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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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    Time to put down a musings post on what is going beyond the move to the cloud. Like all musings posts these are my best guess how things will develop in the more distant than near future.



    I recorded this short video - so take a look: 




    No time to watch? Here are the key statements in 2 slides:






    MyPOV


    Though the world is consumed with figuring out the cloud, it's time to think about what it coming next. Always easier to start with platforms, the applications will come later (but I will muse about them, too). At this point we can already see that DaaS (Data as a Service) will be an important revenue stream for enterprises. But its enablement is piecemeal, data is siloed, transferring it is cumbersome etc. The next level of computing infrastructure should combine the lower parts of the ISO stack and bring storage, access, networking together (no easy task, I know) and have a DaaS layer on top of it. 

    At the same time we know the world is becoming the famous global village - as Globalization is the business trend that powers the world for most of economic growth past WW II. Brands are global, entertainment is global, platforms are global, etc. making values (like it or not) more global. Having a powerful, intelligent plaform under as the Über Super Computer will only help.


    What is your POV? Where are we heading from a computing perspective post cloud? 



    More Musings
    • Musings - Retail is the breeding ground for NextGen Apps - read here
    • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! Read here
    • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrastructure 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

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    European ERP vendor Unit4 is having their yearly user conference in Amsterdam, and the press releases are coming out in piles. Earlier last year the vendor shared its vision of ‘self driving’ ERP and that vision now materializes in the release of the Business World On!  product.

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


    Unit4 Connect 2016, Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 06, 2016 – Unit4, a fast growing leader in enterprise applications for service organizations, today released Unit4 Business World On!, its biggest release ever, delivering next generation Cloud ERP plus industry specific solutions such as Professional Services Automation and Student Management.
    MyPOV – Good intro summary, always good to see vendors going for new records, congratulations on the ‘biggest release ever’ with Business World On!. 
    At a time of rapid digital transformation, services organizations need to empower their people to be more productive. Business World On! is designed to address the back and the front-office business processes of Professional Services, Education, Not-for-Profit and Public Services organizations, so they can apply new thinking, new strategies, and new actions to address opportunities and challenges. This deep industry focus will enable customers to improve their services, benefit from faster time to value become more competitive.
    MyPOV – Good to see early mention of industry focus, the focus being on four verticals. Vertical functionality comes usually as an afterthought after horizontal releases have been shipped, it’s good to see a welcome change delivering vertical capabilities with the first release of a new software product. We will have to check on the depth of the vertical capability – maybe later in the press release already. .
    Business World On! fulfils the promise of self-driving business solutions which free people from repetitive tasks and allow them to focus on high value activities. Through that it delivers more productivity to services organizations and offers great flexibility as all business capabilities are completely accessible via a mobile app. Combined with market leading collaboration for teams and differentiating people-centric innovation, it is also one of the most intuitive, easy to use systems on the market.
    MyPOV – Good to see the reference to the vision of self driving business software mentioned here, and having it defined. Remarkable is as well that all functionality is available on the mobile platform, too. Likewise like vertical capabilities, mobile enablement is all too often an afterthought, good to see mobile support in the first release of  Business World On!. 

    Unit4 Business World On! is built on Unit4’s People Platform Premium Edition, which is the technology foundation for Unit4 applications, enabling self-driving capabilities based on predictive, event-centric and pattern recognition technologies.
    The People Platform Premium Edition provides customers with various technical capabilities such as an open integration layer and a composite app development kit for customers and partners to build applications and processes on top of Unit4 applications. Unified workflow allows for applications in the Unit4 eco-system to seamlessly work together to support processes spanning across different departments and partners.
    MyPOV – Good to understand that  Business World On! is built on top of People Platform Premium Edition (PPPE), and good to see that PPPE is extensible for customers and partners. Again, extensibility comes often as a later addition, kudos to Unit4 to have this in the capability in the first release of  Business World On!. 

    “We’re redefining enterprise software for services organizations with service, people and industry specific needs,” said Jose Duarte, CEO of Unit4. “We’re delivering a completely new software experience to these organizations. Modern, simple to use, fully mobile business solutions which address the front-office and help differentiate. Our customer’s people will be freed from repetitive tasks and empowered to focus on what’s important – supporting their people to deliver best in class services to their customers.”
    MyPOV – Good quote by Duarte, describing what  Business World On! does and how it benefits customers. Who doesn’t not want to get rid of repetitive tasks?



    Unit4 customers are excited about this new release: 
    “We have a young and agile team demanding consumer grade experience for enterprise software. We are thrilled about the mobile access to all capabilities of Unit4 Business World On! A perfect mobile user experience is what our people have been waiting for!” – Andreas Deick, CEO of Cologne Intelligence.

    “We are growing and expanding internationally at a fast pace. Therefore we need scalable business applications providing consumer grade user experience. We partnered with Unit4 to benefit from powerful Self-driving ERP solutions!” – Kai Siersleben, CEO, Control€xpert
    MyPOV – Always good to see customer testimonials on a product launch press releases, which usually speaks for a more mature first version of product, at least for customer involvement in the product design and creation process.

    Business World On! Is available on May 2nd. Customers interested in an on-premises solution can get the “cloud-at-your-speed” Business World On! Site Edition, which allows them to start on-premises and seamlessly migrate to the cloud when they choose.
    MyPOV – Good to see a soon happening availability date. Unit4 is no exception to all other ERP vendors with existing on premise business to both offer a cloud based version (in partnership with Microsoft possibly, as announced last year) or to be delivered on premises.

    Overall MyPOV

    Always good to see innovation, and good to see new ERP suites being built from the ground up or moved to platforms that take advantage of the modern technologies of the 21st century (here the case).  Business World On! has all the ingredients of a modern ERP product, built on a modern platform. Now it will be come to see how much functionality is in the early versions and how compelling it will be for existing Unit4 customers to upgrade to  Business World On! as well as how attractive the new releases are for non Unit4 customers. There is plenty of opportunity in the market – we will be watching.


    More on Unit4:
    • News Analysis - Unit4 announces integration with Slack - read here
    • 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
    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 have the opportunity to attend Oracle HCM World in Chicago, held from April 4th to 7h 2016. The conference is well attended with over 1000 participants, coming from customers, prospects and the ecosystem. 




    Always tough to pick the takeaways – but here are my Top 3:



    No time to watch - read on:

    HR Helpdesk– All enterprise applications see their challenges with resulting into questions on how to use them. HR Applications typically have the largest user population in the enterprise and as such the questions and support requests of employees demand for more automation. Historically enterprises have looked at IT and CRM helpdesk applications to automate the requests from employees. But those solutions have seen typical challenges one experiences when moving an enterprise product from its designed use case to another one – at some point, somewhere things do not fit as smooth as they could. HCM software vendors have the opportunity to change that, offering the helpdesk application inside of their own technology framework, and that is exactly what Oracle announced at HCM World. The approach has considerate advantages, the user and all its data is known, the subject matter experts want to feed know ledge bases before it comes to the support call, direct screen sharing and most importantly, the support professional can take over the transaction, solve the problem and teach the employee right away. The new helpdesk functionality will come on Oracle HCM fall release, slated for fall of 2016 (...), we look forward to see it in action with customers and real support cases.

    Learning advances– One year ago Oracle surprised with the announcement of a brand new learning, starting with the self-creation, publication and social propagation. One year later with Oracle HCM n Oracle Learning users have now access to SCORM compliant e-Learning, as well as an offline capability of using Learning with no connectivity. But the most important capability in this release is the ability to embed learning content into business processes, something Oracle is leveraging already in its above Helpdesk offering. And finally SCORM is always important and 1.2/2004 are supported. Fall will be the big release for Oracle Learning, when the first steps into classroom are coming.

    Worklife Portfolio grows– Oracle is the large, suite level HCM vendor with a set of Worklife Applications (Wellness, Competitions etc.) and keeps adding in this area, in the HCM fall release with a volunteering capability, allowing employees to sign up, find relevant volunteering opportunities and matching to them. The combination of the Career Development functionality guiding employees in suitable, synergetic to career goals volunteering opportunities is a welcome functionality and underlines the suite level benefits suite level vendors should seek and exploit for their vendors.

    MyPOV

    A good 3rd edition of Oracle HCM World, with record attendance of mostly practitioners, as Oracle has designed the event. Global interesting is very good, with (my estimate) close to half of the attendees not coming from the US. Oracle has moved the overall HCM forward as well (above I focus on net new modules and major advances) certainly a benefit of having over 2000 developers on the HCM products (excludes Peoplesoft resources, I know the question has come up already). There can be no question that Oracle has been busy though, as the vendor has added over 500 features and close to 100 localizations in the last 6 months.

    On the concern side Oracle needs to address two major issues, which are growing year over year, the first glance user interface is not up to speed with 21st century best practices. The irony is that the Oracle HCM user experience gets better as you drill down, with all other vendors it usually degrades. And then Oracle runs Recruiting on the Taleo platform, getting this key functionality on the overall Oracle cloud platform (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) is something the vendor needs to tackle sooner than later.

    But overall a very good event for Oracle and its HCM customers and prospects. There can be no doubt that enterprises need to look at Oracle for addressing their HCM automation needs, and it is likely to make the short list. Turning great product capability into cloud revenue has moved from a product to a marketing, sales, business development challenge, a good problem to have for any enterprise software vendor.



    Recent blog posts on Oracle:
    • News Analysis - Oracle Unveils Suite of Breakthrough Services.. or short: Oracle Cloud Machine - read here
    • 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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    Two weeks ago Microsoft CEO Nadella was on stage in San Franscisco, keynoting the developer conference Build, and introducing 'Conversations as a Plaform'. This week Facebook CEO Zuckerberg, launched a bot offering for the Messenger platform at the F8 developer conference.
    So there is something to this...



    Last week my colleague Alan Lepofsky and me recorded the following video summing up our early findings on 'Conversation as a platform' (CaaP) - take a look:




    I summed up my findings in the below slide share - take a look:



    So lets look at the top implications:
    • New App Stack - As noted by Nadella, conversations are the end of the user interface as we know it. That requires a new application stack that vendors have to provide and developers have to build on.
       
    • Channel Automation - Conversations / Chat has been understood as a customer channel already - and used for customer services. But enterprises have so far shied away from automating these interactions - focusing instead on making the human agents more efficient.
       
    • NextGenApps are getting real - Re-inventing the human / machine interface is one of the next generation application scenarios that we are tracking. With the developer programs being available, these applications will become more real sooner than anticipated.
       
