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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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    First Take – Google I/O 2016 – Day #1 Keynote – Enterprise Takeaways [From the Fences]

    It’s a busy week in May and I missed being in person in Mountain View for the Day #1 keynote of Google I/O due to another conference, incoventiently located in Florida, but that gave me a chance to watch the livestream recording on the flight back.




    Instead of rehashing all announcement – here are my Top 3 takeaways for the enterprise, so take a look:


    No time to watch - take a look at my one slide summary:

    First Take - Google Google I/O - Day #1 Keynote - Enterprise Takeaways from Holger Mueller

    I plan to add more commentary later today.


    MyPOV

    A good start of I/O for Google. The event has the format of the 2015 edition of I/O - full focus on Android, no distractons, no moonshots, the message is clear - build Android apps on the Google (Cloud) Plaform, using differentiators like speech recognition, artificial intelligence and virtual reality (more of a future). 

    When Google misses a platform - like for chat - it is in the good position to 'just' create one - with Allo and Duo. Both have an uphill battle to really get the clicks, attention, typing, talking of the users - as there are many, more popular as longer introduced chat products. What is clear for enterprises that are consumer facing - it's time to look at the chat / bot / conversation frameworks. Too much eyes and investment is on this right now, and the risk to be late and left out key business, assuming all this will work and will be widely adopted, is simply to big. 

    It's good to see that Google is doing clear housekeeping on Android, improving performance, adding features. And the approach to virtual reality is very consistent to the overall Android approach - device diversity across many headset and phone makers. We now have three very different approaches how to tackle the VR / AR future across Facebook, Google and Microsoft - so it will be interesting to watch how this pans out. Stay tuned for more from Google I/O this week. 



    More about Google:
    • Event Preview - Google's Google I/O 2016 - read here
    • 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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    We had the opportunity to attend Sapphire in Orlando, held from May 17th to 19th in Orlando. The Day #2 keynote is traditionally about product, and so it was also in 2016.


    The keynote was divided across the three board members Rob Enslin, Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh. Take a look at my musings on the event here:


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




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

    S/4HANA has traction  - but is it enough? Robert Enslin shared what he called the ‘digital imperative’ to become a digital enterprises, where SAP provides the digital core with S/4HANA. Enslin shared that over 3200 S/4HANA licenses have been sold, 800 projects are implementing and over 160 customers are live. That’s good progress over the year, but not too much given the vast install base of SAP. I asked Enslin and Leukert on what may hold back S/4HANA adoption – and their view was in general, that all is well as S/4HANA adoption has surpassed expectations. Enslin said SAP has now to ramp up implementation resources and training, and roadmaps for customers, something to expect by end of Q2. Leukert shared that S/4HANA has made the HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) one of the faster growing products. Brave answers from both board members, but in my view it is clear that S/4HANA adoption - especially in public cloud, remains a challenge for SAP. 



    HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) and PaaS debut in Sapphire keynote – For the longest time I have been wondering what holds SAP executives back from mentioning HCP in keynotes… well no longer the case – as Leukert spoke about PaaS and HCP multiple times. HCP was key in a demo (shown by legendary SAP demo man Ian Kimball) on manufacturing cars and in an (how else could it be in 2016) an IoT demo. Leukert did not stop there and went through the 3 core HCP scenario of Extend (SAP apps), integrate (SAP and 3rd party apps) and Create brand new applications. And HCP was the core of Leukert’s presentation – as HCP Integration capabilities are now the standard SAP integration platform between S/4HANA and all the other SAP SaaS properties.



    The network apps vision gets a healthcare perspective - It was for Steve Singh to close the keynote, with refreshing thoughts, like thinking what best practice will be best practice in the future - not what is being done right now. Obviously connectivity is key for network applications, so he spend time on the topic of connectivity to the user, 3rd parties and SAP (I reversed the sequence to a better one IMO), all done via microservices and HCP (again!). The big news of his keynote was the announcement of a healthcare initiative, starting with a medical record. Certainly a connected application with a lot of potential as network application. SAP went so far to even invest in a healthcare player, benefits analytics vendor Castlight (see here).  

    MyPOV

    A good keynote by the three board members, each picking a specific area. The Nestle CIO conversation was certainly a highlight of Sapphire and should become a school book example for customers on how to behave on stage at a conference. He wasn't shy to mention the good, the bad and the ugly - very well done. 

    On the concern side we have the S/4HANA adoption. To a certain problem this is a challenge of SAP's making, since this is the largest disruption since SAP customers moved from R/2 to R/3. And then lower operating costs made enterprises move to R/3 as soon as SAP was ready to provide the R/2 scope...  Today the value proposition to move is more challenging, as the cost advantages are not tangible, the cloud is uncertain and often (still) faced with concern and SAP has not provided the full / similar scope of the Business Suite. One could argue that SAP will never have to deliver the same functionality in the cloud era, but customers are concerned that they maybe missing out on something that is very important to them. Unfortunately customers cannot articulate too well often, what is really important to them, too. 

    But overall a good keynote and key progress with (finally) mentioning and positioning HCP, an the GA of HANA VORA, the Spark based Hadoop / BigData capabilities that SAP announced late summer of last year. Both are crucial to help customer adoption, solve the integration challenge and keep SAP at the table when enterprises select vendor for next generation application platform selections. 

    Looking forward to Day #3 - traditionally the Plattner keynote.... 

    More on SAP:

    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • 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

    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below.


    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 Google’s I/O conference, the vendor’s premiere developer conference that has moved out of San Francisco back to Mountain View, to Shoreline Theater, an unusual venue, but Google did a very good job transforming the event space into a conference space. 

    Google had over 20+ announcement – for the most important ones, checkout CEO Pichai’s blog here

    So take a look:



    No time to watch - read the one slide summary:


    More time? Read on: Check out my First Take on the Day #1 keynote here, and below is what I thought are the Top 3 from an enterprise perspective:

    Android N is the platform– Google is pushing forward its Android mobile OS with version N, which for the first time has no name yet. Android head Burke even offered to crowdsource the name of the next Android version. Google is shipping / delivering Android earlier to headset makers than ever, so there is a sense of urgency on Android at Google. We got briefed in detail on Android Studio, which is the IDE for 90+% of Android developers, the new version has a clear cut focus on efficiency, with faster build times, better UI design tools and improved test automation. Firebase is doing well as ecosystem management tool – both in the direction of test and monetization. But the key takeaways is that Android is doing well, it’s the platform for Google next Virtual Reality (VR) with Daydream as well as the vendors Augmented Reality (AR) ambitions with Tango. Android apps now run on Chrome OS devices, and new container based running applications that do not need to be installed, application ‘slicing’ regardless of app install and fast browser based execution are all differentiating capabilities for a mobile OS. For enterprises it means that Android is both a key platform for internal deployments as well as a platform customers will be using, so it is key to account for it in the mobile platform plans for the next 3-5 years (no surprise, but a confirmation).

    Artificial Intelligence Everywhere
    – Google launched its general purpose software based assistant with Google assistant, leveraging the very good (it understands even me!) speech recognition of Google Now. Google showed some impressive longitudinal conversations that allowed follow up questions. And coupled with the more consumer centric Google Home device, Google assistant can be a powerful consumer solution. Both matter for enterprises who want to do business with consumers, as they need to build the applications that can communicate with the consumers / users. Google said it will ship the tools / frameworks to build these apps later in the year. With Facebook and Microsoft also launching chat / conversation based offerings, it is clear that enterprises who need and want exposure in conversations / chats need to look at the framework to build these apps. Unfortunately – similar to mobile platforms – enterprises will face a variety of different platforms to build chat / conversation apps with e.g. Facebook Messenger, Skype and WhatsApp – and now the new announced Google chat client Allo (and video conversation app Duo - check out my colleague Alan Lepofsky's take on them here). In the backend this drives massive amounts of compute that can only be provided by the cloud, and that’s what all three players are angling for (and let’s not forget AWS here, too). Here a finishing keynote comment by Pichar in regards of Tensor Processing Units (TPUs - purpose built GPUs that run Google’s open sourced machine learning platform TensorFlow) was a little nugget of insight.

    VR 2.0 is here with Daydream – but it takes two to Tango (pun intended)– Google spend a lot of time show casing and launching its VR offering with Daydream, that runs on Android N. Google choose the ‘Android’ approach by publishing spec for headsets and devices, limiting itself to the important controller. That differs from Facebook’s and Microsoft’s approach to AR / VR / Mixed Reality – so it will be interesting to follow the space. The graphic capabilities in the demos were a little pedestrian, but it is early days. On the AR side, Google Tango was shown in smaller meetings, it is Google’s AR offering. Why both are not presented together, at the same event is a mystery to me.

    MyPOV


    A good I/O conference for Google, more in the style of a Google I/O than the older editions of Google I/O – which today would be ‘Alphabet I/O’. Maybe that explains why we did not hear about Project Brillo / Weave. In the Home demo we briefly saw a Nest device powering a home down. It is good to see that Google is doing housekeeping and productivity moves for Android, it is clear the vendor wants to move Android to 2B users, an ambitious, but possible goal. Good to see also how Google is getting its AR / VR act together, that started with the cheap and cheerful Cardbox 2 years ago. It was always clear Google would not be able to stop here, but it is good to get going with Daydream. We are also positive that Google looks for cross company synergies around its Machine Learning and Predictive Capabilities that are powered by Google Cloud Platform (GCP). GCP was very little mentioned, maybe even too little, as all Android developers work with GCP – knowingly or not.

    On the concern side Google is coming late to get users for conversations / chats with Allo – compared to the competition. But if Allo fails to attract users, Google always has Search, and if Search gets continued into a conversation in Allo / something Allo like, Google will get enough conversation starters from Search. The bot framework will be key sooner than later. It’s also early days for Daydream and Tango, both have to step up to compete with other offerings from Facebook and Microsoft.

    Overall good progress by Google, which is more relevant for enterprises on the Android side than on the GCP side (for now). Both are inextricably linked for Google so enterprises better familiarize themselves with both. Determining if chat / conversation based apps are key for an enterprise needs to be a decision consumer facing enterprises need to take before the summer vacations start. Waiting out during summer may prove to be too late in fall. Speaking orders into devices is so ‘naturally human’ that it can take off, very very fast. Google is well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity. Stay tuned.




    More about Google:
    • First Take - Google Google I/O 2016 - Day #1 Keynote - Enterprise Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Google's Google I/O 2016 - read here
    • 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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    We had the opportunity to attend Sapphire 2016 in Orlando, the event was the usual large show, with similar attendance like last year, an amazing, probably the best in the industry, show floor and massive partner presence. 



    Earlier in the week I published my Day 1, Day 2 Keynote takeaways (here and here), before Sapphire I wrote and a News Analysis of the SAP and Apple partnership (here) on the newly announced partnership with Microsoft here. Preparing for this post I also read my Event Reports of Sapphire 2015 (here), Sapphire 2014 (attended, here) and Sapphire 2013 (from the fences, here). If you have 10 minutes to invest, those blogs provide a very good perspective on what SAP’s challenges were, which ones SAP has tackled and which ones remain. 

    So check out my event report in video format:



    Not much time to read? Check out my 1 slide summary here:



    Top 3 Positives

    A new, humbler SAP– The Day #1 Keynote of Bill McDermott was all focused on showing that SAP wants to change the relationship with its customers, show more empathy, listen more and overall be a better partner to do business. That’s always a good ‘true north’ for any company, it is interesting the vendor felt compelled to do so – so things may not have been well in this compartment. (Very) successful software vendors always face a challenge in this area, so it is good for SAP to be mindful and take things back. The only concern I have here is, customers don’t know how to move forward with their enterprise automation in the cloud age, so they look for the vendors to tell them. That’s’ not necessarily emphatic, but leadership, though it is always good when articulated in the right tone.

    SAP discovers PaaS for the mainstream– SAP finally addressed one of the biggest riddles to me – not one, but two board members (Leukert & Singh) talked about SAP’s PaaS product, Hana Cloud Platform (HCP). Leukert even walked through the three key scenarios that HCP is built for – integrate, extend and build new apps from scratch. Moreover, it was good to see that both Leukert and Singh (later in the executive Q&A) would clearly commit to use the HCP for integration across the various SAP products. That is a welcome departure to the product individual integration mechanics used by the former mySAP xxx products. However, HCP is strategically important for SAP customers, as they cannot expect that SAP will provide all best practice automation for the 21st century in product. Some of that functionality will have to be built by extension of what SAP ships, or even as completely standalone application effort. Hence, my wondering why PaaS was not mentioned before – so today it is good to see that HCP gets the keynote attention that both product and solution require on the customer side.

