems to have upgraded approximately a third of the legacy customers with Dayforce now. That by itself is remarkable, and by itself probably the fastest and most active old to new conversion in the marketplace.

    On the concern side Ceridian is growing fast and needs to scale beyond the product – on the sales, implementation and support side. As of July it looks like the sales side is in good shape, Ceridian even shared that it is now giving existing customers the choice to stay on the legacy product or move to Dayforce, something vendors pressed for revenue won’t do. But it also needs to make sure skills on the implementation side are growing. The partner ecosystem on the implementation side is the same ‘usual’ suspects (that are all growing), but as mentioned in our Progress Report from the analyst day of March (see below), Ceridian needs more partner implementation resources. On the support side it looks like Ceridian has been able to add and train resources faster and with that again gaining the upper hand in the support quality conversation. All good problem to have as they result from growth, but they need to be successfully addressed.

    Overall a very good user conference for Ceridian that is building momentum on all aspects, and even more importantly is actively working on differentiating itself from the other vendors. Ossip’s vision of Ceridian becoming a ‘brand’ that employees will ask after when changing employers is an ambitious one, but Ceridian is working towards it. We will be watching and analyzing, stay tuned.




    More on Ceridian
    • First Take - Ceridian Insights Day #1 Keynote Takeaways - off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report – Ceridian executes on product, next challenge – implementation capacity, then sales … Read here
    • Event Report - CeridianINSIGHTS 2014 - Ceridian innovates and adds key functionality - read here
    • First Take - Ceridian INSIGHTS Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • Progress Report - Ceridian makes a lot of progress - but the road(map) is long - read here
    • Ceridian transforming itself and with that the game – read here

    And unrelated to Ceridian - but how important payroll can be for HCM innovation:
    • Could the paycheck reinvent HCM - yes it can - read here
    • And suddenly... payroll matters again - read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.

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    Earlier today Salesforce announced that it was extending the PaaS capabilities of its Salesforce1 platform with the addition of Lightning Components, a faster way to build apps by users who don’t code (the Lightning AppBuilder) and adding components as a section to the Salesforce Marketplace (“AppExchange for Components).
     


    So let’s dissect the press release in our customary way (it can be found here):

    SAN FRANCISCO—July 28, 2015—Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), the Customer Success Platform and world’s #1 CRM, today announced general availability of Salesforce1 Lightning Components and App Builder, allowing anyone to visually assemble apps with drag-and-drop ease using pre-built, reusable components. Salesforce also announced AppExchange for Components, expanding the world’s leading marketplace for enterprise apps to include components developed by Salesforce and its partner ecosystem. AppExchange for Components is launching with the fifty components that have been most requested by customers. Salesforce customers like CROSSMARK, Ocado, and The Financial Times are using the new Salesforce1 Lightning tools to build apps for every part of their business.


    MyPOV – This is a major step forward for the Salesforce1 Platform, as it extends beyond users who know how to code to users that are ‘reasonably technical’ – but don’t have to have programming skills. In the Salesforce lingo these are the Admins, the Administrators, so the App Builder and the underlying components are a key step to make these users more independent of developers.

    Comments on the News

    ● “Salesforce1, the #1 PaaS, is transforming app development for the enterprise,” said Tod Nielsen, executive vice president, Salesforce1 Platform. “We’re creating the tools and ecosystem that IT needs to build user-centric apps so that companies can innovate faster and succeed.”


    MyPOV – Good quote by Nielsen, and true that the move also empowers IT. Wished it was even more aggressive in regards of the no coding required aspect.

    ● “At CROSSMARK, we are creating a new generation of app builders with Salesforce Lightning,” said Mike Anderson, chief information officer, CROSSMARK. “Components, from both Salesforce and its partners, will be critical to our app development strategy moving forward.”

    MyPOV –Always nice to have a customer quote – curious what CROSSMARK is building.

    ● “Components represent the future of enterprise app development,” said Hideya Sato, chief executive officer, TerraSky, a Salesforce partner. “AppExchange for Components is a great channel for us to engage with Salesforce customers and enable their innovation.” […]

    MyPOV – Good quote from TerraSky – on the one side components are a business opportunity for partners, on the flipside they will also replace some low hanging consultant / SI work gradually, as Admins get more empowered. 


    Overcoming The “App Gap”: Leveraging Components to Build Engaging Apps Fast
    Businesses want the connectivity, immediacy and ease of use that consumers experience using apps on their phones every day. But delivering compelling business apps has become a bottleneck for enterprises. Gartner reports that “through 2017, the market demand for mobile app development services will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organization capacity to deliver them."[1]


    MyPOV – No question mobile apps are growing, but Salesforce needs to be careful at not getting into the confusion of Salesforce1 the mobile application container and Salesforce1 Platform as overall PaaS . A ‘mobilefirst’ paradigm should be a good approach here.

    Today, Salesforce is unleashing innovation in IT departments by delivering component-based app development, a faster way to develop engaging apps. While traditional app development requires developers to write code and create features from scratch, component-based app development lets business users, not just developers, compose and build apps by dragging and dropping components, like snapping together LEGO blocks. Components democratize app development, allowing anyone to create enterprise apps faster.


    MyPOV –Very good point how components improve productivity all around –for IT, developers, admins, partner etc. What Salesforce is not mentioning here (and should) is that by lowering the technical hurdle to build applications beyond coding skills the risk of a ‘lost in requirement translation’ outcome of IT projects gets drastically reduced. When end users (or Admins) can build applications directly knowing the end user requirements, those applications will be a better fit and ultimately help an enterprise to become more productive.

    Salesforce is accelerating the shift to component-based app development for the enterprise with the delivery of Salesforce1 Lightning Components, Lightning AppBuilder and AppExchange for Components.
    Lightning Components: Lightning Components, which are based on JavaScript, are the reusable building blocks of apps. Components can be as simple as single UI elements, or as robust as microservices with embedded data and logic. Examples of components include e-signature, compensation calculators, maps, calendars, buttons, and number entry forms. Developers can share components so that anyone can easily build sophisticated user experiences that are dynamic, mobile, and work for any screen. Businesses can save time and development resources, as well as reduce redundancy, by reusing components across different apps. Lightning Components include standard components built by Salesforce and custom components developed by customers, as well as partner components created by third-party developers, ISVs and system integrators. 


    MyPOV – The components approach is not new at building applications, it is a proven productivity booster for building applications (remember e.g. the Microsoft Foundation Classes of last century). So it is a key step to add the capability to the Salesforce1 Platform, something we are sure was planned all along. And it is always good to see when platform vendors ad ecosystem lure to their platforms, the same is happening here with Salesforce.


    Salesforce Salesforce1 AppBuilder Lightning PaaS
    The App Builder aspect - most important in my view


    Lightning App Builder: Businesses no longer have to build apps from scratch. Using Lightning App Builder, anyone, not just developers, can draw from an extensive library of reusable, well-defined components to compose apps in a drag-and-drop visual interface. Salesforce components are pre-installed in the App Builder, and partner components can be integrated directly from the AppExchange for Components.


    MyPOV – This is the key part of the press release in my view – as mentioned above. Lowering the technical skills required to build new applications will only help to create the application challenge that Salesforce describes well. We expect some backlash as the end users / Admins need to learn – but ultimately end user empowerment is the answer for many business applications needs for the future.

    AppExchange for Components: An entirely new category on the AppExchange, AppExchange for Components makes it easy for developers, partners, and customers to find and use components in order to accelerate the building of apps. Components are put through the same rigorous reviews as apps listed on the AppExchange, ensuring they can be trusted. And for developers who create components, they can list them on the AppExchange either for free or monetize them.
    MyPOV – Good move by Salesforce as mentioned before. Compared to the AppBuilder capability and effects on the ecosystem, even over stressed in this press release.


    Leading Global Companies Build Apps Faster with the Salesforce1 Platform, the World’s #1 PaaS
    With the Salesforce1 Platform, the world’s #1 PaaS, companies can transform IT departments into centers of innovation and leapfrog the competition. With more than four million apps and two million developers, the Salesforce1 Platform is the trusted and proven platform for innovative companies around the world. Companies like CROSSMARK, Ocado, and The Financial Times are building apps faster on Salesforce1 Lightning to help every user move at the speed of business. The more than 4,100 customers who participated in a recent study conducted by a third party on behalf of Salesforce reported 52 percent faster application deployment, 50 percent faster new application design, 52 percent faster application configuration and 42 percent decrease in IT cost using the Salesforce1 Platform. 


    MyPOV – Nice showcase for the power of the Salesforce1 Platform. But then of course the survey talks to the ecosystem that has bought into the Salesforce vision.

    Pricing and Availability

    ● Salesforce1 Lightning Components and App Builder are generally available with the current release of Salesforce and are included in all CRM and Force.com admin licenses.


    MyPOV – Key move by Salesforce NOT to add a price tag to this capability. If you want to let a lot of flowers bloom, make it easy – and that often starts with the licensing. Effectively Salesforce has made every Salesforce Admin into a potential App Builder. Smart and good move that will drive adoption to Salesforce1. If you have an ecosystem, leverage it to build the next ecosystem. The question is of course – what do enterprises do that want to use Salesforce1 – but don’t use any of its CRM products.

    ● The AppExchange for Components is live and available for everyone to access. Partner components on the AppExchange are priced individually on a per user or per Salesforce instance basis.


    MyPOV – Good for Salesforce to have a marketplace already – and now it can be leveraged for components, too. Pricing is often tricky, so adoption will show if Salesforce and partners / component builders get that right.


    Overall MyPOV

    A good move by Salesforce adding the AppBuilder and Component capabilities to the Salesforce1 Patform. Making it easier for more users to build apps is a good move. In later phases we will hear of the concerns around ‘crapware’, end user programming errors (remember the spreadsheets that cost Millions) – but that will all come later.

    On the concern side Salesforce has not (yet) stressed the end user aspect – something competitors have done for mobile app development (see e.g. Oracle, IBM and SAP), but that’s only a logical next step. Salesforce will also have to address some ripples in the ecosystem – as lower value, easy custom work should disappear over time. But that was not scalable business for partners (and many freelancers) anyway, so that’s a good move by Salesforce to keep overall TCO for its customers down.

    Overall a good move by Salesforce adding more users, partners to its Salesforce1 Platform, creating more value for customers. And revenue / utilization for Salesforce. It will be interesting to see what the Salesforce has left in store for Dreamforce later in the year on the PaaS / Salesforce1 Platform side. Stay tuned. 



    More on Salesforce:
    • News Analysis - News Analysis - Salesforce Launches Salesforce Shield - More PaaS capabilities coming to Salesforce1 Platform - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Transforms Big Data Into Customer Success with the Salesforce Analytics Cloud - Read here
    • News Analysis - Market Move - Salesforce (re) enters HCM - will it rypple the market this time? - Read here
    • Event Report - Salesforce Dreamforce - A Customer Succes Platform, Analytics and Lightning - but really Salesforce is re-platforming - read here
    • Constellation Research Summary of Salesforce Dreamforce 2014 - read here
    • Research Summary - An in depth look at Salesforce1 - Better packaging or new offerng? Read here.
    • Dreamforce 2013 Platform Takeaways - All about the mobile platform - or more? Read here
    • Platform ecosystems are hard - Salesforce grows it - FinancialForce shrinks it - read here.
    • Our take on Salesforce.com Identity Connect - from three angles - Identity, CRM and PaaS - read here.
    • Takeaways from the Salesforce and Workday Strategic Partnership - read here.
    • Act II - The Cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
    • How many Pivots make a Pirouette? Salesforce's last Pivot - read here.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.




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    This morning SAP SuccessFactors kicked off their yearly user conference in Las Vegas. As often at these events, SAP had a major product announcement to make, evolving around a next generation of HCM software. Certainly good timing and a good location to announce this. 


    So let’s dissect the announcement in our customary news analysis style (it can be found here):

    LAS VEGAS — August 11, 2015 — Managing changes to employee data can be costly and consume excess company resources each year. HR processes often include disparate transactions that cross multiple organizational boundaries, leading to wasted time managing the complexity and correcting errors. Most human capital management (HCM) software can’t handle this end-to-end view, forcing end users to guess what they need to do or rely on costly shared services. HR and employees need software that can quickly and easily guide them through the necessary steps when dealing with an employee change.

    MyPOV – SAP is right that much of HR software has been built with single task automation in mind. The reality of business is more complex and usually even simple real world people events require a number of transactions that need to be processed by a variety of users. SAP is right at pointing at significant sunken cost of the status quo and it is good to see vendors questioning how business best practice has been performed so far and looking at new innovative ways to perform the same process – better and leaner.

    Today, SuccessFactors, a leader in cloud-based human resources (HR) software and an SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) company, is introducing new capabilities in its HCM suite that transform the entire concept of HR service delivery, moving from series of individual and isolated self-services into end-to-end intelligent-services that can easily cross software modules and integrate processes. Intelligent services is designed to connect – and even predict – the impending transactions resulting from a change and automatically adjust them for the user, helping improve the employee experience and reduce reliance on – and cost of – shared services. This announcement was made at SuccessConnect 2015, being held August 10-12 in Las Vegas.

    MyPOV – So here SAP opens the Pandora Box of the software innovation. It is good to see the vendor thinking about ways to improve the way how HR business should be done in the 21st century. Where it gets really interesting, when these actions can be predicted – as the above paragraph hints to – with some ‘true’ analytics (read more here), those who perform an action or at least recommend a course of action.

