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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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    During Constellation Research's Connected Enterprise event in Half Moon Bay last week, I had the chance to catch up with Shawn Wiora, CIO and CISO of Creative Solutions in Healthcare.




    Creative Solutions in Healthcare is the largest independently owned and operated provider of skilled nursing facilities in Texas. But let's take a look:


    If you don't have a chance to watch - here are the key takeaways:

    • Start with a security audit first when taking over a new IT landscape. Wiora and the team developed a "Framework first, toys second" approach as a mantra for the next steps.
       
    • Often HIPAA is used as an excuse for not being able to move to the cloud, but Wiora has read the law a few times, and there is nothing in the law that prevents healthcare companies from going to the cloud. As of today Creative Solution in Healthcare is the first healthcare company to have made the leap to the public cloud, to the best of our knowledge.
       
    • Creative Solution in Healthcare used VMware vCloud Air, going from physical servers to a virtualized environment and moved from on premise data center to a public cloud data center.
       
    • Wiora and the team had to move a lot of loads, but also used SaaS vendors like Ceridian Dayforce, Pointclickcare, in total over 40 different software vendors were involved, taking about a year for the whole process to virtualize loads and move them to the public cloud.
       
    • Start small - Wiora started with IT servers, then moved on to the rest of the loads, virtualizing first and then moving to the public cloud.
       
    • Security and Operations are handled better in the public cloud data centers than what Creative Solutions in Healthcare could have done on premises.
       
    • Wiora and the team were aware of the cultural impact and provided members of the IT team a career road map, how they could guide their career onward. Training was offered to all IT team members, and all employees took advantage of the offer.
       
    • One of the key benefits was that the IT team is now spending more time with the business, effectively being more engaged with the business as the need to take care of technology has gone down from 80% to 50% of the overall work time.

    MyPOV

      All to often we hear that legislation and compliance holds back innovation for enterprises. Kudos to Wiora and team for not believing on hearsay but reading the relevant law - and having the guts to then decide to act in an innovative way, moving all systems from on premises to the cloud. My hope is that this will inspire other IT executives to take a new and fresh look at the legislative burdens, hearsay is not a good best practice to run enterprises. For the healthcare industry this should act as both an inflection point and a wake up call. We will be watching. 

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      Microsoft is currently having its European Convergence conference in Barcelona - and has unleashed three major announcements, my colleague Alan Lepovsky and me take a first stab analyzing them.


      So let's take a peek:


      If you don't have a chance to watch - here are some of my takeaways - check for Alan's on his blog here:

      • Office365 becomes secure and analytical - It looks like Microsoft is (finally) bringing together its Skype, Lync, Analytics, Cortana, Machine Learning capabilities to the benefit of the Office 365, a good development.
          
      • MSFT Dynamics CRM now GA - Good to see Microsoft extending its CRM capabilities, bringing together its Machine Learning and Analytics capabilities for the benefit of CRM users, also good to see.
         
      • PowerApps now enable business users - Good to see empowerment of end users - there will be a steep learning curve for business users building apps. But they are now in charge of their 'App Destiny' and are likely to step up to the task over time. IT leaders should not stop the ability - but find scalable ways of enabling business users to build their next generation Apps with e.g. Microsoft PowerApps. 

      MyPOV

      It's good to see Microsoft executing faster and bringing together new capabilities. Of course it helps to have a scalable and successful underlying infrastructure with Azure. And Azure innovations trickle through to Microsoft offerings higher in the technology stack - like Office 365 and Dynamics. Also good to see  brand new offerings leveraging this infrastructure, like PowerApps (who re-use capabilities announced to developers at the Build conference in spring) which is key for the future of many established vendors. 

      End user programming is likely to disrupt the enterprise software landscape, so it is key for the established vendors like Microsoft to have an offering in place. What will help Microsoft is that it has a strong 'higher ground' in its ecosystem - with millions of Office users. And again can leverage industry partnerships it has put in place before with a large diversity of vendors - like SAP, Oracle and Salesforce.com - which allows richer end user applications than other similar platforms. 

      Exciting time at Microsoft - we will be watching. 


      More about Microsoft:
      • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
      • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
      • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
      • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
      • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
      • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
      • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
      • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
      • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
      • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
      • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
      • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
      • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
      • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
      • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.

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


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      Workday has its European Rising event happening in Dublin this week and one of the major product news has been an improved level of partnership with ADP.

      Let's take a peak:




      If you can't watch - let’s take apart the press release in our customary style – it can be found here:

      PLEASANTON, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 2, 2015) - Workday, Inc. (NYSE: WDAY), a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, today announced plans to expand its partnership with ADP to provide multinational organizations with a seamless and unified global payroll experience. The partnership plans to leverage the next level in integration technology to unite Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) and ADP Global Payroll in a single user experience within Workday, enabling multinational organizations to more effectively manage their global workforce, efficiently process payroll, and maximize business growth.
      MyPOV – Good description of problem and solution. ADP provides global payroll capabilities through its GlobalView product and Workday has global customers, so this is a ‘symbiotic’ partnership.
      "With this expanded partnership, our customers will be able to manage their workforce globally and process payroll in over 100 countries," said Aneel Bhusri, co-founder and CEO, Workday. "This is the new standard for integration -- bringing together two leaders for best-in-class HCM and payroll in one seamless global solution."
      "ADP's increased collaboration with Workday tightly aligns market leaders to deliver a seamless global payroll experience," said Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO, ADP. "Through the partnership, we will help our joint multinational customers effectively address the complexity of global payroll so that they can focus on driving their business forward."
      MyPOV –Good to see this is a partnership supported all the way from the top – with quotes from both CEOs, Bhusri and Rodriquez. The perspectives are worth noting – Bhusri sees global payroll capabilities, Rodriguez sees peace of mind from payroll complexity as the main drivers. 

      Through the partnership, Workday customers will benefit from:
      · One Seamless Customer Experience to Manage a Global Workforce:
      o Multinational organizations can leverage ADP Global Payroll functionality from within Workday's user interface in one process for managing their global workforce.
      o Customers can enter comprehensive local data directly into Workday where it is automatically validated and utilized by ADP to create a more streamlined global payroll experience.
      MyPOV – This is key innovation part of the integration. In order to run payroll in one single UI – something most enterprises prefer – payroll relevant information needs to be in the same user interface as the rest of ‘HCM’. As payroll is subject to many legal changes, it requires the vendor that does not have payroll to provide all fields and validation necessary to run payroll correctly. Obviously a duplicate effort for vendors – and both ADP and Workday went for a better solution.

      · Next-level Integration Technology to Create a Unified User Experience:
      o Workday combines the latest advances in integration technology with ADP's REST APIs to enable dynamic page creation, rendering the fields for local payroll information from ADP so multinational organizations can better manage payroll requirements around the world.
      o Legislative updates from ADP can be made on a timely basis via the Workday user interface, ensuring that customers are up to date with country-specific and local regulatory changes for a smoother payroll process.
      MyPOV – And here we are to the ‘magic’ – REST as an API standard allows ADP to expose fields and validation into Workday – creating one common user interface for workers – and making duplicate coding and testing superfluous. 


      · A Best-in-Class Approach to Global Payroll Management:
      o Multinational organizations looking to invest in Workday and ADP's best-in-class HR and global payroll solutions can take advantage of a seamless experience for global payroll management.
      o Workday HCM enables multinational organizations to make faster decisions, gain operational visibility, prepare for future talent shifts, and build effective teams.
      o As the proven leader in payroll, customers benefit from ADP's extensive global payroll coverage and unparalleled expertise in payroll processing.
      MyPOV – Good to point out the benefits – Workday gets more viable on the global payroll support side and ADP gets more utilization of its payroll capabilities. But the biggest winners are the users at clients: On an operational level they will be able to do all HCM related tasks in one common API, and on a management level they have the peace of mind of working with a proven Payroll leader with ADP. 

      Availability Workday plans to make solutions resulting from the expanded partnership with ADP available in Workday 27, which will be offered to customers in the second half of calendar year 2016.
      MyPOV – There are few things not to like about this partnership, except for this very late and 12 months or so out delivery date. But good things take time…


      Overall MyPOV

      A good partnership with a modern integration technique between ADP and Workday – who both benefit as vendors. As the world goes – it is a co-opetition – as ADP will keep providing HCM solutions that compete with Workday.

      But the winner is the joint customer, and a large part of Workday customers use ADP as their payroll partner – not only on a global level but also in North America. So good news for these customers, as they don’t have to track legislative payroll compliance with two vendors, but just with one, with ADP. On the global side it gives Workday customers and prospects access to over 100 countries for processing payroll – given that Workday as of today only supports the USA, Canada, UK (and France in 2016), a major leap going forward. Certainly a key strategy move to expand in Europe, where the announcement was made. If it will alleviate the pressure on Workday to provide native payroll capabilities for other large markets (with large customers, Germany and Japan come to mind) remains to be seen.

      And we expect more of these partnership in the marketplace – based on REST APIs, something that to our knowledge Learning vendor Skillsoft first introduced into the marketplace almost a decade ago (but to be fair - with a more one directional nature of the interface).

      For now a very good partnership, which also shows that market adversaries can be partners for the benefit of the customer. As heard often before – ‘at the end the customer has to won’ – and that’s what is the clear end result of this partnership is – so congrats for all are in order.


      More on ADP

      • Progress Report - ADP Analyst Day - ADP executes, kills (most) ghosts from the past - read here
      • Event Report - ADP Meeting of the Minds - It’s all coming together for ADP in 2015 - product wise - read here
      • First Take - ADP Meeting of the Minds - Day #1 Keynote - read here
      • Progress Report - ADP shows great vision, delivers product innovation - now it needs adoption - read here
      • Site Visit - ADP's new innovation lab in Chelsea - read here
      • News Analysis - ADP announces Spin-Off plans for Dealer Services, sharpens ADP's focus on HCM - read here.
      • Event Report - ADP's Meeting of the Minds - ADP has made up its mind (almost) - customers not yet - read here.
      • First take - 3 Key Takeaways from ADP's Meeting of the Minds Conference Day 1 Keynote - read here.
      • ADP innovates with with verve and good timing – read here.

      And more on Workday
      • Event Report - Workday Rising - Learning is there and good housekeeping - read here
      • News Analysis - Workday completes Talent Management with Learning - Finally - or too late? Read here.
      • Event Preview - What I would like Workday to address this Rising read here
      • News Analysis – Workday to Expand Suite of Applications for Healthcare Industry - with a SCM twist - read here
      • News Analysis - Workday supports UK Payroll - now speaks (British English) Payroll  - read here
      • Workday 24 - 'True' Analytics, a Vertical and more - now needs customer proof points - read here
      • First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from of Workday Rising Day 1 Keynote - The dawn of the analytics era - time to deliver Insight Apps - read here
      • Progress Report - Workday supports more cloud standard - but work remains - read here
      • Workday 22 - Recruiting and rich Workday 22 are here - read here
      • First Take - Why Workday acquired Identified - (real) Analytics matter - read here
      • Workday Update 21 - All about the user experience and some more - read here
      • Workday Update 20 - Mostly a technology release - read here
      • Takeaways from the Salesforce.com and Workday partnership - read here
      • Workday powers on - adds more to its plate - read here
      • What I would like Workday to address this Rising - read here
      • Workday Update 19 - you need to slow down to hurry up - read here
      • I am worried about... Workday - read here

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

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      We had the opportunity to attend Workday's Technology Summit, held at the beautiful Cavallo Point resort in Sausalito.

      So take a peak at my takeaways:


      I you cannot watch - read along: Always tough to pick the Top 3 takeaways - but here you go:
      • Insights Architecture - Workday gave us an update on their Insights Apps architecture - and no surprise it uses all the right ingredients for a next generation Application - Spark, Hadoop etc. - always good to learn more. Deployment options and locations was something we did not get to. I asked CEO Bhusri if Workday is slowing down on Insight Apps and his response was that customers are figuring out how to use them. Good problem to have.
         