    Partnerships, Partnerships… – After A for Apple comes M for Microsoft – SAP showed (once more) that it can pull off major partnerships – the week before Sapphire it was Apple, at Sapphire it was Microsoft. Both partnerships have tremendous potential to make customer lives better. Board Chairman Plattner even said in his Q&A that this time it would be different – because integration is easier, and adoption is faster due to the cloud. Moreover, both partnerships have significant upside for SAP customers, deep native Apple applications, better productivity using Apple, a largely available adopted cloud IaaS with Azure. Now it is time for all three vendors to execute – as despite there is the cloud today – there still needs to be tangible value for the solutions the partnerships deliver. Nevertheless, early days of course…


    Top 3 Concerns

    S/4 HANA Adoption– SAP launched S/4 HANA in January 2015 (see my original blog from the launch here) – 17 months later is not too a long timeframe, but surprisingly SAP could not bring a European or North American customer on stage at Sapphire who was live on S/4HANA. Given that inside, S/4HANA is also the much earlier launched Simple Finance product; this begs some questions on adoption. When asked, SAP executives were all on the same positive line: S/4HANA is on track (McDermott), has surpassed expectations (Enslin) and grows faster than R/3 (Plattner). With 3200+ customers sold, 800 ongoing implementations and 160 customers live the product certainly is doing ok, but has so far not convinced the core as well as the lighthouse SAP customers to upgrade. SAP executives thought that a lack of roadmap and guidelines is the issue, and SAP will address that by end of Q2. And while certainly roadmaps are important (see the success & popularity of the SuccessFactors roadmaps) they are not the silver bullet for customer adoption. S/4HANA is the first real platform change for the core ERP offering of SAP – since R/2 to R/3. And things are different now – see the 6 difference on my S/4HANA launch blog here).

    Best Practice Challenges– SAP has gotten quieter around ‘copying’ code from the business suite, then simplifying it and making it work on HANA. The concern remains that many of the Business Suite codified best practices are inherited from R/3 – and with that from last century. Business best practices have considerably changed. When e.g. Leukert showed in his keynote that SAP could now help a car manufacturer build an engine every 8 seconds, which is remarkable speed. However, what does it mean for inventory, logistics, supply chain and contract best practices? All these need to change and will be different on how business was done in the 20th century, when things moved at a more pedestrian pace. SAP will have to come up with the customers and thought leaders who are creating, defining, validating and implementing the 21st century best practices and find a way to transfer those into S/4HANA and other products.

    SAP has given up on IaaS (and this might be a Positive) – SAP’s IaaS strategy has been confusing at best, starting with SAP Hosting over a decade ago. Confusion between HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) and HCP are legendary. In the latest move, SAP announced a broad partnership with Microsoft, which on the IaaS side meant that SAP would support Azure for both HANA and S/4HANA deployments (read my analysis here). For a company that needs every $ from cloud to satisfy the financial projections, a remarkable and courageous move. Probably a wise one, too – as SAP may have realized that it cannot build the next generation IaaS platform with the know how available in house. In addition, SAP may as well have listened to customers, who keep telling vendors that the future is multi cloud. I was somewhat surprised when Chairman Plattner saw a high portion of customers staying on premises, while that is certainly possible, it will be important for SAP to be able to run its most complex customers on a public cloud architecture. Finally, it is good to start with, Microsoft, but SAP will need more partnerships with other IaaS vendors, firstly with AWS (which runs a number of SAP customers in production, in the public cloud already) and more to follow. In addition, regardless SAP will have to continue on its ‘Monsoon’ project – that heavily relies on OpenStack to run its acquired applications.


    Analyst Tidbits

    SAP Discovers DaaS– We learnt from CDO Becher more about the Sybase 365 based DaaS solution. For someone wondering what SAP would do with the Sybase 365 (see me asking in spring 2013 here) finally an interesting road to monetization, a DaaS (Data as a Service) offering, delivered digitally, without the enterprise sales ‘mini bus’ – is a good move by SAP.

    SuccessFactors uses Analytics to foster Diversity– SuccessFactors wants to use ‘true’ analytics to bring more objectivity in HR decisions, a good move certainly, as humans are inherently biased, correctly programed software is not. Thomas Otter and I recorded this video on the topic – look here.

    Apple & SAP Partnership– I had the opportunity to catch up with the development on the SAP side, and things look good in regards of execution. Native applications on iOS devices may create the necessary differentiation that could revive iPad sales in the enterprise. Using Fiori design language for it is a good approach. However, SAP will hear questions / concerns from customers to repeat the same on Android, from which they have more in house than iOS (looking at the world markets).

    IBM & SAP Partnership– We also had the opportunity to catch up with the IBM / SAP team, and saw a Watson enhanced SuccesFactors application that is being built for a long-term SAP customer. Equally, we saw an improved / enhanced Field Service application, built by IBM, using SAP CRM in the backend, running on an Apple iPad. This partnership has a lot of potential; it now needs to show customer traction.

    Vora Framework GA– Vora is one of the most positive developments coming out of SAP, as it keeps the vendor relevant in BigData application use cases, which is the vast majority of strategic enterprise projects. Launched in September 2015, it is good to see the Vora Framework go GA, now it will be key to keep innovating fast and best to leave the Spark only deployment behind.

    Key HCP Innovation - API Hub & CloudFoundry– SAP has for a long time described the vision of a network economy, well that needs APIs, and SAP is now finalizing its plans with the API Hub, a good and overdue move. Moreover, developers can now develop natively on CloudFoundry, which has slowly but steady become the standard SAP PaaS platform. Long forgotten are the days when the initial CloudFoundry champions were hybris, and the ‘rogue’ people, but not forgotten by yours truly. A good move by SAP.


    Business Objects is ... back - Chairman Plattner joked in its keynote that the SAP BI product portfolio is changing names faster than he can keep track of the name change... and bringing back the venerable Business Objects brand (as umbrella naming of the SAP BI tools) is likely no the latest name change. At least for me Business Objects does not associate with the analytics software needed in 2016 and beyond, I more associate data dictionary and cubes with the brand. Not really high on the agenda in 2016 and beyond. But maybe just me...

    MyPOV

    A good Sapphire event for SAP customers. The vendor is planning to change its relationship with customers, as McDermott set out on Day #1, and empathy is always a good start. SAP understanding the value of HCP is very good change for customers, too, who have to know that they can extend and build their own applications on a PaaS platform that is industry scale. When they realize that SAP have moved closer to CloudFoundry on the PaaS side, they will welcome that, too. Equally moving to Azure support is also something that will not concern customers too much, as most of them are there courtesy of Office365 anyway.

    On the concern side, SAP will need to solve S/4HANA adoption, for me the challenge is less in roadmaps, but in the overall business value of running on S/4HANA, and the business operational implications from running this software. For that, SAP will need the famous ‘lighthouse’ customers in order to address the current gridlock.

    But overall a good Sapphire for SAP customers, it is always good to see a vendor making course corrections for the better on the technology side, and the changes for a more prominent HCP, the standardization on integration, the rapprochement to CloudFoundry, the GA of the Vora framework and the move to 3rd party IaaS with Microsoft Azure are all moves that will make SAP customers more successful going forward. So stay tuned for more soon.



    Check out a Storify of tweets of the Day #3 keynote below - there is always great insight on what SAP Chairman Hasso Plattner shares. 


    More on SAP:
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • 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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    Earlier this week we were surprised by a partnership announcement of Salesforce and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The announcement has implications in both regards of best practices where SaaS based vendors may run their computing load, and market share potential in the highly competitive IaaS market. For Salesforce (and all SaaS) customers, this maybe a reflection point in regards of where and how SaaS workloads will be run in the future, so worth some analysis.



    So let’s take apart the press release in our customary style – it can be found here (worth to checkout Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris’ blog post here):

    SEATTLE – May 25, 2016 – Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ:AMZN), today announced that Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), the Customer Success Platform and the world’s #1 CRM company, has selected AWS as its preferred public cloud infrastructure provider. For the first time, Salesforce will expand its use of AWS to core services—including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, App Cloud, Community Cloud, Analytics Cloud and more—for the company's planned international infrastructure expansion.
     MyPOV – Good summary of the announcement, does not waste time to come to the core aspect – that also non AWS based Salesforce work load is moving to AWS (Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, App Cloud, Community Cloud and Analytics Cloud) – but with an angle of Salesforce’s planned international infrastructure expansion. All SaaS providers are in a tough position in regards of compliance with data privacy regulations, given the mess vendors and enterprises have been left in with the invalidation of the EU / USA Safe Harbor agreement (more here). 

    Many Salesforce services, including Heroku, Marketing Cloud Social Studio, SalesforceIQ, and the recently announced Salesforce IoT Cloud, already run on AWS infrastructure. Salesforce will utilize AWS to help bring new infrastructure online more quickly and efficiently.
    MyPOV – This is what makes the announcement no surprise. Salesforce was using AWS already substantially – with acquired products / services like Heroku, Marketing Cloud Social Studio and Salesforce IQ, but it also took an AWS dependency in a planned fashion when basing its IoT Cloud on AWS. Even if Salesforce would have like to move to another IaaS overall – these 4 services already have created substantial ‘stickiness’ for Salesforce to use AWS for years to come. And given Salesforce’s pedestrian pace in all things platform (e.g. 6 years CEO Benioff announced moving away from Apex / force.com architecture at a DreamForce event) – it is a good move to keep running what is running.

    “We are excited to expand our strategic relationship with Amazon as our preferred public cloud infrastructure provider,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce. “There is no public cloud infrastructure provider that is more sophisticated or has more robust enterprise capabilities for supporting the needs of our growing global customer base.”
    MyPOV – Good quote by Benioff – can’t get any better for AWS.

    “Leading enterprises and ISVs around the world are migrating their business-critical applications to the AWS Cloud to be more agile and efficient, reduce costs, and take advantage of the security, reliability, and broad functionality we offer,” said Andy Jassy, CEO, AWS. “Companies rely on Salesforce to transform their businesses and we are thrilled Salesforce has chosen AWS as their public cloud infrastructure partner, helping them continue to scale, add new services and maintain their incredible momentum.”
    MyPOV – Got quote by Jassy, mentioning the basic value proposition of AWS to ISVs: Keep building what you know best – your SaaS / PaaS product – we take care of the infrastructure below (IaaS). A good ‘divide & conquer’ approach.


    Overall MyPOV

    A good move by Salesforce, formalizing its relationship with AWS, which it was using extensively already. And a key win for AWS, as it not only formalizes existing load, but also gets non AWS load to move to AWS for the international expansion. And there is no larger SaaS property out there for AWS to convince to move to its infrastructure. What us unique that Salesforce has its own cloud infrastructure built on force.com / Apex / Oracle – so this is the first SaaS vendor saying they will not invest (as for international data center rollout) into its existing infrastructure – but adopt AWS. No secret that the writing is on the wall – if running all of Salesforce on AWS works internationally, the days Salesforce will run its (as of today 45 North American instances (see here)) on its own infrastructure – are counted.

    The lesson learnt for enterprises is – even in the early stage of cloud – loads are sticky. Salesforce could have tried to bring its existing AWS load to other IaaS – but choose not to. That’s a loos to other IaaS providers who could have run Java byte code compatible loads (Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud etc.) and an indication that shifting loads in IaaS remains a tall order – even for a deep pocketed, experienced, cloud pioneer ISV like Salesforce. So place your bets wisely when picking IaaS vendors, as when your load grows, moving it may be non-trivial, hard – or even impossible.

    But for now a win for Salesforce customers. Salesforce can save substantial CAPEX for its international expansion. Today the vendor operates 10 instances of its cloud outside North America, a small fraction compared to the 45 North American instances. As Salesforce becomes more global, both compliance and performance demands would have required more investment in an infrastructure that Salesforce ultimately is likely to move off from. So CAPEX savings that can (and are likely) going in the infrastructure changes that Salesforce needs to do to move its older products to AWS Cloud. And for AWS this is a key win as it now only has been able to convinced ISVs to be the go to public cloud infrastructure (most notably Infor) – it has now a case of an existing SaaS vendor moving to its infrastructure. And Salesforce is likely the most standardized, uniform load to move – so a very good move for AWS, getting more load and keeping the famous ‘flywheel’ spinning faster (if not familiar – more load, better economies of scale, lower prices, more load, etc.). Given AWS huge data center footprint, attracting a lot of uniform load and a lot of potential is very strategic to accelerate its own global data center rollout.

    Now it will be key for Salesforce to offer roadmaps and timelines on where its international expansion will move to – and which products will run where and when… But for now congrats to both vendors, customers will benefit, the real questions is – what took so long to sign this partnership?

    [Insider side note: Good to see AWS brevity in the press release - Salesforce press releases are soo much longer...]




    More Apps / SaaS vendor and IaaS vendor partnerships (in chronological order):

    • Infor runs on Amazon AWS (read here)
    • SAP on IBM Cloud (read here
    • Lumesse on Salesforce Cloud (read here) and
    • NetSuite on Microsoft Azure (read here)
    • JDA chooses Google Cloud Platform (read here)
    • SAP chooses Microsoft Azure (read here)



    More on AWS
    • Event Report - AWS re-Invent - AWS lobbies for the enterprise - DB and IoT are the cheese - read here
    • First Take - AWS reInvent Wednesday Keynote - Good start & AWS is going for the enterprise read here
    • Event Preview - AWS re-Invent 2015 - watch / read here
    • Event Report - AWS Summit Berlin - AWS spricht Deutsch - but when will the Germans speak cloud? Read here
    • News Analysis - AWS learns Hindi - Amazon Web Services announces 2016 India Expansion - read here
    • Event Report - AWS Summit San Francisco - AWS pushes the platform with Analytics and Storage [From the Fences] read here
    • Event Report - AWS re:invent - AWS becomes more about PaaS on inhouse IP - read here
    • AWS gives infrastructure insights - and it is very passionate about it - read here
    • News Analysis - AWS spricht Deutsch - the cloud wars reach Germany - read here
    • Market Move - Infor runs CloudSuite on AWS - Inflection Point or hot air balloon? Read here
    • Event Report - AWS Summit in SFO - AWS keeps doing what has been working in the last 8 years - read here
    • AWS  moves the yardstick - Day 2 reinvent takeaways - read here.
    • AWS powers on, into new markets - Day 1 reinvent takeaways - read here.
    • The Cloud is growing up - three signs in the News - read here.
    • Amazon AWS powers on - read here.