    “We are taking the guesswork out of self-service by evolving to software-driven intelligent services,” said Mike Ettling, president: HR Line of Business at SAP SuccessFactors. “Relying on software-driven intelligence to remove complexity from typical HR transactions, employees are empowered to do more on their own, reducing expenses in shared services and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). ”

    MyPOV – A good quote, with the focus on good thing for enterprises these days, reduction of complexity, employee empowerment and cost reduction… All highly desirable goals for enterprises. Let’s see how SAP wants to achieve this.

    With intelligent services, managed in the new SuccessFactors event center, individual transactions that make up common workforce events but cross multiple systems and software modules are consolidated into a single experience. Instead of managers or business partners having to guess all of the relevant tasks when a change takes place, or rely on shared services to fill the gaps, SuccessFactors does it for them, freeing up valuable manager and employee time. For example, workforce changes triggered by SuccessFactors’ core HR system, Employee Central, can be cascaded to other SuccessFactors modules such as Learning and Performance Management, as well as 3rd party systems. The end result is a simpler and more efficient employee experience, helping rapidly changing companies manage employee changes and transitions in stride and reducing the costs of shared services and BPO.
    MyPOV – So now we learn a little on how SuccessFactors wants to deliver this innovation – with a new event center, that consolidates events into a single user experience. We have seen this before, the ‘magic’ will be in bringing together all the relevant steps in an easy and user friendly manner. Where today it’s the human brain serving as the integration mechanism, bridging separate information systems (unfortunately even often of the same vendor!), SuccessFactors will try to create more powerful cascaded actions and integrations.

    It is good to see that SuccessFactors will also address 3rd party systems. One of the; dirty’ secrets of HR automation is that no vendor can (and will) provide all the systems that HR departments need to operate. So ‘integratability’ is a key capability, often an afterthought, good to see it here in a (very) early product stage. And also positive to see cost servings as a benefit again, the real benefit though is missing – enterprises become leaner and faster when their business users are enabled to do more in less time.

    Unlike any other HCM suite, SuccessFactors enables an HR transformation from intelligent services that is:

    • Integrated – An HR transaction no longer begins and ends with a Core HR system, but extends across all impacted modules to create and end-to-end, complete process.


    MyPOV – Integration is probably the most used and abused term in enterprise software. Definitions are plentiful, but as the problem doesn’t go away, vendors keep stressing integration as a system design point. Rightfully so, as SuccessFactors does, too – we will have to see if and how it will be different this time.

    • Intelligent – Each capability is aware of the smallest changes that happen in another and automatically responds with intelligence. It predicts the next step in the change, guiding users to the right place according to existing rules based on groups, role-based permissions and notifications.

    MyPOV – This quality is much more interesting, as it applies ‘intelligence’ (aka ‘true’) analytics to a course of action. Predicting the next step(s) a user may want to take is key for user productivity. As with all analytics it has to answer the question: Does it work? Too early to tell at this point, but a very compelling vision.

    • Efficient – Intuitive software fills the gaps instead of HR, shared services, or business process outsourcers, helping reduce time and expense spent on tasks that don’t drive value to the business. HR professionals can easily configure workforce changes based on rules and settings, allowing the right steps to be presented at the right time.
    MyPOV – Another overused quality of enterprise software. What SAP needs to do has to be ‘uber’ efficient – more efficient than the single step. It may also grasp effectiveness (ask: Are we doing the right thing?) – but we will need to see that in software first.

    “We will deploy these more intelligent capabilities from SuccessFactors to empower our HR teams to be more streamlined,” said Marc Farrugia, vice president of Human Resources at Sun Communities. “We’re looking forward to the next generation of HR software that is capable of handling business changes, providing a world-class experience and equipping HR to make more informed strategic decisions.”

    MyPOV – Always good to have a customer quote on a press release for a product announcement, customers need to endorse innovation and with that the portion of change management that it requires to implement these changes.

    Available now, SAP and SuccessFactors are enabling 16 pre-defined workforce changes - including Become a Manager, Leave of Absence, Hire, Termination, change in Employee Info, change in Job Info - and will add new events in future releases. The SuccessFactors HCM Suite can even be linked to external systems to enable integration with 3rd party applications. HR administrators can also easily configure intelligent services based on rules and notifications settings within the SuccessFactors event center. For more information on intelligent services and event center from SuccessFactors and SAP, visit http://www.successfactors.com/en_us/lp/intelligent-services.html.

    MyPOV - Very good to see that this is not just an announcement – but real software that is available now. It will be interesting to see how well these 16 pre-defined workforce changes work in real life. And as always with announcements of the analytics nature – will they work ‘out of the box’ in production, or are they examples and the vendor is ‘only’ shipping a tool to set them up. Anyway, SuccessFactors seems to have both option open at this point.

    Overall MyPOV

    Good to see SAP starting to think about innovative ways to practice HCM. The timing is good, as the vendor had to solve (and finish) some homework first, e.g. delivering the EmployeeCentral product. Though SuccessFactors points out rightfully that integration will be available to the SuccessFactors Talent Management modules, too – the bulk of the first predefined actions will work on top of EmployeeCentral. Nothing wrong with that, as new HCM best practices should start at the core, and that is HR Core, for SAP and its customers that is EmployeeCentral. And overall there is a need for speed in the enterprise – that HR departments need to respond to – see more here and here.

    On the concern side we have to raise the general cautions of new product announcements: What is the functional scope (SAP seems to have defined that), what needs to happen to implement the new functionality (Skills, Training etc.), what is the cost and what is the roadmap going forward. All four factors need to be factored in by HR decision makers before making the call of using the new functionality SuccessFactors has announced today. And as with all analytics offerings ‘Does it work?’ is the key question to address and SAP will have to show the benefits and savings that early adopters can reap from the new functionality.

    As we have researched, blogged and spoken before – the empowerment of the business user is the real disruptor in enterprise software (see e.g. our vision of Transboarding over a year ago (see here) – combine internal transfers and onboarding of the transferee in an efficient fashion). As business users are under pressure to do more in less time, they will naturally gravitate towards enterprise software that makes them more productive and empowers them to do more. With SuccessFactors throwing in the hat early into this race of next generation applications and HCM software, we are off to a promising start. So overall a good move by SAP, that doesn’t have the reputation of being early out of the gates when it comes to software innovation pertaining business best practices. Such moves take courage and are usually not seen by the very large vendors, so kudos to SAP for the guts to come our early.

    Needless to say the new software has to work, so we are off to the show floor and demos to see more of this new SuccessFactors capability in action. Stay tuned.



    And more on overall SAP strategy and products:

    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
    • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
    • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here

    • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
    • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
    • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
    • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
    • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
    • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
    • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
    • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
    • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
    • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
    • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
    • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
    • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
    • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
    • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here.


    And more about SAP technology:
    • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
    • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
    • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
    • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
    • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
    • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
    • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
    • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
    • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
    • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here.

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.


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    Yesterday Google surprised the industry watchers with the announcement of a new structure - Alphabet. Not surprisingly G is for... Google. Which becomes a subsidiary of Alphabet. At the helm of Google will be Sundar Pichai, who has been taking in more and more prominent roles inside the product development organization recently. Larry Page will be CEO of Alphabet, Sergei Brin will become its President. 


    This is an interesting move by the two Google founders that deserves a blog post - especially since Google competitor Microsoft has not chosen the route of splitting the company (against my suggestion - more here). 

    It will give Google a very different operating structure - but will also deliver some interesting benefits:


    • Synergies where Synergies are needed - autonomy where not - The Google founders have consolidated where synergies help (Google) and created autonomy where there are (at least not immediately) synergies - on the different moonshot projects that Google is running.
       
    • Setup for more valuation transparency - Google now has an easier structure that can lead to better transparency of financial performance. How much do the Moonshot businesses drag Google down? Should risks of the operating a Moonshot business drag down Google isolation All these issues can now be addressed in the new structure.
       
    • Different businesses need different talent - As mentioned also in my post on Microsoft - the businesses that Google finds itself in are very different, and require different talent, connections and experience. Cars are not Advertising, Home Automation not Search, etc. Google can now (and seems to) hire the talent to run these moonshots businesses. 

     

    MyPOV

    A bold move by the Google founders to keep Google aggressive on all fronts. Specialization always increases focus, and the Alphabet setup is basically agreeing that the previous organization did not work in the best way for Google and Google shareholders. We noticed e.g. the absence of the moonshots at Google I/O this year. Then we thought it was more a needed focus on Android that lead to the content selection, now we know it may have been an early indicator of changes ahead. 

    So congrats to a bold step - normally High Tech companies cherish and hold on to synergies for very long, often too long. So now we will have to see if alpha (return for investors) will happen, or if it will be alphabet soup, a dish my kids love, but that won't create the returns Google needs. 

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    We have the opportunity to attend SAP’s SuccessFactors SuccessConnect conference being held in Las Vegas. The conference is well attended, with over 2500 attendees - an increase over last years.
     


    So let’s look at the Top3 takeaways from the Day 1 Keynote:

    Simplicity– In a keynote story line based on Verne’s 80 days around the world, Ettling stressed the need for simplicity – simplicity extends to run, use and engage with modern HR software. It is an incline to the overall SAP message of running simple… 


    SuccessFactors SAP #SConnect15 SConnect
    The Simplicity message was prominent at SConnect 

    Certification– SAP has realized the need for certification – launching the self service centers a year ago. It’s good to see the traction now and in a nice move SuccessFactors welcome the first certified administrators at SuccessConnect. Certification of partners is coming, too – in general certification is critical to standardize services and capabilities so that customers can see repetitive high quality implementation and services.

     
    SuccessFactors SAP #SConnect15 SConnect
    Certification was a bug push. 

    Next Generation HCM software– SAP shared vision of combining multiple HR transactions to make the life of HCM software users easier. A good move as in the past HR systems have been single transaction driven. With the innovation of (true) Analytics, BigData and Cloud, HR vendors can now aggregate more transaction in a more intelligent way. You can find more on my news analysis here– and my 2014 blog post on the same topic, creating the ‘transboarding’ verb (see here). 

     
    SuccessFactors SAP #SConnect15 SConnect
    Introducing SuccessFactors Intelligent Servcies

    MyPOV

    A good start for the SuccessConnect. It is clear that HCM is key for SAP, CEO McDermott called in recovering from its recent accident. With the intelligent services SAP is trying to do achieve something truly innovative – we will have to dig deeper into that the next days. Ettling also lifted the bonnet (sorry was in Scotland the last days) on plans to change Performance Management and Learning, as a preview to Krakovsky’s keynote tomorrow.

    Some key tweets from the event:


    And more on overall SAP strategy and products:

    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
    • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
    • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here

    • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
    • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
    • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
    • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
    • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
    • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
    • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
    • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
    • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
    • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
    • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
    • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
    • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
    • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
    • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here.


    And more about SAP technology:
    • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
    • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
    • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
    • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
    • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
    • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
    • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
    • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
    • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
    • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here.

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.


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    One of the many announcements happening at SAP’s SuccessFactors’ SuccessConnect conferences has been the global reseller agreement that SAP and Workforce Software (going forward Workforce) signed. It merits some analysis as it fills a key automation area for SAP – and provides a major event for Workforce. We had the opportunity to sit down with Workforce CEO Choksi and team at SuccessConnect for some further insights. 


    So let’s dissect the press release in our custom style, it can be found here:

    LAS VEGAS (August 11, 2015) – WorkForce Software®, a leading cloud-based provider of enterprise workforce management solutions, announced today at SuccessConnect 2015 the signing of a global reseller agreement with SAP (NYSE: SAP). Through this agreement, SAP will resell three components of WorkForce Software’s cloud-based EmpCenter workforce management suite – Time & Attendance, Advanced Scheduler and Absence Compliance Tracker – under the name SAP® Time and Attendance Management by WorkForce Software.

    MyPOV – Interesting to see a scope larger than basic Time & Attendance, which makes the offering a more complete solution. It shows that both parties – SAP and Workforce – understood the key benefit of the partnership – making life easier for customers, eliminating integration needs that can slow down in the worst case even derail projects. And we see a bundling of three capabilities in a single price list item, which reduces complexity - but also creates differentiation with Absence, that is not part of most partnered solutions.

    This reseller arrangement adds a robust, cloud-based workforce management solution to SAP’s portfolio, complementing the company’s market-leading core human resources (HR) and global payroll solutions. With the ability to automate the most complex time, scheduling and leave administration requirements, the SAP Time and Attendance Management application streamlines compliance with wage and hour laws and leave regulations and gives employers greater visibility for strategic decision-making.

    MyPOV – Good to learn more details on the scope. SAP had a partnership with Workforce (and other T&A player Kronos) in place before, this agreement will make it easier for customers to use Workforce going forward. We learnt that the solution is on the SAP Global price list, which is key for SAP partners, as in many cases their solution gets sold by the SAP salesforce. Thanks to the SAP partner vetting and certification process, customers expect fewer to no issues with the integration.

    “WorkForce Software is committed to providing some of the most flexible and complete workforce management solutions on the market,” said Kevin Choksi, co-founder and CEO, WorkForce Software. “We are excited about this new partnership with the undisputed leader in enterprise application software—SAP— as it will enable more organizations around the globe to automate time and labor processes, simplify compliance and help boost workforce productivity.”

    MyPOV – Good quote by Choksi, who is rightfully thrilled by the opportunity.