      • Data Center Locations and Operations - For the first time we got an official update on data center locations (3 in the US, 2 in Europe) and how they are connected in (AWS similar) high availability zones. Workday has done a lot in the past to achieve higher resilience and continues to work along these lines, a key area for customers who are putting more and more, larger and larger and more critical (e.g. Finance) applications on the Workday infrastructure. On the Safe Harbor front, Workday offers European customers now the option to have their system operations handled by EU based specialists, a valid first step to deal with the system ramifications of Safe Harbor. (See my first take on Safe Harbor invalidation here).

         
      • Presentation Services - The Workday extension story has initially been non existent, then was extended object by object (on my question where the vendor is - the answer was that customers do not prioritize this high anymore, as enough has been done) and now has an interesting new chapter with Presentation Services. The service allows customers to create their own screens and UIs, a major step forward. It is also the technology base for the partnership with ADP in regards of Payroll, where the service is being used to render, enter and validate the fields and information exposed by ADP via the REST interface chosen as integration technology between the two vendors. I expect more modern, next generation interfaces (and partnerships) to leverage this capability. Finally Presentation Services could also mark the first foray of Workday thinking of providing not a full fledge PaaS - but a 'paaS' (with a little 'P') - that allows the further customization / configuration, extension and creation of critical enterprise processes on the Workday platform. Departmental / End use programming knocks at all enterprise vendors doors these days...  

      Tidbits

      • iPad Product - We were handed iPads and had the chance to use the Workday HCM iPad app, a very good move that I can only encourage more vendors to follow. Of course I went off script and the iPad app was easy to use, was overall intuitive to use with only a few loose ends (e.g. found 3 different date pickers). Overall a well done tablet client, that is easy to use and powerful enough for a business line manager to do what they need to with their HR application.
         
      • TCO Reduction - Vendors always need to work on reducing TCO - not only on the operations but also on the implementation and upgrade side. With O'Toole and Holincheck Workday has tasked two experienced professionals to reduce the cost of implementation and upgrades - always a good thing to see and stay tuned for 2016.
         
      • ADP Partnership - A key partnership for Workday, pushing the number of supported countries for payroll to 100 (read more here) - it leverages the above mentioned Presentation Services capability of the Workday framework. 

      MyPOV

      Workday is continuously making progress on its platform in terms of extension for new use cases (e.g. Insights Apps), resilience (e.g. Availability Zones), core capabilities (e.g. Presentation Services) and overall TCO (e.g. Lifecyle Management plans). All good housekeeping a vendor should and needs to do, to stay on top of the game. 

      On the concern side Workday operates on a proprietary architecture, that only Workday knows, understands and operates. This concern is alleviated by the capability of Workday to run its applications on common cloud architectures (e.g. development and test environments run on Amazon's AWS), the adoption of CIO accepted standards like OpenStack (though we heard little of this earlier in the week) and ultimately by Workday growing and creating a large enough ecosystem and scale to alleviate these concerns. Getting to over 5000 employees soon is such a milestone. 

      But technology for applications is built to run the application - and there is the Finance product which has only seen modest adoption - at best. Workday is bullish to have it 'ready' now - 2016 will tell and Workday thinks (very) large customers like Aon are a first proof point for more customer adoption. Fair point, but as of today Finance is not a showcase for great return of R&D Investment. With Workday eyeing further investment areas (SCM, Verticals were mentioned) it needs to make product development bets with a faster return of investment / better customer adoption. On the flipside for HCM, with the announced Learning product, Workday closes the wagons with a fully integrated suite of Core HR, Payroll (USA, Canada, UK and 2016 France more with ADP), Talent Management, Benefits and Workforce Management, which are very competitive in the market place. Not short changing HCM customers and product momentum will be a key area for Bhusri and team to manage in 2016. 

      Overall Workday is doing the right things on the technology side to become the long term partner for enterprises, who run key enterprise processes over multiple decades with the same vendor, through thick and thin. Workday had Craig Cuvar, the CIO of Cushman & Wakefield attend the whole summit, which allowed him to comment on multiple occasions from which it was clear that Workday has that status already with the real estate giant. And every year of growth, adoption and investment brings Workday closer to that league / echelon. We will be watching. 


      More on Workday
      • News Analysis - Workday and ADP partner to Deliver a Seamless Customer Experience for Global Payroll - read here
      • Event Report - Workday Rising - Learning is there and good housekeeping - read here
      • News Analysis - Workday completes Talent Management with Learning - Finally - or too late? Read here.
      • Event Preview - What I would like Workday to address this Rising read here
      • News Analysis – Workday to Expand Suite of Applications for Healthcare Industry - with a SCM twist - read here
      • News Analysis - Workday supports UK Payroll - now speaks (British English) Payroll  - read here
      • Workday 24 - 'True' Analytics, a Vertical and more - now needs customer proof points - read here
      • First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from of Workday Rising Day 1 Keynote - The dawn of the analytics era - time to deliver Insight Apps - read here
      • Progress Report - Workday supports more cloud standard - but work remains - read here
      • Workday 22 - Recruiting and rich Workday 22 are here - read here
      • First Take - Why Workday acquired Identified - (real) Analytics matter - read here
      • Workday Update 21 - All about the user experience and some more - read here
      • Workday Update 20 - Mostly a technology release - read here
      • Takeaways from the Salesforce.com and Workday partnership - read here
      • Workday powers on - adds more to its plate - read here
      • What I would like Workday to address this Rising - read here
      • Workday Update 19 - you need to slow down to hurry up - read here
      • I am worried about... Workday - read here

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

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      I finally got around to follow up on the invitation by IBM’s GM of Design, Phil Gilbert, to visit the campus in Austin, which hosts the nucleus of the IBM Design activities. Needless to say – it was an insightful visit.

      The Austin Design Studio is where IBM’s quest to infuse more Design Thinking into its products began. The design center remains the core of the effort, though IBM has been opening more design centers across the globe – counting more than 30+ as of right now. And IBM keeps investing into these centers, with 11 of them becoming ‘flagship’ centers, a status that in 2015 only Austin holds.

      The Space

      Location and space is always a key decision to make for innovation and design centers, and IBM chose an unusual approach with opting to co-locate the design center into an existing IBM office and going to a ‘non-coastal’ location with Austin. A number of factors played a role to start in Austin, embedding the design center physically with a development office was a prominent factor and Gilbert did not want to create a satellite that could create a lot of ‘it can’t be done here’ syndrome. And Austin has a growing reputation in design cycles since quite a while, more importantly IBM sees no challenge to attract talent to the Austin locaton.

      The Design Studio now occupies over 50k square feet on two stories and is expanding by another 25k square feet soon. A regular office building poses some challenges to create the wide open spaces with adjustable furniture as required by state of the art design centers, but the design center’s space architects found a way of working with Steelcase to allow for flexible, hanging partitioning walls. And the rest the design center does not differ from other places, with an emphasis on furniture on rollers, frugal means to create new furniture (for example Z-Bars with pipe plumbing to affix whiteboards) and the usual creative ‘hacks’ you find in design centers. And no surprises – designers in Austin gravitate towards the lounge setup as a working and review environment like their peers in Silicon Valley, Seattle, New York, LA and Potsdam (more site visits to come).

      What is different in Austin is, that the key design teams for specific products are co-located on the floors, creating their own distinctive spaces. And while IBM ‘forward deploys’ designers into development locations, it maintains these core groups at design centers. It’s a sign for IBM’s outcome orientation when it comes to design, and likely a key contributing factor to the quick turnaround and immediate results in the usability of its products. At the same time IBM knows it has to collaborate across physical locations and time zones and it is good to see that designers are equipped with the necessary modern tools to make this happen.


      Very tough to pick the top three takeaways – but here you go:

      Pragmatic Approach– As mentioned above, IBM is pragmatic about using Design Thinking to move the bottom line regarding usability of its product. It’s pretty much a no-nonsense culture (saw a motto: ‘Don’t Ship Sh…!’) measured by product progress in usability. And the team’s charter is a focus on creating a global sustainable culture of design across the vendor.


      Taking the approach of not limiting the physical design of its products through one common technical framework but opting for a ‘meta’ design language (learn more about it here) instead is a unique approach for almost all of the industry. Though sceptics thought a descriptive language would not be able to hold up uniformity of actual user interfaces, the proof of the contrary is by now in the famous ‘pudding’ – as the IBM products look more uniform across product families than ever. 


      Design Infiltration– It is relatively easy to establish a new innovation / design center with a substantial investment, the key measure of success is a lasting ‘lift’ in product usability and quality as well as the moving of the overall product development organization to a higher level of performance. Never an easy task to solve, it looks like IBM has achieved the right balance between central product design teams and embedded designers at the various development locations. At the same time IBM has an ambitious hiring goal (ultimately 1000 designers) and has been able to train them, bring them up to speed and achieve a level of consistency that matters for making products usable for the same users across product groups. Using an incubation program at the same time to train the new hires – while supervised by senior designers – and allowing product team to ‘test drive’ for a limited time the design center is a win / win move.


      Beyond Designers– It certainly helps that Design Thinking and the design centers have support from the top at IBM, CEO Rometty is a driving force behind the design approach. It is no surprise that the only 2nd time the worldwide IBM leadership team has come together in the same place other than Armonk, has been in Austin. And IBM has a lot of design tradition, starting with former CEO Watson’s memo of ‘design is good business’. Rometty sees client experience as the key path to future growth for IBM.

      Even more interestingly IBM is implementing lessons learnt and best practices across more IBM offices, not only briefing centers (as IBM calls customer visit centers) but also regular office. More configurable space, more furniture on rolls is supposed to create an overall more agile, dynamic, project oriented IBM going forward. The success of this massive change management endeavor will be interesting to watch going forward.


      MyPOV

      Always great to visit design centers, especially when they are successful and have moved the needle for their respective organization. It is fair to say that Design Thinking, the IBM design centers, starting with Austin and the designers have made a substantial difference to current IBM products. When mainframe engineers use Design Thinking for a zOS upgrade – you know IBM is onto something that works and transforms the way how the vendor builds its products. It is also very good to see that the core design team is not resting on its laurels, but actively working on re-thinking (pun intended) the way how IBM practices Design Thinking, stay tuned for more in 2016.

      Overall a very promising state of Design Thinking at IBM, but changing the way to work, do business, and how products are imagined and built for a 380k+ employee organization and their customers takes time – and the next years will show how lasting the new approaches are. 2016 with the rollout and upgrade of more design centers will be a key year. We will be watching.



      More on IBM:
      • MarketMoves - IBM strikes 3x in Fall - Cleversafe, The Weather Company and Gravitant - read here
      • News Analysis - IBM launches Industry's First Consulting Practice Dedicated to Cognitive Business - a good move it's early times - read more
      • News Analysis - IBM plans to acquire Cleversafe to propel Object Storage into the Hybrid Cloud >> a good move. Read here
        Market Move - IBM acquires StrongLoop - nodejs comes to BlueMix - read here
      • 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
      If interested in more 'Site Visit' blog posts - many remain confidential (unfortunately) - but this one with ADP is public.

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

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        This morning Unit4, a rising ERP player with European origins, announced its partnership with the 'hot' collaboration startup Slack. As such its the first partnership of Slack, which has covered more than mindshare in SiliconValley, becoming the 'de-facto' collaboration tool for many local enterprises, and an enterprise software vendor. So well worth a blog post. 



        So let’s take apart the press release in our customary style (it can be found here):


        Utrecht, Netherlands, January 12, 2016 – Unit4, a fast growing leader in enterprise applications for service organizations, today announced a new integration with Slack.com, the messaging app for business teams. Slack delivers service industry professionals using Unit4’s people-centric ERP software a useful communications extension so that updates in Unit4’s Communities workspace become part of their Slack stream and vice versa.
        MyPOV – Good synopsis of the partnership. Unit4 has put collaborative capabilities into it platform for people centric ERP, and the collaboration spaces of the platform are now getting integrated with Slack streams. Remarkably it’s a bi-directional interface and information from Slack finds a home in Unit4. Bi-Directionality is important to enable the way how people work, with two solutions and no need for manual synching.

        The two-way integration enables Unit4 customer teams to bring together all communications in one place, replacing the need for project-related in-team email. Teams can organize conversations in open channels related to a specific project, topic, team or customer for example, increasing productivity and efficiency. As Unit4 achieves its vision of self-driving ERP, where applications self-learn to deliver real business insight, in-team collaboration and rapid response to opportunities will become a competitive differentiator.
        MyPOV – Good formulation of the need for rigidity for scale (as often found in ERP software) and the flexibility for agility (as often found in collaboration software) and how Unit4 plans to deliver on these. Mastering the integration in a light weight ‘automagical’ fashion in one of the holy grails in enterprise software – often searched for – not really fully reached - so far.