    More about Salesforce:
    • Event Report - Salesforce Connections - Bringing together Builders and Studios for Marketing Success - read here
    • 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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    We had the opportunity to attend Informatica’s Informatica World conference in San Francisco, held from May 23rd till 26th 2016. The conference is well attended with over 3000 participants, coming from customers, prospects and the ecosystem. 



    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:

    Informatica is alive and well– When Informatica was taken private by Permira and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in April of last year (see here), there were the usual concerns about a private equity investor cutting costs, stopping R&D investment and so on. A little more than a year later the largest Informatica World attendance speaks for itself. Contrary to concerns, R&D investment and marketing efforts have been strengthened to before. The final verdict is of course not out, as Informatica will have to hit certain (not disclosed) performance goals – but for now it looks like a good move for customers, as Informatica (see next takeaway) is re-architecting its offerings to run in the public cloud. And with 4500 iPaaS customers, 25k ‘citizen integrators’ and over 1M+ integration jobs processed per day, Informatica has a substantial market share in the integration game.

    More cloud based products this summer - Informatica has supported ‘cloud’ for a long time, but that was always with Informatica’ s products running on premises. With more and more SaaS adoption, more enterprise automaton fragments move to the cloud, and equally enterprises get more comfortable with running (public) cloud based IT functions such as monitoring, and relevant for Informatica, integration. And the next generation application use cases and their inherent data gravity force integration vendors to move their integration services to the cloud. Neither provisioning, nor running the integration function on premises is economical, not to mention data transfer costs and latency. So it is good and key for Informatica moving its product portfolio to the public cloud, and with no surprise starting with AWS. In the closing keynote Informatica showed its PowerCenter product running on AWS, showed its BigData Management console on AWS and connected two SaaS properties, Workday and Xactly in under 2 minutes. That makes optimistic in regards of the release of the more cloud based products that is slated for June. 

    An interesting product also coming in June is the Informatica Cloud Integration Hub, which addressed the n:m hairball problem caused by multiple integrations, and replaces it with a more efficient and elegant pub / sub mechanism.

    Deep SaaS integration show benefits– Informatica has typically gone the extra mile when it came to building connectors to various enterprise software assets. And that now benefits the speed to deployment of its cloud based integration. This is even more important as enterprises expect the connectors to be available for cloud based integration projects, especially as in some cases these cannot be built easily or at all as SaaS vendors only offer limited integration options and tools. So the early investment of Informatica pays off a second time, always something which is good and helps speed to market, which Informatica needs. The only concern for this approach is vendor based offerings and integrations, as we see e.g. between Salesforce and Workday, or NetSuite and Ultimate Software. But this does not mean that Informatica is at the losing end of the trend, as it often is the integration platform for the vendors to build their vendor based integration. And needless to say enterprises will find reasons to extend these interfaces, so having them based on a known and common toolset is a bonus.

    MyPOV

    A good event for Informatica that has transitioned well into the private equity ownership. Conversations with customers and partners show an engaged and energized ecosystem. Practically every system integrator doing business on our planet was present and sponsoring the event at some level. And with more heterogeneity in the future of enterprise software, things look good for Informatica. It now needs to show it can out-innovate and out-execute the other 5 key players in the integration game (alphabetically Jitterbit, MuleSoft, Scribe, Software AG, Snaplogic).

    On the concern side Informatica must be careful of not re-building the status quo of integration, which was manual and often project based. Going forward software will be able to do the job, especially with cheap compute available in the cloud. Humans should no longer match data elements, write slow joins with errors, or create no sense making visualizations, in a not too distant future. No need to look further than e.g. AWS Quicksight. Moreover, Informatica sits well at the center – between SaaS properties, database and storage vendors as well as visualization vendors, any of them doing a successful foray into integration will mean increased competition. But none of these players has been able to do so in the last 20 years one can argue, why should they in the next 10? No reason for Informatica to slow down.

    Overall a good Informatica World for Informatica customers, the vendor is doing the necessary investment to remain a trusted enterprise integration player for next 10 years to come. Stay tuned.

    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify of tweets of my colleague Doug Henschen and me below.


    More on Informatica:
    • News Analysis - Informatica announces new cloud capabilities - Keep up the Salesforce ecosystem play - read here
    • Event Report - Informatica World 2015 - Product Progress and New Approaches - read here
    • News Analysis - Informatica's Sohaib Abbasi showcases Innovations for the Age of Engagement - read here
    • Future of Work - One spreadsheet at a time, Informatica Springbok - read here
    • Informatica pushes the cloud integration stakes - 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 Greenhouse’s Green House Open conference in San Francisco, held from May 25th till 27th 2016. The conference was well attended with over 900 participants, coming from customers, prospects and the ecosystem, roughly a doubling to last year’s event. The event was held at the Hilton Union Square, one of the most confusing labyrinth like event spaces, kudos goes to the Greenhouse event team for making directions easy to handle. 



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




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






    Want to read on?


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

    Best of Bread vs Suite– The number one concern of HR professionals has been and will remain integration. Suites have always addressed the integration issues, but usually with the price of lacking best practices. Given the competitive nature of Talent Acquisition it is no surprise though that there is a well doing vendor ecosystem in the space, and Greenhouse provides the data point for that once again. The vendor is growing, expanding its product (see below) and remains strategic for its user group, always good to see competition spurned from innovation. It was also good to see that Greenhouse spend a lot of attention to change management and empowering recruiters to get hiring managers to adopt the system. While the power user of a Recruiting solution is very small user population in the enterprise, hiring managers are a very large population. If hiring managers don’t use the recruiting solution the recruiters prefer, there is an adoption issue and a potential conflict. So good to help recruiters convince their ‘customers, the hiring managers on the merits of the solution.
    Another sign of traction for Greenhouse is the ecosystem the vendor is creating, with substantial complimentary vendor sponsorship and show floor presence at the conference.

    Onboarding becomes table stakes– As a general trend for Talent Acquisition, Onboarding becomes part of Recruiting vendor offerings. Onboarding itself has traditionally been the lightest weight talent management function in terms of revenue and relevance. It comes as no surprise that it is not the Onboarding vendors that acquire or built recruiting functionality, but the recruiting vendors buying (e.g. Greenhouse Parklet – see here) or building the functionality (e.g. Jobvite – see here). And the move makes sense, enterprises spend a lot for a superior candidate experience, if that falls into shambles once the coveted candidate becomes an employee – not a good outcome. In ‘employment at will’ states it may even lead to talent leakage. And reducing that leakage, may well pay for the whole Onboarding solution as Greenhouse’s Stross pointed out in his keynote. Greenhouse has integrated Parklet now, the small Parklet engineering team is part of the Greenhouse team and the solution work together out of the box. What surprised me is that Parklet has not moved to the Greenhouse look and feel, as we are 6+ months after the acquisition.

    Innovation and good housekeeping– Greenhouse not only announced its new Onboarding capability, but also made a mobile interviewing application available (on iOS for now only), both good moves. Moreover, he vendor is addressing usability concerns with new dashboards and a general UIX overhaul, check out what is coming in tweets in the Storify below). In a keynote of Jon Stross, shared the 4 leitmotivs of Greenhouse product investment, which are usability, flexibility, more data driven functions and Onboarding. The doers in the audience received many of the planned innovations well, always a good sign. On the functionality side Greenhouse will add multi job posts, tiered departments, and an API for internal job posts (maybe next area of functional footprint extension?), better collaboration support, improved interview kits and support for more user roles to name those future capabilities that stuck out for me.

    MyPOV

    A good conference for Greenhouse, that is growing and expanding its footprint. The customer base is energized and loyal, and overall happy with the products. That fact that such a large number of recruiting professionals took out 2-3-4 days out of their busy schedule, risking they may be falling behind on hiring targets, is a strong indication of a loyal user base. And it is good to see that Greenhouse is listening to its customer base, expanding the functional footprint and doing the necessary good housekeeping duties, most prominently addressing usability improvements.

    On the concern Greenhouse needs to enable recruiters and hiring managers with more intelligence, maybe more predictive / 'true' analytics (more here), not to write the buzz word of machine learning. But users should not look at lists of candidates that are not sorted by urgency / relevance in 2016 – something the vendor must and will address.

    But overall a good conference, Greenhouse is making good progress – and we can state that the Recruiting (and no Onboarding) market is doing well. Stay tuned.



    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below. 



    More on Recruiting
    • Musings - How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the Laggards - read here
    • Musings - What is the future of recruiting? Read here
    • HRTech 2014 takeaways - read here.
    • Why all the attention to recruiting? Read here.

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


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    We had the opportunity to attend Cloud Foundry’s Cloud  Foundry Summit in Santa Clara, held from May 23rd till 25th 2016. The conference was well attended with over 2000 participants, coming from customers, prospects and the ecosystem.


    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:

    Growing, growing – staying humble – The part that strikes me the most with Cloud Foundry is that despite its substantial success in the PaaS market, the vendor remains humble… certainly kudos go to the management team and certainly the combination with open source on the foundation side helped. But a commercial software vendor, with similar success, would have a different attitude and conference. The humble approach maybe well the secret that attracts so many enterprises to make Cloud Foundry their PaaS of Choice.

    It’s not about cloud only and not about single cloud – Cloud Foundry is also a data point that shows that enterprises don’t want a cloud only strategy, speaking to a number of attending customers and prospects, the on premises capabilities of Cloud Foundry are a point of attraction. And by now it is clear that cloud lock-in is something enterprise want to avoid, too. Right after on premise delivery option, the multi-cloud capability of CloudFoundry were the next mentioned reason for interest in the vendor.

    No serious competition (for the moment) – Cloud Foundry is in a unique positon - for now. Much has been said and written about IaaS ‘eating’ the PaaS layer, and a number of PaaS players disappeared that way. Apart from large technology stack vendors e.g. Oracle and Microsoft making a big move, Cloud Foundry is setup very well in the PaaS market. The vendor has basically established itself as the ‘Switzerland’ of PaaS, with investment and uptake of almost all major players in the enterprise software and services market. And ecosystem adoption has ‘flywheel’ effects that are even strengthening this momentum. E.g. when the largest enterprise software vendor (SAP) chooses Cloud Foundry as its PaaS tool, that’s a major win for the platform, as it drags the probably largest services ecosystem in enterprise software on the platform.


    MyPOV


    There is very little not to like about Cloud Foundry at the moment. The multi-cloud support path the vendor has embarked on about 2 years ago is paying off. Breaking away from the VMware / EMC architecture was certainly a key move, making Cloud Foundry one of the (few) diamonds in the rough of the combined Dell / EMC portfolio. Now it is going to be key to make the next wave of partners and customers successful on the platform to continue the momentum.

    On the concern side, much to this analyst’s dismay who always tries to paint a balanced picture, there is very little to be concerned about. Not being too religious on the paradigm of pair programming is a key course for Cloud Foundry, and I heard almost no ‘this way or the highway’ messaging on this at the summit. So the analysis needs to go more into the platform direction, where trends like AI / Machine Learning and the size of compute virtualization (VMs vs micro services) are features / capabilities that the vendor needs to approach and implement the right way, in order to avoid missing out on future ‘attraction’ point to other PaaS players.

    But overall a very good Cloud Foundry Summit, vendor, partners and ecosystem are growing, very few, almost no things not to like at the moment. We will keep watching.

    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below.


    More on Pivotal / Cloud Foundry
    • News Analysis - Pivotal makes Cloud Foundry more about multi-cloud - read here
    • News Analysis - Pivotal pivots to OpenSource and Hortonworks - Or: OpenSource keeps winning - read here
    • New Analysis: Pivotal Now Makes It Easier Than Ever to Take Software from Idea to Production - read here

    More on Next Generation Applications::
    • Event Report - Google I/O 2016 - Android N soon, Google assistant sooner and VR / AR later - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • Event Report - OpenStack Summit 2016 - Austin - OpenStack matures, grows up - read here
    • First Take - Workato’s Workbot cuts business users some slack with Slack integration - read here
    • Progress Report - Cloudera is all in with Hadoop - now off to verticals - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - The next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves into DaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to Cloud Foundry and OpenStack - Key Steps - but what is the direction? Read here
    • Event Report - MongoDB is a showcase for the power of Open Source in the enterprise - read here
    • Musings - A manifesto: What are 'true' analytics? Read here
    • Future of Work - One Spreadsheet at the time - Informatica Springbok - read here
    • Musings - The Era of the no-design Database - Read here
    • Mendix - the other path to build software - read here
    • Musings - Time to ditch your datawarehouse .... - 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, when day broke in Asia, Microsoft used the Comdex event happening in Taiwan to make a major announcement around its holographic product plans, making Windows Holographic available to partners.





    So let’s dissect the press release in our customary way, it can be found here:
    Microsoft Corp. invited its Windows 10 hardware partners to create virtual reality (VR) devices, augmented reality devices and everything in between with Windows Holographic, the platform that powers Microsoft HoloLens. In opening up Windows Holographic to partners, Microsoft shared its vision for mixed reality — a world where devices interact with each other to change the way people work, communicate, learn and play.
    MyPOV – Microsoft move back to its DNA, going back to the OEM model that has served the vendor and partners well in the past for the PC. Back at Microsoft’s Build conference earlier this year, we pointed out who Hololens was the first new category platform that Microsoft has completely built from scratch. Microsoft now abandons this exclusive (Apple style) strategy now, which is probably a good move, as it goes back to the Microsoft DNA, working with hardware manufacturers to produce devices, while maintaining the standards and control of the software platform.