    WorkForce Software’s EmpCenter suite integrates with SAP SuccessFactors® Employee Central and SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll, allowing SAP customers to automate their most complex time, scheduling and leave-management requirements with a proven, global solution.

    MyPOV – Good to learn more about the scope, the product naming similarities will help further.

    “Customers moving to the cloud demand choice and flexibility in the platforms and vendors they work with – allowing them to maintain their investments in what works well today and to evolve as they grow,” said Mike Ettling, president, HR Line of Business, SAP. “By offering SAP Time and Attendance Management integrated with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll, some of the most flexible core HR products available, we can help an ever-growing number of enterprise customers overcome the challenges often associated with workforce management. These solutions provide the choice and flexibility they require, allowing them to benefit from an easy-to-use, cost-effective and compliant strategy.”


    MyPOV – Good to see a SAP quote, too – coming all the way from Ettling (not a partner executive), that allows room for the speculation that this partnership was high on the priority list on the SuccessFactors side, too. From what we heard, certification and negotiation was un-SAPish fast. A good data point.


    Overall MyPOV

    Out of the box, vendor integrated partnerships are key for the enterprise software market. Integrations are risky, time consuming and always a ‘ticking time bomb’ to fail. The good news for enterprises is that in the SaaS era, the integration risk and work has been passed largely to the vendors. Should it break, it becomes a product support case and a defect, a better position to be in for most enterprises than having to find the professionals who built the integration during rollout of an integrated HCM portfolio.

    For customers this should be good news - as vendor integration of SaaS solutions is the best practice to look for in the cloud age. As with all vendors with substantial price lists - customers should make sure they understand what they are buying and from who the solution is coming. In an irony of the Time & Attendance industry, customers only care for the automation when it doesn't work, so they will welcome a reduction in operational complexity.

    For SAP / SuccessFactors the partnership means a better and faster path for customers to more complex Time & Attendance automation. SuccessFactors has to build many things and a rich roadmap ahead – it has now one area less to focus on.

    For Workforce it means it is now ‘strapped on a rocket’ with a SAP logo on it. Achieving certification and making it on the SAP price list is the Holy Grail for ISVs partnering with SAP. Having been there once and almost twice in my career, I know it can be an vendor transforming experience.

    Too early to tell how successful the partnership will be, but executives on both sides are aware of the challenges, the work to be done and the opportunity at hand. Customer benefits are compelling. So far all is setup for a successful start – good luck and we will be watching.



    More on WorkForce Software:
    • Progress Report - WorkForce Software powers into more Workforce Management - but needs to watch the Fundamentals - read here

    And more on overall SAP strategy and products:

    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Day #1 Keynote Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
    • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
    • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here

    • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
    • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
    • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
    • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
    • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
    • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
    • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
    • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
    • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
    • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
    • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
    • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
    • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
    • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
    • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here.


    And more about SAP technology:
    • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
    • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
    • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
    • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
    • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
    • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
    • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
    • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
    • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
    • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here.

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.


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    We had the opportunity to attend SAP’s SuccessFactors SuccessConnect user conference held in Las Vegas this week. The conference was well attended with a record of 2800 attendees. As we have seen often a lot of good things happen with an increased conference size, it’s an indicator a vendor is on the right track and the positive underlying vibes cross pollinate between attendees, prospects, partners and the vendor. In contrast to previous Success Connects there where a much higher number of live and implementing customers in the audience – a good sign to the more ‘in evaluation mode’ crowd of the previous years. It has certainly helped to have the same key speakers and leadership on stage for consecutive years, as buyers and users look for consistency.



    As always with a multiple day event – the challenge is to come up with the Top 3 takeaways, but here you go:



    Ettling SAP SuccessFactors SuccesConnect
    Ettling opens SuccessConnect 2015


    Intelligent Services for HCM – This was clearly the most important announcement on the product side of this SuccessConnect. For too much time HR functions have been atomically automated, one transaction at a time. The glue between them was in human brains, on post-it notes etc. Taking a step back now, technology is advanced enough to bundle and bring these activities together for a richer, more powerful level of automation. It is good to see the innovative thinking by SAP here, it is not unique as more vendors are working on similar offerings (more later this year) –but SAP is first out of the gate with 16 intelligent services shipping in the August release of SuccessFactors. 


    Krakovsky SAP SuccessFactors SuccesConnect
    Krakovsky introduces Intelligent Services
    Behind the scenes SuccessFactors enables Intelligent Services with three technology components. The vendor already had an established event bus that is collecting all events and connecting the various SuccessFactors products. Using the OData standard SuccessFactors can enrich the leaner event information an (existing) rules engine helps to define how events should be handled. A plausible architecture to enable Intelligent Services, we plan to drill down a few levels deeper going forward. 


    Intelligent Services SAP SuccessFactors SuccesConnect
    The 3 components behind Intelligent Services

    As always with analytics – the key question is ‘does it work?’ – And we will have to wait for the experiences of the first customers in a few months. The interesting angle is that SAP has the transaction of its users from when they got live. So suggesting a powerful set of intelligent services to a business users is in the realm of the possible. As well is populating most common rules to empower the intelligent services, from data of one enterprise, or as an unveiled industry best practice. Would have been good for SAP to unearth that – but it is early days and I am sure SAP will do that soon. Checkout my News Analysis on the unveiling of Intelligent Services here. 


    New 1:1 Management Capability - will it fix Performance Management?
    Re-Thinking Performance Management– We have maintained for a long time that Performance Management is broken, and with that most of Talent Management not really working. Software vendors are not the only culprit, human nature plays a big role here, too. Humans generally do not like to get rated, do not like to rate employees and don’t look forward to have a tough conversation on people performance. That said, most of today’s Performance Management is largely automating the forms based process in place before – and not taking advantage of the new capabilities offered by technology. For instance enterprises had no financially viable opportunity around 5 years ago to store all performance relevant information for the purpose of powering performance management… today BigData technologies offer that at a fraction of the cost. (True) Analytics can run on that for the cost of an average burger meal. This means that best practices can change and technology can power new (and better) ways to do Performance Management. Kudos to SuccessFactors to challenge the status quo here – something established software vendors rarely do. Especially when it comes to question early products, keep in mind SuccessFactors started out on the Performance Management side. The first step as shard by Krakovsky is to power 1:1 management in a more efficient way – certainly a good place to start in the Anglo-Saxon management culture. 


    New UI - New Home Page
    Good Housekeeping– We also learnt more about good housekeeping on the SuccessFactors side. For the longest time there was going back and forward on the full adoption date of SAP’s in memory database HANA, and it is now set with 2017. That is only a little more than 5 full quarters away – so certainly an ambitious schedule. Moving on HANA is important for SAP not only to reduce royalty payments to key competitor Oracle, but also to get better economies of scale from the HANA investment and most importantly eliminate integration issues. When running on a named value pair, columnar database – all information is in the same table by its very definition. With integration being a key headache for HR professionals, SuccessFactors has a technology at hand to put the challenge to rest – at least for the very own SAP products. And medium term being compatible with the S4/HANA platform is important, too.

    Likewise SAP is working on phasing out Dell Boomi as the integration tool, replacing it with HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) Integration Services, targeting a similar date like the HANA migration.

    More immediately SAP showed a new User Interface that will roll out in Q4 of this year. No surprise SAP is starting with the home screen and EmployeeCentral, using the Fiori UI paradigm and the SAP UI 5 HTMTL capabilities. An important step as the SuccessFactors UI started to feel more pedestrian (we blogged earlier about this) and there is not yet consistency in the UI across the different products. Certainly something customers are living with, but even slightly different user interfaces come with an organizational cost, so it will be good for SuccessFactors to address the topic. On the positive side – moving to Fiori and UI5, there will be consistency on the user experience side beyond SuccessFactors, as users use more than the HCM products).

    Analyst Tidbits

    Benefits - To a certain point a surprise, SAP is now offering ‘simple’ Benefits functionality for the US. Certainly an acknowledgement of the importance of Benefits automation in the US. The partnership with BenefitFocus remains in place, for the more complex needs, but SAP now needs to explain the positioning. 


    US Benefits coming to EmployeeCentral
    Learning– SuccessFactors keeps building out its new Learning capabilities, last year it was about predicting attractive learning content (which has been delivered) and the roadmap now focusses on the classroom / instructor side. A valid focus, given the large amount of classroom held training, but not the long term focus on Learning. Looks like customers have pulled SuccessFactors back here, a valid motive for any software vendor.
     
    Krakovsky walks through Learning Roadmap

    Deeper Partnership with Workforce Software - Similarly to Benefits, Time and Attendance is more of an ‘edge’ system for mainstream HR vendors, so SAP partnered with Kronos and WorkForce Software, but now has a deeper relationship with the latter, with a Workforce Software bundle making it to the SAP price list (read more here).



    SuccessFactors and LinkedIn partner

    Partnership with LinkedIn– We have to do some more due diligence here, but for now it looks SuccessFactors is the first HCM vendor to get LinkedIn to share the LinkedIn profile into the Employee profile in Employee Central. That is the foundation of new best practices (data concerns thrown to the wind) changing e.g. internal recruiting, blurring the inside / outside enterprise ‘firewall’ etc. – kudos to a first mover advantage.

    Mobile – Android emancipates– The Android client had always been lacking behind the iOS client, now SuccessFactors has brought the mobile Android client up to par to the iOS client – and more importantly the vendor has committed to keep them at par.

    Document Management Partners

    Documents managed in HR– HR always needs to take care of a lot of sensitive documents, so it is good to see SuccessFactors starting to warm up to the area, starting with partnerships with Opentext, Box and more. The question will be going forward how such a wide partner array can satisfy the more complex compliance issues – compared to e.g. native solutions offered by e.g. competitors ADP and Ceridian.


    Analytics– SAP is making progress in this important area and to a certain point the new Intelligent Services will be a prominent use of ‘real’ analytics (those that take an action or make at least a recommendation). Beyond that SuccessFactors is partnering with key clients and piloting new capabilities, but there has been no product release in this area yet. Certainly an area where SAP has to push down the gas pedal.
     
    New Data Centers - Shanghai, Toronto & Moscow

    New DataCenters– It is good to see the opening of more data center locations, most prominently in Russia, where recent data sovereignty legislation is forcing data to reside in country. And data center locations do not only matter for compliance, but also for performance as Krakovsky pointed out correctly in its keynote. We will have to learn more about how SuccessFactors plans to ‘slice and dice’ code and data across various data center locations to achieve compliance and increase performance.
     
    New Admin Center


    The Centers are coming– It is good to see that SuccessFactors is looking at empowering users more and better – and the approach are ‘center’. There is a new Admin Center –always a good move to empower admins, we have seen how well that works in the SaaS economy at Salesforce. And then there is an Integration Center and an Extension Center, doing what one can expect what they do, the new Extension Center being a user friendly front end power by the MDF framework.


    MyPOV

    A good event for SuccessFactors that is showing all the benefits of a growing vendor. It is good to see new innovative thinking like the Intelligent Services as well as gutsy move like the challenge to the status quo on Performance Management. The vendor is also doing some good housekeeping, short term on the UI side, longer term with technology stack harmonization on the larger SAP architecture, something that will matter more and more over time.

    On the concern side a lot of work remains, as SuccessFactors is a combined entity of old SuccessFactors organically grown functionality (e.g. Performance Management), SuccessFactors acquired products (e.g. Recruiting, Learning) and new SAP / SuccessFactors built products (e.g. EmployeeCentral)), combined with SAP code (e.g. for Payroll). To a certain point it is fair to say that SuccessFactors had to wait for the overall SAP to ‘sort things out’ – e.g. on how to run HANA across its datacenters in the ‘cloud’ etc. but these hurdles have been or are being removed as we blog, so it will be key for SuccessFactors to address them.

    Overall good progress by SuccessFactors, which is uniquely well positioned to address the challenges of global organizations (not much of messaging at the conference on that), given the reach and expertise of SAP both from a local expertise and payroll capability. With Globalization one of the key trends enterprises are facing, a good position for SAP’s existing and future customers to be in. And employees need to be paid, the paycheck still being the most regular occurring artefact between HR functions and the employee and SAP is equally well positioned here. But the HR game is more than HR Core and Payroll and SAP needs to make sure its Talent Management remains (at least) ‘good enough’ to remain competitive. Fresh thinking on Performance Management is a good start. And overall SuccessFactors had more to show on the product side than 12 months ago – a good sign for the SuccessFactors ecosystem. We will be watching and analyzing, stay tuned.



    More on overall SAP strategy and products:

    • News Analysis - WorkForce Software Announces Global Reseller Agreement with SAP - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Day #1 Keynote Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
    • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
    • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here

    • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
    • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
    • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
    • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
    • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
    • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
    • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
    • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
    • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
    • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
    • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
    • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
    • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
    • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
    • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here.


    And more about SAP technology:
    • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
    • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
    • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
    • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
    • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
    • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
    • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
    • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
    • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
    • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here.

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.



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    We had the opportunity to attend Unit4’s North America analyst summit (the vendor had the same event for Europe based analysts last week) in Boston this week. The event was held on top of the 60 State Street building with gorgeous views of Boston. Even the local colleagues could not stop taking pictures. Great location for similar events.  