        Both Slack and Unit4 Business World are available via mobile applications making this a powerful solution for distributed teams across different geographies.
        MyPOV – Good to mention the mobile aspect. More than half of work of business professionals now happens in a mobile setting and enabling work in a mobile setting is key. Achieving efficient mobile integration is not trivial – so it will be interesting to see

        “Slack has become a popular collaboration tool for business as it is simple to use and ties together the many other disparate tools we use today like Dropbox, Google Docs and Twitter etc.,” said Erik Tiden, Unit4 CTO. “It won’t replace business email anytime soon but is a powerful alternative to in-team email. Teams can be up and running in seconds working together in open and private groups around any project or initiative. It again underlines our people-centric approach to ERP. For service teams working with our Business World ERP, it means they don’t always have to be logged into the system but can keep up on project status through the Slack.com mobile app, and conversations can be extended to customers and other external stakeholders.”
        MyPOV – Good summary by Unit4 CTO Erik Tiden, supporting the people centric vision of Unit4.

        Overall MyPOV

        A good move by Unit4, delivering a proof point of people centric ERP. A compelling vision is one thing, delivering on it is harder but key to create both value for customers and differentiation in the marketplace. Slack is the collaboration tool that has captured a lot of mind share and is highly desirable for enterprise users to use. Traditionally both enterprise IT and enterprise vendors have been slow at offering support for these tools, creating frustration in the user base. With Unit4 supporting bi-directional integration with Slack it not only shows people centricity in product, but also in user appreciation. A welcome change for enterprise software and hopefully an inflection point creating a new attitude of both corporate IT and traditional enterprise software (ERP) vendors to people needs. 

        This capability is a win for both vendors, more importantly for busy users in enterprises that need to connect their enterprise processes with collaboration capabilities. 


        More on Unit4:
        • News Analysis - Unit4 picks Microsoft Azure for ‘Self-Driving’ ERP vision - Cloud, Machine Learning, Office and PaaS are the attractors - read here
        • Progress Report - Unit4 lays out a big vision - now it needs to execute - read here
        • News Analysis - Unit4 acquires Three Rivers Systems - read here

        More on Future of Work
        • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! - read here
        • Musings - Future of Work – Is voice part of it? Post Cortana debut reflections.... - read here


        For much more on the Future of Work, with a focus on social business and collaboration, check out my colleague Alan Lepofsky's blog here.


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

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        The yearly circus called NRF is upon us, and frankly I am glad to be watching from the fences (that is, not attending the hoopla, but watching from abroad, social, hear from colleagues on the ground etc.).

        Retailers have always been challenged, from whenever the first sortiment decision had to be made – maybe by the Phoenician traders, who had to decide what to load on their ships. As such retailers always had to anticipate what their customers would buy and at what price point.

        Fast forward to today and the industry is in turmoil. Even brick and mortar leader Walmart is closing stores. The whole retail business has gone to become more of an online business – starting with the display ad served to a consumer. But then consumers still flock to malls, my ground check this weekend at the Fashion Island mall in Las Vegas showed a well populated mall. And then the consumer of 201x is different than any consumer before – well armed with smartphones, tablets, comparison shopping sites, coupon clubs etc. Finally it looks like the battle for the consumer is seeing a new dimension when they are out and about. While it was only the airwaves that with a radio commercial may have directed a consumer to retailer A vs B while the consumer was already in the car – the self-driving car will give consumers even more time – to prioritize shopping. The good news is that today – the way how to dominate the ‘drive to the mall’ is well known. Display ads and apps.

        In summary – retailers have been very good at dealing with uncertainty, but there is likely more uncertainty facing retailers than ever before. So what is a retailer supposed to do?

        Far from having a complete answer – there are a few technology strategies that are certain:

        • BigData strategy– It is clear that retailers need to process and exploit more data than ever. Likely across multiple ‘data lakes’. It is probable that the days of the ‘single’ source of truth are gone and done. Being able to exploit BigData across multiple sources, without a central single repository and still action on the transactional side is key (for those missing Social - the digital exhaust is kept here - in my view social 'sprinkles' across all the below trends).

        • Analytics strategy– It is likewise clear that ‘true’ analytics (more here) need to be used to make sense of the data volumes. Retailers can no longer rely on humans to find trends and action, but need software to find and predict buying interests and patterns. That requires the ‘trashing’ of models, i.e. running all predictive models one can get hold off and apply them to a problem. The only place where this can be done is in the (public) cloud. 

        • Cloud strategy– As a third ‘clear’ strategy pillar it is clear that retailers need to operate in the public cloud. Retail is one of the most seasonal industries and seasonality means elasticity of IT resources, and that means public cloud. Nice to see that best practices from the ‘old world’ apply here – don’t have a single supplier like in the real world. 
        • Apps strategy– It is clear that the current providers of enterprise software are in the midst of moving to the cloud, so they are understanding the move to ‘unlimited’ computing resources themselves. Retailers that want to be leaders in the next years cannot afford to wait for them to move to the cloud, understand the best practices of the 21st century and codify them. That means in consequence that strategic applications for retailers need to be built in-house, so retailers need to look for a PaaS strategy and developers. 

        • Mobile strategy– More and more retail business will be attracted and done on smartphones. Smartphone presence and apps are going to be more important to retailers than stores. It’s time for retailers to spend the same amount of time to build their mobile applications as they did for their storefronts. Similar to the Apps strategy it means in-house building of these mobile apps. 


        MyPOV

        All industries are facing disruption these days, but retailers may be more exposed. Operating already on thin margins, the risks only go up, the industry sees new lateral entries into their market. Even more important to have an overall and IT strategy that takes advantage of the new capabilities technology offers.



        More Musings
        • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! Read here
        • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrrastrcture updates - read here
        • Are we witnessing the Rise of the Enterprise Cloud? Read here
        • What are true Analytics - a Manifesto. Read here
        • Is TransBoarding the Future of Talent Management? Read here
        • How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and dsrupts the Laggards - read here

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

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        It seldom happens that an acquisition is being closed during an analyst event, but so it happened today – Atos completes the acquisition of Unify from Gores Group and Siemens.



        So let’s take it apart in our custom style – the press release can be found here:

        Bezons, January 20, 2016 Atos, an international leader in digital services, today announced that it has completed the acquisition from Gores Group and Siemens of Unify, the world number three in integrated communication solutions generating €1.2 billion annual revenue. The acquisition creates a unique integrated proposition for unified communications improving the social collaboration, digital transformation and business performance of its clients.

        MyPOV – Sums it up well, as Atos’ Eric Grell made clear here in Bermuda, it’s all about for Atos to be in a good position to support business model change, namely Digital Transformation. And Atos sees Unify key in helping enterprises deal with new ways how consumers deal with enterprises, obviously on the communications side.

        The transaction has been approved by employee representatives’ bodies and has received the required approvals of the regulatory and antitrust authorities in the European Union, United States, Russia and Brazil. Cash consideration for Atos was € 366 million (adjusted from working capital) to acquire 100% of Unify. Net debt was € 48 million at closing and the pension deficit was € 176 million. This leads to an Enterprise Value of € 590 million as disclosed on November 3rd, 2015 at the signing of the transaction.

        MyPOV – That is probably close to record time for an acquisition of this scale, given it was only announced November 3rd 2015. But shows how all involved parties – Atos, Siemens and Gores Group wanted to move fast. Siemens and Gores Group wanted Unify off the books, and Atos wanted them on the books, and Unify wanted to move anyway. But getting employee body / worker council approval so fast is quite an achievement, considering at what (slow) speed these things can move in Europe.

        As a reminder, in order to generate the expected costs savings by 2017 (€ 130 million on an annual basis), Unify is completing its current € 267 million restructuring plan. In addition, Unify is starting, as planned, its € 103 million further restructuring plan which is fully provisioned at closing. Both restructuring plans are funded by the sellers.

        MyPOV – Interesting to see this paragraph as part of the press release – but a key reminder that Atos is acquiring a business that is in the midst of restructuring. What we see and hear currently in Bermuda is encouraging, but it needs to be understood that the restructuring at Unify isn’t over yet.

        As of February 1st, 2016, the Services activity of Unify (c. € 0.4 billion annual revenue) is integrated in the Atos Service Line “Managed Services”.

        MyPOV – Key reminder where the Unify revenue will go – from a Services perspective, which will reside in Eric Grall’s area of responsibility. It seems not be fully clear where the Unify product teams will report to at this point, but it is likely it will go to the current CTO and former Bull Executive Philip Vannier. But then other Atos owned Communications products - e.g. BlueKiwi are with Ursula Morgenstern, Head of Consulting & Systems Integration, Cloud & Enterprise. I am sure we will know soon. 

        Overall MyPOV

        Few industries are more affected by the move to cloud than professional services providers. Revenue streams, markets, skills etc. are all in turmoil due to the move of enterprises to less sophisticated, easier to setup and operate cloud based software. More or less all players know that they need to upgrade skills, increase global coverage and prepare themselves for the upcoming best practices and business model change. A number of player are take clearly product centric strategies – e.g. Infosys – and we count Atos by now in that category, too. Executing that strategy is full of challenges, images and branding changes, sales and marketing challenges, skills modulation – all not trivial DNA changes for a traditional services based vendor. But once embarked in the transformation, speed and execution are of the essence and Atos seems to be on a good course, with good speed. We will watch how the new Atos + Unify will unfold in the markets and with customers. Stay tuned.


        For more on collaboration and communication - check out my colleagues' Alan Lepofsky blog here.

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        We had the opportunity to attend the third Oracle Cloud analyst summit earlier in the week, held in New York at the iconic Walldorf Astoria. One could wonder if Oracle executives know that the very founder of the Walldorf, a certain Mr. Astor came from Walldorf Germany, which happens to be the headquarters location of one of Oracle’s key rivals, SAP SE, but that’s another story…



        As usual with these analyst days, we were inundated with slides and news, so very hard to distill the Top 3 – but take a look at the video I recorded (or for more details the Storify) below.



        No time to watch, here are the top 3 takeaways:

        Oracle is ready to push cloud 
        – All cloud providers need load to utilize and grow their infrastructure. Oracle has a huge potential load sitting with its on premises run applications. Common market wisdom was that Oracle was tapping into that and ‘aggressively’ converting that load from on premises into cloud. But CEO Hurd was very adamant that this wasn’t the case. According to him cloud customers are mostly net new, and he used the very slowly dwindling on premises license sales as proof point (-2% YoY). So where will Oracle get more utilization in 2016? One strategy that was not explicitly mentioned, but the informed attendee could read between the lines, was Oracle’s push for exogenous load with its nested hypervisor capability. Not sure when / if I missed this before, but the nested hypervisor allows Oracle to take load from VMware, AWS and Google. On top of that, EVP Kurian mentioned support for Microsoft Hypervisor would be coming soon. All this means that Oracle will be able to pitch Oracle Cloud to CIOs / CTO’s running load on these hypervisors. It certainly introduces another dependency, but as discussed vividly, it’s an attractive outlet to e.g. running a native VMware load on premises. Assuming the nested hypervisor works well, Oracle needs salespeople to pitch the ability to prospects. Considering last week’s announcement that Oracle plans to hire 1400 salespeople for selling cloud into its EMEA region, one has to assume that Oracle executives are certain the cloud products are working and the vendor now wants to go for load much more aggressively than in the past.