    • The perfect cloud showcase - To power bots, developers needs language processing, machine learning and some kind of intelligence framework. While a traditional mobile application could still be operated with on premises resources, the new bots need to live in the cloud.
       
    • More Humanity - When it matters - we converse. The user interface in applications has only been another artifact, that technology capability was trailing business best practice. Now technology can do more than what business best practices - creating new challenges and new opportunities.
       

    MyPOV

    Good to see innovation, and good to see a direction for applications that is more human than accessing forms with mouse and keyboard. Instead in a conversation users can interact with software (and other humans) in a more natural, human way. Of course it needs to work, and that this not trivial can be seen by the challenges Microsoft has / had with Taj. Facebook showed a 1-800 flower order application. 1-800 Flower was a chat pioneer over 15 years ago - that it took so long to automate these chats shows once more the inflection point we are at - technology can enable new best practices (and thus changing older best practices).  

    What is your POV? Where are we heading from a computing perspective post cloud?  



    More Musings
    • Musings - We are entering the age of the Über Super Computer - read here
    • Musings - Retail is the breeding ground for NextGen Apps - read here
    • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! Read here
    • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrastructure 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

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    Earlier this week NetSuite released a SuiteWorld like barrage of press releases – to the point I checked if I missed a SuiteWorld conference – but it was ‘just’ all about opening the vendor’s beachhead on the European continent – with opening operations in The Netherlands and expanding the NetSuite product serving the Benelux markets… and yes – the title is a little joke – there is no BeNeLux language, people speak Dutch, Flemish, Belgian French and Luxembourgish (and to make things even more complex: German is an official Belgian language, too).
     


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

    LONDON—13 April 2016—NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N), the industry's leading provider of cloud-based financials / ERP and omnichannel commerce software suites, today announced the expansion of its business operations into The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg (Benelux). This accelerated expansion includes the opening of NetSuite’s Benelux headquarters in Amsterdam; a strategic alliance with Deloitte in Belgium; and new customers such as Transavia, ESOMAR and Qardio in Holland and Zembro in Belgium. In conjunction, NetSuite unveiled NetSuite OneWorld for Benelux-headquartered companies. This move is in response to the growing opportunity for cloud ERP and rising demand for NetSuite in the Benelux region, particularly from innovative, fast growing and international businesses.
    MyPOV – Good intro, summarizing well what NetSuite is up to. Good to see a physical presence with a local, in country headquarters, good to have customers in the first paragraph. And yes, the BeNeLux region has attracted an above share of international company headquarters, for a number of reasons.

    “Our new Benelux operations are the latest steps in NetSuite’s European expansion and our commitment to providing businesses in the region with software and services that meet both their regional and global needs,” said NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson.
    MyPOV – Good quote from Nelson, addressing the usual European concern with US based vendors – are they really committed to the complexities in the region... and it  looks like NetSuite is.


    Since its inception in the UK in 2002, NetSuite has established a strong footprint in Europe and has taken the lead as the #1 cloud ERP software vendor in the region. Due to NetSuite’s powerful OneWorld product, NetSuite has a large number of global enterprise customers operating subsidiaries in Europe and in the Benelux region. In the Benelux region alone, NetSuite has more than 850 subsidiaries and legal entities of companies like Misys, American Express Global Business Travel, Commvault, and Meltwater running their mission critical business processes on NetSuite OneWorld. The NetSuite OneWorld solution provides companies with multi-subsidiary management and global financial capabilities to run business operations in the region in a two tier model, implementing NetSuite at the subsidiary level while maintaining their legacy, on-premise systems at headquarters.
    MyPOV – Good to see the traction for NetSuite – but also interesting to see that the vendor has followed its customers – who have taking the OneWorld product earlier with no in country support by the product vendor to run countries on the European continent. Given NetSuite arrived to the UK 14 years ago – a very prudent expansion strategy for NetSuite, slower even than e.g. client server era based expansion in Europe of e.g. Oracle or PeopleSoft.

    Market Opportunities

    Offering a friendly business environment and home to fast-growth companies in technology, media, banking and other industries that have embraced cloud computing, Benelux represents the latest step in NetSuite’s commitment to Europe. Gartner estimates the ERP applications market for Netherlands and Belgium to be $724.1 million in 2015, growing to $849.8 million in 2018 (Source: Gartner, “Enterprise Software Forecast, 2015 Q4,” December 2015).

    MyPOV – Always good to quote the market opportunity. Local vendors with presence of SAP and Oracle on the high end, Unit4 all the way to specialists like Raet will see a new competitor that usually isn’t shy in the market place.

    “Businesses in the region are already seeing the advantages that a flexible, scalable system with rich international capabilities like NetSuite can provide,” said Mark Woodhams, SVP & Managing Director of NetSuite EMEA. “We’re excited to help more businesses in the Benelux countries transform their operations with the #1 cloud ERP.”
    MyPOV – Good quote from Woodhams. BeNeLux companies will certainly see the value of a cloud based offering.

    European Datacentres
    NetSuite opened two major European datacentres late last year, one in Amsterdam, Netherlands and the other in Dublin, Ireland. The two datacentres support NetSuite's growth in Europe and meet the needs of the increasing number of European companies that are adopting NetSuite's cloud to more efficiently manage and transform their businesses. Both datacentres are fully operational with live customers. NetSuite has started provisioning new EU customers in the EU, and plans to move existing EU customers to the datacentres in the coming weeks.
    MyPOV – A key move by NetSuite to address the European data residency and privacy concerns. With the invalidation of the EU / USA Safe Harbor act, the installment of the Privacy Shield and related uncertainty (more here) can only be countered with EU based data centers (nice move on the localization to British English on the headline!). NetSuite has been relatively late to have EU based data centers, so good to see the vendor addressing this in late 2015. A must have table stake for businesses in Europe.  

    New Partnerships
    NetSuite and Deloitte partnered to extend the strategic alliance to Belgium. Deloitte Consulting in Belgium provides implementation, finance transformation, change management and a full breadth of consulting services to businesses in the Belgian market seeking to gain business efficiency, grow revenues and expand globally with NetSuite cloud ERP.
    MyPOV – Good to see a partnership announcement as part of the initial go to market. Shows NetSuite has done its homework before the announcements. It also speaks to the power of the NetSuite brand and reputation that the vendor could sign up a major partner like Deloitte.

    In addition, NetSuite also has a vibrant partner ecosystem in the region. Solution providers such as E-Litt and ERP FastForward have helped NetSuite establish a strong footprint in the Benelux region.
    MyPOV – Good to see there is more than Deloitte in the partner system.
     

    New Customers
    New customers announced today include Transavia, ESOMAR, Qardio, and Zembro.
    Transavia Airlines, a leading low-cost carrier serving Europe, has selected NetSuite OneWorld to help execute its ambitious plans for growth. Transavia will replace a legacy AS 400-based system at its office in the Netherlands and an Infor system in France with NetSuite OneWorld. Transavia plans to use NetSuite to run its mission-critical business processes across Europe including financials, financial consolidation, multi-subsidiary management, procure-to-pay, reporting, and support for multi-language (English, Dutch and French), multi-currency and multi-country tax compliance.
    ESOMAR, the global trade association for market, social and opinion researchers founded in 1948, has implemented NetSuite OneWorld to drive global business and membership growth. ESOMAR is now relying on NetSuite OneWorld for enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and website content management after replacing Exact ERP, an on-premise CRM and a content management system (CMS) that used to support its website. NetSuite OneWorld can deliver ESOMAR key benefits including increased efficiency and a real-time view of its business across its 5,000 individual and 500 corporate members in more than 130 countries and business intelligence for management at its headquarters in Amsterdam, as well as 50 of its local representatives.
    Qardio, fast growing smart health solution provider, has implemented NetSuite OneWorld to fuel its business growth and expansion into new global markets. Qardio uses NetSuite OneWorld to manage its mission-critical business processes including accounting, financial consolidation, procure to pay, order management, inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM), multi-currency (US Dollars, British Pounds, Euros), and multi-country tax compliance across its head office in San Francisco, and subsidiaries in the UK, the Netherlands and Asia.
    Zembro, the Belgium-based creator of the first intelligent armband specially designed for the elderly, has selected NetSuite to meet its ERP and CRM needs. The company is now running its mission-critical business processes including billing, inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM) and multi-currency management for Euros and British Pounds on NetSuite.
    MyPOV– Always powerful to have customers on a press release – especially when it is the launch to new countries / regions. And good to see different industries and different countries covered.

    New Product: NetSuite OneWorld for Benelux-Headquartered Companies
    NetSuite OneWorld gives today’s businesses the ability to expand and transform their organisations and reinvent their business models to meet the ever-changing demands of their markets and the expectations of their customers. NetSuite OneWorld supports tax compliance in more than 100 countries, 20 languages and 190 currencies, along with the capabilities for global businesses to transact in more than 200 countries and dependent territories around the world. It allows multinational corporations in the region to more efficiently manage their subsidiaries without the high upfront costs and deployment hassles of on-premise software.
    MyPOV – Good to see not only sales and marketing and delivery extension – but also product extension. Obviously doing business only pitching NetSuite to subsidiaries is missing out on a lot of the market. But having the necessary product extension and localization ready in time shows good timing.

    NetSuite OneWorld for Benelux-headquartered companies is localised and designed to meet the business needs, regulatory and tax compliance of regional businesses, and brings them an agile and flexible cloud software application to run their mission-critical business processes with unmatched global financial capabilities in the industry. This comprehensive set of capabilities include: global currency and accounting, comprehensive tax compliance, country-specific tax support, country-specific reporting, local bank and payment support, local language support and robust development platform that allows businesses in the region to customise the software to their specific needs and integrate with other third-party applications. For more information about NetSuite OneWorld for Benelux-headquartered companies please see the separate release issued today.
    MyPOV – Good to see all statutory, regulatory and localization demands addressed. Not a trivial task and good to see it achieved in product today. Next step will be go lives of customers, never an area for a vendor to rest.

    “The Benelux countries are home to many vibrant, innovative and fast-growing businesses – whether they be local disruptors or regional HQs of global organisations - exactly the sort of organisations that have created efficiencies, grown and transformed their operations with NetSuite,” said Craig Sullivan, Senior VP of Enterprise and International Products for NetSuite. “We see the region as the natural place to expand and hope to become NetSuite’s next European success story.” […]
    MyPOV – Good quote from Sullivan. A common beachhead for US vendors, avoiding the larger and usually more demanding larger economies of Germany, France and Italy in a first step.