    We learnt many things – here are my Top 3 takeaways:

    A compelling Strategy– In the general overview on the company, CEO Duarte admitted that Unit4 has gone quiet for the most of the last two years and used the time to reposition the company for growth on both the product side and the go to market side. Duarte ran us through the 4 pillars of the Unit4 strategy – vertical solutions for services enterprises, applications for people, an agile architecture and native, authentic cloud solutions. All good strategy pillars and it was good to see that Unit4 could show the first deliverable son the product side at the end of the day. On the go to market side Unit4 wants to grow its salesforce by 20%, and has a focus on North America, the UK and France / Germany. Unit4 intends to grow the partner channel, with unusual openness the vendor shared that right now the service relationship between Unit4 doing implementation in-house vs a partners implementing is close to 1:1 – the intention is to freeze Unit4’s internal portion of services and grow the partner side. Duarte shared the ambition to create a 1B partner ecosystem in the next years. Certainly a good strategy to get the attention of service partners. 
     
    A great overview slide on Unit4

    A new Architecture– Unit4 shared its new product architecture, articulated across 4 layers. No surprise, the vendor wants to provide an attractive, consumer grade UI on top of competitive vertical capabilities. So far pretty common objectives across enterprise software players. What sets Unit4 apart are the next two layers, where the vendor stresses a smart context layer and asks for an elastic foundation. With dynamic context Unit4 can create richer and more powerful user interactions, enriched by ‘true’ analytics. The elastic foundation basically asks for a cloud deployment, basically an elastic cloud infrastructure that can run the application but also provide the compute power to create the context and analytics. Unit4 has some concrete plans here, stay tuned as the vendor will unveil them soon. Overall an attractive architecture, Unit4 showed some early demos in the area of Professional Services Automation (PSA), Sentiment Analysis and likeliness for invoices to be paid. All three encouraging first examples, but the vendor will have to cover significantly more ground to get more of them built and achieve release grade for later in the year.
     
    The Unit4 People Platform

    Vertical Focus backed up– Earlier this week Unit4 announced the acquisition of Three Rivers Systems, a vendor specialized on the Higher Education market with its CAMS product (I covered the acquisition in a News Analysis blog post that can be found here.). So a good proof point that Unit4 is serious both about vertical focus and growth in North America. The CEO of Three Rivers Systems, Tajkarimi was at hand to give us an update on the vendor and the products. Three Rivers has over 50 employees, over 200 customers in Higher Ed, based all over the world and of all sizes of student body. Its CAMS product is being rebuilt for cloud, in a very encouraging, declarative and open for self-service setup way. A graphical editors allow to design system behavior. No detailed deliver time lines were shared (yet), but the demo showed an attractive system. With the acquisition Unit4 leadership thinks they are well ahead of Workday for Higher Education, and the vendor is probably for now (but let’s see what Workday unveils later this year). Overall a strong vertical commitment is certainly welcomed and as long as executed right, will help Unit4 to differentiate in the markets where it operates. 
     
    The Unit4 view on the Higher Ed Market

    MyPOV

    A very good analyst meeting for Unit4, which had an impressive analyst turnout, especially when one considers it is busy conference season. More importantly the vendor shows some interesting approaches for the product, with a dynamic context layer, the inclusion of ‘true’ analytics and cloud deployments. Equally the plans on the go to market side are plausible and realistic, something never to oversee and underestimate.

    On the concern side Unit4 has the luxury that it ‘only’ needs to execute. Cloud bookings are growing 70+, and the vendor needs to maintain that momentum. Equally it needs to deliver on the product side – a compelling roadmap was offered, now the vendor will need to deliver and execute. Getting all that done, carefully orchestrated internally, with partners and customers is no easy task. But Unit4 has an experienced management team that should be able to pull this off.

    Overall Unit4 was able to put down a differentiated and innovative vision for a next generation ERP application with a strong vertical focus on services industries. The markets are vast an enterprises looking for new and modern enterprise software. So a promising future for Unit4, its customers, prospects and partners, but the vendor needs to deliver. We will be watching.

    More on Unit4
    • News Analysis - Unit4 acquires Three Rivers Systems - read here

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard

    And a collection of key tweets from the event in a Storify collection:

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    This morning, Unit4 a European ERP vendor, announced the acquisition of Three Rivers Systems, a vendor specialized at helping the Higher Education sector to run efficiently.


    So let's dissect the press release in our custom style (it can be found here):

    Unit4, a fast growing leader in enterprise applications for service organizations, today announced the acquisition of U.S.-based student management solution provider, Three Rivers Systems, Inc. The acquisition supports Unit4’s strategy to offer market leading industry-specific solutions to people-centric businesses. Education has always been a key pillar of the company’s strategy. Together with Three Rivers Systems, Unit4 serves more than 1,000 clients in Education globally.
    MyPOV – A focus for Unit4 is to grow further in North America, and buying local vendors who have the local market knowhow, understand the market and requirements and also have customers is a proven expansion strategy for enterprise software vendors.

    The Unit4 People Platform enables Three Rivers Systems’ student management system to seamlessly work together with Unit4 applications, creating the first next generation end-to-end ERP for Education. The system incorporates a powerful and flexible localization framework, which allows Unit4 to cater to local needs, such as Financial Aid in the U.S. or the Student Loan Council in the UK.
    MyPOV – Acquisitions are always a good showcase for platform flexibility of the acquiring vendor. It is good to see that Unit4 sees the People Platform being able to handle the Three Rivers Systems application. And good point to raise the local market expertise of Three Rivers Systems.

    “The Education market currently lacks a modern and complete business application platform ready to be deployed globally. This is exactly what Unit4 and Three Rivers Systems will jointly deliver,” says Jose Duarte, Unit4 CEO. “This acquisition has created a global market leader for Education ERP solutions, and significantly strengthens Unit4’s market position in North America. By combining technologies and resources, we are the first to deliver the full suite of next-generation ERP for the global Education community.”
    MyPOV – The usual quote, but very true on the lack of a modern enterprise platform for higher education, which faces a piece meal IT infrastructure. With higher education institutions under pressure to reduce costs, IT needs to find ways to run more efficiently, while supporting 21st century best practices for both students, parents and employees.

    With three decades’ experience developing enterprise solutions exclusively for colleges and universities, Three Rivers Systems is highly regarded in the U.S. for its best in class student management solutions. The acquisition of Three Rivers Systems’ Student Management technology and tight integration with Unit4’s broad and feature rich Finance, Human Relations and Research Management applications will result in the industry’s first and most advanced and complete global ERP for Education. New and updated features of the combined offering include: Human Resources & Payroll, Finance Management, Research Management, a complete Student Management system covering Student Acquisition, Course Management, Retention, Degree Auditing and much more.
    MyPOV – Good description of the upcoming planned scope.

    Whether adopting new process models or integrating with a newly introduced system, Unit4 is able to easily adapt to the ever changing business requirements and needs of Education institutions. The platform helps grow enrolments, improve student success, and improve overall institutional effectiveness through e.g. the incorporation of built-in data analysis. A truly innovative and clean interface lets users benefit from an easily responsive system with optional touch based capabilities when using a tablet.
    MyPOV – Good description of the aspiration of the future system and some of the capabilities that the system has.

    “Unit4 and Three Rivers Systems shared focus on product innovation plus people and student centric applications perfectly cover the front and back office of today’s Education institutions,” says Amir Tajkarimi, President & Founder of Three Rivers Systems. “Unit4 will help to expedite innovation cycles around Three Rivers Systems’ advanced student management technology, while also bringing it to the global market. The acquisition will result in strengthened global sales and support teams as well as increased bandwidth for ongoing research and development around our combined product suite.”
    MyPOV – No need to comment on the usual quote.

    Three Rivers Systems aligns tightly with Unit4’s Cloud Your Way deployment model, so that the new Campus suite will support higher education institutions’ preferred ERP architecture, whether in the cloud, on premise, or hybrid. Unit4 and Three Rivers Systems’ solutions will be integrated via the Unit4 People Platform with Social, Mobile and Analytics driven capabilities.[…]
    MyPOV – Good to mention, guess it was to easy to offer a roadmap, but that is the next logical questneeion.

    Unit4’s ERP is the only system designed from the ground up for people-centric industries. It empowers people to better engage and create impact, while automating low-value repetitive tasks.

    Overall MyPOV

    A good move by Unit4, which needs to find ways to grow fast in North America. Though Higher Education is only the 3rd most important vertical for the vendor, it is currently a good opportunity in North America to capitalize on. Higher Education institutions are in an innovation cycle, after almost decade(s) in the doldrums. Credit goes to Workday with steering up the industry with its new Student offering. A good momentum to exploit, especially with a smaller scale customer target.

    On the concern side it is one more thing for Unit4 to do. It not only needs to push Higher Education now, but the other verticals it is focusing on, too. On the product side Unit4 needs to integrate 3 Rivers Systems – and we are not concerned of the new People platform not being up to task – but it is work that needs to be done quickly.

    Finally, as Unit4 has been working on the differentiator of a 'people centric business', there are few industries that are more people centric than higher education. Overall a good acquisition for Unit4, I am sure we will learn more about it at the vendor’s analyst day this week.

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    We had the opportunity to attend Globoforce’s Workhuman event, currently being held in Orlando. A year ago this event was a small 100 attendees affair, this year it has grown to about 500 attendees. Always good to see such growth, largely through positioning the event not as a user conference, but a work / life / engagement conference, sponsored by Globoforce.




    So here are my Top 3 takeaways of the event:

    Engagement matters– No surprise, engagement was core and center at this conference, and that’s what Globoforce is known for and very good at. The perspective angle changed though a little bit – as the view now is more about working more ‘human’, bringing back the ‘humanity’ to the workplace. Humans do well with feedback, especially when it is positive, and all of that leads to more engaged employees. It was interesting to learn that video feedback works even better, something seems to kick in in inside our brains when we see positive feedback being given to us.

    And more engaged employees don’t leave, don’t call in sick and deliver more, are overall more productive. So engagement is something that employers should all strive and go for. Why they aren’t remains one of the mysteries of the 21st century – and a challenge for vendors like Globoforce. Performance Management at large remains broken in North America and Europe, and we know that more continuous feedback is key. CEO Mosley went so far as to call it ‘crowdsourcing’ the feedback process. With an aging and more and more expensive workforce, we think time plays in the hands of Globoforce (and similar vendors), as employers cannot afford a disengaged workforce as little as they cannot afford to understand where and who their talented employees are. 

    CEO Mosley welcomes attendees

    Partnership with IBM– Globoforce and IBM unveiled a partnership at the event. Basically Globoforce will become a data source for IBM’s cognitive computing platform, Watson, where combined with the Kenexa and other data it will help to create more powerful analytics for HR professionals (using the IBM Kenexa Talent Insights product, powered by IBM Watson Analytics). As common these days the integration will be vendor supported, with Globoforce maintaining the interface for their data towards IBM, which is a sensible approach. Both vendors will explore common analytical offerings, but I guess it was too early for more specifics here. A good move for both vendors as Globoforce gets access to a cognitive computing platform that is being built by a R&D team funded by multiple times Globoforce revenue (no numbers disclosed – guestimate here) and IBM gets another data source to make Watson predictions more powerful. On the IBM side the move is another step in IBM’s strategy to acquire data sources for better insights, on a macro level see e.g. the recent partnerships with Twitter and weather providers. The press release on this announcement can be found here.

     
    Happy Workers work Harder, from Mosley' presentation


    Rich roadmap – Closer to home for Globoforce, the vendor plans to improve reporting and analysis capability. Not surprising as reports can show if the social engagement and feedback solution that Globoforce offers, really works. As typical for a SaaS vendors, releases come out quarterly and the roadmap is rather fluid and dynamic, so it will be interesting to see what Globoforce does on the overall functionality side as well as what will come out of the partnership with IBM in regards of ‘true’ analytics (those who take an action and / or make a recommendation and in 99% of the case don’t show colorful pictures).

     
    Visualization of recognition in Globoforce product

    MyPOV

    A good event for Globoforce, with above average keynote speakers for an event of this size, and a dynamic mix of customers and prospects who are all energized to increase employee engagement through recognition. The setup for Globoforce is favorable, as its product needs only minimal setup - e.g. users - and is good to go - so perfect for a cloud based, next generation Application.

    On the concern side we found a few inconsistencies in the Globoforce user interface, something the vendor can address with some easy and quick housekeeping releases. The basic functionality – reward / recognize – is straight forward and easy to use.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the overall employee recognition space in the next 4-6 quarters – we will be watching. In the meantime congrats to Globoforce to a great event.



    More interesting blog posts:
    • Musings - Speed matters for HR - how to accelerate - Part II read here - Part I read here
    • Musings - Is TransBoarding the future of People Management - read here
    • Musings - What are 'true' analytics - a manifesto - read here
    • Musings - How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the Laggards - read here
    • Musings - What is the future of recruiting? Read here
    • HRTech 2014 takeaways - read here.
    • Why all the attention to recruiting? Read here.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard

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    This morning Google and JDA software surprised the markets with a press release that announced that Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is becoming JDA’s public cloud infrastructure. This is obviously a first for JDA and Google, not for the market (see below).



    So let’s dissect the news release in our customer style (it can be found here):

    Scottsdale, Ariz. – June 10, 2015 –JDA Software Group, Inc. today announced an innovative new collaboration with Google aimed at leveraging the core strengths of both companies to deliver JDA’s next generation cloud-based omni-channel and supply chain solutions via Google Cloud Platform, a powerful public cloud offering. Through this collaboration, Google will provide a uniquely scalable and flexible technology platform via the cloud to support JDA’s future application development and delivery.