    “With Windows 10, we’ve been on an incredible journey with our partners, and today we usher in the next frontier of computing — mixed reality,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices.
    MyPOV – Good quote by Myerson, good pitch on Microsoft’s vision for the future of enriched experiences, that Microsoft calls ‘mixed reality’, differing the offering from augmented and virtual offerings with other vendors in the market.

    Windows: The only holographic platform
    With over 80 million virtual reality devices expected in the market, per year, by 2020, the business opportunity for virtual reality is vast. Yet, today’s devices are built with related but differing technologies — ranging from virtual to augmented reality. These devices and experiences do not work together today, because of different user interfaces, interaction models, input methods, peripherals and applications. Most virtual reality experiences can’t mix real people, objects and environments into the virtual world, making creation and collaboration difficult.
    MyPOV – Good description of both the market opportunity and the challenge, the confusion and different standards, of course pitching the Microsoft direction of ‘mixed reality’. My hope would be so to see more device diversity as a consequence of this move for the Microsoft ‘mixed reality’ ecosystem – it’s the diversity that has propelled Android to the clear leader as mobile OS. Doing this around a common standard is a very important move to make sure that the still to be created software can reach enough customers.

    Windows Holographic unites these worlds and enables innovation across a range of devices. Windows Holographic offers a holographic shell and user interface, perception APIs, and Xbox Live services, enabling a familiar experience across apps and content. All Universal Windows apps can run on the Windows Holographic platform. Today there are nearly a thousand Universal Windows Apps that run on Windows Holographic.
    MyPOV – Good description of what Holographic is, effectively a platform for Microsoft’s mixed reality vision. Surprising in our era, that strongly emphasizes platforms, that the word platform is missing here. And good to see the link to the Universal Windows Apps, a key value proposition from Microsoft to developers, as these apps run across different Windows devices and form factors.

    In a mixed reality world, devices can offer experiences that extend beyond the virtual world. Imagine wearing a VR device and seeing your physical hands as you manipulate an object, working on the scanned 3-D image of a real object, or bringing a real-life holographic representation of another person into your virtual world so you can collaborate. In this world, devices can spatially map your environment wherever you are; manipulating digital content is as easy and natural as it is in the real world. Interested partners can learn more at http://www.winhec.com.
    MyPOV – Unusual to see use cases for products in press releases – obviously Microsoft was compelled to describe the advantages of the mixed reality proposition.

    In addition to opening up Windows Holographic to its partner ecosystem for the future, Microsoft is working with Intel Corporation, AMD Inc., Qualcomm Inc., HTC Corp., Acer Inc., ASUS, Dell Inc., Falcon Northwest, HP, Lenovo Group Ltd., MSI and many others to build a hardware ecosystem supporting great virtual reality experiences on Windows 10.
    MyPOV – This is an impressive list of partners and it is good to see Microsoft tapping into the partner ecosystem.

    Overall MyPOV

    There are two schools of thought when bringing new platforms to market – there is the Apple model – that controls all aspects of the platform, including manufacturing… the alternative is Google’s Android (or Microsoft Windows) model, defining the spec for the platform but leaving it to the market and competition of many manufacturers to provide the devices. There are pros and cons for both approaches, what is hard is when vendors who follow e.g. the Google / Android model switch to the Apple model. I saw that being the case with Microsoft and Hololens, but with this announcement Microsoft has headed back to familiar waters. And maybe it was all creating enough of a proof point for Hololens to create attention, attract demand and test and validate the platform.

    And maybe Microsoft planned it that way, maybe it had to react to Google, which equally went into a partner spec model for its AR / VR offerings – see my event report of Google I/O here. And for Microsoft Build below.

    Overall this is a key first step for Microsoft to make its mixed reality platform reality in the markets. First you need to sign the partners up, then they need to make money etc. – The good news for enterprises is that the partner model creates choice and competition. Chances that an attractive Hololens offering comes along in a second tier market have gone up. Purchasing managers are sleeping better knowing there will be more of competition for devices. Developers can already see uptake of the Windows Universal Apps, an important promise that Microsoft came through from the last Build conferences. Now the main challenge remains – as with all of augmented / virtual and mixed reality – time to create the new apps that these platforms need. With this announcement Microsoft has done a key step towards success for the Holographic platform… stay tuned for more.



    More on Microsoft:

    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • 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.
    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 Alteryx Inspire 2016 in San Diego, held from June 6th till 10th 2016. The conference is well attended with over 1200 participants, coming from customers, prospects and the ecosystem, a significant growth over the same event a year ago in Boston. 

    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:

    Growth shows strong market position– Alteryx has successfully expanded its portfolio from data preparation to enrichment, analysis and sharing of results. Growth on both the customer, partner and overall eco system side show that Alteryx has mastered the ‘land and expand’ model well. Now the vendor will have to go beyond the US / North America – where this model is less adopted and understood at this point. But the strong value proposition for data analysts should help Alteryx in this processes.

    Rich Roadmap is investment in the future – Alteryx is innovating on all aspects of its product value proposition, not just the newer functions post data prep. That is key for propelling future growth and attending users value the speed of product expansion. Particular good to see is that Alteryx is working on usability, as in some cases the product’s look and feel comes over more pedestrian than where it should be. . Equally good to see that Alteryx can also do this with usage logs from users, despite the tooling being deployed on premises. Amongst many planned enhancement, an uptake of Machine Learning stands out, as it will help to automate more repetitive tasks for data analysts. More automation can quickly become table stakes and is key for success of any ‘land & expand’ model in the industry.

    From asking IT for forgiveness to IT enablement– For a long time using products like Alteryx was outside the ‘approved’ tooling that IT provided to their business. That did not deter business analysts – often with cover of their superiors – to uptake tools and products like Alteryx – asking IT for forgiveness later. That practice is still in place for many technologies, but it was good to learn from attendees as well as Alteryx, that the tide has turned… now IT is the ‘enabler’ of the business, and Alteryx has become part of the official tooling for enterprises. A good move for all involved, business analysts are empowered, IT is an enabler and not a blocker, and Alteryx … grows.


    MyPOV

    Good to see the success for Alteryx, empowering its customers to connect, move, prep, blend etc. data in an easier way and fashion, than most vendors who try to achieve the same. Users are fired up and like to use the tool, as some tweets (see below in Storify) in CEO Stoecker’s keynote showed. Also good to see the vendor is not resting on the laurels, but investing in product roadmap and new capabilities. The move to cloud seems to be well underway with partnerships with AWS and Microsoft. Usability and machine learning enhancements will be key for Alteryx going forward so that the vendor can keep operating on the ‘land & expand’ approach – keeping sales costs down, and investing into product instead.

    On the concern side Alteryx must master these technology shifts, needs to start thinking of moving the tooling to the cloud and not missing the trend to enable the business end user (with no / limited data know how) as the next user category which will change how enterprises work with data.

    But for now there are only very few alternatives to Alteryx when looking for a data prep, data automation solution in the enterprise, good to see IT departments taking, note too. Stay tuned.


    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below.

    And read more on Alteryx and other vendors in Integration / BigData:

    • Event Report - Alteryx Inspire 2015 - Positive Growth on Product, Go to Market and Customers - read here
    • Event Report - Informatica World 2016 - The Cloud is the new platform - read here
    • Event Report - Google I/O 2016 - Android N soon, Google assistant sooner and VR / AR later - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • Event Report - OpenStack Summit 2016 - Austin - OpenStack matures, grows up - read here
    • First Take - Workato’s Workbot cuts business users some slack with Slack integration - read here
    • Progress Report - Cloudera is all in with Hadoop - now off to verticals - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - The next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves into DaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to Cloud Foundry and OpenStack - Key Steps - but what is the direction? Read here
    • Event Report - MongoDB is a showcase for the power of Open Source in the enterprise - read here
    • Musings - A manifesto: What are 'true' analytics? Read here
    • Future of Work - One Spreadsheet at the time - Informatica Springbok - read here
    • Musings - The Era of the no-design Database - Read here
    • Mendix - the other path to build software - read here
    • Musings - Time to ditch your datawarehouse .... - 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 NGA HR’s analyst summit held in Chicago, on June 8th 2016. The summit was well attended with over a dozen analysts there, check out my Storify below for more details. Also good to see that NGA HR (in contrast to 2015) flew out UK based executives, starting with CEO Al-Saleh. 
    So take a look at my musings on the event here: 





    No time to watch – here is the one slide condensation: 

    Want to read on? Here you go: 

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

    Unshackled– Northgate Information Solutions, the back then holding company for then NorthgateArinso (now NGA HR) was a KKR company. Despite valiant answers from executives before the recent debt for equity transaction in November 2015 (see Reuters here), it is now clear that debt load hindered investments at the vendor. The transaction reduced leverage from 8 to 4.5 – a much more manageable load. Nonetheless the vendor keeps up its 4 fold HR services offering with HR Consulting, Application Management, Payroll and BPO offerings. And while the number of customers and serviced employees is up, the NGA HR employee count is down, which at constant revenues is an indication for improved efficiencies.

    New HR services Offerings– The question of course was now what NGA HR would do with the new freedom, for me especially on the product side. And while the vendor maintained that the R&D investment is constant, not too much was shown in these regards. Good to see that the venerable ResourceLink product has received a new user interface. NGA HR is also jumping on the PaaS bandwagon at large partner SAP, with launching two Hana Cloud Platform (HCP) based applications. Both NGA HR Request Central and NGA Case Management Central are good early offerings here. What was surprising was that the vendor plans 50 more of these, we look forward to learn more on the scope of these. And good to see continued investment in Payroll Exchange (PEX), the ‘core’ of NGA HR’s global payroll offering. Beside Product, NGA HR is investing into Marketing and Sales, a good decision see why below.

    Process Standardization progress– NGA has worked on process standardization for a long time, so it is good to see that the effort is now in Version 4.0, all the way down to Level 5 (physical mapping to system functions, though I will get more details later hopefully). Every service provider prides themselves of these processes, but few have them to this level, and putting them into place is hard, applying them to existing customers even harder. It is good to see NGA HR is working at all these three levels, and has over time created a substantial differentiation over the competitors in the field. It will be interesting to learn what will come in version 5 of the Service Maps machine learning, bots etc. are knocking on the door of advanced best practices for HR services.


    MyPOV

    Good to see the signs going upwards again at NGA HR, which were a little more a concern 12 months ago. Kudos to executives to candidly address the challenges in regards of sales performance (in 2015, 2016 looks much improved), restructuring (once again) HR consulting, and operating at a lower overall headcount. The focus is now on sales execution as NGA HR is one of the few HR BPO vendors that have been able to preserve their offshore execution capacity, now it’s time to get more utilization towards these centers, with large, long term BPO deals (like this one with ThyssenKrupp). NGA HR cannot create those from thin air, but overall signs and forces are pointing to a HR BPO revival, the questions is when that will be. As shared and recorded by us many times, HR executives often get ‘cold feet’ – even after having selected a vendor for a global payroll BPO and then tend to delegate rollout decision back to the different regions. The sooner the industry and NGA as a key vendor can tackle this phenomena, the better for enterprises and players in the market. Global processes in Finance and Procurement are already best practice and reality in most enterprises today, so the question here is – when will the hammer drop for HR?

    On the concern side the vendor should use its new financial freedom to rethink where it wants to build its next generation BPaaS product. The Payroll Exchange product could become a HR Core system, including employee usage. NGA HR could also look at redundant payroll offerings it has in the UK, and certainly there are innovation opportunities both for the UK centered ResourceLink and ANZ focused Preceda product. To be fair we did not get briefed in detail here, so we will be happy to revise our view on the topic when we learn more.

    Overall good progress at NGA HR, the vendor now has to execute on the sales side, never easy, but something that has been done and can be done. Stay tuned.

    More on NGA HR:
    • Progress Report - Progress Report - NGA sees Global Payroll BPO as the future - as other businesses are under pressure - read here
    • Progress Report - NGA moves on - but in many directions - read here
    • NGA executes - but what is the ultimate positioning? Read here
    [Disclosure: I had the honor and pleasure to run Products for NGA from Summer 2010 till Spring 2012]

    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below.

    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 Monday morning - besting out some headlines for Apple’s WWDC (hony soit…) - Microsoft announced the intent to acquire LinkedIn. This is Microsoft's largest acquisition and LinkedIn is a Top5 - if not Top3 - HCM vendor revenue wise - so time to dissect the news in our custom style - the press release can be found here (and an informative presentation on Slideshare (where else?) here). 

    Deal brings together the world’s leading professional cloud with the world’s leading professional network. 
    MyPOV - A good and true headline for both vendors. Is this the largest for Microsoft.


    REDMOND, Wash., and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — June 13, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE: LNKD) on Monday announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion, inclusive of LinkedIn’s net cash. LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Reid Hoffman, chairman of the board, co-founder and controlling shareholder of LinkedIn, and Weiner both fully support this transaction. The transaction is expected to close this calendar year.
    MyPOV - Good summary of what happened. Probably a good move the keep LinkedIn separate. But then there is always the question on how the synergies can be tackled and the key tradeoffs between e.g. a LinkedIn roadmap vs a synergy drivem / Microsoft roadmap. Personally fully in the camp of keeping things separate - as blogged here.
     

    LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most valuable professional network and continues to build a strong and growing business 
    Over the past year, the company has launched a new version of its mobile ​app that has led to increased member engagement; enhanced the LinkedIn newsfeed to deliver better business insights; acquired a leading online learning platform called Lynda.com to enter a new market; and rolled out a new version of its Recruiter product to its enterprise customers. These innovations have resulted in increased membership, engagement and financial results, specifically: 
    · 19 percent growth year over year (YOY) to more than 433 million members worldwide 
    · 9 percent growth YOY to more than 105 million unique visiting members per month 
    · 49 percent growth YOY to 60 percent mobile usage 
    · 34 percent growth YOY to more than 45 billion quarterly member page views 
    · 101 percent growth YOY to more than 7 million active job listings 

    MyPOV - Good summary on the progress LinkedIn has done in the last 12 months. Likely it would have been a cheaper target back then - but a year ago it was all about Microsoft buying … Salesforce. A very different target. 


    “The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.” 

    MyPOV - Good quote by Nadella - no surprise on Office, where the value is at hand, as proven by numerous integration products - would have liked to see more color on the Dynamics side. But let's read on. 


    “Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works,” Weiner said. “For the last 13 years, we’ve been uniquely positioned to connect professionals to make them more productive and successful, and I’m looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story.” 

    MyPOV - Good to see Weiner staying on and taking more of a Future of Work direction, that in my view has come always too short for LinkedIn. And I was never sure why the HCM message was so de-emphasized at LimkedIn because Weiner did not want to confuse the ‘cheese and mousetrap’ - or if this was still a learning path. Stay tuned. [...]

     “Today is a re-founding moment for LinkedIn. I see incredible opportunity for our members and customers and look forward to supporting this new and combined business,” said Hoffman. “I fully support this transaction and the Board’s decision to pursue it, and will vote my shares in accordance with their recommendation on it." 

    MyPOV - Good to see Hoffman on Board, key LinkedIn shareholder. But his quote made me aware of - what is in this for the LinkedIn users? What is in here for the shareholders? 


    Microsoft will finance the transaction primarily through the issuance of new indebtedness. Upon closing, Microsoft expects LinkedIn’s financials to be reported as part of Microsoft’s Productivity and Business Processes segment. Microsoft expects the acquisition to have minimal dilution of ~1 percent to non-GAAP earnings per share for the remainder of fiscal year 2017 post-closing and for fiscal year 2018 based on the expected close date, and become accretive to Microsoft’s non-GAAP earnings per share in Microsoft’s fiscal year 2019 or less than two years post-closing. Non-GAAP includes stock-based compensation expense consistent with Microsoft’s reporting practice, and excludes expected impact of purchase accounting adjustments as well as integration and transaction-related expenses. In addition, Microsoft also reiterated its intention to complete its existing $40 billion share repurchase authorization by Dec. 31, 2016, the same timeframe as previously committed. 
    MyPOV - Ok - leaving this to the colleagues who mostly wear ties - the financial analysts to dissect. But: Debt given the interest rates is a good choice… wonder if Microsoft can use some over seas cash here. 


    Overall MyPOV


    Likely a good move by Microsoft… the company is an enterprise player and secured the enterprise social network. With Facebook ad Google out of reach for many reasons, this makes both sense in the overall fit and achievability categories. 

    Plenty of synergy opportunities - so many they weren't listed here in the press release and not sure they were all mentioned in the conference call. And that makes it also a concern - too many synergies to chase and build for a combined entity can also become a challenge where a vendor can remain empty handed. But this is Nadella’ first very big acquisition, so we should not be surprised with learning about a meticulous plan and tracking towards a specific milestones here. Still the challenge remains palpable. 

    On the LinkedIn side the question is - why does this drive user sign ups and clicks to LinkedIn. Every Office accounts it's LinkedIn account will work. But that doesn't address the need why to go to LinkedIn day by day. And covering this acquisition from a Future of Work / HCM perspective - not sure if Microsoft can help flesh out the LinkedIn powered HCM potential - as the vendor has no HCM track record and HCM capabilities itself (at the moment). 

    On the bright side I am the most positive on what LinkedIn can bring to Cortana - almost immediately. Of course the question will come up on who owns and can use the data... And as an analyst covering cloud infrastructure / IaaS one has to note that Microsoft snatched the largest social network available for creating future Azure load. Great to have in the back pocket to fuel growth from conversion when the Office365 bonanza will slow down at creating Azure / cloud load. 

    Lastly - at their core - Microsoft is a an enterprise software / SaaS company - LinkedIn a business professional DaaS (Data as a Service) company. Two chasms to bridge - keeping in mind no SaaS (or enterprise software vendor) has had success with a DaaS acquisition - till today. 

    But today it is time for congrats to Microsoft for a gutsy move. Plenty of upside, a good challenge to have. Stay tuned.

    More on LinkedIn:

    • Facebook and LinkedIn tackle the enterprise – what are the implications for the Future of Work? Read here
    • About that HCM software company, that didn't want to be one... read here


    More on Microsoft:
    • News Analysis - Microsoft opens Windows Holographic to partners for a new era of mixed reality - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • 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.

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

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    We had the opportunity to attend HireVue’s yearly user conference, Digital Disruption in Deer Valley, held from June 13th till 15th at the beautiful Stein Ericson lodge. The conference was well attended with over 600 participants, more exhibitors, and more sessions – a clear sign that both HireVue and ecosystem are doing well. 




    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:


    Good Housekeeping– It is always important for customers to see – improved user interface has come to the product. Moreover automated actions will be powerful tools to make HireVue users more productive. In the interview process itself, HireVue has added screen share capabilities. Also multi section interviews, with the help of pictures and charts, can enrich the interview experience.

    Digital Assessments– HireVue has been on the vanguard of brining predictive analytics to the hiring process, the next step announced at Digital Disruption was to combine the Analytics / Machine Learning side with the traditional I/O Psychology side. Both Chief Data Scientist and Chief I/O Psychologist officers were on stage, showing what the combination of the two discipline can yield when applied to Recruiting: E.g. a large hotel chain was able to cut down the hiring time for large teams from 40 to 8 days. Impressive results that show there is potential of bringing the two together, but also concerns – see below.

    HireVue is more than Recruiting, moves to Coaching– When you have powerful video interview processing capabilities, you can bring them also to other processes, e.g. sales training / coaching. At the end of sales training, enterprises want to see what has been learnt and sales people want to practice. A video interview capability is handy here to show how well training has been understood and even more importantly to show if the newly trained capabilities can be demonstrated. Being able to process the learning progress of sales people in a similar way like processing candidate interviews is where the opportunity is for HireVue. And a number of large organizations have taken notice and are already using HireVue for Sales Training Effectiveness and Coaching.

    MyPOV

    Another good event for HireVue and its customers. Customers see a functional foot print expansion, more value from combining I/O psychology with data science and the mostly HR based buying center can now start a conversation with sales in regards of training and coaching. All good developments for HireVue customers.

    On the concern side the vendor needs to be careful not to ‘just’ put I/O best practices on a new ‘engine’ – but re-think and likely create the new I/O best practices and processes that 21st century technology enables.

    But overall a very good event, HireVue has established an impressive partner ecosystem, customers are excited on the existing and upcoming capabilities. With Sales Training / Coaching HireVue is in the process of getting a ‘2nd leg’ as a software provider, never a trivial process, but encouraging progress. Stay tuned.


    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below. 


    More on HireVue / Recruiting:

    More on HireVue
    • News Analysis - HireVue Secures $45 Million in Funding to Fuel Team Acceleration Software - read here
    • News Analysis - HireVue announces Insights - a key step to bring (true) analytics to enterprise software - read here.
    • First Take - 3 Takeaways from HireVue Digita Disruption Conference - Day 1 Keynote - read here

    More on Recruiting
    • Musings - 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.

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



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    Yesterday AWS announced the availability of its new datacenter locations in Mumbai, India. The original announcement was made at the AWS Summit about a year ago in Berlin (read here).


    So let’s dissect the press release in our customary way, it can be found here:
    MUMBAI, India--(BUSINESS WIRE)--(NASDAQ:AMZN) — Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), the world’s leading cloud computing platform, today announced the launch of the Asia Pacific (Mumbai) Region, its sixth in Asia Pacific (APAC). With this launch, AWS now provides 35 Availability Zones (AZs) across 13 technology infrastructure regions globally. More than 75,000 India-based customers are already using other AWS Regions to save costs, accelerate innovation, speed time-to-market, and expand their geographic reach in minutes. Starting today, global and India-based developers, start-ups, enterprises, government organizations, and non-profits can leverage the AWS Cloud to run their technology applications from infrastructure in India, and provide even lower latency to India-based end users. Developers can sign up to start using the AWS Mumbai Region at: http://aws.amazon.com.
    MyPOV – Good intro paragraph… AWS has already business with an Indian DNA, so taking advantage of an in country instance is a significant step. As we pointed out a year ago, latency and data sovereignty implications are a key factor to consider in global data center rollouts, and with India sitting more or less half way between Frankfurt and Singapore, in one of the largest countries from a population perspective are all good reasons for AWS to be present in India.
      
    […] The new AWS Mumbai Region consists of two separate Availability Zones at launch. Availability Zones refer to datacenters in separate, distinct locations within a single region that are engineered to be operationally independent of other Availability Zones, with independent power, cooling, and physical security, and are connected via a low latency network. AWS customers focused on high availability can architect their applications to run in multiple Availability Zones to achieve even higher fault-tolerance.
    MyPOV – Good to see that AWS stuck to the proven concept of only launching with two separate availability zones from the start / get go of a region… which allows for HA qualities right from the start. That is key especially in new markets, as traditional skepticism towards moving to IaaS are always present and can be reduced with the availability zone concept. Only the most prosperous Indian companies will have a similar setup to achieve business continuity for their operations.

    “Indian start-ups and enterprises have been using AWS for many years – with most Indian technology start-ups building their entire businesses on AWS, and numerous enterprises running mission-critical, core applications on AWS,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS. “These same 75,000 Indian customers, along with others anxious to start using AWS, have asked for an AWS India Region so they can move their applications that require low latency and data sovereignty. We're excited to make this available today, with the same pay-as-you-go pricing, ability to get started immediately without having to negotiate enterprise agreements or wait days for access, and unmatched functionality that customers enjoy in AWS Regions worldwide – all of which allows customers to go from idea to launch faster than ever before was possible.”
    MyPOV – Good quote from Jassy, hitting the key aspect of quick start, low hassle sign up and now – with the Indian data centers - low latency and addressed data sovereignty aspects.

    Since its founding in 2006, AWS has changed the way organizations acquire and manage technology infrastructure. With more than a million active customers worldwide, and more than 70 services across compute, storage, databases, analytics, networking, messaging, machine learning, mobile, IoT, and application services, AWS has become the new normal for companies of all sizes and across all industries to deploy their business-critical applications. All AWS Regions around the world undergo regular audits by independent third-parties that validate that each region is designed and built to meet rigorous compliance standards, including ISO 27001, SOC 1 (Formerly SAS 70), SOC 2 Security & Availability, PCI-DSS Level 1 and many more, providing high levels of security for all AWS customers. As with every AWS Region, customers have the assurance that AWS will not move their content from the region they choose. More information on how customers using AWS can meet their security, data privacy, and compliance requirements can be found at https://aws.amazon.com/security.

    MyPOV – It would not be an AWS press release if not on the heels of the announcement itself, security concerns and standards would be addressed. No difference here… and as usual AWS does a big services to the industry at supporting and addressing security concern right from the get go and heads on.

    India-based Customers Welcome AWS Asia Pacific (Mumbai) Region
    “We have been working with AWS since 2012, steadily moving workloads to the cloud, such as test and development environments for our core enterprise systems – we run one of the largest CRM based Dealer Management implementations in the world – more than 90 Tata digital properties in production on AWS, and many other applications,” said Jagdish Belwal, CIO of Tata Motors Limited, India’s largest automotive manufacturer. “Tata Motors obtained 40 percent savings by running our digital properties at scale, benefitting from the tremendous agility made possible by AWS. One of the key priorities we had was around how AWS could save us costs on traditional workloads, those without much variability or demand spikes, and we are expecting to save similar amounts on traditional workloads by running them on AWS.”
    Belwal continued, “We are so happy to have an AWS Region in India. AWS has allowed our IT teams to focus on innovation and become more nimble to the business demands. Environments that used to take weeks to setup can now be done in days or hours. AWS also makes it extremely straightforward for us to progress on our cloud journey utilizing a hybrid architecture, since it is important to us to leverage the past investments we’ve made in equipment and technology on-premises for a period of time; as we work to modernize and streamline our operations on the AWS Cloud. Rather than decide on ‘what workloads can move to the AWS cloud,’ we have moved to asking ‘how fast and which ones will be next in line.’”
    MyPOV – Good reference statement for AWS, with one of the most recognized brands in India, Tata. What is remarkable is the mention of hybrid cloud here, something that traditionally all public cloud providers have shied away from, it is no coincidence that this is part of the quote though. If AWS can position itself as the ‘new’ data center in India, this will be a huge win for the vendor. From our conversations with Indian businesses and professionals we know though, this is a long way to go.