    Overall MyPOV

    Good to see NetSuite expanding into Europe. For our taste the vendor may have waited long, possibly even too long to achieve a similar market position as in North America. But Europe is expensive not only for sales and marketing activities but also for the product and operational extensions required to be build and maintained. The good news is that NetSuite has been able to watch the market for a long time from the UK, so we can assume the vendor knows exactly what it is getting into. Europe has entrenched vendors, starting with SAP and every country has local vendors with strong customer bases, take e.g. Unit4 in The Netherlands and Belgium. But NetSuite has the understanding of more in tune with the 21st century business processes such as omnichannel support and more. As these practices become required best practices in Europe over the next years, it will be good to see NetSuite leveraging this advantage.

    On the concern side, NetSuite now needs a European roadmap. European companies are export oriented and very well connected, a common market with the E.U. has created inter-dependencies beyond what NetSuite customers in North America are used to with NAFTA. The Top 3 trading partner for The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg is… Germany. And close behind France. So BeNeLux based customers will ask for support coming for these countries soon – pretty sure NetSuite is aware of that and has a plan.

    But for now congrats to NetSuite who has achieved a remarkable ‘all in’ the BeNeLux from a go to market (local headquarters), product (localized version), services (partnerships with service providers) and delivery (local data centers) capability. Few vendors get that all done for a market launch and seldom we can dissect such a complete offering in a press release, so congratulations. Now we will be watching for the next round of local customer go lives.



    More about NetSuite
    • News Analyis - NetSuite announces Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
    • First Take - NetSuite SuiteWorld - Zach Nelson Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • First Take - Ultimate Software UltiConnect Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Report - Netsuite powers on with targeted innovation - read here
    • Why NetSuite acquired TribeHR - read here
    • Act III the cloud changes everything - Oracle and NetSuite with a touche of Deloitte - read here
    • Act III and final day - A tale of two conferences - Sapphire and SuiteWorld - read here
    • The middle day - 2 keynotes and press releases - Sapphire and SuiteWorld - read here
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases - Sapphire and SuiteWorld - 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 Equifax Insights user conference – held at the beautiful Lone Pine Resort East of Austin. The event is well attended, with more 15% more attendees joining than last year’s edition, showing the traction of the Equifax workforce services division. Compare the earlier editions of this conference from New Orleans (see here) and Scottsdale (see here).


    I recorded a short video of the Top 3 takeaways – take a look here:



    No time to watch? Read on:

    Always hard to pick the Top3 of such an event – but here you go:


    New Leadership– The division has seen a change at the helm with Dan Adams handing he reins to Rodolfo Ploder, who previously ran the US Information Solutions for Equifax. From early impressions both employees and customers are excited about the new leadership, which is likely going to explore more synergies with the rest of Equifax.


    Compliance Progress– The Compliance Center offering is making good progress, this is the area of Equifax Insights that offers I-9 and e-Verify, Direct Deposit and W2 consent, WOTC with eSignature and federal and state tax compliance services. The biggest advancements has been the expansion of the offering beyond the federal to the state level, with all 50 states being supported now. There is market for this, as e.g. 40 states have introduced new hire notice requirements in 2016 alone. Moreover, Equifax Insights makes it easier to integrate with other HCM players, providing out of the box integration to Oracle (Taleo) and iCIMS for a start.


    Unemployment Management– A large part of the Equifax Insights business is the area of unemployment cost management. Equifax Insights is providing key vale for customers, in 2015 alone the vendor has recovered more than $380M in incorrect charges to client accounts. Overall the vendor has managed over 4.8M unemployment claims in the same year. It is good to see that Equifax Insights has reached very high Compliance as a Service (CaaS) levels for this service, offering customers to be the inbox / outbox for all unemployment data and concerns both at a federal and state level.



    MyPOV

    Compliance and Integration both vie for the top concern for HR professional. Enterprises will pay a lot for getting rid of ‘California headache’ and ‘Pennsylvania drowsiness’ in regards of compliance worries. In conversations with CxOs and payroll executives, these professionals peg the value of CaaS close to the same costs as the paycheck. Considering that worldwide payroll and payroll related services are close to a 100B US$ market, CaaS can / could double the addressable market for all existing and potential players. Equifax Insights is well positioned to capture a piece of that market, but is also uniquely positioned to become a much bigger player in this field. As other potential players are concentrating on software challenges and opportunities, CaaS is a unique opportunity for Equifax.

    On the concern side, Equifax Insights needs to keep investing in modern tools and platforms to enable its business. Next to CaaS the vendor has a unique opportunity in DaaS (Data as a Service) helping customers to benchmark themselves, better understand their performance and integrate data into their decision processes. But that is only possible with an advancement in business best practices and investment into platform, coupled with a desire for strategic investment. The good news is that Equifax overall is not a stranger to the insights business and has the financial resources to make this a workable strategy.


    Overall a very good event for Equifax Insights, that is delivering on the insights solutions that the vendor name point to. We will be watching. 



    More on Equifax
    • Event Report - Equifax EFX Forum - Compliance Insights in the cross hairs - and strategic questions - read here
    • Event Report - Equifax Worforce - Preventive Medicine for the HR departrment and a silver lining of DaaS - read here

    More on general HCM topics

    • Musings - Is Transboarding the Future of People Talent Management? Read here
    • Musings - How technology innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the laggards - read here
    • Musings - What is the future of recruiting? Read here
    • HRTech 2014 takeaways - Read here.
    • Why all the attention to recruiting? Read here.

    And  more on Payroll:
    • Could the paycheck re-invent HCM – yes it can – read here.
    • And suddenly, payroll matters again! Read here.
    You can find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here.

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    We had the opportunity to attend the SAP SuccessFactors analyst summit this week, held in San Francisco, we were housed in the historic Argonaut Hotel and sessions took place at the California Museum of Sciences, a very good setup.


    Take a look at the video I recorded shortly after:



    If you want to read and have 2-3 mins – take a look at the 2 page Powerpoint:






    More time to read? Read on:

    Always tough to pick the Top 3 takeaways from 1.5 days of briefings and presentations – but here you go:

    Broad Momentum– You can peg progress by a vendor to revenue, technical growth and reputation. While SAP does not break out revenues for SuccessFactors, they cloud revenues are up. 40M HCM cloud users pay their monthly subscriptions. We know that transactions are up 12x%+ YoY as shared by Kovalevsky– so here is the technical growth. And lastly the SuccessFactors team seems to have become the SAP ‘cloud’ team for enterprise – with being chartered to shepherd the launch of the cloud edition of S/4HANA. All this would not be happening if things were not well in SuccessFactorLand.


    New User Interface– User interfaces across the different products varied quote a bit, with EmployeeCentral getting a lot of the love and latest and greatest techniques (it was needed, the longtime reader remembers the ‘Outlook’ and endless scrolling days) – not so much for the other SuccessFactors products. The start is compelling (see below) now we hope that a common UI will go all across the products, not be stalled at the high level entry screens.


    Focus on Horizontal capabilities– With that SuccessFactors refers to investments that benefit all products, a good approach, especially when there is need for investment. We mentioned UI already, but this is also the consistent use of visualization (e.g. finally the InfoHRM (my guess) data is shown together with the rest of SuccessFactors, on one common UI. The UI is also Fiori or ‘Fiori like’ that helps cross product users of SAP. Equally the investments into reporting (now fully running SAP HANA). Same for the Extensions, that can be built across the product. Same for the new Intelligent Services, with more and events being exposed.


    Analyst Tidbits

    Performance Management– The new approach to performance management has been delivered, in a mobile first approach, as pertaining the 1 to 1 meeting management. Delivering 3 flavors of how Performance Management can be done is a good next step, so we did not see (or missed) how the substantial amount of data from 1 to 1 meetings is collected for performance reviews. And then – what to do in countries where prevailing management culture does not work with weekly 1 to 1s?

    Payroll is making progress with now support for 30 countries, all run from all HR Core data coming from EmployeeCentral (this is the venerable R/3 payroll, hosted for cloud purposes, maybe ugly, but it works).

    Analytics are delivered as announced at SConnect 2015 – for suggested Learning content and Flight Risk. SAP needs to deliver more and faster on ‘true’ Analytics (more here) in order to catch up with the leading vendors.

    Cloud Infrastructure - With now 8 data center locations, and Brazil coming this year. SAP was probably the first HCM vendor allowing international customers to keep data in the Russian Federation, based on the October 1st 2015 deadline to have the primary store for customer, employee and financial data in the Russian Federation. The solution isn’t elegant, but works. And SuccessFactors is working on a better solution (like other vendors). More importantly SuccessFactors can also offer EU based data centers exclusively serviced by EU citizens, another differentiator / early industry achievement.

    Services Innovation– SAP SuccessFactors shared some good and unique ideas on the services and success side, e.g. customers helping each other in a structured forum and many more. The role of a customer experience executive is a good setup that is crucial in SaaS success. Getting partners to build more extensions is going to be the ultimate test for a new way of dealing with partners, who now can / should build product intellectual property.

    Hands on Mobile Experience– Always good for vendors to let the analysts play with their software. A more personal and unique experience. Kudos to SuccessFactors for doing this – but also with one more first: Real BYOD – as the software ran on the analysts smartphones (iOS and Android).

    MyPOV

    SAP SuccessFactors shows good progress. The departure of Dmitri Krakovsky seems to have been well transitioned, with product reins in the hands of Dave Ragones and Thomas Otter. The addition of former industry analyst and PeopleSoft veteran Yvette Cameron is also a good addition to an otherwise stable leadership team. On the Extensions and Intelligent Services SuccessFactors is showing good ideas and even industry leadership.

    On the concern side, SuccessFactors operated on considerable technical debt incurred over the years, mostly before the acquisition. At some point SAP needs to address that, and that will be a substantial investment. It looks to me as if there are some resource constraints (they are always there, but focusing e.g. on ‘horizontal’ is an indication), that are not of immediate concern, but if SAP SuccessFactors wants to be appealing beyond the SAP install base, it needs to start investing in differentiating ideas now. Smart heads for ideas are certainly there, not sure if enough hands to code them are there today and the coming years, when the proceeds of seeds planted in 2016 can be harvested in the form of market share gains.