        IaaS ready for primetime!? – In the overall Oracle cloud offering, IaaS was the late comer. At Openworld Chairman Ellison even openly shared the Oracle learning steps, SaaS required PaaS, PaaS required IaaS. And Oracle’s offering follows that sequence in regards of maturity, market share and adoption. So all eyes on IaaS, and for the first time Oracle executives in their presentations got very close to both detail and comfort level that we see from e.g. public cloud rivals AWS and Google. Details on storage, networking and more were very abundant, more importantly the confidence with which the executives talked about the infrastructure allows the interpretation that execution has happened and Oracle has found its operational patterns for IaaS. But now comes the rollout of capabilities that takes time. Speaking to Oracle partners and ISVs outside of North America the other week in India, makes clear that new capabilities are first and foremost coming to the North American data centers. Nothing unusual, but the speed of creating a common worldwide platform will be key. And as tradition – I asked EVP Kurian in regards of the ‘bubble up / ripple’ effect of IaaS changing under the hood while operating a growing SaaS suite. The answer was same as at Openworld, standards, APIs, encapsulation shield the SaaS teams. Kurian also shared that SaaS teams are shielded by a dedicated cloud ops team, a good move. Still a considerate challenge, though a good problem to have.

        DaaS remains a key differentiator– Oracle remains the only cloud vendor stressing DaaS – Data as a Service capabilities. The future of enterprise applications is more than running software, but also allowing access to data sources that power next generation applications. Oracle has been adamant of DaaS being part of xaaS – right from the first cloud summit 2 years ago. And Oracle plays this from a dual perspective, both offering the data consumption as a service (see the recent acquisition of Addthis) but also the tools to become a DaaS provider. As the reader knows, Constellation Research strongly recommends enterprises to look into DaaS monetization and to make DaaS a revenue stream. Oracle is well positioned to take advantage of this trend, but needs to expand its DaaS portfolio beyond marketing – into other areas of business automation. A generic DaaS offering allowing enterprises to monetize data will be a first step. And network effects e.g. in regards of benchmarking are something always of value to enterprises, understanding the network effects and benefits is an area where Oracle can e.g. learn from SAP.


        Analyst Tidbits

        • UIX matters– User experience has not been what Oracle has been traditionally known for. The more surprising Oracle dedicated demos and presentations on the topic. And no surprise, the Oracle UIX team around VP Ashely has made good progress from a few years back. The new ‘Waterfall’ design does not fall behind any best efforts in the industry. It’s also good to see that Oracle has managed to propagate a common interaction paradigm across its products, not a trivial undertaking given the vast range or products and users. 

        • HCM shines– No surprise – the HCM suite shined one time more in regards of customer adoption, live customer numbers across the Oracle SaaS portfolio. It always helps to be early, and Oracle is pushing HCM on a worldwide base. The Oracle HCM suite has some interesting and unique differentiators as shared back at HCM World 2015 (reputation management, competitions etc.) – it now needs a new set of 2016 differentiators, EVP Miranda like all presenters was pressed for time, and my guess it they are reserved for the HCM World event in spring later this year. 

        MyPOV

        Oracle is making progress with its overall cloud offering. As a welcome change and sign of progress this was the first cloud summit with no mention of hardware and database beyond their relative importance to cloud, a good change. That said we lacked some details e.g. on how Oracle runs its cloud, e.g. I’d be very interested how many Oracle made machines are in the Oracle cloud footprint. Oracle’s CAPEX for cloud is behind that of key public cloud rivals, but then Oracle maintains it can run more Oracle on Oracle thanks to the ‘chip to click’ integrated tech stack. That would mean that more uptake of Oracle Cloud would mean more revenue for Exa-Machines and 2-socket servers (launched a little less than a year ago). But seeing the TCO comparisons would mean that one Oracle infrastructure $ can run 3-4 times more than e.g. an AWS infrastructure $ - for the same load. That will be a key and interesting area to watch, as if and when it materializes, it would be another explanation what makes Oracle executives so bullish on competing with the cost leaders. We have seen e.g. with Storage that Oracle can be an effective cost leader. I asked CEO Hurd if cloud for Oracle is more a product or a sales challenges. He responded with a diplomatic ‘cloud is a blessing for Oracle’ response, but the confidence with which Oracle executives spoke about cloud makes clear that the challenges have morphed from a product to a sales and marketing challenge. When I asked Hurd on who will be Oracle’s #1 competitor in 5 years he punted the question, it would have been an interesting insight. Where Hurd was very clear (he is a big tennis fan) that Nadal won’t win the Australian Open, and that Djokovic is he is favorite…

        Back to Oracle’s cloud offering, getting the overall stack to work isn’t trivial, and there is always room for potential hiccups on the product side, always keep in mind that what Oracle is creating is very likely the largest software project out there, from my estimate is 25k+ product developers working up and down the integrated / engineered to work together tech stack. No easy undertaking. But a unique effort in the industry, now it’s up to Oracle to get customers to adopt. And here may lie Oracle’s biggest challenge – as mentioned in my OpenWorld takeaways, the vendor is well respected, but less ‘loved’ by its customers than other key players. Getting the ‘love’ and passion for Oracle into its customer base is emerging as the biggest challenge for Oracle in the medium term.




        Recent blog posts on Oracle:

        • Event Report - Oracle Openworld 2015 - Top 3 Takeaways, Top 3 Positives & Concerns - read here
        • News Analysis - Quick Take on all 22 press releases of Oracle OpenWorld Day #1 - #3 - read here
        • First Take - Oracle OpenWorld - Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
        • Event Preview - Oracle Openworld - watch here

        Future of Work / HCM / SaaS research:

        • Event Report - Oracle HCM World - Full Steam ahead, a Learning surprise and potential growth challenges - read here
        • First Take - Oracle HCM World Day #1 Keynote - off to a good start - read here
        • Progress Report - Oracle HCM gathers momentum - now it needs to build on that - read here
        • Oracle pushes modern HR - there is more than technology - read here. (Takeaways from the recent HCMWorld conference).
        • Why Applications Unlimited is good a good strategy for Oracle customers and Oracle - read here.

        Also worth a look for the full picture
        • Event Report - Oracle PaaS Event - 6 PaaS Services become available, many more announced - read here
        • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud makes progress - but key work remains in the cellar - read here
        • News Analysis - Oracle discovers the power of the two socket server - or: A pivot that wasn't one - TCO still rules - read here
        • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves more into DaaS - read here
        • Event Report - Oracle Openworld - Oracle's vision and remaining work become clear - they are both big - read here
        • Constellation Research Video Takeaways of Oracle Openworld 2014 - watch here
        • Is it all coming together for Oracle in 2014? Read here
        • From the fences - Oracle AR Meeting takeaways - read here (this was the last analyst meeting in spring 2013)
        • Takeaways from Oracle CloudWorld LA - read here (this was one of the first cloud world events overall, in January 2013)

        And if you want to read more of my findings on Oracle technology - I suggest:

        • Progress Report - Good cloud progress at Oracle and a two step program - read here.
        • Oracle integrates products to create its Foundation for Cloud Applications - read here.
        • Java grows up to the enterprise - read here.
        • 1st take - Oracle in memory option for its database - very organic - read here.
        • Oracle 12c makes the database elastic - read here.
        • How the cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
        • Act I - Oracle and Microsoft partner for the cloud - read here.
        • Act II - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
        • Act III - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Netsuite with a touch of Deloitte - read here

        Finally find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.



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        We had the opportunity to attend the Unify analyst summit, which happened this week in beautiful Bermuda (a surprisingly convenient location from NYC). Over 40 analyst were there to get updated on the state of transformation and product progress of Unify (the former Siemens Business Communications, if you like go even more back to Rolm). 




        Fellow colleague Alan Lepofsky joined me, and we recorded a short takeaway video, so take a peek:


        ;

        No time to watch – here are my top 3 takeaways:

        Unify transformation is WIP
        – After the launch as Unify, the vendor has gone through some difficult times to right-size the operation. Executives were surprisingly open on progress and challenges, based on the numbers shared it looks like the vendor has started to turn a corner. Customer references were all Avaya takeaways, so it is clear where Unify is trying to grow from going forward. The vendor claims around 30M seats and seems to be able to win business at usual call center attrition rate (5-8% p.a.), all key vital signs.

        Unify is now Atos– It was a first that an acquisition closed live during an analyst event – and so did the acquisition of Unify by Atos. It was good to see that Atos’ head of Managed Services, Eric Grall was in Bermuda, as the services part of the Unify business will report into him. Grall said that Atos intends to follow the same playbook as with the recent acquisition of Bull, separate the acquired vendor in services and the rest. It will be interesting to see how Atos will harmonize its portfolio e.g. with existing assets like BlueKiwi. If you haven’t seen it yet – take a look at my blog post on the acquisition here. Lastly Unify brings to Atos a key ability, channel savviness, which Atos needs for its Bull offering and does not have currently. Sure different partners are needed for call center vs hardware / security, but it makes Atos / Unify a more attractive partner, allowing for the capture of more share of wallet at customers. And keeping Unify’s channel capabilities intact will be key for Atos.

        Circuit needs adoption– The Circuit product by now has all the ingredients to become a driver for more growth for Unify. Kudos to Unify for letting the analysts use the product during the event, and at first look it worked well. Behind the scenes capabilities are positive, too, the offering is Openstack based, uses Opensource offerings like e.g. Cassandra and operates (for now) in two data centers on both sides of the Atlantic. Unify has spent a lot of time to take cost out of the infrastructure, allowing the vendor to offer Circuit under a freemium model. The product is open and can be extended by developer, a must have capability for any collaboration player, given the ‘zoo’ of collaboration products out there.
        Overall Circuit is offered under 4 different licenses. Now the product needs adoption, that 15+ months after launch has not yielded more than 1k users / month. Given a 30M install based even a subpar upsell / cross-sell effort. But Unify wants to do more with Circuit, so will be good to see what happens on the adoption side in the next quarters. Switching to a more viral marketing, ‘land & expand’ model as well as aggressively going after enterprise software ISVs who seek collaboration capabilities are potential strategies. 


         

        MyPOV

        A good event for Unify, but the vendor realistically now has to layer one more transformation on top of its own core business transformation. Both are important but the latter even featured prominently in the press release this week, so more challenges Unify executives have to rectify. As usual with acquisitions, one can expect executive changes, buffering the ripple effects of organizational change will be key for Atos. And while Atos is becoming more and more global, it is still a French company en coeur, and mixing that with the Teuton / American culture is an experiment that can up as well as not so well. The opportunity is there, as no player on the communications / collaboration space has offered one common, easy to use application and end user experience. Just look at the challenge of the average enterprise employees to launch and run a web collaboration challenge. While practice makes champions here as well, the industry has for too long offered disjointed user experiences, hard to run products (plug in anyone?) – leaving productivity behind. The synchronous capabilities (and to make phones ring) is a key differentiator for Unify, as when push comes to shove in the real world, people pick up phones. But till we see a unified communications and collaboration platform, seamlessly integrated to where business is done – the enterprise applications, with ease of use like the point solutions that are popular today, it will be still a while and is Unify’s (as competitors) opportunity to grab. We will be there to analyze.


        More on Unify
        • Market Move - Atos completes acquisition of Unify - gets more into IP - read here

        More Musings Posts
        • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! - Read here
        • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrrastrcture updates - read here
        • Are we witnessing the Rise of the Enterprise Cloud? Read here
        • What are true Analytics - a Manifesto. Read here
        • Is TransBoarding the Future of Talent Management? Read here
        • How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and dsrupts the Laggards - read here

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



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        I have written about Workato before, the startup that makes it easier for business users to integrated business applications with each other – with no coding skills. But there is more than interfaces that connect systems with each other, there is also a need for business users to access information on an ad hoc, single transaction, atomic data level.

        So let’s take a look what Workato just announced, the press release can be found here:

        Today we see a new trend emerging how business is done. Instead of working with single, siloed information systems, most prominently email and enterprise solutions, business people are gravitating towards more ad hoc, informal ways of communicating, chat being one of the communication platforms of choice… one of them capturing a lot of mind and market share is Slack, which recently has passed two million users. One of the many things the Slack team has done right is to make the chat platform open and extensible for partners and third parties.

        This openness has allowed Workato to build a ‘microservice to interfaces’ a workbot that operates on a single interface item level, e.g. a customer, a lead, an opportunity or a service request. Instead of the business user having to switch context – from the collaboration application (here Slack) to the business application (e.g. Expensify, Salesforce, ServiceNow, QuickBooks, Zendesk, etc.) – Workbot does that work for the business user, as part of the chat.