    Ola, India’s leading cab aggregator and an Indian online transportation network company, is building their business on AWS. “We are using technology to create mobility for a billion Indians, by giving them convenience and access to transportation of their choice,” said Ankit Bhati, Co-founder and CTO, Ola. “Technology is a key enabler, where we use AWS Cloud to drive a superior customer experience, and innovate faster on new features and services for our customers. This has helped us reach more than 100 cities and 550,000 driver partners across India. We do petabyte scale analytics using various AWS big data services and AWS deep learning techniques, allowing us to bring our driver-partners closer to our customers when they need them. AWS allows us to make more than 30 changes a day to our highly scalable micro services-based platform consisting of 100s of low latency APIs, serving millions of requests a day. We have tried the AWS India Region. It’s world-class and should help us continue to enhance the experience for our customers.”
    MyPOV – After a B2B brand use case, off to a B2C one with Ola, great quote, great use case for both Ola and AWS.

    Shaadi.com is the world’s no. 1 matchmaking service providing a superior matchmaking experience to Indians all over the world. “As one of the key initiatives of becoming a world class tech organization, we decided to migrate to the AWS Cloud. We have many interdependent applications built over the last 15 years having unique High IOPS requirements,” said Ketan Doshi, CTO and Sr. VP, Engineering at People Interactive. “We worked closely with AWS teams and migrated ‘all-in’ to AWS successfully. We leveraged AWS Database Migration Service to reduce the time required to migrate our databases by 40 percent and also realized 55 percent cost savings by moving some of them to Amazon Aurora. We are planning to move our other databases to Amazon Aurora. We are now able to efficiently manage spiky workloads by using AWS for Auto Scaling our compute resources and improving our site’s performance by 50 percent. AWS has allowed us to exploit the potential of serverless architectures (AWS Lambda + DynamoDB) that has delivered more than 80 percent cost savings. Our Redshift data warehouse solution analyses 67 billion records to derive key business trends. Being an ‘all-in’ customer of AWS, it is exciting to see AWS launch their region in India. We will continue to adopt the latest AWS services to accelerate innovation and continue to redefine the way Indians find a companion for life.”
    MyPOV – Next up – match making service shaadi.com – an example for a software based business going ‘all in’ on the AWS technology stack. Already mentioned in Jassy’s quote – AWS will cater to the readiness of Indian businesses to save investment dollars by moving from traditional on premise technology stack vendors to AWS. To get the comfort level right, AWS needs to provide references and showcases of both feasibility and differentiation of the AWS technology stack in India, and this is a good start.

    Novi Digital, a wholly owned subsidiary of STAR India, is one of the largest media and entertainment companies in India. The company uses AWS to run Hotstar, a flagship over-the-top (OTT) broadcasting platform for delivering movies and live sporting events via the internet. “Hotstar is India’s largest premium streaming platform with more than 85,000 hours of drama and movies in eight languages, with coverage of every major global sporting event. Launched in February 2015, Hotstar quickly became one of the fastest adopted new media and entertainment apps anywhere in the world,” said Ajit Mohan, CEO, Hotstar. “It has now been downloaded by more than 68 million users throughout the world and has attracted followers on the back of a highly evolved video streaming technology, with high praise from customers on the quality of experience across devices and platforms. The reliability of the highly scalable AWS Cloud infrastructure has been a contributor to Hotstar’s ability to build and deliver a compelling streaming service for our global customers.”
    MyPOV – Streaming video of ‘spiky’ events like sports and entertainment events are key cloud elasticity showcases… and Novi Digital / STAR India are a great reference for this.

    Investing in India’s Cloud Future
    The rapidly expanding AWS Partner Network (APN) is made up of tens of thousands of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Systems Integrators (SIs) around the world who are building innovative solutions and services for the AWS Cloud. The APN program helps partners build successful AWS-based businesses by providing business, technical, marketing, and go-to-market (GTM) support. In India, the number of partners joining the APN program has grown over 80 percent in the past 12 months. AWS SIs such as Infosys, TCS, Wipro, HCL, Accenture, PwC, Blazeclan, Minjar, Frontier, Intelligrape, Progressive, Cognizant, and Team Computers are helping enterprises migrate to AWS, deploy mission-critical applications on AWS, and are providing a full range of monitoring, automation, and management services for customers’ AWS environments. AWS ISVs in India include SAP, Microsoft, Adobe, Druva, Freshdesk, Manthan, Indusface, Newgen, RAMCO, Seclore, Mediology, Mithi Software, Vinculum, Infor, Splunk, and many others who are providing software solutions that are either hosted on, or integrated with AWS. Customers can easily find, trial, deploy, and buy software solutions for the AWS Cloud on the AWS Marketplace.
    MyPOV – And there are of course SI and ISV opportunities in India, already before the AWS region was available, there was interest and sign ups on the AWS side. The ISV opportunity is twofold: For India based ISVs to go abroad, but also for foreign ISVs to get started in the Indian Market.

    AWS offers a full range of training and certification programs to help Indian professionals who are interested in the latest cloud computing technologies, best practices, and architectures, advance their technical skills. More than 16,000 attendees have participated in various AWS training events since January 2016 to learn about the latest in cloud technologies, AWS best practices, and get hands-on instruction with the AWS Cloud. The AWS Educate Program promotes cloud learning in the classroom and has been adopted by more than 500 universities worldwide. The program helps to provide an academic gateway for the next generation of IT and cloud professionals.
    MyPOV – Good to also mention training and certification, given the Indian thirst for learning technology, key to catch and be present at the right universities. This does not only matter for AWS in India, but beyond India, as many Indian IT professional will attempt to use AWS certification and skills to launch a career abroad (as they have been for decades now).

    The AWS Activate program provides India-based startups with the resources they need to quickly get started on AWS and scale their businesses. AWS has teamed with accelerators, incubators, Seed/VC Funds, and startup-enabling organizations such as Nascomm 10K, Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, Tlabs Accelerator, GSF Accelerator, and others that provide a range of services including training, AWS credits, in-person technical support, and other benefits.
    MyPOV – What has been missing in the press release? Capital for startups to build on AWS, where AWS has the Activate program – something that could not be missing in the Indian Region announcement…

    To further enable AWS customers to rapidly deliver their websites, applications, and content to India-based end users, AWS also recently opened a new AWS point of presence (PoP) in Delhi for its Content Delivery Network (Amazon CloudFront) and DNS service (Amazon Route 53). This is the third AWS PoP in India, joining Mumbai and Chennai, and is part of the global AWS network of 56 edge locations across the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America.
    MyPOV – Good to see AWS expanding its point of presence location, it will need to add more for India, given the slow latency in the country, but three in country is a good place to start.

    Teams of Account Managers, Solutions Architects, Technical Support Engineers, Professional Services Consultants, Technical Trainers and various other functions are available to support Indian customers from offices in Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and Pune in their use of the AWS Cloud. Through Amazon’s local selling entity, Indian customers are provided local invoices and payment options, enabling payment in rupees via credit cards or bank transfers. Additionally, AWS recently established an AWS Technical Support center in Bangalore that leverages local engineering talent to help AWS customers around the world with everything from break-fix situations to advice on application development, architectures, and best practices. The new AWS Mumbai Region, along with the various other investments for assisting Indian customers who are building their businesses and running applications on the AWS Cloud, are part of the $5 billion overall investment that Amazon announced is part of its commitment to India.
    MyPOV – Amazon the retailer has seen its challenges in India, which for the moment seem to be under control. Nothing works better than local investment and the overall (incl. AWS) commitment to invest 5B in Indian is always a good start, and it looks like AWS / Amazon has turned around the conversation for the better of the vendor.

    Overall MyPOV

    The ‘Monopoly (board game) race between public cloud providers is in full swing only that more properties are allowed in each country. But being early always helps in IaaS, as long as enough workload can justify the further build out that drives economies of scale for a provider. That matters even more in countries like India, where bandwidth into the country, energy supply, weather challenges are more pronounced than e.g. Western Europe. Securing access early and growing fast matters. AWS is in a good position here. Kudos also to AWS for delivering the region right at the time it was announced.

    There is little to be concerned about in India, an expansion of PoP points will be important, but is a more minor investment. It’s key for AWS to accelerate the pace in the location game though, and the vendor has announced more region to come. Likewise AWS should have / could have proactively declared the separation of its retail IT load vs its IaaS load – something the vendor needs to re-confirm again and again, especially in new markets. If there was one thing missing on the press release it is this one.

    But overall a good day for AWS customers and prospects, not only if they are India based or have already an Indian business, but also for enterprises and ISVs to get a foothold in the 2nd largest country from a population perspective. Stay tuned for the uptake, my guess is we will learn that Mumbai is the fastest growing region of AWS at reinvent in fall… outpacing its next older sibling in Frankfurt.


    More on AWS
    • News Analysis - Salesforce selects AWS as preferred Public Cloud Infrastructure Provider - Good move - read here
    • Event Report - AWS re-Invent - AWS lobbies for the enterprise - DB and IoT are the cheese - read here
    • First Take - AWS reInvent Wednesday Keynote - Good start & AWS is going for the enterprise read here
    • Event Preview - AWS re-Invent 2015 - watch / read here
    • Event Report - AWS Summit Berlin - AWS spricht Deutsch - but when will the Germans speak cloud? Read here
    • News Analysis - AWS learns Hindi - Amazon Web Services announces 2016 India Expansion - read here
    • Event Report - AWS Summit San Francisco - AWS pushes the platform with Analytics and Storage [From the Fences] read here
    • Event Report - AWS re:invent - AWS becomes more about PaaS on inhouse IP - read here
    • AWS gives infrastructure insights - and it is very passionate about it - read here
    • News Analysis - AWS spricht Deutsch - the cloud wars reach Germany - read here
    • Market Move - Infor runs CloudSuite on AWS - Inflection Point or hot air balloon? Read here
    • Event Report - AWS Summit in SFO - AWS keeps doing what has been working in the last 8 years - read here
    • AWS  moves the yardstick - Day 2 reinvent takeaways - read here.
    • AWS powers on, into new markets - Day 1 reinvent takeaways - read here.
    • The Cloud is growing up - three signs in the News - read here.
    • Amazon AWS powers on - 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 SAP Insider conference held in Vienna, from June 19th till 24th 2016. The event isn’t organized by SAP but an events organizer that combined BI, GRC, HANA, HCM and more topics with the xxx2016 moniker. The conference was well attended with over 1800 participants, coming from customers, prospects, the ecosystem and SAP… defacto this makes it like the European Sapphire, an event SAP no longer has on its event calendar.

    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:

    HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) doing well– After HCP had been in a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ stage at SAP – only to be ‘kissed’ (aka mentioned in and getting keynote time) at Sapphire this year, it is making fast progress. The need for a PaaS platform for SAP customers is at hand – not only for the Integrate and Extend scenarios, but also for the Build Scenario. I had the opportunity to be on a panel with SAP customer Owens-Illinois, who use HCP as an extension tool enabling local compliance, a good use case. Generally the experienced European audience knows what to do and what to ask around integration and extension scenarios, as they have lived and worked through them for the past decades. At the same time basic questions on cloud, PaaS and security are still very common, underling the basic evangelism work SAP (and other vendors) have to do in order to get the average European enterprise comofortable on running in the cloud and using development tools that operate in and from the cloud.

    Business Objects is back– As communicated at SapphireNow in Orlando (read here), SAP has brought back the venerable Business Object brand, as an umbrella brand for the many SAP BI offerings. And BI products were obviously top of mind in regards of a sales push in Europe in 2016, as most of the technology keynote was dedicated to business intelligence, and there mostly dashboards. The idea of the keynote to have a conversation of a CEO with its respective LOB leaders was a good idea, but was at times challenged as the LOB ‘leaders’ had to jump back between doing LoB work and doing the marketing / sales pitch. What I left with was that SAP has a lot of BI products, has created a lot of dashboards and now needs to harmonize the user experience across them. While it is fair to point out that many users will only work with the respective BI offering of their functional silo, the cross function insight and oversight is one of the key value propositions that SAP (as a suite vendor) brings to the table. It is going to be key for SAP to harmonize the user experience soon, but to be fair the umbrella brand “Business Objects” was only launched a few weeks ago.

    SuccessFactors with local expertise– Not many news from SuccessFactors from my side, as we come back from an in depth 2 day analyst day (takeaways and more are here). SAP played though the local expertise and content card with the launch of Apprentice Management. The European apprentice system is something unique to a number of European countries and is a key HR activity that is under automated. Good to see that SAP realized the opportunity and has now the first offering of Apprentice Management, natively integrated into a HR Core product (here of course EmployeeCentral). It’s a good start for SuccessFactors and if SAP can provide a handful more of these local, region relevant offerings, while the competition may blink on providing them, it could create a solid differentiator for the product, thus creating more of a ‘HCM Fortress Europe’ vs. the usual North American based competitors.


    MyPOV

    A good event for SAP that has used an event organizer to handle an independent agenda, that nonetheless is very SAP dominated in both message and delivery. It is a good event for customers to check out and understand the new SAP offerings, with a decent size expo, so the ecosystem is present and attending, too. Given Vienna as the location, the attendees were not surprisingly Central / Eastern European.