    But for now good progress for SAP SuccessFactors, which is doing all the right things to build its lead as the most mature SAP cloud offering. Existing customer are in good hands and can see that SAP SuccessFactors delivers what it announced at SConnect 2015 – always a good thing to do for vendors. Now SAP SuccessFactors needs to build out differentiation and get customers to adopt new capabilities, e.g. the new Performance Management. We will be watching and analyzing.

    Still not enough? Wait, there is more... see more posts on SAP and SuccessFactors below followed by a Storify of my tweets from the event, if you want to follow my digital exhaust tweet for tweet. 


    More on SAP:
    • News Analysis - SAP HANA Vora now available... - A key milestone for SAP - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
    • 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


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    We have the opportunity to attend OpenStack Summit 2016, happening in Austin from April 24th till 27th 2016, held at the Austin convention center. Good to see OpenStack coming back to the roots and showing good interest with 7500 attendees.



    So let's take a look at the takeaways in this video:



    No time to watch - checkout my takeaways in the two slides below on Slideshare:



    Time to read on - here is my view:


    MyPOV

    Good to see OpenStack come back to its roots in Austin. I was positive surprised by the attendance of 7500, good to see - as well as substantial investment by Openstack partners in marketing and entertainment. Though industry heavyweights like IBM and HP were not part of the keynote, the keynote was still done well. At times I felt presenters were out of synch with the audience, that said - not sure what the audience composure was, but I assume the same mix like at other cloud vendor events. 

    Kudos to OpenStack for starting the certification process, always something that helps enterprises gain confidence on service capability and service success around new, innovative technologies. And it is clear that NFV / SDN for Telcos runs on Openstack, with both AT&T and Verizon being part of the keynote.  Equally ISVs are taking up OpenStack, with SAP keynoting and Workday being mentioned more than once. The question is - what confidence does this give to the average commercial enterprise. I asked a panel in the press Q&A on the largest commercial uptakes and the answers were the usual suspects of Walmart, eBay and Paypal... which is good that they keep investing, not so good as there is no new name in the fold.

    Stay tuned fore more updates from OpenStack Summit, follow me on Twitter @holgermu and #OpenstackSummit. 


    Sill not enough - check out the collection of my tweets below .. and more interesting blog posts. 


    More Musings
    • Musings - We are entering the age of the Über Super Computer - read here
    • Musings - The Bots are coming to your conversation - what are the implications? - read here
    • Musings - Will Microsoft's Hololens transform the Future of Work? Read here
    • Musings - Implications for CxOs from the DoJ vs Apple tussle - read here
    • Musings - Retail is the breeding ground for NextGen Apps - read here
    • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! Read here
    • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrastructure 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
    • Musings - The era of the No Design Database - read here
    • Musings - What is the future of Recruiting? Read here
    • Musings - Future of Work - is Voice part of it? Post Cortana debut reflections - read here
    • Musings - Can a HANA cloud be elastic? Tough - 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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    During OpenStack Summit in Austin, probably close to a hundred press releases have been published, tough to find the most important one, but this one from IBM stood out for me. Interoperabiity has always been a promise of the OpenStack community and vendors, but it is tough to prove it (and build for it). 




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

    Austin, Texas - 26 Apr 2016: In a move to drive greater cloud interoperability, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it has contributed significant new features to the RefStack Project, which was created as part of the OpenStack community’s effort to drive interoperability across clouds. The ability to move data and apps from one cloud to another is a major obstacle in the evolution of cloud and business.
    MyPOV – Defines well what this is about, making interoperability real.
    RefStack, officially launched last year and to which IBM is the lead contributor, is a critical pillar of IBM’s commitment to ensuring an open cloud – helping to progress the company’s long-term vision of mitigating vendor lock-in and enabling developers to use the best combination of cloud services and APIs for their needs.
    MyPOV – Good to see the history, and a major OpenStack player like IBM getting serious about interoperability.
    RefStack’s new functionality includes improved usability, stability and other upgrades, ensuring better cohesion and integration of cloud workloads running on OpenStack.

    RefStack testing ensures core operability across the OpenStack ecosystem, and passing RefStack is a prerequisite for all OpenStack certified cloud platforms. By working on cloud platforms which are OpenStack certified, developers will know their workloads are portable across IBM Cloud and the OpenStack community.
    MyPOV – More explanation, good to see the importance of RefStack.

    “The OpenStack ecosystem is very rich and rapidly evolving, and provides an extremely strong foundation for real interoperability. However, achieving this will require deep, sustained collaboration across the open community,” said Angel Diaz, Vice President of Cloud Architecture and Technology at IBM. “We are ready and willing to work with every single OpenStack cloud provider on this, and are challenging the OpenStack community to collaborate with us. We are determined to provide customers with the flexibility they want – regardless of their provider – so that they have a global platform for business and innovation.”
    MyPOV – Good quote from Diaz – the sad part is that IBM needs to ‘challenge’ the OpenStack community. As vendor ‘diversity’ was a key argument made in the OpenStack keynotes here in Austin this week, would be good to see that the support for interoperability would be a ‘normal’ step and not a challenge.

    At the OpenStack Summit in Austin, Texas, IBM also announced a formal challenge to community members, asking them to pledge participation in the first-ever October 2016 Interop Challenge. This project will directly work towards building a core language between OpenStack cloud providers by building and deploying test cases for real-world activities performed by everyday users of OpenStack across environments. In October 2016, it will culminate in a public demonstration of interoperability across on-premises, public and hybrid OpenStack cloud deployments.
    MyPOV – Good to see a real challenge, will be good to learn more about the details and if there are any other OpenStack members taking up the challenge.

    As the primary resource for cloud providers to test OpenStack compatibility, RefStack also maintains a central repository and API for test data, allowing community members visibility into interoperability across OpenStack platforms.

    The specific upgrades to the upcoming RefStack release include:
    - User functionality and usability enhancements to allow easier, more streamlined visibility into test data for OpenStack release compatibility.
    - Tempest plug-in enablement to allow users to expand existing test suites to include external test cases.
    - Stability enhancements to expand the availability of the RefStack service and support a growing number of RefStack users.
    - Additionally, RefStack will soon enable vendor registration, allowing community members to easily correlate test results in RefStack’s central repository with specific OpenStack vendors – ensuring results are more transparent.
    MyPOV – Good to see what is coming soon on the RefStack side

    Overall MyPOV

    Good to see an OpenStack member stepping up to an attempt to make the OpenStack interoperability and portability more tangible. Practically all vendors in the field mention this as an advantage, but a heterogeneous ecosystem like OpenStack needs to work harder at making this not only marketing slide ware but real tangible and proven benefits. That is hard work and cost for the vendors involved, with the ultimate risk that loads become portable to the point at being lost from from vendor A to vendor B. So a good topic to talk about, a less attractice one to make really work in practice. To be fair – stickiness is a feature all enterprise software players strive for…

    A look at the contributors (courtesy of stackalytics.com) shows IBM (274 person days), Mirantis (107) and Indendents (70) shows who is working on making RefStack real. It’s not clear what the other vendors will need to do – but I am sure a few vendors will now read up on the RefSteak project. That alone is a benefit for OpenStack.

    The ultimate drive for the challenge would be customer endorsement – all the way to making RefStack test cases part of the RFP and operating SLAs – going beyond the self-policing of the community. We will be watching – stay tuned.

    Check out my first take on OpenStack Summit here.


    More on IBM:

    • Event Report - IBM Interconnect - IBM innovates and partners into the hybrid cloud era - read here
    • 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
    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 OpenStack Summit in Austin this week, our first visit of an OpenStack Summit. Always good to see first hand and in person on how well community, vendors and ecosystem are doing. In short - OpenStack is doing well, growing up and maturing (there are pros and cons to it, more below).



    So take a look at this video for my overall event report (and see my Day #1 blog post here):



    No time to watch? Check out the 2 slide summary:



    More time - read on:

    Tough to pick the Top 3 takeaways - but here you go:
    • OpenStack grows up - I spoke to many OpenStack veterans, including 4 'original' attendees of the very first summit in Austin... and they all see more of an enterprise attendance, more 'suits' and interest from enterprises. That's a welcome and good development.
       
    • Great Story for ISVs and Telcos - but the rest? -  OpenStack has become the de-facto standard for network and device virtualization - with all the benefits of opensource (one major being... 'it's free') as well as for ISVs sitting on complex architectures and looking for ways to move their data centers to a standard, IT accepted offering (e.g. SAP and Workday were presenting). The question is - what about the rest of the enterprise spectrum. We heard encouraging statements from WalMart and WellsFargo - but they were less flamboyant than the 'all in' messages we hear at the public cloud events. An area to watch.
       
    • Right Themes for Mitaka - but where is the sizzle? - Keeping the focus on manageability and usability makes of course a lo of sense for OpenStack, but the community needs to be careful to not spend too much time looking in the rear view mirror. Key innovative cloud areas like Microservice Management, Serverles Architecture, Machine Learning, Bots, In Memory advances, Big Data securing and even security are not land mark items going forward (for now). This is a very challenge of the nature of OpenSource, enterprises and people need to spend time and money to make things work - and sometimes making things work takes a longer time. In the meantime the next innovation pops up somewhere else. In the meantime all these innovative areas offer a differentiation strategy to all OpenStack players - but that can also lead to more fragmentation, with the risk of loosing interoperability and the vendor diversity advantages of OpenStack (see IBM's attempt to stop that in general here). 

    MyPOV

    Good progress by OpenStack. The community has weathered the significant reduction of commitment of a large member (HP) well, and it looks like the roadmap and projects have not taken (too much) of a hit. Good to see more attendees, over 50% first time attendees show an interest beyond the early adopters. And projects are maturing, which on the one side is good to see - but OpenStack may have a 'pipeline' problem. 2013 efforts were balanced across 'Proof of Concept (POC)' / Test and Production - now Production has doubled (good) but the percenage of members in POC mode has gone down to 50% (see below). Are still enough new members looking at OpenStack? 

    OpenStack will have to work hard to keep up the value proposition and create growth vis a vis the prominent public cloud vendors. 2016 and the future will be different as many (e.g. IBM, Microsoft and Oracle) now offer the cloud stack on premises, too - which reduces the value of one of the key OpenStack arguments. We will be watching...

    Still not enough - check out my Storify collections of Day #1 (here), Day #2 (below) and the Analyst Summit (here). 