        Take a look at the following example, where Workbot gathers more information to provide the business user a richer content in a more productive way:

        Workato Constellation Enterprise Software Musings Holger Mueller


        The above chat between Maddy and Workbot makes Maddy’s work life not only easier – but also more productive:

        • Alert Function– Workbot alerts Maddy of an event (from Zendesk).
        • Information Gathering– Workbot gathers more information as Maddy requests it (from Salesforce, Zendesk).
        • Action Support– Workbot adds information to the systems on Maddy’s request (into Github, Salesforce and Zendesk).
        • Collaboration Support– On Maddy’s request Workbot sends a SMS message to alert a colleague of the situation (using Twilio). 
        Note that Maddy never had to leave Slack, staying in one and the same user interface, on one and the same platform. Assuming Maddy is a customer service representative and tuned to reasonable multi-tasking speeds, she will likely have 3-5 of these conversations open, but resolving them more efficiently thanks to Workbot.

        As mentioned Workbot is built on top of the Workato integration platform, that build on user friendly recipes for integration. This is why how the first version of Workbot supports a substantial number of applications with Saleforce.com, Zendesk, Eventbrite, Expensify, ServiceNow, Intercom, QuickBooks Online, Jira, Github and Mailchimp.

        Implications for the Future of Work

        We already know that the enablement of the business end user is key for success of an enterprise. Central IT functions react too slow and often too late to support business users whose workday gets more and challenging year over year. More work needs to get done with less people and less time available, so business users are clamoring for any productivity gains they can get a hold of.

        We recently took a look how Workato enables the integration of different business applications in an easy, no technology understanding requiring way (see here), now Workato uses the same technology, not only to transport data en masse, but to interface business information as the business user is ‘in flight’, in a business transaction or collaboration scenario.

        At the end of the day this means

        • Information goes from bulk load to atomic data item – Interfaces become more granular, resolving latency and recency challenges as well as addressing performance and scalability questions.
           
        • Information finds the business user – not vice versa – Instead of switching context and searching for relevant information, information ‘finds’ the business user as needed.
           
        • Collaboration is where the work is done– At the end people solve business problems, to do so they need to collaborate. Breaking down traditional moats between e.g. enterprise applications and collaboration tools is a key move to make business users more productive.
           
        • Conversation becomes the new interface technology– Instead of thinking in IT dimensions such as interfaces, files and processes, the conversational query of data and creation of actions will make business users more effective than ever before. And different users are doing different things in an enterprise, use a different lingo, all things a conversational approach can reflect well.
           
        • The Robots are coming – and business users will love it– A lot has been said and abundant fear has been mongered about the arrival of robots. And concerns may be valid in the long run, in the short term robots like Workato’s Workbot will be highly welcomed by business users – making them more productive and allowing them to focus on what matters, their business’ success. The robot’s ability to learn and suggest actions will be highly welcomed – as long as they work as expected and delight the business user. 

        MyPOV

        Workato has created a new product, Workbot, effectively a smooth ‘scale down’ of its interface capabilities, with full re-use of platform, recipes etc. – while achieving what ultimately matters – making business users more productive and with that more successful. Workato can implement Workbot on other open chat platforms (e.g. the also popular HipChat) and bring more of its interface repertoire to the market in the near future.

        Workato Workbot should do well in the market, as it makes every party a winner: Slack gets more actionable chats, more loads on its platform, Workato re-uses existing capabilities and gets more eyes on its software, partner apps of Workato find more usage beyond their traditional user interface and thus increase value for their customers, but most importantly business users win, as they become more productive. And it’s the latter that really matters. We will be watching… 



        More on Workato

        • First Take - Apple wants to change the Future of Work. Works with cloud apps vendors and Workato - read here


        More Musings Posts
        • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! - Read here
        • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrrastrcture updates - read here
        • Are we witnessing the Rise of the Enterprise Cloud? Read here
        • What are true Analytics - a Manifesto. Read here
        • Is TransBoarding the Future of Talent Management? Read here
        • How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and dsrupts the Laggards - read here

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


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        Earlier in the week the EU and the USA 'hammered' out a framework that is supposed to replace the invalidated Safe Harbor agreement.



        You can find the EU press release here, which includes a good summary of events, too. 

        Earlier I recorded my quick take while (how appropriate) being in Europe - take a look:


        No time to watch - here are the takeaways:
        • Not too much progress - Many elements (e.g. yearly review) was part of Safe Harbor, too. Now the EU has in writing that the USA will not by default do 'en masse' data espionage.
           
        • Long road - The agreement was massive time pressure to be drafted, as enterprises and vendors were not in compliance since October 6th 2015 decision by the EU High Court. On Wednesday the data privacy expert of all 28 EU members reviewed it and gave themselves some time to digest the proposal. It will have to pass all 28 country parliaments, which by itself is a Herculean task.
           
        • No certainty - It is likely that privacy activists like the famous / infamous Max Schrems will keep suing and probably challenge this agreement, too, which creates uncertainty for enterprises and vendors.
           

        MyPOV

        We live in the age where legislation does not keep up with technical progress. The Safe Harbor invalidation is a perfect example of how both the executive and the legislative branch  are behind digital reality and what the jurisdicative branch sees as not acceptable encroachment on citizen's privacy. Ironically the next revision is likely not review proof either - creating more uncertainty. 

        Enterprises who are not compliant after the invalidation of Safe Harbor need to weigh their options. What is the business risk of non compliance vs. the cost of coming to compliance. For vendors there can be no real option than compliance, as they are responsible for their customer's operational compliance. If your vendor is not compliant with pre Safe Harbor state, enterprise executives should start the conversation with them asap. In case an enterprise stores EU consumer, customer data in the US today, time to explore the remediation, a solution - as much desired - is, unfortunately more out with this currently proposed framework.  


        ------------

        I covered the EU High Court decision in October 2015 here - take a look for more background. Also follow up the view of my colleague Steve Lockstep who is on deserved vacation this week here


        More Musings Posts
        • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! - Read here
        • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrrastrcture updates - read here
        • Are we witnessing the Rise of the Enterprise Cloud? Read here
        • What are true Analytics - a Manifesto. Read here
        • Is TransBoarding the Future of Talent Management? Read here
        • How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the Laggards - read here

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



        0 0

        Earlier this week SAP SuccessFactors announced its new capabilities in Performance Management, taking a first step at helping make Performance Management 'work'.



        So take a look:



        If you don't have a chance to watch - here are the key takeaways:

        • Today Performance Management is broken - We know this already, champagne bottles are opened when the performance review cycle is being cancelled. Not only for software reasons, but software can improve and it is good to see vendors taking new approaches to make Performance Management a success.

        • SuccesFactors innovates in Talent Management - For a long time the SuccessFactors R&D effort has been on Employee Central, Payroll, platform etc. with customers getting worried about the investment in the rest of the Talent Management capabilities. This forms the first major and pretty fundamental investment by SuccessFactors in Talent Management.
            
        • Back to the Basics - SuccessFactors was founded with the idea of enabling Goals and Performance Management. Going back to the basics is hard for enterprise software vendors, so kudos for SuccessFactors to go back to the basics, and admit that something is not working in Performance Management (originally announced back at SuccessConnect 2015 in Las Vegas).
           
        • 1 to 1s are a good approach - Looking at were the high frequency interactions are is a successful course to set in the journey to fix Performance Management. And surprisingly 1 to 1s have not been at all supported by HCM vendors.
           
        • Multi-cultural Aspects matter - The 1 to 1 is a North American, more specifically US management instrument. SuccessFactors will have to look at what the high frequency interactions are that could form the base for continuous feedback leading to better performance management, e.g. in Europe and Asia.
           

        MyPOV


        Always good to see innovation, especially in an area where a vendor has long term strengths, or even was the inventor / innovator of the category. Continuous feedback is a known approach to address the Performance Management ailing, but it stands and falls with the usage of the 1 to 1 meeting management approach and the uptake of the mobile app. You need the longitudinal performance and feedback data in order to really change the quality, ease of use of the quarterly or half yearly performance review. 

        But for now a good start - we will be there to watch the adoption. 

        Also, check out the Constelation Insights piece my colleague Chris Kanarucus wrote on the topic - here

        -----------

        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:
        • Event Prieview - SAP TechEd 2015 - read here
        • News Analysis - SAP Unveils New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop to Accelerate Digital Transformation – A key milestone for SAP read here
        • 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 and my YouTube channel here


        0 0

        Earlier in the week VMware unveiled its new capabilities in the end user computing (EUC) space, VMware’s offerings in the space of virtual desktop integration.



        So let’s take apart the press release in our customary style – it can be found here:
        PALO ALTO, Calif. – Feb. 9, 2016 – VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW), a global leader in cloud infrastructure and business mobility, today unveiled a new platform for delivering secure digital workspaces for flexible workstyles and bring your own device (BYOD). Using the principles of consumer simple and enterprise secure, the digital workspace delivered by VMware will address the end user and enterprise IT business mobility needs by aggregating all devices, applications and services while securely managing them through unified common access and identity.

        MyPOV - Good summary - mobile users are still less supported and less free to use their applications in a way that makes them productive. At the same time the need for secure and protected mobile computing is key for enterprises, so balancing the two is key for IT decision makers and VMware is trying to get there with Workspace One. Please note that ‘mobile’ includes tablets, more notably Windows based tablets (aka Surface) which is very popular in enterprises at the moment.

        “In the mobile cloud era, employees, devices, applications and data increasingly live beyond the physical walls of the workplace, the datacenter, or the network,” said Sanjay Poonen, executive vice president and general manager, End-User Computing, VMware. “Digital enterprises are struggling to deliver a unified digital workspace due to disjointed technology and teams. We are proud to be the first to bring together identity, device management and application delivery on a single integrated platform so business can be conducted by mobile end-users regardless of platform, location, device or application.”
        MyPOV - Good quote from Poonen - stressing the combination of identity, device management and applications. Effectively Workspace One is the product name for the ‘A Squared’ project that VMware talked about at VMworld (see my event report here), bringing together the abilities from VMware AirWatch and VMware App Volumes (hence A squared…).
        A digital workspace can give IT a more efficient, simplified way of managing users, devices and applications. It can provide end users with a consumer simple way to seamlessly access all business resources regardless of device type. It also provides line of business a secure and powerful platform on which to build and rebuild business processes that enable a more effective mobile workforce to compete in the market.
        MyPOV - This is the holy grail in the future of work - providing a consistent user experience, with all files and applications at hand across devices. In a secure and scalable way, good to see VMware getting closer to the holy grail of end user productivity, which is very much were the Future of Work should become reality - hopefully soon.


        The Platform for Delivering a Digital Workspace
        Organizations today are limited in their selection of solutions available to help mobile users maintain effectiveness and must choose between standalone point products for identity, device management and application delivery solutions. VMware Workspace ONE™ is designed to deliver a digital workspace that integrates device management, application delivery and identity management technologies. These combined benefits, on a single mobile platform, will enable secure management and delivery of business critical resources to employees for corporate IT, and consumer simple access for end-users. This solution will deliver options for all types of users from those with BYOD to corporate fully-managed devices.
        MyPOV - Another good summary what Workspace ONE is about.

        Capabilities of VMware Workspace ONE will include:
         MyPOV - Always notice the tenses in vendor statements - ‘will include’ - we are talking future here. 