    On the concern side it is also clear that SAP has a long way to go in regards of getting its experienced customer base to adopt new products. Customers are highly skeptical, ask tough questions and have the average European concern towards cloud. On the flipside it is a healthy reality check for a US based analyst (like yours truly) to see and learn why European customers are still ‘clinging to their data centers’, thus having SAP do the split between cloud and on premises offerings.

    But overall a good, informative event, SAP customers and prospects should use these events to come up to speed on the latest SAP offerings. With a Sapphire like presence of SAP executives and employees, it is also a good opportunity for SAP customers (and prospects) to build the relationships that often are the key success factor for a successful enterprise application implementation…



    Also checkout this video on Facebook when Emily Mui of SAP, Eric Kavangh of The Bloor Group and me chatted about SAP HCP, use cases, cloud adoption and more here.

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


    And more on SAP:
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2016 - Top 3 Positives & Concerns: SAP changes - probably for the better - read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • 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


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    We had the opportunity to attend AWS Enterprise Summit in Frankfurt, held on June 30th 2016. Always a welcome chance for a US based analyst – despite European roots, history and professional networks, to check in on the state of cloud on the ‘old’ continent. The conference was well attended with over 1200 participants, coming from customers, prospects and the ecosystem. 




    So take a look at my musings on the event here: (if the video doesn’t show up, check here)




    No time to watch – here is the 1-2 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):





    Want to read on? 

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

    AWS focuses on best practices– It was clear that AWS thinks that the US view on best practices adoption due to cloud, was what the German IT audience wanted to hear about. Both in examples from Continental (surprise –another automotive customer!) and AWS itself (with Stephen Orban) talked at length about the changes that need to happen in order to make IT more agile, more in tune with the challenges of digital transformation. Nothing out of the ordinary, the audience took notes diligently.

    Security remains focus– AWS has done a very good job since its early days to address and overcome the security concerns of enterprises in regards of moving to the public cloud. No exception in Frankfurt – with a dedicated security track. From conversation with attendees, the security concern has largely been addressed in Germany, at least for the enterprises actively working on cloud deployments. As already heard a year ago at AWS Summit in Berlin, the German region in Frankfurt has eliminated almost all concerns around data residency and statutory concerns.

    Adoption remains a constant challenge– Despite the interest and good reception, AWS (like other public cloud vendors) in Germany struggles with adoption. While it was ok to have e.g. only pilots and early phases of projects in Berlin in 2015 (e.g. Audi), not having a German enterprises presenting in the keynote about their live experience with AWS (ideally in Germany) - was certainly a surprise. The ‘live’ customer aspect in the keynote came from UK based autonomous driving startup Here. Definitively a great showcase for cloud in general and AWS in specific – but nothing to relate to for the average attending enterprise. And while Continental qualifies in these regards, the presentation was around a playful uptake of AWS services with a ‘Hau Den Lukas’ implementation. Great demo, but exactly that – a demo. To be fair, more customer presentations and example were presented in the separate track session, but e.g. a major pharmaceutical company being live in the US with AWS Workspaces, certainly qualifies as a live customer, but in the US and not in Germany. 

    MyPOV

    A good event for AWS, the vendor has definitively the attention and interest of the German IT audience. I am sure AWS has good reasons for focusing more on IT transformation than showcases, but the ‘doer’ audience in Frankfurt definitively wanted to learn more on the showcase side. From my two dozen plus random attendee conversations, all were upbeat, interested but also wanted to learn more what other enterprises are doing with AWS. Even North American enterprise showcases would have been welcomed.

    Having the Summit in walking distance from all major banks, next to the Frankfurt financial center, I would not have been surprised to see a more Finance / Banking focus at the event, but if the topic was addressed, I missed it. As in general, we saw again the lack of AWS ‘packaging’, basically bundling many of their services to something enterprises are demanding (e.g. an AWS IoT Platform). Enterprises will then know services work together for a specific purpose, enable e. g. a specific business goal and most importantly, all enterprises use, experience (and become references!) for that ‘bundle’ (others may call it product).

    Overall a good reminder on how different the adoption stages of public cloud are between North America and Europe, in this case Germany. On the bright side for the cloud, definitively a change from ‘we have to do it (for IoT)’ (from AWS Summit in Berlin 2015) to ‘what are the best use cases’ (Frankfurt, June 2016), so a good progression in the ‘mental costume’ of European / German cloud evaluation / adoption. For European / German enterprises in the immediate adoption situation / decision, the recommendation is cearly to attend the North American events, most prominently reInvent in Las Vega this fall. 

    Stay tuned for more.


    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check here).

    More on AWS:


    • News Analysis - Amazon Web Services Cloud now speaks… Hindi - Indian AWS Data Centers available - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce selects AWS as preferred Public Cloud Infrastructure Provider - Good move - read here
    • Event Report - AWS re-Invent - AWS lobbies for the enterprise - DB and IoT are the cheese - read here
    • First Take - AWS reInvent Wednesday Keynote - Good start & AWS is going for the enterprise read here
    • Event Preview - AWS re-Invent 2015 - watch / read here
    • Event Report - AWS Summit Berlin - AWS spricht Deutsch - but when will the Germans speak cloud? Read here
    • News Analysis - AWS learns Hindi - Amazon Web Services announces 2016 India Expansion - read here
    • Event Report - AWS Summit San Francisco - AWS pushes the platform with Analytics and Storage [From the Fences] read here
    • Event Report - AWS re:invent - AWS becomes more about PaaS on inhouse IP - read here
    • AWS gives infrastructure insights - and it is very passionate about it - read here
    • News Analysis - AWS spricht Deutsch - the cloud wars reach Germany - read here
    • Market Move - Infor runs CloudSuite on AWS - Inflection Point or hot air balloon? Read here
    • Event Report - AWS Summit in SFO - AWS keeps doing what has been working in the last 8 years - read here
    • AWS  moves the yardstick - Day 2 reinvent takeaways - read here.
    • AWS powers on, into new markets - Day 1 reinvent takeaways - read here.
    • The Cloud is growing up - three signs in the News - read here.
    • Amazon AWS powers on - read here.
    Lastly: 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 today Unit4 surprised with a ‘summer’ acquisition – wisely timed after end of the European soccer championships – which can always be a major distraction on the ‘old’ continent – of prevero, a German maker of BI and CPM products. (The marketing and aesthetically inclined notice the color match). 

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

    Utrecht, Netherlands & Munich, Germany, July 11, 2016 – Unit4, a fast growing leader in enterprise applications for service organizations, has acquired prevero, a leading provider of Corporate Performance Management (CPM) and Business Intelligence (BI) solutions. prevero helps more than 4,000 international clients optimize their financial and operational functions, using business data to uncover deep insight and take quick action.
    MyPOV – Good summary that describes what has happened. Prevero has been working in Germany since the 90ies and has accumulated a veritable ‘who is who’ of clients in the German speaking parts of Europe.

    prevero enables business leaders to align strategy, finance and operations by making smart decisions in every part of their business. Strong CPM and BI offerings complement Unit4’s self-driving business solutions for services organizations, enabling customers to model service delivery around insightful strategic and operational data. Key capabilities of the prevero suite include:
    • Predictive analytics and business insights
    • Modelling and simulations
    • Ubiquitous access to information via in-memory technology
    • Corporate-wide collaboration and planning
    • Pre-built content for CxO offices and specific verticals
    MyPOV - A good collection on what attracted Unit4. Planning and analysis are getting ever more complex these days and by expanding its functional footprint into CPM, Unit4 becomes more strategic and important to its customers and prospects.

    Unit4 and prevero share a focus on delivering powerful industry-specific solutions. Together the companies will focus on extending the functionality and delivering pre-built content for Unit4’s key verticals including education and professional services.
    MyPOV – Always good to see the focus on industries. Prevero had to focus on industries as it had taken substantial market share in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, those assets are now valuable for Unit4. The question is of course, how these best practices translate into other European and potentially North American markets. And while prevero has gone beyond Germany with presences in the UK, France, Italy to name a few – it is still early stages for the customer acquisition efforts of the vendor.

    prevero is a market leader in the field of CPM and BI, recognized as a visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for strategic CPM suites for the past three years. The solution will be available both standalone and integrated into Unit4’s People Platform technology foundation, delivering customers leading performance management technology with native integration to Unit4’s people-centric enterprise solutions.
    MyPOV – Good accolades in the highly fragmented CPM market, the almost has local country champions on Europe. Well described on what makes CPM / BI vendors such attractive target for ‘tuck in’ acquisitions for ERP vendors: Their products are meant to operate stand alone, have integration capabilities and are therefore easily to integrate with other offerings.

    “As services organizations face increasing pressure to drive organizational transformation across all functions, CPM and BI are critical to successful strategy execution,” said Stephan Sieber, CEO of Unit4. “This is particularly true for services organizations that need to find new service models and revenue streams. Through intelligent enterprise solutions they can become more strategic and ensure efficiency and excellence in execution. The combination of Unit4 and prevero delivers the best performance management and the best services resource planning, designed with the latest technology to simplify user experience and maximize productivity.”
    MyPOV – Good quote from Sieber, describing the opportunity and vision on the road ahead.

    “The combination of the two companies will deliver a market leading offering for strategic finance and other business functions, with the infrastructure and scale required for international expansion,” said Alexander Springer, prevero’s co-founder and CEO. “More than ever, services organizations are looking to optimize the performance of their often over-complex financial planning, budgeting and forecasting processes. They are also looking to drive that same kind of insight down to all facets of the organization. As part of Unit4, we will massively improve our ability to bring these capabilities to organizations globally.” […]

    MyPOV – And Springer shares the ‘business plan’ – bring prevero’s capabilities to the global Unit4 customer base.


    Overall MyPOV

    CPM, BI and other horizontal players are always an interesting acquisition target for suite level ERP players, who lack the capabilities, but may need a jolt of fresh technology or simply more functionality. They are attractive as they immediately create a more strategic conversation topic with customers, something that never hurts an enterprise software vendor – as long as the conversation can lead to respectable sales and the acquired product is viable. On both of the latter points there can be little doubt on the prevero product side, given a proven track record with demanding German customers. What further helps these acquisitions is that CPM / BI vendors assume an integration scenario for their products to thrive, which helps to add them to an ERP vendor install base, we expect the same to happen with prevero and Unit4. And lastly a vendor like prevero can help create insights across multiple Unit4 products and version, something that customers always appreciated, so plenty of synergy and why the acquisition of prevero by Unit4 is a good move.

    On the concern side, an acquisition is an acquisition – so key people need to be retained, the architectures and roadmaps harmonized, the sales capabilities expanded and executed. Nothing that we expect the Unit4 management team to be challenged with too much, but still areas end users will want to watch to monitor post acquisition progress.

    But for now congrats to Unit4 to the acquisition of prevero, Unit4 customers get access to more and interesting BI and CPM capabilities, some interesting architecture (in memory) – both something that never hurts, and Unit4 gains a larger footprint and a more strategic exposure to the CxOs of its customers. We will be watching.



    More on Unit4:

    • News Analysis - Unit4 announces Business World On – A modern ERP offering - read here
    • 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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    Microsoft is having its third large customer event of the year in Toronto right now, the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) and as to be expected there are a number of announcements to be made. Given its ramifications, I picked the announcement of both GE and Microsoft to bring the GE PaaS Predix to the Microsoft IaaS, Azure. 


    So let’s take apart the press release in our customary style it can be found here:
    TORONTO — July 11, 2016 — GE (NYSE: GE) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: “MSFT”) today announced a partnership that will make GE’s Predix platform for the Industrial Internet available on the Microsoft Azure cloud for industrial businesses. The move marks the first step in a broad strategic collaboration between the two companies, which will allow customers around the world to capture intelligence from their industrial assets and take advantage of Microsoft’s enterprise cloud applications.
    MyPOV – Good summary, also makes right away clear that GE and Microsoft are partnering for something bigger and brining Predix to Azure was only one part of the partnership... more on that in the analysis below.
    […] As businesses look to connect their industrial machines from the edge to the cloud, bringing Predix to Azure gives customers greater choice and flexibility to securely harness the power of data from machines and systems of intelligence. Companies worldwide will be able to bridge the divide between the operational and information technologies that make up the Industrial Internet of Things.
    MyPOV – Good to see a description of the opportunity, and stating the main benefit for customers, more choice and flexibility – always a win for customers. Microsoft also got mention on what the company is banking a lot (and CEO Nadella talks about) – systems of intelligence. And GE got in the IoT moniker of the ‘Industrial Internet of Things’.
    “Connecting industrial machines to the internet through the cloud is a huge step toward simplifying business processes and reimagining how work gets done,” said Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE. “GE is helping its customers extract value from the vast quantities of data coming out of those machines and is building an ecosystem of industry-leading partners like Microsoft that will allow the Industrial Internet to thrive on a global scale.”
    MyPOV – Good quote by Immelt, maybe a tad too much on the information discovery side, less on that aspect that IoT platforms need to (and do) steer the things, too. But it maybe the extent of the partnership with Microsoft at the moment.
    As the shift to a more industrialized information age continues, the opportunity to deliver new digital solutions, insights and increased efficiencies is accelerating the need for higher level services. GE’s Predix platform is already helping industrial customers rapidly build, securely deploy and effectively operate industrial applications. Bringing Predix to Azure means those same customers will now have access to additional capabilities such as natural language technology, artificial intelligence, advanced data visualization and enterprise application integration.
    MyPOV – And here we read what Predix really is – a purpose built PaaS for IoT. And good to see the attraction to Azure comes from natural language technology, AI, visualization, and enterprise application integration. The latter comes to a certain point as a surprise, but interesting it found it in the press release.
    Azure will support the growth of the entire industrial IoT ecosystem by offering Predix customers access to the largest cloud footprint available today, along with data sovereignty, hybrid capabilities, and advanced developer and data services. In addition, GE and Microsoft plan to integrate Predix with Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence Suite along with Microsoft business applications, such as Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Power BI, in order to connect industrial data with business processes and analytics.
    MyPOV – Good to see more specifics and glad to see that data sovereignty found a mention, a huge concern on the right side of the Atlantic, and an area to which Microsoft has paid a lot of attention. Also good to see the Azure IoT Suite mentioned, anything else would have been an area of concern, but this means that lower level connectivity to things will come via / through Azure. No surprise on Cortana Intelligence Suite, that was already pre viewed earlier in the press release. And certainly no surprise on Office 365, Dynamics 365 (with new 365 addition!) as well as Power BI. This is ‘music’ to the partners at WPC.
    “Every industry and every company around the world is being transformed by digital technology,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Working with companies like GE, we can reach a new set of customers to help them accelerate their transformation across every line of business — from the factory floor to smart buildings.”
    MyPOV – Good quote for Nadella, surprisingly candid – that the partnership is helping Microsoft to reach new customers. Seldom CEOs are so clear, good to see.
    A developer preview will be released toward the end of 2016, and Predix on Azure will be commercially available by the second quarter of 2017. More information about Microsoft and GE’s partnership will be shared at Predix Transform, July 25–27 in Las Vegas, and Minds + Machines, Nov. 15–16 in San Francisco.
    MyPOV – Good to see tangible time lines and milestones in a press release. De facto this means that substantial deployments of the partnership will be out into 2017.