    MyPOV – Good move by JDA, as choosing a public cloud provider saves substantial CAPEX that would have gone into data center build-out. Now JDA can invest those savings into product. For Google it means more load for GCP, more enterprise exposure and likely the start of a number of ISVs signing up for Google as cloud provider. Load is essential for all IaaS vendors, as it ensure the economies of scale they need to procure attractive supply chain prices and rates. The untapped potential of on premises enterprise software is one of the largest growth potentials for public cloud vendors overall. Take JDA with 4000 customers, ultimately they will all have to go to public cloud solutions. That is a lot of server capacity. And finally a lot of customers to cross sekk Google Apps and Google for Work to.

    “Google Cloud Platform offers the unparalleled speed, performance, scalability and reliability we need to launch truly differentiated solutions. After thoroughly evaluating potential Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers, JDA chose to work with Google due to its unsurpassed technology platform, investments and deep culture of innovation,” said Serge Massicotte, executive vice president and chief technology officer at JDA Software.

    MyPOV – There is little doubt GCP outperforms other clouds on the performance side of the overall infrastructure. My recommended simple test is to monitor the speed of email provisioning when travelling internationally. I do that a lot and still have to find the place on earth where my Gmail account does not beat e.g. my Office account. And it is no surprise – the core business model of Google, advertisement, needs very, very fast servers and networks. More surprising is that the JDA statement refers to Google as a PaaS, likely meaning Google App Engine (GAE), which has been a less popular choice by enterprise software vendors. We need to learn more about JDA’s plans and use case to understand this better.

    This collaboration, which will significantly accelerate the development of JDA’s next generation cloud solutions, is JDA’s most recent initiative aimed at delivering innovative products and services for its customers. With an unmatched R&D investment in supply chain and omni-channel solutions, the company recently formed JDA Labs– a dedicated research and development group committed to delivering patents, best practices and entirely new products to the market. Google Cloud Platform initiatives will be developed out of the JDA Labs in Montreal. JDA’s work with Google also complements JDA’s newly announced FLEX platform strategy, which easily connects JDA’s existing cloud-based solutions and on-premise solutions with next generation solutions built on Google Cloud Platform.

    MyPOV – Two good moves by JDA. Forming a lab for more innovative work has been a proven approach in enterprise software, see e.g. also the SAP Lab network. The FLEX platform is an interesting approach bringing together more traditional JDA platforms with its next generation cloud strategy.

    “With thousands of successful customers — including 21 customers named as part of the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2015— JDA has clearly established its leadership in delivering world-class retail and supply chain solutions,” said Massicotte. “To maintain and expand that leadership, JDA is focused on developing new innovative products and services that will truly change the supply chain landscape. By working with Google — an established innovation leader — JDA will concentrate on working with our customers to co-develop these groundbreaking solutions with Google Cloud Platform, providing an unmatched foundation. It’s a huge win-win for JDA customers, who will benefit from best-in-class solutions, delivered rapidly, from two proven market leaders working together.”

    "We're thrilled that JDA has chosen to work with Google Cloud Platform to develop their next generation of products and services that will change the supply chain landscape," said Dan Powers, director, Google Cloud Platform. "The supply chain and omni-channel industry is ripe to benefit from the innovation, scale and flexibility of our public cloud offering, and by betting on Google, JDA can now focus on creating high impact business solutions while quickly adapting to meet customer needs." […]


    MyPOV – The usual quotes – no commentary needed.

    This month, JDA will be part of the keynote at a series of Google Cloud Platform Next events worldwide that highlights our work together. JDA executives will be featured speakers at Next events in New York on June 12, San Francisco on June 16, London on June 23 and Amsterdam on June 25. Learn more about the Google Next event series here.

    MyPOV – Well good to be able to promote the new offering at Google events. I would not be surprised to hear a repeat of ‘Infor – who?’ (like at AWS Cloud event in March 2014 in San Francisco) in the form of ‘JDA – who?’ – at these events – but that is all part of becoming known as a vendor build on the public cloud.

    Overall MyPOV

    It is a Win / Win / Win for the partners and JDA customers. JDA customers should see a better return of R&D given the choice JDA has made for GCP. Let’s not underestimate the TCO aspect in this partnership, too – as Google has recently lowered prices (again – read here) – and many JDA customers turn the penny twice before they spend it. JDA saves CAPEX that it can put into its product organization and roadmap. Google gets load that helps it to scale better.

    On the concern side, JDA is the first enterprise vendor to opt for Google. Certainly JDA has done good due diligence and Google is motivated to make it a success, but being first has risks – but also rewards when done right and successfully. And it is clear for JDA customers that the bulk of R&D going forward will be on public cloud platforms. Like it or not, customers should prepare and accommodate for that.

    But in the meantime congrats to both vendors for a synergistic partnership, very likely many more to follow.

    More on Public Cloud Firsts:
    • Infor runs on Amazon AWS (read here)
    • SAP on IBM Cloud (read here
    • Lumesse on Salesforce (read here)  and
    • NetSuite on Azure (read here). 

    More about Google:

    • Event Report - Google I/O - Google wants developers to first & foremost build more Android apps - read here
    • First Take - Google I/O Day #1 Keynote - it is all about Android - read here
    • News Analysis - Google does it again (lower prices for Google Cloud Platform), enterprises take notice - read here
    • News Analyse - Google I/O Takeaways Value Propositions for the enterprise - read here
    • Google gets serious about the cloud and it is different - read here
    • A tale of two clouds - Google and HP - read here
    • Why Google acquired Talaria - efficiency matters - read here

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website
    here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.

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    On the route to VMWorld 2015 I am letting last two VMWorld pass by, and it is remarkable how my understanding on what the biggest challenge is that the vendor is grappling with.





    First of all – let’s understand the challenge. VMWare is the uncontested leader when it comes to on premise virtualization of computing loads of enterprises. But as these enterprises are looking more and more for public cloud as well as acquire SaaS loads – the role of VMWare needs to change to remain relevant.


    Coming into VMWorld 2013 – two years ago – my un-briefed understanding was that VMWare ‘did not get public cloud’. Presentations, Briefings, Q&A with Paul Maritz and the new CEO Pat Gelsinger dispelled this. It was clear that executives understood both challenge and opportunity of the public cloud.


    Leaving VMWorld 2013 my understanding then was that it was the commercials. Similar to many on premise vendors, I thought VMWare not to be motivated to a quick acceleration of enterprise loads to the public cloud, as the switch from perpetual to subscription licensing would not be advantageous financially. Coming into VMWorld 2014 with that understanding I was convinced by strategy czar Ayyar that actually subscription revenues are better (heard that before) but that also VMWare would ultimately extract more revenue from customers in the subscription business model.


    During VMWorld 2014 it became clear to me that VMWare had a product issues. It had to build infrastructure and products for public cloud. A very high developer number to be hired / working in the division of public cloud exec Fathers was in play.


    But before VMWorld 2015 we have not heard much on product announcements / roadmaps. But maybe VMWare was holding back for VMWorld this year.



    Anyway – we will know in a few hours …. 

    But I wanted to share how my understanding of what VMWare is struggling with in my view – and what is holding the vendor (and thus customers) back. Stay tuned for updates from VMWorld this week. 




    More on VMWare
    • Market Move - EMC to acquire Virtustream - More paths to the cloud - read here
    • News Analysis - VMware makes progress towards the (hybrid) cloud - now let's watch the adoption - read here
    • Speed Briefings at VMworld - read here
    • Event Report - VMware makes a lot of progress - but the holy grail is still missing - read here.
    • First Take - VMware's VMworld Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here.
    • Progress Report - Good start for VMware EUC - time for 2nd inning - read here.
    • Speed Briefings at VMworld - inside and outside the VMware ecosystem - read here.
    • VMware defies conventional destiny - SDDC to the rescue - read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.



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    This week SAP released information about new capabilities in regards of Hadoop (the major news in my view) and HCP (interesting, less relevant). SAP deemed it an important enough event to invite analysts and our press colleagues to an event in San Francisco, where CTO Quentin Clark and President Platform Solutions Steve Lucas walked us through the announcements.
     


    So let’s dissect the press release (you can find it here) in our custom style, in order to comment and read between the lines:


    SAN FRANCISCO — To help companies transform their businesses in today’s digital economy, SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced SAP HANA Vora software, a new in-memory computing innovation for Hadoop and new capabilities planned for SAP HANA Cloud Platform. These new offerings from SAP intend to help companies simplify how their businesses will run in the digital world.
    MyPOV – This brings to light what SAP hinted in both Q&A with chairman Plattner and CTO Clark , as well as Member of the Board Leukert’s keynote. For the longest time Hadoop was a ‘bad word’ at SAP – so good to see what looked more like a dinosaur codename has now come out as Vora. Think ‘Data Divorer’ phonetically to come to the naming. And for the insiders, keep in mind the ancestry of HANA goes back to TRex, so the original code name back then of Velociraptor (many smaller, predators) depicts perfectly what Vora is supposed to do: Spark based extensions and capabilities to utilize Hadoop for next generation application scenarios.


    “Our mission at SAP is to empower businesses to lead the digital transformation in their industry,” said Quentin Clark, chief technology officer and member of the Global Managing Board of SAP SE. “In order to succeed in this digital transformation, companies need a platform that enables real-time business, delivers business agility, is able to scale and provides contextual awareness in a hyper-connected world. With the introduction of SAP HANA Vora and the planned new capabilities in SAP HANA Cloud Platform, we aim to enable our customers to become leaders in the digital economy.”
    MyPOV – Good quote by Clark, hitting all the key areas that matter today for enterprise vendors, enable the creation of strategic, important applications with a PaaS platform, utilizing cloud, BigData, analytics etc. – we know now that this will be HCP, HANA and Vora. Coming as a SAP message – that was traditionally all about the capability of the packaged applications – quite remarkable.


    Creating Contextual Awareness with SAP HANA Vora

    SAP HANA Vora is a new in-memory query engine that leverages and extends the Apache Spark execution framework to provide enriched interactive analytics on Hadoop. As companies take part in their digital transformation journey, they face complex hurdles in dealing with distributed Big Data everywhere, compounded by the lack of business process awareness across enterprise apps, analytics, Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT) sources.

    MyPOV – So we learn more about Vora –that runs on Spark. Good match for the in memory DNA for HANA on the Hadoop side. SAP needs to be careful and respect both perspectives – from the business application side it is ‘context’ – but from the BigData perspective the business application is the context. And as data volumes and gravity favor the BigData side – I think the context question will be solved in the favor of BigData quickly. Important for SAP to realize and key for its customers to benefit from.


    SAP HANA Vora helps to extend in-memory computing innovation from SAP to distributed data and provides OLAP-like analytics with a business semantic understanding of data in and around the Hadoop ecosystem. Companies can enhance their decision-making with full understanding of their business activities in context with SAP HANA Vora. Data access also can become democratized for data scientists and developers, making it easier to mashup corporate and Hadoop data together to discover answers to unknown questions.
    MyPOV – Good to see SAP bringing the enterprise application DNA to the table. For now it looks like it is Hierarchy capabilities, an important concept for enterprise applications, traditionally missing on the Hadoop side. Personally I am not a fan of the democratization message, enterprises are not run as democracies, so data access is not democratic either (the employees assumed to be the people, the demos). But what is correct is that access to data empowers people, and giving access to more people, including Hadoop empowers them more.


    SAP HANA Vora is planned to help benefit customers in various industries where highly interactive Big Data analytics in business process context is paramount, such as financial services, telecommunications, healthcare and manufacturing. Use case examples where SAP HANA Vora can potentially benefit customers include:

    Mitigate risk and fraud by detecting new anomalies in financial transactions and customer history data

    Optimize telecommunication bandwidth by analyzing traffic patterns to help avoid network bottlenecks and improve network quality of service (QoS).

    Deliver preventive maintenance and improve product re-call process by analyzing bill-of-material, services records and sensor data together

    MyPOV – Not sure why SAP mentions verticals (a hint of things to come?) – the examples are good ones, as usual there are more. It will be good for customers to see this more as technology capability press release than a specific showcase or even application announcement.


    “As part of our Big Data initiative, we currently have Hadoop and SAP HANA deployed in our enterprise IT landscape to help manage large unstructured data sets,” said Aziz Safa, VP and GM, Intel IT Enterprise Applications and Application Strategy. “One of the key requirements for us is to have better analyses of Big Data, but mining these large data sets for contextual information in Hadoop is a challenge. SAP HANA Vora will provide us with the capability to conduct OLAP processing directly on these large, rich data sets all in-memory and stored in Hadoop. This will allow us to extract contextual information and then push those valuable insights back to our business.”
    MyPOV – Always good to have a customer quote, and Intel is both a SAP customer and partner. The key is that enterprises have both HANA (and other databases) and Hadoop deployed and need to make sense of data in these systems. The key message from the quote is that SAP has become more relevant as a vendor to Intel than before. And that’s of course a valid argument for the whole SAP ecosystem.


    SAP HANA Vora is planned to be released to customers in late September; a cloud-based developer edition is planned to be available at the same time.
    MyPOV – Always good to have a near time delivery date. It also means before TechED / dCode – so it will be interesting how SAP can expand on that. We learnt that Vora will be free for developers, always a good start for new (and yet to be proven technology). And then a yearly subscription by node – but we need to learn more about pricing in detail.