    More Musings
    • Musings - We are entering the age of the Über Super Computer - reahere
    • Musings - The Bots are coming to your conversation - what are the implications? - read here
    • Musings - Will Microsoft's Hololens transform the Future of Work? Read here
    • Musings - Implications for CxOs from the DoJ vs Apple tussle - read here
    • Musings - Retail is the breeding ground for NextGen Apps - read here
    • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! Read here
    • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrastructure 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
    • Musings - The era of the No Design Database - read here
    • Musings - What is the future of Recruiting? Read here
    • Musings - Future of Work - is Voice part of it? Post Cortana debut reflections - read here
    • Musings - Can a HANA cloud be elastic? Tough - 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 Infosys’ Confluence event in San Francisco, held from April 27th to 29th at the Hilton Union Square. The conference was well attended with over 1500 participants, coming from customers, prospects and the ecosystem, a surge by 50+% over last year. 



    Have a look at my top three takeaways of the event here:



    No time to watch – here is the 1-2 slide condensation:


    Want to read on? Here you go: 


    Always tough to pick the takeaways – but here are my Top 3:

    ZeroDistance – Bringing people closer to technology, and positioning Infosys as the enabler for zero distance between people is a worthy goal and was well received. Amongst the common drivers (technology, education), ‘extreme disintermediation’ was the one that stuck out for me. I think Infosys articulated that well, but did not mention the elephant in the room when it comes to disintermediation, DLT aka Blockchain.

    Mana– Infosys launched a new analytics offerings, for now squarely focused at improving its internal processes, while drinking its own champagne. The champagne brand is IIP – aka Infosys Information platform – that the provider uses to improve efficiency (doing things right) and effectiveness (doing the right thing) for its largest employee population group – L3 support consultants. It’s a great internal showcase looking at the digital exhaust of IT support work – and then come up with faster, better, more automated resolutions.

    Product Progress– The ‘Platform’ family (IIP, IAP, and IKP) is making good progress, with currently 220 engagements and 17 live customers. The ATP statistics work is being done with IIP and it was showcased widely and proudly at Confluence. On the Edge family side (TradeEdge, CreditEdge, ProcureEdge and AssistEdge) Infosys is doing well, too – with now over 60 customers live and doubled revenue.


    Also please take a look at the video colleagues Alan Lepofsky, Doug Henschen and me recorded after Day #1 of Confluence - here.

    MyPOV

    A good event for Infosys, that is showing how it works both at regaining momentum and changing the service provider landscape, with building more IP and products, all the way that Sikka mentioned that the future in services is the combination of software and people. The good news is that Infosys now has the chops to provide it and has created a great internal showcase with Mana. It is clear the executive team has thought this through, as a move to services lowers the cost of service overall, makes people more productive and enables them to server more accounts.

    On the concern side Infosys is in the middle of a transformation that it needs to pass and come out stronger at the end. To become more agile the provider is flattening the organization, a rather unique and for most service providers unique re-organizational process. Changing a hierarchical organization to a flatter one is never trivial. But to be fair – there is no alternative to this transformation given the course Sikka has set for Infosys.

    Overall a good Confluence for Infosys, that is changing ever slightly but determined from a ‘people only’ to a ‘software and people’ model. We will be watching.

    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below. 

    More on Infosys:

    • Progress Report - Infosys Analyst Meeting - Can you transform customers while you transform yourself? Looks like it - 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 looks like the SAP “pre Sapphire leak announcement” tradition that broke 2 years ago is alive and well – today Apple announced a partnership with SAP. It’s not clear what may have motivated Apple to push on the gas pedal in regards of the timeline, apart from the known slowing of iPad Sales and more recently iPhone Sales. With 13 days to Sapphire, there are a number of selling days in the quarter left... 

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


    CUPERTINO, California and WALLDORF, Germany — May 5, 2016 — Apple® and SAP today announced a partnership to revolutionize the mobile work experience for enterprise customers of all sizes, combining powerful native apps for iPhone® and iPad® with the cutting-edge capabilities of the SAP HANA platform. This joint effort will also deliver a new iOS software development kit (SDK) and training academy so that developers, partners and customers can easily build native iOS apps tailored to their business needs.
    MyPOV _ Great introductory paragraph that summarizes the scope well – native apps for iPhone and iPad, a new iOS SDK to run on SAP HANA platform (why not SAP HANA Cloud Platform – HCP – as mentioned later?), and good reference to training (that is often forgotten in partnerships like these).

    “This partnership will transform how iPhone and iPad are used in enterprise by bringing together the innovation and security of iOS with SAP’s deep expertise in business software,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “As the leader in enterprise software and with 76% of business transactions touching an SAP system, SAP is the ideal partner to help us truly transform how businesses around the world are run on iPhone and iPad. Through the new SDK, we’re empowering SAP’s more than 2.5 million developers to build powerful native apps that fully leverage SAP HANA Cloud Platform and tap into the incredible capabilities that only iOS devices can deliver.”
    MyPOV – Good quote from Cook, of course the partnership makes sense, but it is not clear what makes this partnership special. SAP could have (and has) built on iOS (natively) before. Would be good to learn what the ‘incredible capabilities that only iOS can deliver’ are. But let’s read on.

    “We’re proud to take this special partnership between Apple and SAP to a groundbreaking new place,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP. “In giving people an agile and intuitive business experience, we empower them to know more, care more and do more. By combining the powerful capabilities of SAP HANA Cloud Platform and SAP S/4HANA, together with iOS, the leading and most secure mobile platform for enterprise, we will help deliver live data to people wherever and whenever they choose to work. Apple and SAP share a commitment to shaping the future, helping the world run better and improving people’s lives.”
    MyPOV – Good quote of McDermott – though it is not clear what SAP will deliver, new capabilities on SAP HANA Cloud Platform – as mentioned before – and or native apps for S/4HANA. The question is of course – what about the existing applications etc. And interesting that McDermott gives iOS the ‘most secure mobile platform for the enterprise’ badge – without justification. But I guess both CEOs / press teams agreed on the CEOs complimenting each other.

    The companies plan to deliver a new SAP HANA Cloud Platform SDK exclusively for iOS that will provide businesses, designers and developers the tools to quickly and efficiently build their own iOS apps for iPhone and iPad, based on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP’s open platform as a service. These native apps will provide access to core data and business processes on SAP S/4HANA, while taking full advantage of iPhone and iPad features like Touch ID®, Location Services and Notifications.
    MyPOV – Always good to see SAP talk HCP, a product that in my view has not gotten the attention, keynote time, marketing spend etc. that it deserves, as it is vital for both customers and SAP to e.g. create partnerships like this and build innovative next generation applications. Without a good competitive platform SAP won’t be able to do well in enterprise software. So it is good to see HCP mentioned by McDermott twice (!) in one paragraph. And now we learn that S/4HANA processes (APIs?) will be exposed in the SDK, good to know / understand. The question is of course – what happens with all the other SAP applications.

    A new SAP Fiori for iOS design language will take the award-winning SAP Fiori user experience to the next level by combining it with a consumer-grade iOS experience to deliver on the robust user needs in the enterprise and enable developers to build next-generation apps. To help SAP’s 2.5-million member global developer community take full advantage of the new SDK and Apple’s innovative hardware and software, a new SAP Academy for iOS will offer tools and training. The new SDK, design language and academy will begin rolling out before the end of the year.
    MyPOV – Good to see Fiori in the mix, as it should guarantee a high level of UI consistency for SAP users. As much as we live in the ‘mobile first’ world – users are still using browsers (or an iPad) with a different form factor and deserve an ‘as consistent as possible’ user experience. Why it requires a ‘new’ Fiori design language is something we need to understand better… new is good – but more languages also add complexity. Maybe not so close to the 'simple' SAP likes to stress. And as developers could build iOS apps today, why is a new SDK needed? And good to see the know-how dissemination efforts.

    As a part of the partnership, SAP will develop native iOS apps for critical business operations. These apps for iPhone and iPad will be built with Swift™, Apple’s modern, secure and interactive programming language, and will offer a familiar user experience with the SAP Fiori for iOS design language. Workers across industries will be empowered to access the critical enterprise data, processes and user experience they need to make decisions and take action right from their iPhone or iPad through apps designed to enable a field maintenance worker to order parts or schedule service, or a doctor to share the latest patient data with other healthcare professionals.
    MyPOV – The Swift endorsement is a key win for Apple, but does not bide too well for developer productivity in the likely scenario of building cross mobile OS applications. How will a developer build an Android, Windows 10 etc. application working in HCP? Maybe the new Fiori SDK language will address this, though no data to support this in this press release (and I lack the technical ingenuity at this point to figure out if this would work). But in the age of e.g. Google and Microsoft enabling mobile developers to create cross platform applications (see my event reports from Google Cloud Platform here and of Microsoft Build here) this is a step back for SAP developers, and a win for the Apple proprietary, ‘walled garden’ approach to build ecosystems.

    As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable approximately 310,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com. 
    Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.
    MyPOV– No need to comment on the boilerplate closing paragraphs of both SAP and Apple.

    Overall MyPOV

    A good move by Apple and SAP to partner, the question is really, what took both sides so long, almost two years longer than the Apple and IBM partnership. But then Swift was not around – so coming to it late may not be too bad for SAP. With SAP’s market share it makes sense for Apple to partner with the leading enterprise application vendor, but both will have to work hard to get a level of differentiation that justifies the premium prices that Apple hardware commands. And that’s a good hurdle, as premium hardware deserves premium software. The new Fiori SDK may well point in that direction – we will see how good and well the new joint application will do and how much of unique Apple ecosystem feature they will embody (the Apple 3D press, fingerprint sensor, Apple Pay etc come to mind).

    Surprisingly, the announcement is void of details on the go to market side. The press quotes no revenue share between the two vendors. Compared to the similar press release Apple did in July 2014 with IBM (see here), we don’t hear / see / read anything on the services / support side. No mention of marketing / sales either. Where will joint customers get their applications from? The Apple Store? Their own branded Apple Store? Their own branded SAP store? From the app developer? So there are some questions that Apple and SAP will have to answer soon. Also of note, Apple partnered as well with Cisco (see here) late summer 2015, but we have not seen heard much about progress on this partnership. That announcement was also weaker on go to market than the original 'Apple comes to the enterprise' than the one with IBM, so we will have to see how the partnership will pan out going forward. 