    Overall MyPOV

    This is the second ‘mega’ partnership Microsoft announces – after the Azure partnership with SAP, the focus with GE though is on next generation applications, building IoT solutions with GE’s Predix. Both partnerships are important for Microsoft as they bring ‘load’ to Azure, and load is what power the economics of scale that make IaaS providers competitive. Microsoft needs these partnerships to fuel Azure growth post the era of the current number one growth engine for Azure – Office conversions.

    For GE it is likely a good move, after partnering with AWS for IaaS earlier, Predix becomes effectively ‘multi cloud’, something enterprise want from a multitude of benefits: Commercial acumen, data sovereignty challenges, performance, are just the first that come to mind. From an overall uptake of Predix, the move comes early, as adding another IaaS means more testing, Q&A and documentation efforts. And using some of the Microsoft specific advantages, e.g. in AI, Speech and Machine Learning, means that GE will have to find a way to fork / abstract code for Predix. Something GE would ultimately have to do, but the point comes early in the life of Predix and the ‘tax’ for the additional deployment would have to ‘paid’ from now on. On the flipside this would have to happen sooner than later anyway and GE has the deep pockets on its quest to become a double digit billion software company, so not too much of a concern.

    Unconfirmed on the technical details – so we are speculating here – the big winner behind the scenes is Pivotal / CloudFoundry, in which both GE and Microsoft are investors. As CloudFoundry provides cloud portability / multi cloud support this is going to be key benefit and showcase for the PaaS vendor’s deployment capabilities.

    The winner of all of this are enterprises that are looking to fuel their next generation application platform needs with the help of GE and Microsoft. A purpose built PaaS platform like Predix cannot be passed over easily by CxOs, now that Predix gains another deployment IaaS, things look even more compelling for the platform. Especially global enterprise know that the rollout of the top 3 IaaS players with AWS, Microsoft and Google does not cover the world well enough form both a performance (that matters more to IoT) and data sovereignty (that matters less to IoT, as legislatures are just getting up to speed on the Safe Harbor replacement Privacy Shield these days). And most large enterprises are already Microsoft customers, so when they show interest into IoT, time to negotiate and throw in some Azure credits for this (which we expect Microsoft to possible even to proactively). The only concern at the moment is the relatively far out timeline with end of 2016 – making 2017 the realistic product deployment, but enterprises can start with Predix now – deploy e.g. on AWS and then later to Azure, true multi-cloud in the plans.

    So for now congrats to both vendors on a key partnership, with a not mentioned (CloudFoundry) 3rd party laughing on the sidelines of this press release.

    More on Microsoft:
    • Market Move - Microsoft acquired Linked - Tons of synergies, start with Cortana, maybe too many - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft opens Windows Holographic to partners for a new era of mixed reality - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • 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.

    More on GE:

    • Event Report - GE Minds & Machines - Good start - a platform for the Industrial Internet - read here


    More on Pivotal / Cloud Foundry
    • Event Report - Cloud Foundry Cloud Foundry Summit - It's good to be king of PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - Pivotal makes Cloud Foundry more about multi-cloud - read here
    • News Analysis - Pivotal pivots to OpenSource and Hortonworks - Or: OpenSource keeps winning - read here
    • New Analysis: Pivotal Now Makes It Easier Than Ever to Take Software from Idea to Production - read here

    More on Next Generation Applications:
    • Event Report - Google I/O 2016 - Android N soon, Google assistant sooner and VR / AR later - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • Event Report - OpenStack Summit 2016 - Austin - OpenStack matures, grows up - read here
    • First Take - Workato’s Workbot cuts business users some slack with Slack integration - read here
    • Progress Report - Cloudera is all in with Hadoop - now off to verticals - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - The next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves into DaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to Cloud Foundry and OpenStack - Key Steps - but what is the direction? Read here
    • Event Report - MongoDB is a showcase for the power of Open Source in the enterprise - read here
    • Musings - A manifesto: What are 'true' analytics? Read here
    • Future of Work - One Spreadsheet at the time - Informatica Springbok - read here
    • Musings - The Era of the no-design Database - Read here
    • Mendix - the other path to build software - read here
    • Musings - Time to ditch your datawarehouse .... - Read here


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

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    Earlier this week the EU Commission approved the Privacy Shield regulation, that is to replace the now invalid Safe Harbor agreement. With the notice being sent to the EU member states, the agreement is in place.



    Important enough for privacy to take a look at this - don't miss my earlier posts on the invalidation (here) and the suggested Privacy Shield (here):



    Not much time - here is the one slide summary:



    More time? Read on:

    The Privacy Shield agreement was necessary after the EU Courts invalidated the long term Safe Harbor Agreement between the USA and the EU. It was proposed back in February of 2016 and is now in place with few days to spare. In Europe privacy advocates and groups think that Privacy Shield is not going far enough, so the next court challenge is likely - but for now Privacy Shield is a valid agreement. 

    What does it mean for CxOs?

    No matter if looking at this from a people side, as CHRO or as a technology executive (CIO, CTO), the recommendation has to be clear, if an enterprise does business or plans to do business on both sides of the Atlantic:

    1. Plan / Operate local data centers:  Local data centers need to be in the near future, in case they are not yet a reality, as the only way to be compliant in the medium term.
       
    2. Separate Data / Access: The separation of data and access to data in these data centers needs to be looked at, be implemented and monitored. Expect BI / DataWarehousing etc. application to require a deeper look.
       
    3. Validate / Separate Applications: The next step will be to change existing applications - no matter if built in house or bought of the shelf, to make sure that the new modus operandi is followed and stays in place.
       
    4. Keep an eye on legislation: This will not be the last wrinkle, so CxOs should learn and not be taken by surprise (again?) by future trans-Atlantic privacy changes.

    MyPOV

    The good news for enterprises is regulatory certainty - for now. It's a good time to check internal applications on compliance and have a conversation with your SaaS vendors on compliance. If an enterprises does not have data centers on both sides of the Atlantic - it's time to get them in place, or long term write off the business on the other continent. We expect privacy regulation to keep evolving, actually on both sides of the Atlantic, with a new administration coming in the US this year. As always - start with the business acumen, and then tackle the hard parts, which is data center location and application and data segregation. The good news is - there are many data center vendors / IaaS vendors easy to get more utilization in their data centers. The bad news is - almost no SaaS vendor is ready for data separation, while allowing a legal global view, we expect it will take a few more quarters for vendors to step up to the challenge and support this in product. Till then (or new changes in transatlantic privacy) - stay tuned.   



    Also follow up the view of my colleague Steve Lockstep on the topic and privacy in general here.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here. Oh yes and on Slideshare, here

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    I am starting a blog series on problems and challenges that I keep hearing from HR professionals as I make the rounds talking to them and advising them. These are bigger topics, such as Globalization, what is broken in Talent Management, the future of Recruiting etc. so they will be divided up in a series of blog posts.

    As I am on my 3rd trip to India this year, having just reached Chennai, more than fittingly let’s start with Global HR, and let’s highlight the trends that make Global HR so important, talk about the challenges and the solutions to the overall domain.


    There can be little doubt that we live in a more and more global economy. The internet has brought mankind more together than any other technology invention before. News travels around the globe faster than ever, culture is a cross border phenomena and brands have become global not over night, but over the course of a short decade.

    But while information travels efficiently globally, enterprise that find themselves in the midst of the globalization trend need to ‘plant the flag’ in the countries they want to do business. Sales operations, fulfillment, customer service etc. all require customer facing activities and with that need physical presence in the countries where an enterprise wants to do business.

    And with that any enterprise quickly enters the challenging area of ‘Global HR’, a term that is more than inadequate, since it doesn’t really exist…

    What exists on the people side are HR professionals that understand more than one country from both a HR best practices and legislation perspective. But there is no single person in the world that knows all HR regulations and best practices, at best there are professionals who can straddle regions to a good enough detail such as Western Europe, Latin America to name a few.

    On the software side, Global HR software on the contrary though, does exist, but as one can imagine it is a challenge to create and even more to maintain this kind of software. For an HR software vendor to be in the ‘Global HR’ system business, the vendor needs to understand the local content, the legislation and best practices that govern each of the countries the vendors wants to support. And despite there are a number of vendors offering ‘Global HR’ systems, none of them is truly 100% global, meaning that they support all languages, all local legislation and best practices in a single system that are happening on this world. The task itself is too big a task and the vendors look for the larger, more popular countries, where their customers and prospects want to take them. And the job doesn’t get easier for the vendor than for an enterprise, as the vendor needs to hire local experts who not only know the local country from a regulation and best practice perspective, but they need to keep monitoring their further evolution, as nothing ever stands still. But not only does a ‘Global HR’ vendor need to have the local experts, the vendor hasn’t done its job by just collecting the requirements, but needs to continuously build these requirements in the code of its products, test them, document, release and support them. Nothing trivial, but key for enterprise to understand when they look for a global HR product.

    Moreover, vendors in the space need to understand the jargon and ‘lingo’ spoken in each of the supported countries. Few things turn off and confuse users more than consuming labels and messages in systems, so vendors cannot afford to look at translation of systems based on dictionary accurateness but need to pass the test of daily usage and stay on top of the lingual and cultural nuances each country’s HR practices demand.

    Unfortunately the task doesn’t get easier, as the need for social, tax system and welfare reform is imminent all around the world, indeed a global phenomenon. While most of the first world economies struggle with an aging workforce and need to change legislation to support a fast growing number of retirement workers, the 2nd and 3rd world countries are both driven by a spirit of making their tax systems more competitive and simpler. In a number of 3rd world countries the task is even to introduce (and enforce) the very first tax, benefits and welfare systems. So on a worldwide level we notice an acceleration and increase of lawmaker activity that has profound effects on the legislative, statutory and regulatory frameworks under which enterprises need to operate when working on a global scale.

    The good news for enterprises is though, as the task gets harder, scale gets more important, and the reason why enterprises look for Global HR vendors is, that these vendors have more scale than enterprises. And scale in this context comes from the number of people employed and paid. It is obvious that enterprise system vendors offering Global HR products will have a higher number of employees (at their customers) than even the largest enterprises can have employed across the world.

    The second most prominent driver resulting in more interest in Global HR systems is the benefit enterprises have, when they achieve a global view on their in-house talent, regardless of employment location. The first world is quickly running out of people, while the 2nd and 3rd world produce more professionals that often are eager to help out in the 1st world on a project or even permanent basis. So before an enterprise cannot staff a function at all or needs to recruit from the outside, it may well look on a global level what capabilities, skills and talent it may have in other countries. With the rise of more project based activities and transformations in today’s enterprises, there is even higher demand for a global view on employees.

    And lastly enterprises face cost pressure and talent shortage in the 1st world and before moving a function to another location worldwide, management needs to understand the cost of employment, the availability of talent and more from potential target markets. Nothing frustrates executives charged with global functions more than not having fast and efficient visibility into their global responsibility areas, and HR is one of the key areas. With employee related expenditures usually being the larges spending category in an enterprise it deserves attention.

    The consequence of the above 3 major and most prominent trends is that enterprises are looking more and more for global HR solutions, even if they have been running a local vendor’s system, as HR leaders realize they can scale better through a vendor’s system that scales across countries, on a global scale.

    And on the flipside it is becoming quickly conventional wisdom that disparate HR systems, across multiple countries are quickly becoming a burden to overall enterprise agility, as enterprises don’t have insight into what in most cases is their largest expense, people.

    So no matter if motivated by the above three trends or scared by the above scenario of fragmented systems, we see an increased need and demand for Global HR solutions.


    Stay tuned for Global HR Matters - How to get there - Part 2, that will focus on User Empowerment. 

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