    Simplifying Open, Agile Business Application Development with SAP HANA Cloud Platform

    SAP HANA Cloud Platform enables rapid application development and extensibility for Software as a Service (SaaS) as well as on-premise applications. SAP also plans to expand SAP HANA Cloud Platform’s ability to power digital transformation, collaboration and application development while improving time to value with more pre-delivered business apps. […]

    MyPOV – And whoops – we are off to a second press release. Good to see / be reminded that it’s the HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) that is the tool – but everything else would have been big news. With SAP being usually light on PaaS messaging (I think PaaS as word was not mentioned during the presentations) it is key for SAP customers to extend their SAP assets and build new applications.


    Highlights include:

    Enhanced digital connectivity: Companies can go from sensor to action with SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the IoT, generally available starting in late September. With the services, customers and partners can add device management, device data connectivity and bi-directional device data synchronization capabilities. Additionally, SAP API Management technology powers and manages secure, enterprise-grade API connections to any SAP or non-SAP application. Leveraging both with SAP HANA Cloud Platform, customers can connect edge devices to business action, build extended business networks and share digital assets.

    MyPOV – Key capabilities for the IoT use case of next generation applications. Not clear enough though how it works –let’s see at TechEd.


    Enhanced collaboration: New work patterns for the SAP Jam social software platform, available now, enable developers to build better, more collaborative apps quickly and easily with in-context information to get work done. Additionally, the new cloud trial of SAP HANA Cloud Platform gamification services aims to allow developers to quickly incorporate game concepts into new and existing applications with a workbench, software development kits (SDKs) and widgets.
    MyPOV – Ok – it now looks like a press release to make up all the ‘sins of the past’ – the SAP messaging has been light on social in the past – shortchanging capabilities of the SAP Jam platform in my view – so it is good to see t mentioned here – but why in the same paragraph with gamification is not clear to me. SAP needs to make a better message (and maybe product integration) around social to match what the competition has done. And good to see gamification being enabled – as a trial – new for traditional enterprise software release.


    Enhanced mobile security: With the addition of SAP Mobile Secure solutions and mobile app protection, enterprises can now deploy a more secure mobile environment. These capabilities help enterprises simplify the security and management of mobile devices and applications, including application management and remote locking, as well as wiping of managed devices. Additionally, customers can easily build, configure and distribute mobile apps to end-users in a streamlined workflow.
    MyPOV – Ok – looks like we are getting to all technology disruptors – so mobile can’t be missing. And security is a message all around the industry, so good to see more MDM capabilities at SAP.


    Pre-delivered applications: With the new cloud trial of the SAP Fiori user experience (UX), cloud edition, it is planned that users can leverage a set of SAP Fiori apps to connect with their own systems to try the new SAP Fiori UX or extend an existing SAP Fiori app or create a new SAP Fiori-like app.
    MyPOV – Usability has been a sore spot for most of SAP’s history, Fiori is the latest remedy to address this and is showing some good promise, so making it easier for non Fiori shops to test and consume Fiori via cloud trial is a good move.


    Business services: SAP is providing cloud trial access to business services, which aims to encapsulate best-practice business functions and expose these functions as APIs. These business services are intended to be quickly combined to create powerful, personalized cloud and mobile apps using SAP HANA Cloud Platform.
    MyPOV – Probably next to Vora the most important part of the announcement, SAP opening up critical functionality that can be consumed by new custom apps build on HCP – and maybe even 3rd party apps – though that is not clear. A very important move as enterprises don’t want to and often even cannot consume enterprise software in the way it was built, packaged and made consumable by their vendors. But getting to APIs – err – services remains very valuable. Traditionally this has been a hot spot on the monetization side –so key to keep an eye on it.


    SAP hybris as a Service on SAP HANA Cloud Platform (public beta) plans to offer a wide range of diverse business developer services, starting with a new set of services that augment and enhance the SAP hybris front office, which aims to include products such as the SAP hybris Commerce and SAP hybris Marketing solutions and others. SAP hybris as a Service on SAP HANA Cloud Platform is planned to be open to developers, solution providers, independent software vendors (ISVs) and IT organizations for building their own business services and then offering them to customers or other developers.
    MyPOV – hybris is probably the SAP product that due to its very nature needs the most custom development options. Customer experience is a key differentiation tool and in the battle for the customer’s money no off the shelf solution can provide that. It was to be expected that this work would be carried out in HCP – but this is a key conformation that it will happen in HCP. Given that much hybris work happens on Pivotal CloudFoundry a key area to watch.


    SAP tax calculation service (limited trial) intends to provide a tax determination and computation services as an API. This service also plans to offer global tax compliance by covering the legal aspects of tax computation for over 75 countries. Read more here.
    MyPOV – Good move by SAP – you may even ask what took the vendor so long – to leverage complex, proven and pretty unique assets as the tax calculation service. On the flip side this was (or had to be) on the hybris roadmap anyway – as hybris and SAP customers would expect this to be integrated. And it will be interesting for hybris customers with non-SAP backends. But that’s a question for later (we know the answer already –– you can plug in other services).


    “As the provider of choice for real-time communications solutions for many of the world’s largest companies, GENBAND has achieved rapid growth organically and through acquisition as well as through aggressive sales and marketing, so ensuring the ease of interaction with our customers is a major priority,” said Darrin Whitney, CIO, GENBAND. “To continually improve customer experience and our own internal productivity processes, GENBAND chose SAP HANA Cloud Platform to help personalize our customer and partner experience. With SAP HANA Cloud Platform we improved service desk operations to meet and exceed service level agreements, reduced licensing fees and operational costs. SAP HANA Cloud Platform has definitely met our expectations.”
    MyPOV – Always good to see a customer quote and interesting to learn what GENBAND has been able to build.


    SAP has an established partner ecosystem that is ready to resell and provide services for customers as they transform their businesses in today’s digital economy with new capabilities planned for SAP HANA Cloud Platform and SAP HANA Vora. Read what SAP partners, including Arvato Systems, Bluefin Solutions Inc, Capgemini, Cisco, Cloudera, CSC, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Hortonworks, In Mind, MapR Technologies and Sprinklr have to say: “Partner Quotes: SAP Accelerates Digital Transformation of Business with New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop.”
    MyPOV – Good to see the overall excitement in the ecosystem on Vora. Notable absences are Databricks, the main commercial body for Spark, and given its recent investments and announcements SAP co-opetitor IBM.

    Overall MyPOV

    Delivering on hints, statements and codenames from Sapphire around Hadoop is good for SAP. In my view the Vora announcement and with that the certainty that SAP will build commercial software both from a technology and application perspective utilizing Hadoop is a very important landmark in SAP’s history. It eclipses easily HANA in my view (ok let the storm begin) – because the use cases for Hadoop support are well understood and known. Customers and industry pundits (moi aussi) have been pounding SAP for not having a Hadoop story for the longest time – which effectively excluded SAP from almost all modern software, next generation application scenarios. If you doubt that – re-read the Intel quote with that in mind. SAP cannot deliver on IoT without Hadoop support, so Vora is key for the whole IoT ambition that SAP has been articulating since 12+ months. Ruling social data, understanding machine exhaust, getting a grasp of what is happening on the internet etc. are all use cases that enterprises need to address… and they are doing that with PaaS platforms – and as much progress as HCP has made – it was not a first class citizen amongst PaaS platforms without Hadoop support. So not only does SAP’s future commercial success and overall market relevance depend on Hadoop support on the applications side, it does on the technology side, too.

    On the concern side, SAP is late to the game. For too long SAP has hoped for Moore’s law to make HANA viable for BigData scenarios but the combination of falling memory prices and sophisticated compression cannot keep up with the growth of business relevant (that can only be addressed by Hadoop). SAP now needs to develop roadmaps on Vora capabilities so HCP customers and prospects can understand what they can build and when. The same is valid for the new business services – which will be key for these applications. These cannot just be the ‘fallout’ of the SAP application roadmap (which the current ones are) – but need to be more to help customers build the applications that disrupt markets. It would be good for SAP to listen to its customers for the priorities on business services as key input for the first phases of the roadmap. Last but not least SAP needs to price these innovations attractively. ‘Free’ for developers is the right tune these days, but SAP customers are astute enough to understand that they need to know what operating costs for their next generation application built on HCP, leveraging Vora, will cost. Past experiences with HANA pricing and licensing have shown that this is not trivial, but ultimately SAP will make pricing not the obstacle to remain relevant with customers.

    But for now congrats and welcome SAP to the Hadoop games, better late than never. SAP has a lot to contribute from both an enterprise vendor DNA and pure capability side as well as from qualities learnt and operated with HANA on the technology side, if executed right both should make SAP more relevant to SAP customers and with the right momentum, relevant in the overall PaaS market.

    Next stop is likely SAP TechEd in a few weeks – stay tuned.




    More on overall SAP strategy and products:

    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Good Progress sprinkled with innovative ideas and challenging the status quo - read here
    • News Analysis - WorkForce Software Announces Global Reseller Agreement with SAP - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Day #1 Keynote Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
    • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
    • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here

    • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
    • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
    • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
    • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
    • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
    • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
    • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
    • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
    • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
    • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
    • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
    • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
    • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
    • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
    • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here.


    And more about SAP technology:
    • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
    • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
    • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
    • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
    • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
    • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
    • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
    • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
    • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
    • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here.

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.


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    We had the opportunity to attend VMworld in San Francisco this week. The conference remains a key event of the overall IT industry, with well over 28k attendees. What I realized this year is that the conference is de facto the yearly re-union of all those having stakes with on premise hardware, either running the machines or trying to coax decision makers out of running these machines.
    VMworlds are always overloaded with new information and announcements, remarkably VMware only released 4 press releases (find them all here) – a welcome change to the floods of the past – but each press releases was like half a dozen normal press releases. So tough to pick my top 3 takeaways – but here you go (or watch my video below if you prefer to consume content that way):

    Live VM transfer in the SDDC world - As part of the Day #1 keynote we witnessed a world premiere, and a remarkable technical feat – the live transfer of a VM from one datacenter (or cloud if you will) to another one. Very remarkable and of huge value for VMware customers and the vendor itself – as it gets VM based loads portable, which opens a lot of use cases. VMware itself was not shy to push for HA / DR plans, interesting how all early players to public cloud stress the same use cases – it was the same for Microsoft and IBM – only respectively two and one years ago. It is good to see that VMware has delivered this capability, though for now it’s in tech preview and I did not catch a go live date. But given the importance I am sure we will hear and learn as soon as possible when this capability is generally available. VMware CEO Gelsinger was right to point out that no other cloud provider has been able to demo the same. 



    VMware VMworld cross cloud vMotion
    Cross Cloud vMotion
    On the vCloud Air side, VMware makes progress, too – storage partnerships with EMC (no surprise) and Google (more surprising) are good moves. [VMware points out that the vendor has opened its own data centers in Japan (November 2014), Germany (March 2015) and Australia (April 2015) - fair enough and good to add]. A database offering for Microsoft SQL Server (more are supposed to come) are another indication that VMware understands it needs to create opportunities for customers to create load on its public cloud. But the road is long here. Adding the capability to run EMC Federation sister Pivotal’s PaaS product CloudFoundry is a key move along the same lines. 
     
    The SDDC, vMotion and vCloudAir Pitch, VMware, VMworld
    The SDDC, vMotion and vCloudAir Pitch
    And overall VMware makes progress on its SDDC vision from last year, a lot of work on the software defined networking side has been done, it can be combined with software defined storage and of course run well on the VMware Evo hyper-converged appliance. Security was stressed at many points and in the Day #2 keynote we even saw a network controlled data access to a GRC application, an interesting perspective and approach to a problem that traditionally is solved as an application security problem.

    But make no mistake, the success of these initiatives and products will determine how long enterprise will keep running on premise servers, so they are more than strategic for VMware.


    Photon as the path forward– VMware also realized that it needs to play with many of the open source technologies that are out there, always with the view of security and to protect existing investments into VMware products. The whole Photon family is nothing else than that, with a VMware offered Linux at its core, that runs of course – on a VM. Thanks to the popularity of Linux, almost all open source products become available, the most prominent ones are micro services. In the process of that VMware needs to make some bold assumptions (or in new Silicon Valley speak I learnt this week – opinions) – e.g. one VM for one container, but VMware re-assured us that the VM footprint is small and the provisioning is very fast. We will have to see what works faster and more cost effective – running containers natively vs running them through VMware VMs and admin tools. What is clear is that VMware offers a way to run these technologies in a safe and well understood way for IT departments. And as such there is a lot of value for the existing customers in what VMware does with Photon. 



    VMware VMworld VMware Photon Platform
    VMware Photon Platform


    EUC gets a boost from Microsoft– The EUC group is making good progress on its mission to create additional growth for VMware in an adjacent software category. It’s good to see rationalization that is to be expected like ‘Project A2’ (think AirWatch meets AppVolumes) and Horizon running on EVO farms. VMware using more VMware is something that is good for customer and likely something investors want to see, too. Project Enzo appears to be on track and should give VMware more addressable market by lowering the cost of running virtual desktops. Every year I come to VMworld I ask if the virtual desktop bubble is going to come to a pop – and every year we come closer, but it has not popped. In a ‘and now hell freezes over’ VMware had a Microsoft executive in Poonen’s keynote – thanks to Windows 10 being the same code / platform across PCs, tablets and smart phones, AirWatch has become more than a MDM tool, and can now also manage PCs with Windows 10, making both vendors best friends. Sharing progress of a large university that has virtualized 60k student desktops and plans to go to 70k is encouraging for the division prospects.