        · Consumer Grade Self-Service Access to Cloud, Mobile, Windows Applications – Will offer simple onboarding of new applications and employees. Employees will enjoy industry-first, one-touch mobile Single-Sign On access leveraging patent-pending Secure App Token Systems (SATS) that establishes trust between the user, device, enterprise and cloud. Once authenticated, employees will gain instant access to a personalized enterprise application store where they can subscribe to virtually any mobile, cloud or Windows application.
        MyPOV - Good to start with the security aspect and good to see VMware IP in the space with SATS.
        · Flexible Choice of Device: BYOD or Corporate Owned – Self-service, shrink-wrapped device provisioning through the new unified management platform will leverage mobile operating system (iOS, Android and Windows 10) management interfaces to self-configure laptops, smartphones and tablets for immediate enterprise use. Employees will be put in control of their BYO devices with the capability to choose the level of services and IT restrictions they are comfortable to use, increasing adoption of BYO programs, productivity, and reducing the risk of data loss.
        MyPOV - Key takeaways are the cross platform capabilities - across iOS, Android and Windows 10. Maybe bad news for the few remaining Blackberry users - but this covers 98%+ of platforms. And good to see the flexibility between corporate owned and BYOD devices. It will be key to see the performance and usability on the BYOD devices, which in the past have not been at par and disappointing for users - across the industry.
        · Secure Applications: Mail, Calendar, Content, and Chat – Employees want to use corporate mobile applications that work like consumer applications. VMware Workspace ONE will include email, calendar, contacts, content and chat applications that are consumer simple while invisible security measures protect the organization from data leakage. Workspace ONE will also build-in powerful swipe and touch integrations with web applications such as Evernote, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail, among others and third-party SaaS applications such as Atlassian Jira, GitHub and Jenkins for developer operations teams to act and respond from anywhere.
        MyPOV - Application access has always been an issue for virtual desktops. It is good to see the extensive list of applications supported in a V1. The provisioning of web applications will be an interesting architecture piece to understand down the road. The support of Atlassian, Jira, GitHub and Jenkins in a V1 product allows for the interpretation that VMware is going after developers and DevOps professionals. Definitively an attractive area - but a massive cultural shift of ‘my machine’ vs a corporate desktop - will be very interesting to watch.
        · Data Security and Endpoint Compliance with Conditional Access ­– To protect the most sensitive information, VMware Workspace ONE will combine identity and device management with industry-first ComplianceCheck Conditional Access to enforce access decisions across any application or device. This approach is based on conditions that include traditional identity policies such as strength of authentication, network scope and add device compliance policies including GPS location, application whitelist/blacklist and third party plug-ins from AirWatch® Mobile Security Alliance partners. Meanwhile the AirWatch compliance engine can remediate compliance issues through a series of customizable, automated workflows for both scale and enhanced security.
        MyPOV - Bringing the very mature AirWatch capabilities to Workspace ONE is a good move and will offer enterprises a wide range of access control options. On a high level this is becoming a more and more crucial area - if you follow the recent E.U. / USA privacy challenges (more here).
        · Real-Time App Delivery and Automation – As the industry is seeing convergence between desktops, laptops and tablets, operating systems such as Windows 10 are also converging to use mobile-style, application management. VMware Workspace ONE™ will modernize application lifecycle management by simplifying application packaging, delivery and ongoing management. Administrators can automate application delivery and provide updates on the fly, and users can gain access to Windows applications on all devices. Workspace ONE will leverage industry-leading VMware AirWatch mobile management and VMware Horizon®, along with VMware App Volumes application delivery technology.
        MyPOV - Very correct, devices are getting more similar and managing them consistently is key for enterprises. And VMware got lucky to a certain point, as VMware AirWatch supported Windows Mobile. With Microsoft making Windows the same platform across devices with Windows 10 - the former mobile device management (MDM) capabilities of VMware AirWatch are now available to manage Windows 10 based tablets - and PCs. This gives VMware a very mature device management product. Bringing together the VMware App Volumes capabilities was part of project ‘A Squared’ see above. And no surprise, VMware Horizon is part of the mix.


        “Cloud and mobile technologies are fundamentally changing the way companies run their businesses,” said Keith Lippiatt, senior managing director, Accenture Infrastructure Services. “Our Workplace-as-a-Service offering, working with VMware’s Workspace ONE, enables us to deliver unified data and application access and identity management capabilities to enterprise users regardless of their device or location. For example, for a large communications company, Accenture is enabling an agile, secure and flexible workplace accessible from any device, anywhere using VMware Horizon Air.”
        MyPOV - Good customer quote, always good to see customer endorsement on a version 1 product, but Accenture is a both a customer and (likely) a partner, taking away some of the genuine aspects of the reference. But professional services companies are prime candidates for VDI - with the number of parallel engagements going dramatically up, system integrators need to provide secure and separated work environments for their consultants.
        Availability and Pricing
        VMware Workspace ONE is expected to be generally available this quarter. The solution will be offered in standard, advanced and enterprise editions with prices starting at $8 per user per month for cloud subscriptions and $150 per user for on-premises perpetual licenses. 
        MyPOV - Good to see the availability date and good it is this quarter, in the very near future. And good to see an entry price that is aggressive with 8$ - if the high end with 150$ will work in the markets remains to be seen, and of course we talk list prices here, before discounts.

        Overall MyPOV

        As I keep mentioning on VDI, I keep waiting for the bubble to burst. By now it is clear that only (public) cloud backends can provide the scale, performance and cost savings needed to make virtual desktops work across devices. A (public) cloud backend can address both the uptime, maintenance (as operated by the vendor) and functionality (across device, to other web properties) – that on premises deployments of VDI instances always have struggled with. 

        Workspace ONE also poses a challenge for the ‘other side’ of VMware – can VMware cloud offerings provide the scale and low cost needed to make the EUC products price and cost competitive. If this works it will be very compelling, it if does not it will not be good news. What matters is, that the executive in charge, Sanjay Poonen, understands the cost equation all too well (remember he moved SAP’s MDM product to Amazon’s AWSCloud), so we can take that as a comfort level that cost should have been a key part of launching the offering. But let’s not forget that there is another heavyweight with Citrix, and new entries like Google for Work and Amazon Workspaces want to grab a share of the market. 

        What works for VMware is the ‘magical’ capabilities of VMware App Volumes (here the synergies for the overall VMware are obvious – ‘slice’ in apps from already running hypervisors into an end user desktop) and the strong MDM and Identify capabilities for VMware AirWatch. All that coupled with VMware Horizon makes it overall an interesting offering for enterprises. We are not yet in the ‘cover your ears’ phase before the VDI bubble bursts – but getting closer. People will be the winner, as they move further to a key pillar of the Future of Work – information at their fingertips (wait who said that?) and on all their devices.



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

        More on VMWare
        • Market Move - Dell plans to acquire EMC, VMware, Virtustream, Pivotal and more - read here
        • Event Report - VMware VMworld 2015 - VMware stays the course - executes - progresses on fight for long term relevance - read here
        • 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 - Pivotal makes CloudFoundry more about multi-cloud - read here
        • News Analysis - Pivotal pivots to Open Source and Hortonworks - or: Open Source keeps winning - 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

        0 0

        This morning we learnt that the Apache Software Foundation has announced a new top level project - Apache Arrow. 

        We think the announcement is important for the BigData and next gen Apps space, as it brings BigData into in memory and creates a exchange format for a large number of open source technologies that are critical for next generation applications. But let's take apart the press release in our customary style: 

        Forest Hill, MD – UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL WEDNESDAY 17 Feb 2016 AT 7:00 AM ET -- The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today Apache Arrow as a new Top-Level Project.

        MyPOV - Good to see activity at Apache all the way to a top level project.  

        A high-performance cross-system data layer for columnar in-memory analytics, Apache Arrow provides the following benefits for Big Data workloads:
        ●        Accelerates the performance of various analytical workloads by more than 100x
        ●        Enables multi-system workloads by eliminating cross-system communication overhead 

        MyPOV - Good summary what Apache Arrow does - it creates an efficient in memory format accelerating queries and - even more interestingly enables cross communication in memory - the fastest way this can be done today. It also means that a variety of open source projects who could benefit from an in memory representation of their data do not have to look any further. 

        Initially seeded by code from the Apache Drill project, Apache Arrow was built on top of a number of Open Source collaborations, and establishes a de-facto standard for columnar in-memory processing and interchange.

        MyPOV - An ambitious statement, but Apache Arrow is off to a good start to become the de facto standard for in memory processing and data interchange.  

        “The Open Source community has joined forces on Apache Arrow,” said Jacques Nadeau, Vice President of Apache Arrow and Vice President Apache Drill. “Developers from 13 major Open Source Big Data projects are already on board --by introducing a new era of columnar in-memory analytics, we anticipate the majority of the world’s data will be processed through Arrow within the next few years.”

        MyPOV - 13 open source projects on board with Apache Arrow must be some kind of record, even for the very collaborative open source community. The wide support gives proof to the attractiveness of the project and the trust put into the project leaders (see also below). 

        Code committers to Apache Arrow include developers from Apache Big Data projects Calcite, Cassandra, Drill, Hadoop, HBase, Impala, Kudu (incubating), Parquet, Phoenix, Spark, and Storm as well as established and emerging Open Source projects such as Pandas and Ibis.

        MyPOV - This reads like a who is who of BigData projects. Good for Arrow to see such wide support, but also testament that it has hit a jack pot in terms of desirability for these other projects. 

        “Arrow’s cross platform and cross system strengths will enable Python and R to become first-class languages across the entire Big Data stack,” said Wes McKinney, creator of Pandas. 

        MyPOV - Well, we will see it they become first class languages, but the key aspect is that Arrow is polyglot and gives new languages as well as established languages a chance to access data.

        Apache Arrow accelerates analytical processing by providing a high performance columnar in-memory representation. A number of processing algorithms benefit greatly from this memory design.

        MyPOV - No surprise, but also good to see that the creators have paid special attention to make Arrow perform well on CPUs, where the 'runner hits the road' for in memory.  

        “A columnar in-memory data layer enables systems and applications to process data at full hardware speeds,” said Todd Lipcon, original Apache Kudu creator and Apache Arrow PMC. “Modern CPUs are designed to exploit data-level parallelism via vectorized operations and SIMD instructions. Arrow facilitates such processing.”

        MyPOV - By realigning work and data to efficiently CPU utilization, Apache Arrow positions itself well to become the de facto in memory engine for many open source initiatives that don't have in memory capabilities yet. The better Arrow can used existing hardware the less likely the rise of any competing open source projects.  

        In many workloads, 70-80% of CPU cycles are spent serializing and deserializing data. Arrow solves this problem by enabling data to be shared between systems and processes with no serialization, deserialization or memory copies.

        MyPOV - The open nature of Arrow is making it an attractive in memory format that can be shared by multitude open sources players, which has a number of benefits: The projects don't need to build their own engines, the projects don't need to build integration interfaces to other projects and customers don't have to buy expensive hardware for storing data multiple times in memory and will benefit from a more efficient administration. 

        “An industry-standard columnar in-memory data layer enables users to combine multiple systems, applications and programming languages in a single workload without the usual overhead,” said Ted Dunning, Vice President of the Apache Incubator and Apache Arrow PMC.

        MyPOV - Well said by Dunning. Now we will have to see adoption becoming real in code and customer projects in the next months. 

        In addition to traditional relational data, Arrow supports complex data with dynamic schemas. For example, Arrow can handle JSON data which is commonly used in IoT workloads, modern applications and log files. Implementations are also available (or underway) for a number of programming languages including Java, C++ and Python to allow greater interoperability among a number of Big Data solutions.

        MyPOV - Arrow uniquely brings together in memory, columnar and support for complex eg JSON data types - a trifecta that is unusual and seldom achieved. Polyglot capabilities will make Arrow even more attractive to developers of next gen Apps.  

        “Real world use cases often include complex combinations of structured and rapidly growing complex-data. Already tested with Apache Drill, the efficient in-memory columnar representation and processing in Arrow will enable users to enjoy the performance of columnar processing with the flexibility of JSON,” said Parth Chandra, Apache Drill PMC and Apache Arrow PMC.

        MyPOV - Good to see Apache Drill on board.  

        Catch Apache Arrow in action at Strata + Hadoop World (San Jose: 30 March 2016, and London: 1-3 June 2016), as well as upcoming MeetUps and local events http://arrow.apache.org/events

        MyPOV - No surprise. Good timing.  

        Availability and OversightApache Arrow software is released under the Apache License v2.0 and is overseen by a self-selected team of active contributors to the project. A Project Management Committee (PMC) guides the Project's day-to-day operations, including community development and product releases. For downloads, documentation, and ways to become involved with Apache Arrow, visit http://arrow.apache.org/

        MyPOV - No surprise.


        Overall MyPOV 

        We witness a likely milestone on what can be done with BigData powering the creation of next generation Applications. In all seven universal uses cases of next generation Applications, BigData of the key underlying data technology. 

        Finding a common and thus shared way to get into in memory is a major development, if successful will enable a whole new performance for modern application. While saving substantially on the hardware side, which means $s saved on machines, which can be invested into the software projects. 

        As such Apache Arrow not only accelerstes next generation applications on a micro level, the project itself - but also on a macro level - funneling more investment into the projects on the software side. Apache Arrow is off to a great start, with the right charter, wide support and competent leadership in place. The latter always matters, but is even more importand in the open source community. We will be watching.  