    On the concern side - it looks like Apple and SAP may have missed what Facebook, Google and Microsoft recently announced in regards of chat and conversational bots coming to your smartphone. So building 'another' 100 (why is it always 100?) mobile apps may miss the boat on where mobile usage is going. An Apple / SAP partnership bringing S/4HANA (and other systems) capabilities to iMessage would have been in synch with the announcement wave of spring of 2016. But only what has not happened can still happen and Apple / SAP may have left an arrow back there, with Sapphire looming. And fair enough, the whole conversation / chat bot - Conversation as a Platform as Microsoft calls it is in its infancy... but then - if working - would disrupt the whole apps ecosystem. Something that Apple surely does not want, something that SAP is more open to, as it needs to build mobile endpoints that are popular and expected by its customers. 

    What is good to see is the support of HCP, which becomes more and more strategic for SAP with every quarter. Understanding what value SAP can bring to the existing, pre S/4HANA applications will be important for customers as well as for the success of the partnership, as for now – despite ambitions plans for S/4HANA – the bulk of SAP users are and will remain for the foreseeable future on the pre S/4HANA SAP applications. And that’s where the partnership needs to play for the next years to yield the device sales that Apple is hoping to get from this partnership. I expect a lot of SAP customers sitting on 2 more device refresh cycles (assuming a 2 year mobile device refresh cycle) before they will move to S4/HANA en masse. We will be watching – we will likely learn more at Sapphire in Orlando in a few weeks.




    More on SAP:
    • Progress Report - SAP SuccessFactors makes good progress - now needs appeal beyond SAP - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP HANA Vora now available... - A key milestone for SAP - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
    • 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

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    We had the opportunity to attend the Cornerstone Convergence event, held from May 9th till 12th in Los Angeles at the JW Marriott in the LA live neighbourhood. The conference is well attended, though I captured no official attendance numbers, but looks similar to last year’s conference. 



    So take a look at key takeaways from the event:





    No time to watch – here is the 1-2 slide condensation:

    Want to read on? 

    Here you go: Always tough to pick the takeaways – but here are my Top takeaways:

    Cornerstone moves beyond Talent Management– With the announcement of Link, the HR core function Cornerstone shied away to call Core HR product, the vendor is moving beyond Talent Management. Gone are the days that the position was ‘the world does not need another HR Core system’ – but Cornerstone gave good reasons why an HR Core offering makes sense now. Apart from competing with the Big 3 more effectively, Cornerstone has found three valuable scenarios on how it helps its customers with its Link offering. Now it is just announcement days, and Cornerstone will have to move away from a Learning centric story to a platform (with Edge) or HR Core story. I jokingly asked if it will be 3 or 5 years till Cornerstone offers Payroll… and the answer was (of course) ‘Never!’ – but if there is one thing we learn here – never say never in enterprise software.

    Cornerstone Insights takes off– A good 18 months after Cornerstone acquired Evolv, more products in the ‘true’ analytics space (those who take an action or make a recommendation) are becoming real. We saw best candidate fit and best promotion fit as part of the keynote. It looks like Cornerstone is relying mostly on proven scoring algorithms, which come along with the bonus that they can easily be explained to business users. But it is good to see Cornerstone is using the Evolv expertise, bringing this ‘acquihire’ to fruition. For my taste the solution is still risking to be more about visualization than ‘true’ analytics – but the scores are shown and can be used right away. Not its key Cornerstone does not repeat the mistake of some other early ‘true’ analytics pioneers in the HCM space, and does not sell to the HCM leaders (generalization here, of course), and avoids arduous and lengthy proof of concepts – but provides value to the line of business users. Humans are very good at figuring out if analytics work – or not.

    Tons of more product– I jokingly told Cornerstone executives that this Convergence had more product announcements and available than the least three conferences together, and they jokingly agreed, some truth to it. So Cornerstone also announced / made available:

    • Cornerstone View– A ‘tablet first’ version of showing the above Cornerstone Insights in action. Easy to use, information at the finger tips for business users, a good V1 for an important day to day product for business users. 

    • Cornerstone Workforce Planning– Cornerstone offered also a view at the first version of its Workforce Planning product, which used to be high as a mindset of many HR professionals 12-18 months ago. It is good to see the vendor having delivered a solid V1, as with all enterprise planning products, this one also stands and falls with its ability to unseat the tool of choice, Microsoft’s Excel. Too early to tell but off to a good start.
    • Edge Integrate– A year ago Cornerstone announced its ‘paas’ (by purpose with the little ‘p’ as it is not a general purpose PaaS a la e.g. Pivotal CloudFoundry, but a development tool to create, extend and integrate HCM apps), now it delivered the vital integration option. No chance to drill down more into it, stay tuned for more later in the year. 
    • Launch of CyberU– As usually Cornerstone Miller was candid – and going back to the roots, which were free software and pay for content – under the same name today – Cornerstone announced CyberU – available at cyberu.com. A website to source Learning content from MooCs and create / crowdsource content as well. 

    A new User Interface
    – Last year the collected influences scolded Cornerstone on a more dated UI. It is good to see the vendor has listened, has hired is first usability experts (and then quickly more). The result is a much improved usability of the Cornerstone products something customers noted positively. We ran out of time to lift the lid on the approach – so the verdict is still open if this was a ‘lipstick on the famous p…’ or a fundamental overall overhaul. But no matter what the result looks much better putting the Cornerstone UI in the main pack of HCM products out there. Not a bad step ahead in 12 months.

    MyPOV

    Cornerstone is doing well on all fronts. The vendor has a shot at breaking even for the first time in 2016 based on GAAP rules and is expanding its product offering, boldly, more bold than I would have expected. This could be the strategic junction where it is clear that Cornerstone has left the ‘Talent Management only’ offering, and is moving to cover much more HCM automation (for now with Link in HR Core and with Workforce Planning gets into Workforce Management). It’s also good to see that Cornerstone is doing some good housekeeping on the technology and platform side, as other vendors are, too – but we did not hear that much from Cornerstone before, so things are definitively moving ‘behind the scenes’, too. All of these means that Cornerstone moves from a very key Talent Management vendor to an overall HCM player, and CHROs and CIOs needs to re-adjust their bearings in the market place.

    On the concern side the operational challenges only get bigger for Cornerstone. While it needs to compete with the Big 3 and becomes more effective with Link when the conversation gets expanded to HR Core, it needs to fund and deliver on the R&D and overall know how acquisition. So a roadmap of Link (and other products) will be good to share soon, as customers and prospects need to know where to invest – and where not. With roadmaps available even publicly by some competitors, Cornerstone will have to double down on the same and related efforts. But there is always room for hard charging and hardworking vendors in enterprise software, and Cornerstone is certainly one of them.

    And most importantly the vendor has shown to listen to market, customers and influencers, has upgraded usability and painted a compelling vision going forward. So a very good Convergence for Cornerstone and its customers and ecosystem… now its execution time. We will be watching and analyzing - as you know.



    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (and my analyst meeting tweets are here).

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



    More on Cornerstone
    • Progress Report - Cornerstone innovates with Analytics, PaaS and Learning, but needs to watch the basics - read here
    • News Analysis - Cornerstone On Demand announces CornerstoneEdge, the 1st PaaS Solution for the Talent Management Industry - read here
    • Progress Report - Cornerstone completest Talent Management - what is next - read here 
    • Event Report - Cornerstone re-imagines Talent Mangament - and itself - read here


    More HCM Musings blog posts
    • Musings - The Bots are coming to your conversation - what are the implications? Read here
    • Musings - We are entering the age of the Über Super Computer - read here
    • Musings - Retail is the breeding ground for NextGen Apps - read here
    • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! Read here
    • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrastructure 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
    • Musings - What is the future of Recruiting? Read here
    • Why all the attention to Recruiting? Read here

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    We have the opportunity to attend Salesforce’s Connections conference in Atlanta, held from May 10th to 12th 2016. The conference is well attended with over 5000 participants, coming from customers, prospects and the ecosystem. My impression of the attendance was that it was energized and looking forward to use more of the Salesforce marketing offerings. 





    So take a look at my musings on the event here:




    No time to watch – here is the 1-2 slide condensation:


    Want to read on? Here you go: Always tough to pick the takeaways – but here are my Top 3 (check out my colleague Alan Lepfosky’s takeaways in this video, too):

    Lightning coming to Marketing Cloud– Similar to what Salesforce has announced and provided for Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, its Lightning framework is coming, has come to Marketing Cloud. Lightning has multiple facets, it affects the user experience (to come), provides a platform (available) and a collection on components to build new applications (the Lightning Components). It is good to see Salesforce pursue a consistent strategy and the marketing required / to be provided Lightning Components will make the Lightning platform stronger and more powerful. Classic platform benefits.

    The Builders and Studios are here - Salesforce has harmonized product naming with a group of 5 Builders and 5 Studios (check out the video above for the details). The Builders provide horizontal support across all marketing activity (e.g. the Audience Builder takes are of audience / segmentation activity) and the Studios power channel execution above the Builders (e.g. the new Email Studio takes care of email marketing). A good simplification and consistent way to group products. Special kudos to Salesforce Bryan Wade who even the keynote picked up my tweets for clarification – and addressed the role of Builders and Studios during the keynote. A first and as it by the way should be – for a marketing automation vendor – listening to the audience. Well done.

    Predictive Analytics for Journey Builder– Journey Builder featured prominently at Connections, as it choreographs the digital relationship with customers, a functionality at the very heart of Marketing Cloud. But the need for explicit definition of customer journeys can only go so far. With cheap compute from the Cloud, BigData and ‘true’ analytics (more here) – customer journeys should not be deterministic, but fluid creation of the digital exhaust of existing customer behavior. Using predictive analytics (mostly Scoring) is a good first step departing from the deterministic philosophy.


    MyPOV

    A good Connections for Salesforce, the vendor is investing into the product, probably bringing more functionality together through the Builders and Studios than ever before. Good to see the commonality with the Lightning adoption and the next generation Application capabilities that the Lightning platform, combined with Lightning components offer. The predictive analytics capabilities for Journey Builder are encouraging steps to move away from deterministic to probabilistic customer journeys, that are key in the 21st century given the erratic and multi-persona behavior both consumers and customers show.