    VMware Vmworld How EUC and the rest of VMware fit together
    How EUC and the rest of VMware fit together


    MyPOV

    It is good when vendors stay the course, as software is like wine, it takes time to become good. So no disappointment by this analyst that VMware showed execution along the same strategy. The gambit for VMware is, if it can grow new products fast enough as on premises compute virtualization dripples away to the cloud. When I asked CEO Gelsinger on this, he shared the high level VMware equation – with impressive openness: VMware plans to make up the losses from reduced compute virtualization on premises by having widened it's addressable market with SDDC (add networking, add storage), revenue growth in its EUC portfolio and increased vCloud Air revenues. We also learnt that VMware Professional Services is a 500M US$ business, growing at 25% YoY. An interesting equation with 4 variables, the speed of servers moving to the public cloud being the key variable – but as no one knows how fast that is happening, we can only plug in the numbers in the VMware ‘formula’.

    On the public cloud side I remain concerned that VMware is not pushing vCloud Air harder. CIOs should get emails (or other solicitation) along the lines that VMware knows that load A or B can be run better in … e.g. vCloud Air. I am still not sure what is holding VMware back – capital, business practice, partner relationships, product capability, it remains an area to watch. What we know from VMware customers is that the partner approach to public cloud is not working, contracts, costs and SLAs need to be negotiated separately across geographic regions (as there is no global partner) and that is less attractive than negotiating with the public cloud vendors. But no vendor knows better what enterprises run, leveraging that know how will require (IMHO) more VMware data centers. The ‘capital light’ approach that VMware has been charting the last 12 months is not going succeed. A year ago VMware talked about datacenter rollout and location, this year it was mum on the topic, not encouraging. Thinking in-house load – EUC should generate some substantial load for VMware at some point, so seeing the synergies of running on EVO, Linux with Enzo are all good news. But it cannot be enough load to compete on the scale of the public cloud competitors.

    But overall a good VMworld for VMware customers – VMware is doing what they said they will do – key technical breakthroughs like moving VMs are looking like they are getting ready for production soon, SDDC keeps evolving, Project Enzo appears to be on track, new opportunities arise from Photon and Project A2 – so there is a lot that VMware customers need to get their arms around and digest. We will be there to explain, de-cipher and analyze. 




    Here are my takeaways as video.




    More on VMWare
    • Musings – What will it be this year at VMWorld - read here
    • Market Move - EMC to acquire Virtustream - More paths to the cloud - read here
    • News Analysis - VMware makes progress towards the (hybrid) cloud - now let's watch the adoption - read here
    • Speed Briefings at VMworld - read here
    • Event Report - VMware makes a lot of progress - but the holy grail is still missing - read here.
    • First Take - VMware's VMworld Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here.
    • Progress Report - Good start for VMware EUC - time for 2nd inning - read here.
    • Speed Briefings at VMworld - inside and outside the VMware ecosystem - read here.
    • VMware defies conventional destiny - SDDC to the rescue - read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard


    -----------
    Some key tweets from the VMworld Day #1 Keynote


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    Earlier this week IBM and ARM announced a partnership in the fast growing next generation application use case of IoT. The announcement caught my attention as it is one of the first processor and stack partnerships happening in the market. And it is pretty obvious that bringing low level device information and architectures with higher level software constructs is going to be key for future winners in the IoT market. 


     


    So let’s dissect the press release in our customary style, it can be found here:

    ARMONK, NY - 03 Sep 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced an expansion of its Internet of Things (IoT) platform – called IBM IoT Foundation - through an integration with ARM (LSE: ARM, NASDAQ: ARMH.US), providing out of the box connectivity with ARM® mbedTM-enabled devices to analytics services. This fusion will allow huge quantities of data from devices such as industrial appliances, weather sensors and wearable monitoring devices to be gathered, analyzed and acted upon.

    MyPOV – IBM is not losing time on the IoT front, it was only in late March the vendor unveiled its initiative for IoT (see here). ARM announced the mbed IoT platform in October 2014 (see here), so it is early times for IoT partnerships, but good to see that important aspect of analytics services being the core of the partnership. IBM has done a lot of work on the BigData / next generation Database side to store all the IoT information and equally on the Watson front to make sense of data. And then there are SoftLayer (to run it all) and BlueMix to build the next generation Applications. On the ARM side the ling tradition of low power devices positions the vendor very well as core infrastructure for IoT Power consumption remains one of the key challenges for IoT devices – as we all know firsthand from our power hungry smartphones (yes I know the ‘things’ are very different to smartphones, but it illustrates the power challenge).

    IBM also announced the first in a series of IBM Cloud-based, industry-specific IoT services with IoT for Electronics. The service will enable electronics manufacturers to gather data from individual sensors that can be combined with other data for real-time analysis.

    MyPOV – Good to see IBM tackling vertical aspects of IoT use cases in an early phase. IoT best practices are only evolving, and it is clear they will have a vertical flavor early, due to the different nature of things. The connected car will work different than connected TVs than connected cows (a serious use case as I learnt from another player in the IoT / Analytics space recently).

    The IBM IoT Foundation is a platform upon which a family of fully managed, cloud-hosted offerings on the SoftLayer Infrastructure is built. IoT Foundation makes it simple to derive value from Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It includes:

    Analytics tools capable of dealing with large quantities of fast-moving data,
    Access to IBM Bluemix, IBM’s Platform-as-a-Service, that is capable of handling the immense flow of data and provide anytime access for decision makers; and
    Security systems capable of helping organizations protect IoT data as rigorously as they do their own confidential financial, IP and strategy information.

    M
    yPOV – So no surprise – SoftLayer is the foundation on the IBM side, surprised no specific mention of Hadoop / Spark offerings that IBM has – but aren’t mentioned here. I am also surprised that Watson is not mentioned, a product IBM usually errs more on the side of mentioning than not. No surprise on Bluemix which is the core platform for all next generation Applications at IBM. And also no surprise of the security aspect – though that will take a backseat in early IoT deployments – unless we talk about very sensitive or vital infrastructure.

    “Deploying IoT technology has to be easy, secure and scalable for it to feel like a natural extension of a company’s business,” said Krisztian Flautner, General Manager, IoT Business, ARM. “By collaborating with IBM, we will deliver the first unified chip-to-cloud, enterprise-class IoT platform. This will empower companies of any size with a productivity tool that can readily transform how they operate, and the services they can offer.”

    MyPOV – Good quote of Flautner. ‘Chip to cloud’ is a buzzword combo we probably will have to get used to of hearing more often in the future. But it describes the essence of what this partnership is about.

    The integration between IBM and ARM will allow products powered by ARM mbed-enabled chips to automatically register with the IBM IoT Foundation, and connect with IBM analytics services. This unifies the ARM mbed IoT Device Platform and the IBM IoT Foundation at the point where information gathered from deployed sensors in any connected device is delivered to the cloud for analysis. The IoT connection also enables delivery of actionable events to control equipment or provide users with alerts or other information. For example, the triggering of an alarm message on a washing machine to ask the owner to confirm a breakdown engineer appointment if a fault is detected.

    MyPOV – Partnerships are supposed to deliver synergies, and here we learn what this one is about: ARM mbed devices can automatically be managed from the IBM IoT Foundation. This is very powerful as it solves a low level connectivity nightmare for future common customers. Low powered device connectivity can be a tricky affair, and the skills to achieve it are not as abundant as higher level stack skills – so a good synergetic move by both vendors.

    This integration can help clients improve engagement, accelerate innovation and enhance operations through connected devices and analysis of the data. Custom hardware built around ARM’s flexible and efficient chip technology and IBM’s leading IoT services for predictive maintenance, better asset performance, operational risk management and managed continuous engineering, can help provide organizations with enterprise-grade tools designed to help them build value from their IoT devices. Original design manufacturers and OEMs – such as Ionics – are already seeing value in the IBM and ARM integration as it assimilates the IBM IoT Foundation at the chip architecture level.

    MyPOV – And we come to the higher level use cases – which are all attractive for enterprises building IoT applications. I miss the customer / consumer perspective in the example use cases. It will be interesting to see how much out of the box automation IBM can offer for all these use cases. We will have to see if these will be IoT applications in its own right or more code examples and templates that IBM Global Services will implement.

    "We're excited to work with IBM because we believe that an effective IoT solution should be built from the ground up – from chipset through services – and is by far the best choice to have a complete end-to-end solution,” said Earl Qua, Vice President of Ionics. “Working with IBM we have tapped into our respective company's expertise to create a platform that is built and customized for the unique nature in which companies are utilizing IoT.”
    Electronics manufacturers are already adopting IBM’s cloud services to connect everything from dishwashers to Smart TVs to pro audio equipment:

    -- “By using IBM IoT services, we are able to real-time manage and control Smart TV content in over 30 countries. This provides us the opportunity to continuously balance costs with increased customer experience. Lastly, we have eliminated the need to set up hardware within traditional IT infrastructure - allowing a drastic reduction in provisioning time.” - Marc Harmsen - Global Marketing Lead and Product Manager EMEA Philips Television at TP Vision.
    -- “At Gibson Innovations, design and quality lead the way. IBM's service capabilities - leveraging cloud, IoT and analytics – allow us to provide unique user experiences for connected devices. Additionally, the advanced analytics enables the development of new applications and services as well as device management and monitoring in a security-rich infrastructure. This is extremely valuable in maintaining and increasing loyalty among our customers,” said Henry Chiarelli, Executive Vice President of Gibson Brands.

    My
    POV – Always good to have customer quotes in press releases, giving reference to the value of the partnership. We will try to check in with the mentioned customers for some more validation and better understanding of their plans.

    “Since 2008, IBM has helped thousands of customers embrace the Internet of Things -- to help cities become smarter, hospitals to transform patient care and financial institutions to improve risk management," said Pat Toole, General Manager, Internet of Things, IBM. "The IoT is now at an inflection point and it needs the big data expertise of IBM and little data expertise of ARM to ensure it reaches its global potential."

    MyPOV – Nice quote by Toole – big data meets small data for IoT. Ironical that IBM has not been specific on what BigData platforms it will use. There are many available – no question. But it is notable how specific IBM has been in all other aspects of the announcement – and vague to not mention on the BigData side.

    Overall MyPOV

    A good move by both vendors creating tangible value for joint customers. Automatically seeing ARM mbed devices in the IBM IoT platform is very powerful and takes away a substantial headache for both building and operation of IoT applications.

    On the concern side it is clear that both vendors need to be open to more partnerships (I am sure they are), pricing is not mentioned and there is no roadmap. And IBM needs to be clearer on the BigData storage and analysis options. But it is early days and I am sure both vendors will address these concerns. It is good to see real customer interest from the quotes.

    Overall a good move by both vendors, now it comes to execution and deliver the first common live customers. Latching on to the buzz word combo – we should see more chip to cloud partnerships soon. We will be watch and analyzing, stay tuned.




    More on IBM :
    • Progress Report - IBM Cloud makes good progress - but needs to attract more load - read here
    • Market Move - IBM gets into private cloud (services) with Blue Box acqusition - read here
    • Event Report - IBM InterConnect - IBM makes bets for the hybrid cloud - read here
    • First Take - IBM InterConnect Day #1 Keynote - BlueMix, SoftLayer and Watson - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM had a very good year in the cloud - 2015 will be key - read here
    • Event Report - IBM Insight 2014 - Is it all coming together for IBM in 2015? Or not? 
    • First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from IBM Insight Day 1 Keynote - read here
    • IBM and SAP partner for cloud - good move - read here
    • Event Report - IBM Enterprise - A lot of value for existing customers, but can IBM attract net new customers? Read here
    • Progress Report - The Mainframe is alive and kicking - but there is more in IBM STG - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM and Intel partner to make the cloud more secure - read here
    • Progress Report - IBM BigData an Analytics have a lot of potential - time to show it - read here
    • Event Report - What a difference a year makes - and off to a good start - read here
    • First Take - 3 Key Takeaways from IBM's Impact Conference - Day 1 Keynote - read here
    • Another week and another Billion - this week it's a BlueMix Paas - read here
    • First take - IBM makes Connection - introduces the TalentSuite at IBM Connect - read here
    • IBM kicks of cloud data center race in 2014 - read here
    • First Take - IBM Software Group's Analyst Insights - read here
    • Are we witnessing one of the largest cloud moves - so far? Read here
    • Why IBM acquired Softlayer - read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard

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    This morning we heard from Salesforce announcing the Salesforce App Cloud, bringing together former efforts on force.com, Saleforce1, Heroku etc. Surprising timing, but then this is the vendor with a former CMO as CEO – so I am sure they know what they are doing on the messaging side – but still wonder what is left for Dreamforce – next week.


    So let’s dissect the press release (it can be found here) in our custom style:

    SAN FRANCISCO—September 10, 2015—Salesforce [NYSE: CRM], the Customer Success Platform and world’s #1 CRM company, today announced Salesforce App Cloud, the next evolution of the Salesforce1 Platform. App Cloud integrates the platform services Salesforce is known for—including Force, Heroku Enterprise and Lightning—with new shared identity, data and network services to empower CIOs to deliver connected apps for any business need. In addition, App Cloud’s platform services include Trailhead, a new interactive learning environment for all Salesforce app creators, and the AppExchange, the largest enterprise app marketplace in the world. Delivering all of these services on Salesforce’s trusted cloud infrastructure, App Cloud empowers CIOs with everything they need to build apps fast in any language they want, for any device, and manage them in a single enterprise cloud environment.
    MyPOV – Good to see Salesforce bringing together the branding for all its development platforms, which ends the source of substantial confusion in the ecosystem and as well as on the messaging side. And good to see it is not only messaging but also substantial work and heavy lifting that has taken place to make this happen – on both an identity, data and networking level. And any evangelist will be happy to the see knowledge distribution platform – a key tool for developer success – mentioned in the first paragraph (Trailhead). 