        [I typed this on a cruise ship, one of the last places where you get charged for Internet access by the minute, ol it comes over satellite. But no time for fancy formatting, will address when back on Terra Firma....].  


        0 0

        En route to IBM Connect in Las Vegas it is time to order some thoughts on where IBM stands in its move to the cloud and overall becoming more of a software company.



        Let’s organize our thoughts from bottom up the tech stack, and focus on what matters to CxOs out there.


        So take a look at the video:



        If you don't have time to watch - read on:

        Hardware - Yes hardware matters. Though not the feature at Connect, it is very much relevant, as IBM optimizes new offerings to run better on both its mainframe and Power platforms. These platforms matter more and more as Watson gets optimized for them.


        IaaS - SoftLayer has been rolled out to 46 locations in 2015. Location matters for IaaS both from a performance and a compliance perspective. At this point SoftLayer / IBM Cloud is ahead of the competition by orders of magnitude. Many of its outsourcing opportunities are connected with the rollout, but at its core SoftLayer has one of the smallest defaulf pod sizes of all IaaS players, and that matters in the IaaS ‘monopoly’ game being played right now.


        Watson - Watson remains key for IBM as a true differentiator in the cognitive computing area. IBM has achieved this without (yet) delivering overwhelming results to both customers and itself. A change in leadership may address this, the strategy is clear: A DaaS (Data as a Service, see the very recent Truven acquisition) combined with Watson strategy is very clear. Sometime IBM will license content, sometimes (see e.g. WeatherCompany) own it. 2016 will be key for IBM to deliver value for customers at scale, results for IBM as a vendor to keep Watson real. 

        New offerings - There is room between IaaS and PaaS and IBM has come up with two new offerings, video services and blockchain. Video service matter to all cloud players, as video creates load, load creates economies of scale and those TCO advantages. IBM now has a viable offering for both on demand (Clearleap) and streaming video (UStream) and a new focus on video – we will see what it can make of it at Connect. And Blockchain is of course interesting technology for enterprises, mainly (for now) in the Financial sector - where - not surprisingly - IBM is one of the most active tech stack vendors working on Blockchain support.


        BlueMix - IBM has been extending and building out BlueMix with remarkable discipline. The number of ‘hexagons’ is growing and a number of acquisitions makes the platform very attractive. The BlueMix Local offering is key and another testament how the traditional tech stack vendors are offering enterprises hybrid offerings (see Oracle, see Microsoft). It will be key to check in adoption and news about major projects running on BlueMix, as the product reaches 2+ years of age.


        Community– IBM has done a lot of work for developer outreach, we will see that again at Connect. I am not sure how well IBM has done here though, as the competition is massive. I would like to see IBM create more value for its Rational developers (a Top 5 developer community) and actually focus more on executives. Many of the next generation application projects IBM wants and can compete on are executive decisions, once those are made, developers will come.

        MyPOV

        IBM Connect is always a great event to check the pulse of IBM’s software offerings - with customers, prospects, partners, developers etc.  an event not to mix. If you are there, don’t be shy – reach out to me – best on Twitter (@holgermu). 


        More on IBM:
        • Site Visit - IBM Design Studio Austin - read here
        • MarketMoves - IBM strikes 3x in Fall - Cleversafe, The Weather Company and Gravitant - read here
        • News Analysis - IBM launches Industry's First Consulting Practice Dedicated to Cognitive Business - a good move it's early times - read more
        • News Analysis - IBM plans to acquire Cleversafe to propel Object Storage into the Hybrid Cloud >> a good move. Read here
          Market Move - IBM acquires StrongLoop - nodejs comes to BlueMix - read here
        • 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 and my YouTube channel here


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        We are attending the IBM InterConnect conference happening in Las Vegas this week, and probably the most important announcement for CxOs with on premises VMware loads has been the partnership between IBM and VMware. 



        So let’s take apart the press release in our customary style (it can be found here):


        Las Vegas – IBM InterConnect and Palo Alto, CA - 22 Feb 2016: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW) today announced a strategic partnership designed to help enterprises take better advantage of the cloud’s speed and economics. The new agreement will enable enterprise customers to easily extend their existing workloads, as they are, from their on-premises software-defined data center to the cloud.
        MyPOV – Good summary of the partnership, all about moving loads from on premises to cloud.

        With nearly 100 percent of Fortune 100 customers utilizing VMware technologies, this partnership will help preserve and extend customer investments across thousands of data centers. Customers will be able to leverage VMware’s proven technologies with IBM’s growing footprint of 45 Cloud Data Centers worldwide, helping companies scale globally while avoiding retooling expense, development risks and reducing security concerns.
        MyPOV – Here is where the main synergies for the vendors lie: VMware has not been able to build enough data centers to be a viable partner for its existing customers to move loads to the cloud on a worldwide scale, which today is at least 20+ locations. And IBM needs more load for its cloud, being the only major cloud vendor with no ‘organic’ load to fuel its data center growth.

        IBM and VMware have jointly designed an architecture and cloud offering that will enable customers to automatically provision pre-configured VMware SDDC environments, consisting of VMware vSphere, NSX and Virtual SAN on the IBM Cloud.
        MyPOV – This is the beauty of the bare metal nature of SoftLayer / IBM Cloud – in this case VMware can bring its offerings – as mentioned above – pretty much one to one to the IBM Cloud, no modifications, no re-imaging on different hypervisors (something VMware would not be a fan of anyway) necessary.

        With this SDDC environment in place, customers will be able to deploy workloads in this hybrid cloud environment without modification, due to common security and networking models based on VMware.IBM will utilize its extensive CloudBuilder tools and workload automation capabilities to automatically provision pre-configured or custom workloads to the cloud, validated by VMware's design patterns for Software Defined Data Center architectures. In addition, VMware has extended vRealize Automation and vCenter management tools to deploy and manage environments on the IBM Cloud, as if they are part of a customer’s local data center.
        MyPOV – First thing customers when moving to a hybrid cloud is how to automate things, good to see both vendors have their respective tools. Both vendors need to work on a clarification which tool to use in which scenario to avoid confusion.

        The two companies also will jointly market and sell new offerings for hybrid cloud deployments, including seamless workload migrations, disaster recovery, and capacity expansion and data center consolidation.
        MyPOV – And after automation tools, customers ask for out of the box offerings, good to see that both vendors are thinking about them.

        “This partnership, an extension of our 14-year plus relationship with IBM, demonstrates a shared vision that will help enterprise customers more quickly and easily embrace the hybrid cloud,” said Pat Gelsinger, chief executive officer, VMware. “Our customers will be able to efficiently and securely deploy their proven software-defined solutions with sophisticated workload automation to take advantage of the flexibility and cost effectiveness of IBM Cloud.” 
        MyPOV – Good quote from Gelsinger, who I have been asking each VMworld on why VMware is not more aggressive on the topic of cloud migration, well now the data center location and investment side is addressed.

        "We are reaching a tipping point for cloud as the platform on which the vast majority of business will happen,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, IBM Cloud. “The strategic partnership between IBM and VMware will enable clients to easily embrace the cloud while preserving their existing investments and creating new business opportunities.”
        MyPOV – LeBlanc’s favorite topic is right now the ‘tipping point’ for cloud – and I agree to a certain point with him that cloud technology becomes much more of a When? And How? Question than an If? Question for enterprises.

        Additional key benefits for customers when the new offerings are available will include:
        • IBM and VMware will provide the expertise, solutions, and cloud infrastructure to help customers manage and scale their IT resources running in private and public clouds, utilizing the tools, processes and APIs with which customers are already familiar,
        • Through sophisticated workload automation, clients will have the ability to quickly provision new or scale existing workloads to the IBM Cloud,
        • Companies will have additional reach and scale to more easily start locally and scale globally with cloud capabilities, and also comply with data residency and other regulatory mandates,
        • VMware customers will be able to use a flexible, monthly-based consumption pricing model that makes it more cost effective for users by enabling a simple pay-as-you-go option,
        • The IBM Cloud will be a showcase platform in the VMware vCloud Air Network cloud provider ecosystem.

        MyPOV – Good list of new capabilities, good to see the elasticity argument front and center – for both loads and billing. Equally good to see the data residency question coming up, something we have covered extensively – see here.

        Overall MyPOV

        It’s always good when customers win, and here customers and both partners win. VMware customers for the first time get a global cloud partner, with who they can negotiate SLAs, rates and get one bill, something the heterogeneous VMware partner ecosystem was not able to provide. VMware addresses the public cloud demand of its customer and IBM gets more load into its cloud, which it needs to compete on the economy of scale level to get to the larger competitors (who all have some sort of organic load).

        But a synergetic win / win / win across partners and customers does not guarantee success, there are many areas where IBM and VMware could not execute well, starting with product, licensing and go to market. Given the sense of urgency for both vendors, I think it is unlikely both can afford to not make the partnership work. And the lack of alternatives add additional pressure to make it work. There is no other bare metal cloud provider with 40+ locations that VMware could use, there is no other vendor who has a SDDC architecture and owns approximately 90% of the enterprise on premises load. So enterprise should take comfort of these mechanics, that are making a successful partnership more likely than not. We will be watching.


        More on IBM:
        • Event Preview - IBM Interconnect 2016 - read here
        • Site Visit - IBM Design Studio Austin - read here
        • MarketMoves - IBM strikes 3x in Fall - Cleversafe, The Weather Company and Gravitant - read here
        • News Analysis - IBM launches Industry's First Consulting Practice Dedicated to Cognitive Business - a good move it's early times - read more
        • News Analysis - IBM plans to acquire Cleversafe to propel Object Storage into the Hybrid Cloud >> a good move. Read here
          Market Move - IBM acquires StrongLoop - nodejs comes to BlueMix - read here
        • 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

        More on VMWare
        • News Analysis - VMware unveils Workspace ONE – will the EUC adoption begin now? Read here
        • Market Move - Dell plans to acquire EMC, VMware, Virtustream, Pivotal and more - read here
        • Event Report - VMware VMworld 2015 - VMware stays the course - executes - progresses on fight for long term relevance - read here
        • 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 - Pivotal makes CloudFoundry more about multi-cloud - read here
        • News Analysis - Pivotal pivots to Open Source and Hortonworks - or: Open Source keeps winning - 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 and my YouTube channel here

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        Earlier this week we learnt that Oracle has acquired Ravello Systems, a hybrid cloud vendor that has specialized in moving VMware and KVM based loads from on premises into the public cloud. 




        Take a look at the video for my quick takeaway:



        If you don’t have a chance to watch – read on:

        Oracle shared the vision of supporting a nested hypervisor for the Oracle Cloud back at Oracle OpenWorld 2015, and re-iterated the direction at the recent Cloud Analyst Summit (see links on these and more takeaways below). Now Oracle pushes further and along those lines – with the acquisition of Ravello Systems the vendor gets access to technology that has been in the market place moving loads to and from public clouds (mostly AWS and Google).

        MyPOV

        Always got to see vendors delivering on their stated direction and road maps, this is an example of Oracle delivering in the direction of nested hypervisor in the Oracle cloud. This allows Oracle to tackle more load to move to its cloud, without customers having to change and modify the way how their systems run. This is attraction for many enterprises who are not looking at expanding their data center capacity, or move other / often older loads to the public cloud. And for Oracle this means more load, which means better economies of scale for its cloud offering, which means better TCO, which means better prices for customers.

        We will be watching how Oracle moved forward getting heterogeneous hypervisor load into its cloud. Stay tuned.





        Recent blog posts on Oracle:
        • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud - More ready than ever, now needs adoption read here
        • Event Report - Oracle Openworld 2015 - Top 3 Takeaways, Top 3 Positives & Concerns - read here
        • News Analysis - Quick Take on all 22 press releases of Oracle OpenWorld Day #1 - #3 - read here
        • First Take - Oracle OpenWorld - Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
        • Event Preview - Oracle Openworld - watch here

        Future of Work / HCM / SaaS research:
        • Event Report - Oracle HCM World - Full Steam ahead, a Learning surprise and potential growth challenges - read here
        • First Take - Oracle HCM World Day #1 Keynote - off to a good start - read here
        • Progress Report - Oracle HCM gathers momentum - now it needs to build on that - read here
        • Oracle pushes modern HR - there is more than technology - read here. (Takeaways from the recent HCMWorld conference).
        • Why Applications Unlimited is good a good strategy for Oracle customers and Oracle - read here.