    On the concern side Salesforce is taking some time to unify the user experience. Granted Lightning as a platform is 1.5 years old, the user experience only a little more than 6 months, but a common user experience coming to Marketing Cloud 3+ years after the acquisition of ExactTarget is not ‘lightning’ speed (pun intended). And overall Salesforce has to straddle the chasm of operating two platforms, the existing force.com (that runs Sales Cloud and Service Cloud) and the Marketing Cloud platform that goes across force.com, the products legacy platforms and newer offerings with Lightning (with Heruko, AWS). But by now that is pretty much modus operandi for Salesforce and its customers, so the integration and operation ‘tax’ are factored in. It would be good to harmonize on a single platform sooner than later for Salesforce – hoping we will learn more at Dreamforce later this year.

    But overall a good event for Salesforce and its Marketing Cloud product, the ecosystem interest is good, customers are energized, and Salesforce in investing in new products and capabilities, that make Marketing Cloud a must shortlist product for customers who use other Salesforce products, and certainly a long list vendor for overall marketing automation selections.

    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below.

    More about Salesforce:
    • Event Scorecard - Salesforce Dreamforce 2015 - App, Analytics, IoT... - pre event thoughts assessment - read here
    • Event Report - Salesforce Dreamforce - Value for customers - but some concerns on direction - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Unveils Breakthrough Salesforce IoT Cloud, Powered by Salesforce Thunder - First dips into IoT - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Unveils the Next Wave of Salesforce Analytics Cloud—Delivering Actionable Insights Across the Customer Success Platform - Glass half full - and half empty! Read / watch here
    • Event Preview - What I would like Salesforce to address this Dreamforce 2015 - read / watch here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Announces Salesforce App Cloud - A Unified Platform for Building Connected  Apps, Fast - It’s all coming together, across the clouds - read here
    • News Analysis - alesforce Delivers Salesforce1 Lightning Components and App Builder […] - More productivity for Admins and Developers - read here
    • News Analysis - News Analysis - Salesforce Launches Salesforce Shield - More PaaS capabilities coming to Salesforce1 Platform - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Transforms Big Data Into Customer Success with the Salesforce Analytics Cloud - Read here
    • News Analysis - Market Move - Salesforce (re) enters HCM - will it rypple the market this time? - Read here
    • Event Report - Salesforce Dreamforce - A Customer Succes Platform, Analytics and Lightning - but really Salesforce is re-platforming - read here
    • Constellation Research Summary of Salesforce Dreamforce 2014 - read here
    • Research Summary - An in depth look at Salesforce1 - Better packaging or new offerng? Read here.
    • Dreamforce 2013 Platform Takeaways - All about the mobile platform - or more? Read here
    • Platform ecosystems are hard - Salesforce grows it - FinancialForce shrinks it - read here.
    • Our take on Salesforce.com Identity Connect - from three angles - Identity, CRM and PaaS - read here.
    • Takeaways from the Salesforce and Workday Strategic Partnership - read here.
    • Act II - The Cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
    • How many Pivots make a Pirouette? Salesforce's last Pivot - read here.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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    Taking a short moment to collect my thoughts on what SAP could / should address this Sapphire.



    So take a look:



    No time to watch - then read the one slide summary:


    MyPOV

    An important Sapphire for SAP - the vendor has to show value to its customer base in regards its big bets of network economy, S4/HANA and continued investment into HANA. By the bulk SAP has not (yet) convinced the install base to move to its new innovations, so it will be key how the vendor messages, positions and delivers its value proposition this SapphireNow, to keep customers, prospects, partners and the overall ecosystem interested in SAP - and even more readily to invest in the next generation of SAP products. 


    More on SAP:
    • News Analysis - Apple & SAP Partner to Revolutionize Work on iPhone & iPad - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP SuccessFactors makes good progress - now needs appeal beyond SAP - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP HANA Vora now available... - A key milestone for SAP - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
    • 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

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    As attendees head to San Jose for this year's main SuiteWorld event of NetSuite, time to collect some thoughts and share what I will be looking out for at this event.




    So take a look at my musings:




    No time to watch - take a look at this 1 slide summary:


    MyPOV

    An important event for NetSuite, like all successful cloud veterans, NetSuite operates on top of a 'mature' architecture. It will have to show how it renovates and innovates on a platform perspective to keep the momentum with its customers and the ecosystem, setting both up for success beyond 2020. NetSuite will also have to show functional extension beyond its current scope, though that is less of a direct priority, and it will do well when opening its platform for customers and partners to extend NetSuite applications - and maybe build their own. Stay tune for more today. 


    More about NetSuite
    • News Analysis – NetSuite speaks BeNeLux – expands into Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg - read here
    • News Analyis - NetSuite announces Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
    • First Take - NetSuite SuiteWorld - Zach Nelson Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • First Take - Ultimate Software UltiConnect Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Report - Netsuite powers on with targeted innovation - read here
    • Why NetSuite acquired TribeHR - read here
    • Act III the cloud changes everything - Oracle and NetSuite with a touche of Deloitte - read here
    • Act III and final day - A tale of two conferences - Sapphire and SuiteWorld - read here
    • The middle day - 2 keynotes and press releases - Sapphire and SuiteWorld - read here
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases - Sapphire and SuiteWorld - 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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    This morning SAP's Sapphire user conference kicked off in Orlando, traditionally with the CEO keynote.




    Always tough to pick the Top 3 takeaways - but here you go:

    Empathy is the new Leitmotiv - 2 years ago Bill McDermott used 'simple' as key messaging umbrella for SAP, today he switched it over to customer empathy. He had the heads / leaders of Ariba, Concur, Hybris and SuccessFactors including former CTO Clark on stage - all stating how much SAP has done already in regards of empathy. 

    Digital Boardroom - In a follow up to last year, we got walked through the latest version of the SAP Digital Boardroom, again with the statement that it was used 'just a few days ago'. Always good to see vendors drinking their own champagne, but in my view the Boardroom is too much about visualization and too little about insights and what ifs that are triggered by software, not the humans. 

    SAP & Microsoft - In a major partnership commitment, Microsoft CEO Nadella was on stage, sharing his view in a panel with McDermott on how business best practices are changing in the digital age. Good to hear their views - would also be good to have learned more on the new partnership announced today (see here), which basically means that SAP has found its first leading IaaS outlet to run both HANA and S4/HANA. Will be interesting to see what the benefits for customers are and what the implications are for SAP's own #IaaS ambitions. 


    MyPOV

    A good start for Sapphire, a good keynote with McDermott, that instead of slides used a conversational format and not less than three panels to get multiple point of views on stage. The Microsoft partnership has the biggest impact - if executed. It is good news for customers, and setup well - as SAP needs to defined and build out its own IaaS capacity and that requires a lot of Capex, on the other side Microsoft is looking for load to keep expanding Azure. The biggest load with conformity that is out there is the load generated by SAP, so a good objective. But a lot of execution needs to happen to make the customer succeed, and that's what matters the most.  

    Check out below a Storify of my Day #1 keynote tweets. 


    More on SAP:
    • Event Preview - SAP Sapphire 2016 - What to expect and look for - read here
    • News Analysis - Apple & SAP Partner to Revolutionize Work on iPhone & iPad - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP SuccessFactors makes good progress - now needs appeal beyond SAP - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP HANA Vora now available... - A key milestone for SAP - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
    • 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

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    Later this week we will see Google's key developer conference, Google I/O start in Mountain View, so it's time to bring thoughts in order around what to expect.


    So take a look at my musings:




    No chance to watch - here is the one slide summary: 


    MyPOV

    A key event for Google, first of all we will have to see if this will be a Google I/O in the format of the 2015 edition, which was focussed all over Android, omitting the broad coverage of the previous editions. Regardless of that it will be important for Google to keep developers focussed on the target, build more Android applications, and get more differentiation from Google Cloud Platform for them. No surprise - as shared at Google Cloud Platform - those differentiators are around Machine Learning, Analytics and Big Data. Google Now on Tap was going to make them more tangible for developers, but the relatively small uptake of Android M makes innovations like these less widely available. Backward compatibility of new features that Google is likely going to announce around Android N will be key. And lastly it will be all about generating load for Google Cloud Platform - may it come from Android or new innovations. It will be an exciting Google I/O. Stay tuned. 


    More about Google:
    • Event Report – Google Google Cloud Platform Next – Key Offerings for (some of) the enterprise - read here
    • First Take - Google Cloud Platform - Takeaways Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - Google launches Cloud Dataproc - read here
    • Musings - Google re-organizes - will it be about Alpha or Alphabet Soup? Read here
    • Event Report - Google I/O - Google wants developers to first & foremost build more Android apps - read here
    • First Take - Google I/O Day #1 Keynote - it is all about Android - read here
    • News Analysis - Google does it again (lower prices for Google Cloud Platform), enterprises take notice - read here
    • News Analyse - Google I/O Takeaways Value Propositions for the enterprise - read here 
    • Google gets serious about the cloud and it is different - read here
    • A tale of two clouds - Google and HP - read here
    • Why Google acquired Talaria - efficiency matters - read here


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

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    It is SAP’s annual user conference that is happening in Orlando, so it’s the time of the big announcements, and SAP did not disappoint, having Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella join SAP CEO Bill McDermott on stage. 



    So let’s take the press release apart in our custom style – it can be found here (also check out my overall take on the Day #1 keynote – here):

    ORLANDO, Fla. — May 17, 2016 — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: “MSFT”) today announced joint plans to deliver broad support for the SAP HANA® platform deployed on Microsoft Azure, simplify work through new integrations between Microsoft Office 365 and cloud solutions from SAP, and provide enhanced management and security for custom SAP Fiori® apps. This announcement was made at the 28th annual SAPPHIRE® NOW conference.
    MyPOV – A good summary, trying to match it in brevity one could say – SAP finds it’s IaaS platform with Azure.
    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and SAP CEO Bill McDermott will take the stage together at SAPPHIRE NOW today to discuss the expanded partnership that will help organizations use the cloud to drive innovation, agility and enable new ways to work.
    MyPOV – Yes they did – in a good conversation moderated by a SAP master of ceremonies, it was clear that both CEOs want to make this partnership work,
    “At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering organizations to advance their digital transformations,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Together with SAP, we are bringing new levels of integrations between our products that provide businesses with enhanced collaboration tools, new insights from data and a hyper-scale cloud to grow and seize new opportunities ahead.”
    MyPOV – Good quote from Nadella, tying in what Microsoft brings to the table with Office, BigData and Azure – all for helping customers through digital transformation.
    “We believe the IT industry will be shaped by breakthrough partnerships that unlock new productivity for customers beyond the boundaries of traditional platforms and applications,” said McDermott. “SAP and Microsoft are working together to create an end-user experience built on unprecedented insight, convenience and agility. The certification of Microsoft Azure infrastructure services for SAP HANA along with the new integration between Microsoft Office 365 and cloud solutions from SAP are emblematic of this major paradigm shift for the enterprise.”
    MyPOV – Equally good quote from McDermott, but interesting to see the emphasis on user experience. Using the ocean liner metaphor it looks like SAP is on the ‘sun deck’ and Microsoft closer to the ‘machine room’ – both important places, and synergistic for both vendors.