    In this burgeoning app economy, CIOs face enormous demand from their businesses to deliver apps that connect with customers, employees and even products, across every device. The lines between apps for consumer engagement, connected devices, and enterprise management are blurring. Now an app can connect drivers, cars and passengers, all in a single connected experience. Yet, CIOs are contending with siloed development platforms that are not able to produce apps that span different technical architectures and address multiple use cases. And, companies have increasing requirements around compliance and governance for their entire portfolio of apps.
    MyPOV – Salesforce is right that for a long time we have seen dedicated development tools and platforms for specific product problems. Mobile vs social vs real time vs parallel etc. The vendor is not totally innocent here, starting with the former Salesforce1 for mobile [Update September 11 - Salesforce AR correctly points out that Salesforce1 for mobile is still around.], which lead to a number of misunderstandings. And Salesforce is right that enterprises want (and need) holistic development tools, as the new applications they build need to work for their enterprise in a holistic way and fashion. […]


    Salesforce App Cloud—the Unified Platform for Delivering Connected Apps Fast

    Salesforce pioneered the enterprise Platform as a Service market when it launched the Force platform in 2008. And today, Salesforce is the leading enterprise PaaS. The new App Cloud extends that leadership. CIOs are now empowered to build, scale and deploy mobile, web and wearable apps in a unified environment with new platform services including:

    ● Heroku Enterprise—Private Spaces, Regions and Identity: Heroku Enterprise offers everything that developers love, with new capabilities that give CIOs the control they need. Now, Heroku Enterprise enables developers to create connected apps using network, data and identity services shared across the App Cloud. With Private Spaces, businesses can run apps in a dedicated Heroku private space with direct access to Salesforce's trusted infrastructure and to customers’ on­premise data from legacy systems. With Regions, companies can choose to run their apps in metro areas throughout the world­­including Dublin, Frankfurt, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Northern Virginia and Oregon­­based on accessibility, compliance or other requirements. In addition, with Identity, Heroku Enterprise is connected to Force with bi­directional data sync, single sign­on and robust role­based access controls.

    MyPOV – Good to see Salesforce moving Heroku closer to the overall platform. As much as Heroku was and is its standalone platform, the value for Salesforce customer was and is to connect Heroku projects with their existing Force.com based products and projects. Making it easier for customers is always a good move and will be highly welcome. Security innovations like Private Spaces is something enterprise want and have been waiting for since a long time. With the support of Salesforce Identity single sign-on and role based access control is provided for Heroku, equally important for customers.

    What Salesforce has effectively done, is rolling out Heroku more on the AWS infrastructure (the list of locations above is pretty much AWS data center locations) and connect those securely between the AWS and Salesforce data centers, effectively creating a cross cloud platform PaaS, most likely an industry first.

    ● Salesforce Lightning—The Future of Modern Apps: Salesforce Lightning is a new metadata­driven platform service that is highly customizable, enabling anyone to build modern, connected app experiences that empower people to work faster, smarter and the way they want. Now anyone can create engaging user experiences by simply dragging and dropping components—pre­built, reusable building blocks, such as maps, calendars, buttons, and number entry forms. And, with Salesforce Lightning Design System, every developer has a how­to guide and code for building beautiful apps.
    MyPOV – When building next gen Applications developers and increasingly business users look for easy and fast ways to build applications. Lightning, announced a year ago at Dreamforce 2014 is Salesforce’s tool for this and it is good to see it as part of the fold of the announcement.
    ● Trailhead—Interactive Learning for All Salesforce App Creators: App Cloud includes Trailhead, a new interactive learning environment. Incorporating gamification, Trailhead guides all Salesforce app creators—from developers and business admins to end­users, marketers and data analysts—through the basic building blocks of App Cloud’s services. Trailhead allows them to test their knowledge while earning points and badges to celebrate their achievements. Content in Trailhead is organized in trails to give users everything they need to know about developing apps with the App Cloud, and is available free of charge. To date, more than 35,000 app creators have participated in Trailhead training, and have earned more than 120,000 badges during its beta release.
    MyPOV – Important to see the knowledge distribution tool as part of a platform announcement, as users should get productive fast. Salesforce has done a good job with Trailhead, gamification being a highlight that works across developer generations. More importantly is the content and it is key for Salesforce to provide it timely and in high quality as it has done in the past – also going forward (see below).
    With services for rapid app development, modern user experiences, integration, mobile app dev, identity management, compliance, governance and more, App Cloud is the most comprehensive and agile platform available to CIOs to deliver their app portfolio. App Cloud also includes an ecosystem of 2.3 million developers, who have built 5.5 million apps, and the AppExchange, the world’s largest enterprise app marketplace, which features more than 2,700 ISV apps and 40 Lightning Components. All of this runs on the industry’s most trusted enterprise infrastructure that delivers approximately 3.7 billion transactions every business day.
    MyPOV – Interesting to see Salesforce sharing adoption numbers – and 2.3M developers, 5.5M apps, and 2.7k ISVs are very impressive numbers and so is the 3.7B daily transactions. Over the last 15 years Salesforce has built up a veritable ecosystem of developers and ISVs, but the market remains competitive, more below.

    Comments on the news:

    ● “CIOs need a way to develop apps for the connected world,” said Tod Nielsen, executive vice president of App Cloud, Salesforce. “App Cloud brings together all of Salesforce’s leading platform services, empowering IT leaders with an integrated, trusted platform to quickly build connected apps for every business need.”

    ● “We’ve built more than 200 apps on Salesforce, and most of them were built by ‘citizen developers,’” said Herry Stallings, AVP of Applications Development, USAA. “Salesforce gives us all the cloud services we need to achieve incredible speed and scale in our app development, allowing us to keep innovating and grow our business.” […]

    MyPOV – Always good to see customer quotes using the products, looks like USAA has built a lot on the Salesforce platforms. And it is good to see Salesforce acknowledge the need to connect the ‘two worlds’ of Force.com based products and solutions with applications built on Heroku.
    Pricing and Availability

    ● Heroku Private Spaces, Regions, and Identity are scheduled to be available in early 2016. Pricing for the new services will be announced at the time of general availability.

    ● Lightning Experience will be available in all Salesforce languages, except Arabic and Hebrew.

    ● Lightning App Builder and Components for Lightning Experience on the desktop are expected to be in pilot in October 2015 and expected to be generally available in Q1 2016. Access to both is included in all CRM and Force admin licenses.

    ● Salesforce Lighting App Builder and Components for mobile apps are generally available with the current release of Salesforce and are included in all CRM and Force admin licenses

    ● Salesforce Lightning Design System is currently available for free and can be accessed at http://salesforce.com/designsystem

    ● Trailhead is expected to be generally available in October 2015

    ● All other App Cloud services are available today and offer per user and consumption­based pricing
    MyPOV – Kudos to Salesforce for transparency on availability and pricing of product, a good practice the vendors has been showing since a while and a good example for the industry. Customers and ecosystems appreciate the clarity.


    Overall MyPOV

    It is good to see Salesforce creating value for customers, making it easier for customers (both end users and ISVs) to build applications that span the two prominent Salesforce platforms, the Force.com based world and the Heroku world. Single Sign-On, Identity, network security are all key capabilities CxOs will value when deciding on platforms to build next generation applications. Adding declarative capabilities with Lightning is key step for more productivity to build applications more efficiently. And coming out with Trailhead in a timely fashion is key for adoption.

    But the most remarkable part of the Salesforce App Cloud announcement is that Salesforce is effectively announcing a cross cloud platform PaaS. The vendor is usually coy at admitting that Heroku runs on top of Amazon AWS, and the rest of Salesforce runs in Salesforce data centers. Now customers and partners can more easily build applications across both platforms, effectively creating the first multi-cloud PaaS. While other PaaS products allow deployment of finished applications across other clouds, an important capability, the Salesforce App Cloud brings two platforms together. And it gives customers – given that they build on the Heroku side of the offering, a wide variety of physical deployment options that matter today both from a data sovereignty and performance perspective. And adding the private spaces capability to Heroku will help dissolve some cloud fears and concerns at worried customers, a good move.

    On the concern side this is Salesforce bundling together many of its announcements and deliveries of the past, integrating them and bringing them together is good news, but you can wonder what took Salesforce so long? Why take the (confusing) detour via Salesforce1 – App Cloud could have been announced in 2014, maybe even 2012. And while I am certain that the engineers work hard at Salesforce, I can’t follow the product strategy and marketing messaging. Remember, Heroku was once mentioned as the replacement for Force.com based applications at a Dreamforce (2010?)? The open source future of Salesforce. Water under the bridge, but it really comes back to understand the balance between responsibility towards the installed base on the one side and innovation on the other side. Not being able to deploy Salesforce App Cloud solution beyond AWS is a downside compared with e.g. popular enterprise like Pivotal CloudFoundry or IBM Bluemix, but what hasn’t happened can still be. Nothing hinders Salesforce to bring Heroku to e.g. Azure, GCP, IBM SoftLayer etc.

    For now a good step in the right direction, a multi-cloud PaaS innovation, making it easier for customers and partners to build next generation applications an now unified platform – the Salesforce App Cloud – both from a messaging and architecture perspective. We will check it out more at Dreamforce next week, you can bet on that, stay tuned.




    More on Salesforce:
    • News Analysis - alesforce Delivers Salesforce1 Lightning Components and App Builder […] - More productivity for Admins and Developers - read here
    • News Analysis - News Analysis - Salesforce Launches Salesforce Shield - More PaaS capabilities coming to Salesforce1 Platform - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Transforms Big Data Into Customer Success with the Salesforce Analytics Cloud - Read here
    • News Analysis - Market Move - Salesforce (re) enters HCM - will it rypple the market this time? - Read here
    • Event Report - Salesforce Dreamforce - A Customer Succes Platform, Analytics and Lightning - but really Salesforce is re-platforming - read here
    • Constellation Research Summary of Salesforce Dreamforce 2014 - read here
    • Research Summary - An in depth look at Salesforce1 - Better packaging or new offerng? Read here.
    • Dreamforce 2013 Platform Takeaways - All about the mobile platform - or more? Read here
    • Platform ecosystems are hard - Salesforce grows it - FinancialForce shrinks it - read here.
    • Our take on Salesforce.com Identity Connect - from three angles - Identity, CRM and PaaS - read here.
    • Takeaways from the Salesforce and Workday Strategic Partnership - read here.
    • Act II - The Cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
    • How many Pivots make a Pirouette? Salesforce's last Pivot - read here.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard.


    0 0

    This morning we learnt that IBM has acquired StrongLoop - a key player in the nodejs space. Instead of writing a blog post - I went with the new medium - video...


    So take a peak...



    MyPOV


    Overall a good move by IBM, delivering on the API Economy vision, that was formulated about 2 years ago at the software units global analyst event. BYOL is powerful and will bring a large IaaS platform to nodejs developers courtesy of BlueMix and SoftLayer. What it will mean for the opensource dynamics of nodejs - we will have to see. We have not seen (or missed) larger commitments by IBM to the community. And one more thing to learn about BlueMix - which is growing fast - but needs to educate developers, so hearing that a BlueMix garage offering will be available right away is good news for ecosystem development. 


    More on IBM :
    • News Analysis - IBM and ARM Collaborate to Accelerate Delivery of Internet of Things - The IBM NextGenApps Stack emerges - read here
    • Progress Report - IBM Cloud makes good progress - but needs to attract more load - read here
    • Market Move - IBM gets into private cloud (services) with Blue Box acqusition - read here
    • Event Report - IBM InterConnect - IBM makes bets for the hybrid cloud - read here
    • First Take - IBM InterConnect Day #1 Keynote - BlueMix, SoftLayer and Watson - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM had a very good year in the cloud - 2015 will be key - read here
    • Event Report - IBM Insight 2014 - Is it all coming together for IBM in 2015? Or not? 
    • First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from IBM Insight Day 1 Keynote - read here
    • IBM and SAP partner for cloud - good move - read here
    • Event Report - IBM Enterprise - A lot of value for existing customers, but can IBM attract net new customers? Read here
    • Progress Report - The Mainframe is alive and kicking - but there is more in IBM STG - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM and Intel partner to make the cloud more secure - read here
    • Progress Report - IBM BigData an Analytics have a lot of potential - time to show it - read here
    • Event Report - What a difference a year makes - and off to a good start - read here
    • First Take - 3 Key Takeaways from IBM's Impact Conference - Day 1 Keynote - read here
    • Another week and another Billion - this week it's a BlueMix Paas - read here
    • First take - IBM makes Connection - introduces the TalentSuite at IBM Connect - read here
    • IBM kicks of cloud data center race in 2014 - read here
    • First Take - IBM Software Group's Analyst Insights - read here
    • Are we witnessing one of the largest cloud moves - so far? Read here
    • Why IBM acquired Softlayer - read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard

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