        Also worth a look for the full picture
        • Event Report - Oracle PaaS Event - 6 PaaS Services become available, many more announced - read here
        • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud makes progress - but key work remains in the cellar - read here
        • News Analysis - Oracle discovers the power of the two socket server - or: A pivot that wasn't one - TCO still rules - read here
        • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves more into DaaS - read here
        • Event Report - Oracle Openworld - Oracle's vision and remaining work become clear - they are both big - read here
        • Constellation Research Video Takeaways of Oracle Openworld 2014 - watch here
        • Is it all coming together for Oracle in 2014? Read here
        • From the fences - Oracle AR Meeting takeaways - read here (this was the last analyst meeting in spring 2013)
        • Takeaways from Oracle CloudWorld LA - read here (this was one of the first cloud world events overall, in January 2013)

        And if you want to read more of my findings on Oracle technology - I suggest:
        • Progress Report - Good cloud progress at Oracle and a two step program - read here.
        • Oracle integrates products to create its Foundation for Cloud Applications - read here.
        • Java grows up to the enterprise - read here.
        • 1st take - Oracle in memory option for its database - very organic - read here.
        • Oracle 12c makes the database elastic - read here.
        • How the cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
        • Act I - Oracle and Microsoft partner for the cloud - read here.
        • Act II - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
        • Act III - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Netsuite with a touch of Deloitte - read here

        Finally find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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        We had the opportunity to attend the Ceridian analyst summit held in Hollywood at the beautiful W Hotel.



        Tough to pick the Top 3 Takeaways – but here you go - check out the video:





        No time to watch - read on:

        New User Interface across Products – The avid reader may know that I have been pointing out to UI modernization and usability issues around the Ceridian products for a while. It was good to see that the vendor has started to address the issue over a year ago – but upgrading user interfaces takes time. Ceridian took the smart route of addressing the high frequency screens first, starting with Employee and Manager Self Service. The good news is that Ceridian has now brought the new user interface to all products and screens. It looks modern, fresh, 21st century like – and we know already from customers and prospects that it makes a difference. For those architecturally inclined, the vendor has moved to a declarative UI architecture, which should make future UI renovation and innovation much easier.

        Compliance make the forte stronger – Ceridian has never made a secret that compliance runs deep in the vendors DNA. Not only on the traditional payroll DNA, but also on the ‘infused’ Workbrain DNA around workforce management (more labor rules, more schedules etc.). This DNA combined with the integrated architecture of Dayforce puts Ceridian into the attractive position to take compliance further than most other players in the market. Take the omnipresent ACA challenges for enterprises – Ceridian not only offers the reports to understand where compliance is – but populates the statutory forms and reporting for its customers. A good direction, and knowing how much enterprises struggle with compliance a significant value in the market place. The other coin of the compliance equation is Payroll and we saw promising ‘Payroll 2.0’ capabilities with micro calculations and a well-designed global payroll dashboard.

        HCM Anywhere – One of the best kept, but open secrets of the industry is that the bulk of users really do not use the HCM systems much. But all people spend (way too) much time in email. Ceridian wants to tackle that system separation by bringing the HCM information and processes to email, more specifically to Outlook. A plug-in for Outlook not only shows key employee information, but also key HCM information, and even allows some lightweight information processing. Enterprise software history is literally littered (pun intended) with failed Email / Outlook integration products (anyone remembers SAP’s Mendocino project?) – but technology and integration has progressed (OData, more below) – making integration easier. And users are still in email, so kudos to Ceridian to trying it again. Equally important is the mobile support with emancipated iOS and Android native apps, something most vendors only manage to tackle over time, given the North American infatuation with iOS devices (in contrast to the rest of the world).


        Tidbits

        • Talent Management - Ceridian released its Recruiting product a year ago – now it is time to extend the functionality – both on the Talent Acquisition side with Offering Management and on the Onboarding side. It was good to see that Ceridian is also thinking of internal transfers, an employee population generally overseen in regards of onboarding them (this is why I created the term ‘transboarding’ some time ago – more here). 

        • Reporting - Ceridian has also spent R&D capacity on Reporting – both on the usability of the report creation as well as the export / exposure of reporting data via the powerful OData protocol. This opens up analysis options for enterprises using OData compatible BI tools, e.g. Microsoft PowerBI or Tableau.

        • Lifeworks – Ceridian keeps extending capabilities of its Employee Assistance Program product, Lifeworks. Its partnership with UK based Workangel adds key employee engagement, recognition and rewards to the product – as announced last year at the Ceridian Insights conference (see here) for event report.

        • Services scaled – Ceridian has spent time to scale its support function better with the creation of a pod model, standardization of roles and a general follow the sun model across its locations in the US, UK and Mauritius. Metrics look good with overall support trending down, while the number of customers is growing rapidly. On the implementation side Ceridian has the good but challenging problem to grow fast to avoid an implementation backlog before it becomes critical. It is good that training is ramped up and certifications are in place, but Ceridian will have to sign larger SI partners similar to the existing partnership with TCS. It was very encouraging to see self-service setup capabilities coming to Dayforce, enabling customers to take implementation in their own hands is the right direction in the long run. 


        MyPOV

        Good progress at Ceridian on the Dayforce product. In general the vendor has a good delivery track record and that shows after 3 years of significant investment in product. Now the question is where Ceridian will take the product next – more global is already a direction the vendor is executing on. HCM anywhere is a promising strategy but needs more validation and further investment. More business user empowerment is always a good true north for enterprise software vendors. Next are advances on the (true) Analytics side, BigData and Machine Learning, where Ceridian needs to time investments and formulate its strategy. Another option will be the DaaS (Data as a Service) area – where Ceridian has already millions of real world data points – exploiting that capability will be a mutual benefit to both vendor and customers.

        On the concern side Ceridian operates its own data center infrastructure, which is manageable today, but with more statutory challenges on the horizon (see Russia, see Safe Harbor invalidation etc.) partnering with a IaaS leader will give both Ceridian and its customers more peace of mind. To be fair – few of the HCM players are there either.

        Overall good progress with Dayforce at Ceridian, which has to address growth challenges on the services side, but that’s a good problem to have for a software vendor, and something that has been done and mastered by every successful enterprise software leader. Now it will be key to invest the headroom gained on the R&D side in truly differentiating and long lasting value propositions.



        More on Ceridian
        • Event Report - Ceridian Insights - Momentum and Differentiation Building - read here
        • 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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        We had the opportunity to attend IBM’s Interconnect conference happening in Las Vegas this week. The conference is a combination of the former Interconnect, the developer conference Pulse and the former Rational user conference. With over 25k attendees the conference was high in demand, spanning across the Mandalay Bay and MGM properties. 



        For the top takeaways – check out my video – take a look:




        If you have no chance to watch – read on:

        The ‘Connect’ Offering group– IBM – as many other vendors recently (see Microsoft and of course Oracle), want their customers to leverage existing investment on premises in products tool and know-how and connect (pun intended) with the cloud offerings. IBM has been re-using a number of existing capabilities (e.g. Dataworks) and building new ones to enable this strategy option. When one considers, as I learnt on my question to Robert LeBlanc, that there are over 200M WebSphere instances out there – there is a lot of investment to protect and tap into.

        The VMware partnership – No surprising partnership, LeBlanc and Eschenbach laughed when I asked them what took them so long (likely VMware had to make some progress on the SDDC offerings) – but this is a win / win / win partnership for customers, and both vendors. Customers get (finally) a global, single SLA, single bill if they want to move VMware loads to the cloud, VMware gets that outlet beyond its fragmented partner system and IBM gets load (more below).

        New programming model with Whisk– Next generation applications require new constructs in regards of how software is being built, key qualities being light weight, declarative, portable and not being charged for putting them in place, but only when they are used. Whisk is now IBM’s answer to similar programming models like AWS’ Lambda, though it deploys differently across products. But the qualities are the same – provide lightweight rules to cloud services at no cost, and only pay when they are being utilized. A key capability.
         

        Analyst Tidbits

        A lot of additional interesting areas of innovation:

        Blockchain
        – IBM has been doing work (as featured also at the Open Technology Summit on Sunday – see a Storify here). IBM is early among all the technology vendors, but given the exposure to the financial sector – not really a surprises. IBM will also allow on premises WebSphere instances to utilize Blockchain implementations on the web, an interesting capability making Blockchain ‘hybrid’.

        BlueMix and Github– Making it easier to publish, find and reuse code artefacts is a key capability for all PaaS platform, the partnership with Github gives BlueMix users now better access to Github, a good move.

        Watson gets ‘human’ – Watson has received new APIs, which allow the cognitive platform to understand visual expressions, sense emotions and interpret the tone of a human voice. Important advances for making Watson interact with humans, something that IBM has always wanted and now finally – (earlier implementations have e.g. been Wipro Holmes) available.

        Swift on the server / in the cloud - A lot of room was given to Swift, Apple’s new mobile development language in the Monday keynote. IBM is extending Swift to make it run on the server side, which was also called the ‘cloud’ side. And IBM is not totally naïve on this – as it is building its 100+ mobile applications with / for Apple. Enterprise applications usually need a server side and to be able to use one programming language is of value, though we need to see how the overall adoption of Swift will be. It makes sense for IBM given the Apple parnership - but in general I think the days of mobile OS centric development platforms are counted.

        Object Storage– This form of storage is crucial for next generation applications and IBM has acquired Cleversafe with that capability. Now Cleversafe and enhancements run on the IBM Cloud (aka SoftLayer) with a number of useful enhancements.

        Siemens choses Watson IoT – The large customer announcement on Monday was that Siemens Building Technologies has chosen IBM to build its IoT platform. Cognitive capabilities were key according to CEO Matthias Rebellius. Two mini take aways: It once again confirms Europe leads in IoT, high price and quality manufacturer there need an IoT strategy and are choosing North American technology vendors for it (who is left in Europe in that category?). And it’s key for IBM to get same and similar decisions with customers in order to create more load for IBM cloud.
         

        MyPOV

        Overall a good conference for IBM customers, who can clearly see how IBM is helping them to leverage the on premises assets, during their journey to more cloud. As we know cloud is no longer an If? but a When? question for enterprises, so it’s good to see IBM is there to assist... If executed right the Connect offerings will be of huge value helping enterprises to move to the cloud. The VMware partnership is synergistic and helps customers with VMware loads. And then there are the many, many other innovations a vendor like IBM churns out, all of them move IBM’s capabilities more into the direction of a partner to be chose for the business model change (mostly digital transformation) – lying ahead of enterprises in the next years.

        On the concern side, IBM is moving so many areas that it has to make sure they all work together. The times where IBM could get away operating like 5 independent companies (like 10-15 and more years ago) are over. Products and offerings need to fit seamlessly and well together. It is good to see that IBM is aggressively putting both organization and talent in the right places. E.g. all database offerings (including DB2 (!)) are under a single CTO, outside-in perspectives are not only valued, but put in charge (e.g. the new head of Watson is from weather.com). Now the move to become a software company needs speedy execution, as IBM operates under the market scrutiny and pressure of a record number of consecutive quarters with revenue decline.

        But overall a good Interconnect event for IBM, showing progress on all fronts. We will be watching through the year if it is enough. Stay tuned. 



        More on IBM:
        • News Analysis - IBM and VMware announce partnership to accelerate enterprise hybrid cloud adoption >> Looking promising - read here
        • Event Preview - IBM Interconnect 2016 - read here
        • Site Visit - IBM Design Studio Austin - read here
        • MarketMoves - IBM strikes 3x in Fall - Cleversafe, The Weather Company and Gravitant - read here
        • News Analysis - IBM launches Industry's First Consulting Practice Dedicated to Cognitive Business - a good move it's early times - read more
        • News Analysis - IBM plans to acquire Cleversafe to propel Object Storage into the Hybrid Cloud >> a good move. Read here
          Market Move - IBM acquires StrongLoop - nodejs comes to BlueMix - read here
        • 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


        Finally find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.


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