    New Deployment Option: SAP HANA on the Microsoft Azure cloud
    With SAP HANA on Azure, organizations across all industries will be able to deliver mission-critical applications and data analytics on a global scale with enterprise-grade security and compliance. Working together, the companies are certifying SAP HANA to run development, test and production workloads on Microsoft Azure, including SAP S/4HANA. These new offerings for SAP HANA are built to handle customers’ largest and most demanding workloads.

    MyPOV – Bringing HANA to Azure is a good move for both vendors, as SAP gets an IaaS platform, and Microsoft gets load from the enterprise. Barring details, it may point to a hasty defined partnerships, it would be good to know which instance types will be available for customers, how to migrate to them etc. And by definition when HANA runs, S4/HANA can run, too – equally, more details needed here.

    Early adopters of this new offering, such as Coats, Rockwell Automation and Nortek, have already experienced the benefits of deploying SAP HANA on Azure. According to Sujeet Chand, senior vice president & chief technology officer from Rockwell Automation, “The Microsoft Azure platform provides us the scalability, security and level of services needed to confidently run our most demanding SAP HANA and Big Data applications. We are excited to be an early adopter of running SAP HANA on Microsoft Azure since it is an important capability in helping us realize our vision for The Connected Enterprise and advanced data analytics.”
    MyPOV – Always good to see when vendors follow customers, even better when customers are already using the joint offering. It is not clear though why Coats Rockwell Automation and Nortek moved to Azure – vs an on premises install or vs. running HANA in the SAP cloud. Databases by their very nature cannot be elastic (see an early musings post here) even though SAP discovered elasticity from data federation later (my musings here). Both vendors will have to make the value proposition of their joint offering more tangible.
    Cloud Services Integrations: Public Cloud Solutions from SAP and Office 365 
    Every day, millions of business users work in Microsoft and SAP® solutions, creating documents, reading e-mails, filing expense reports, invoicing vendors and more. New integrations between the companies will combine Office 365 communications, collaboration, calendar, documents and other data with cloud solutions from SAP, including Concur, SAP Fieldglass®, SAP SuccessFactors®, and SAP Ariba® solutions, helping employees improve their overall productivity.
    MyPOV – Good to see that both vendors move their long term partnership around Office to the cloud age – but this time not only integrating the classic ERP scenarios, but also the newer SAP offerings of Concur and SuccessFactors. In the keynote both vendors showed a call out to Concur from Office, and vice versa, a Leave of Absence request from SuccessFactors into Office.

    At SAPPHIRE NOW, Microsoft and SAP will demonstrate several of these integrations between Office 365 and cloud solutions from SAP. These new capabilities will be available starting in third quarter of 2016, with plans to release additional integration features in the future.

    MyPOV – Always good to see near term deliverables – the question is though, how will the cloud make it different. Previous partnerships – also announced at Sapphire – e.g. on Duet have gotten more than quiet in recent years. Why it will be different this time (it’s in the cloud?!) needs to be explained.

    Flexibility in the Cloud: Management and Security of Custom SAP Fiori Apps 
    SAP will enable its customers to build and deploy custom mobile hybrid SAP Fiori apps on SAP HANA Cloud Platform with an open standards plug-in framework. As part of this framework, customers can build apps that can be managed, deployed and better protected with Microsoft Intune. Using the cloud build process as part of SAP Fiori, cloud edition, app publishers will be able to embed Microsoft Intune management capabilities in their apps, leveraging the same capabilities used by Office 365 mobile apps. The integration is expected to be available in the third quarter of 2016. At SAPPHIRE NOW, SAP will demonstrate this end-to-end capability as part of SAP Fiori, cloud edition.
    MyPOV – Another synergy area to explore – using Microsoft Intune as MDM for mobile apps built by Fiori. Even though SAP has its own MDM capabilities with Afaria, it is good seeing SAP adopting an open archiecture for MDM, that enables stategic partnerships like this one with Microsoft.

    Overall MyPOV

    The Microsoft and SAP partnership goes into the cloud era, overall probably we are nearing a double digit number, from support for Windows NT in early days, SQL Server in the late 90ies etc. Even Nadella brought up a discussion between former CEOs Gates and Plattner at a Sapphire conference… so there is a lot of (good) history between the two vendors. And partnering makes sense for both Microsoft and SAP, though both need to make a better job in regards of the benefits, and why (e.g. for Office) it is different this time. And customers surely want to learn more about cost / licensing and pricing. To be fair it is early days – so stay tuned, and Sapphire is still young.

    The biggest potential implication is the SAP HANA / S4/HANA deployment on Azure. Microsoft needs load that fuels Azure post the Office365 migrations, so going after the most uniform, single vendor load in the enterprise – SAP – makes tremendous sense. The partnership does not solve the challenge that SAP has, that customers are more slowly than fast adopting the move to both HANA and S/4HANA, something SAP is trying to address this Sapphire, so stay tuned on the topic. In its most extreme form, the partnership could be the beginning of SAP abandoning its own IaaS plans with SAP Cloud. SAP never had the same IaaS ambitions like e.g. Oracle, but this partnership could be pulling a page from the Infor playbook (where a public cloud deployment is always on Amazon AWS). But that’s too early to call, but would also mean that SAP will ‘leak cloud $s’ – as the infrastructure payments would go to Microsoft. 

    That this partnership has potential and its respect in the industry can be seen by the fact that Amazon AWS was motivated to ship its own press release on SAP customers running (also in production, HANA mentioned but mostly older SAP products, but no S/4HANA) on AWS (see here). The question now is – will SAP move up the stack and focus on PaaS (with Hana Cloud Platform) and SaaS (…) or will it invest into a SAP Cloud IaaS (project Monsoon), as currently most SAP cloud runs on SAP’s built or acquired infrastructure. For now we already know the SAP cloud future is going to be multi cloud for the future, running and supporting its own cloud and Azure (for now).

    So some key decisions ahead from SAP, hoping to get some more clarity this week at Sapphire, stay tuned.

    More on Microsoft:
    • Musings - Will Microsoft's Hololens transform the Future of Work? Read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2016 - A platform vision and plenty of tools for next generation applications - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Build 2016 - Day 1 Keynote Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Microsoft Build 2016 - Top 3 Things to watch for developers, managers and execs...  read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft - New Hybrid Offerings Deliver Bottomless Capacity for Today's Data Explosion - read here
    • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
    • 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.



    And more on SAP:
    • First Take -  SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Preview - SAP Sapphire 2016 - What to expect and look for - read here
    • News Analysis - Apple & SAP Partner to Revolutionize Work on iPhone & iPad - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP SuccessFactors makes good progress - now needs appeal beyond SAP - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP HANA Vora now available... - A key milestone for SAP - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
    • 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

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    We have the opportunity to attend NetSuite’s SuiteWorld user conference in San Jose, held from May 17th till May 19th 2016. The conference is well attended with over 5000 participants, coming from customers, prospects and the ecosystem. 



    So take a look at this short video:






    No time to watch? Here are my one slide, Top 3 takeaways:



    Want to read on?

    Here you go: Always tough to pick the takeaways – but here are my Top 3:


    NetSuite grows up– CEO Nelson shared a dazzling number of stats how large NetSuite has become, largely in technical terms, nonetheless impressive. And NetSuite is well on the way to become a 1B$+ software company, there are not too many out there who are in this illustrious club.

    Best Practices Innovation– Nelson focused on what enterprises needed to do in the age of digital transformation and what NetSuite is doing to help them, obviously tying this into key new capabilities of NetSuite: 

    • Intelligent Order Management will help enterprises to fulfill orders, across channels, an important capability given NetSuites’s recent push into omni-commerce.
    • Suite Billing across all different business models will be supported by NetSuite. President McGeever coined the new capability well with ‘if you can sell it – you can bill it’. Given the number of billing partners, I am curious on the reaction out of the partner ecosystem in the next weeks.
    • More global capabilities – NetSuite will keep investing into more global capabilities for its OneWorld product, a good move. .

    paaS comes to NetSuite– NetSuite has always done a good job maintaining its platform, e.g. allowing customization from the start. But it never went so far to court developers and encourage enterprises to build larger, more strategic functionality on top of NetSuite. But that is changing, with a first, small developer area being established at SuiteWorld, and even more importantly gets into PaaS with a little ‘p’ via the Suite Development Framwork (SDF)

    MyPOV

    A good SuiteWorld event for NetSuite. The vendor is making the right moves to energize the ecosystem, and keep customers happy. An accelerated path to implementation, stopping the gap between what was demoed and what was really developed is a vital and valuable strategy in the cloud era.

    My concern in NetSuite operating for (maybe too) long on a 'mature' technology stack has been addressed high level with moves towards Hadoop processing, machine learning capabilities (a start) and better system configuration.

    Now NetSuite needs to show it can really grow an ecosystem, create an open marketplace that creates the synergies needed to create such an ecosystem. It was also good to see that NetSuite keeps investing into good housekeeping - around performance improvements and new functionality. All this addresses potential medium term concerns very well, and NetSuite remains a vendor that is likely to make the shortlist for an enterprise that is looking for a complete, cloud based ERP suite.



    More about NetSuite
    • Event Preview - NetSuite Suiteworld 2016 - read here
    • News Analysis – NetSuite speaks BeNeLux – expands into Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg - read here
    • News Analyis - NetSuite announces Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
    • First Take - NetSuite SuiteWorld - Zach Nelson Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • First Take - Ultimate Software UltiConnect Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Report - Netsuite powers on with targeted innovation - read here
    • Why NetSuite acquired TribeHR - read here
    • Act III the cloud changes everything - Oracle and NetSuite with a touche of Deloitte - read here
    • Act III and final day - A tale of two conferences - Sapphire and SuiteWorld - read here
    • The middle day - 2 keynotes and press releases - Sapphire and SuiteWorld - read here
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases - Sapphire and SuiteWorld - 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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