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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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    I was in India this week on customer advisory and attending the Nasscom HR Summit in Chennai, I had the honor to keynote the event on Day 1 and moderate a panel on the synergy story between man and machine. All that gave me a good insight in the state of the Indian HR market, worth for a blog post. 



    As usual – instead of making it a lengthy blog – let me share my top three takeaways:

    High Technology Interest– I found a welcome difference in attitude towards technology by the Indian HR executive, compared to their peers in Europe and North America. Those parts of the world often witness the delegation of all technology understanding to the ‘colleague who cares for HR Technology’, which is an attitude I try to coach out of HR executives. In the 21st century HR executives need to match the technology know-how and understanding in breadth and depth to that of all of the CxOs, excluding the CIO and CTO. The Indian HR executive is a welcome change and more interested, knowledgeable and open to learn and use technology. Bots were the most common topic of conversation, now we will have to see how adoption in real world implementations will be.

    Learning a top concern– Gone are the rapid hiring days of the bustling India of the 90ies and dot com boom times, now it is all about employee augmentation and Indian HR executives are looking for Learning to address this. With a very high smart phone and solid network penetration it is good to see enterprises are looking for mobile first solutions and show a high degree of readiness to use predictive analytics and machine learning to experiment both with content creation and content provisioning. Should Indian enterprises keep the pressure on vendors at this level, we may well see the Indian Learning market surpassing the traditionally leading 1st world market in regards of capabilities and outcomes.

    BPO / Outsourcing of high interest– Equally eye opening for me was to see that (again – no longer the traditional attitude towards hiring and getting big like a decade ago) Indian enterprises are more looking at BPO / Outsourcing. Not only in the traditional RPO side where enterprises in India need outsourcing providers to help with the peak demands – but in very ‘bread and butter’ (wait make that ‘naan and butter’) situations. The drivers are the same as in the 1st world – more rigid labor laws, more investment in employees, a more conservative way to grow businesses, the concerns on bad press in case of layoffs etc. are all reasons we also hear in other parts of the world.


    MyPOV

    It was an honor to participate at my first NASSCOM event as a speaker / moderator, but even more to get insight in the dynamic Indian HCM market and speak to Indian HR executives on the state of HCM in India. The event itself was well organized, well attended and well received by attendees. Being a new comer I asked veterans on how this year’s edition compared with previous editions of the conference was overall positive. A CHRO of a large enterprise went even so far to call it the best event he has attended in a while. Can’t add more.

    And being in India was also a great opportunity to catch up with local vendors Neeyamo, PeopleStrong and some N.N. – always good to catch up IRL and feel the pulse at vendors. Finally I had a chance to take a 4 hour tour of Chennai, I think I was here last in 1996 (came for the tennis tournament) – what a difference 20 years make in India. Sad to see that Marina Beach (still) has not recovered fully from the Tsunami, good to see the impressive Parthasarthy and Kapaleeswar temples as well as San Thomas Basilica again (they had not changed much). I feel like I am getting my India legs again, 3rd trip of the year, 72 hours, no chance to escape the Kabali launch!



    More Musings posts:

    • Musings - The Bots are coming to your conversation - what are the implications? Read here
    • Musings - We are entering the age of the Über Super Computer - read here
    • Musings - Retail is the breeding ground for NextGen Apps - read here
    • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! Read here
    • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrastructure updates - read here
    • Are we witnessing the Rise of the Enterprise Cloud? Read here
    • What are true Analytics - a Manifesto. Read here
    • Is TransBoarding the Future of Talent Management? Read here
    • How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the Laggards - read here

    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 today Oracle announced its intent to acquire NetSuite… rumors of the acquisition are almost as old that if they were humans, they would attend middle school, but there was a recent pickup, and they have no materialized… 




    Let’s first take a look at the press release in our customary style, it can be found here:
    Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire NetSuite (NYSE: N), the very first cloud company. The transaction is valued at $109.00 per share in cash, or approximately $9.3 billion.
    MyPOV – Now we know why Oracle likes to grow cash reserves, it makes it Oracle’s 2nd largest acquisition (after Peoplesoft in 2004, which turned out to be ‘just’ 1 billion more.
    “Oracle and NetSuite cloud applications are complementary, and will coexist in the marketplace forever,” said Mark Hurd, Chief Executive Officer, Oracle. “We intend to invest heavily in both products—engineering and distribution.”
    “We expect this acquisition to be immediately accretive to Oracle’s earnings on a non-GAAP basis in the first full fiscal year after closing,” said Safra Catz, Chief Executive Officer, Oracle.
    “NetSuite has been working for 18 years to develop a single system for running a business in the cloud,” said Evan Goldberg, Founder, Chief Technology Officer and Chairman, NetSuite. “This combination is a winner for NetSuite’s customers, employees and partners.”
    “NetSuite will benefit from Oracle’s global scale and reach to accelerate the availability of our cloud solutions in more industries and more countries,” said Zach Nelson, Chief Executive Officer, NetSuite. “We are excited to join Oracle and accelerate our pace of innovation.”
    MyPOV – 2 CEOs, two quotes, 1 CEO and 1 founder, also two quotes. Hurd’s quote is important in regards of stopping all rumors that Oracle may discontinue NetSuite products and stating the opposite in regards of Oracle planning to invest into product and go to market. Catz quote is all about CFO, nota bene the first full fiscal year (after expected closing in this CY) is June 1st 2017 till May 30th 2018 – so quite a bit out. Goldberg’s quote is the usual positive one on the merger, ok and Nelson’s is all along Hurd’s line of further investment in product and broader reach for the NetSuite products courtesy of Oracle.
    The evaluation and negotiation of the transaction was led by a Special Committee of Oracle’s Board of Directors consisting solely of independent directors. The Special Committee unanimously approved the transaction on behalf of Oracle and its Board of Directors.
    MyPOV – Key to mention... because of the double ownership of Ellison in both Oracle and NetSuite.

    The transaction is expected to close in 2016. The closing of the transaction is subject to receiving certain regulatory approvals and satisfying other closing conditions including NetSuite stockholders tendering a majority of NetSuite’s outstanding shares in the tender offer. In addition, the closing is subject to a condition that a majority of NetSuite’s outstanding shares not owned by executive officers or directors of NetSuite, or persons affiliated with Larry Ellison, his family members and any affiliated entities, be tendered in the tender offer.
    MyPOV – Another key piece of information, making sure that this transaction is not turning into a management or Ellison ‘left pocket to right pocket’ transaction. It is certainly unusual to find in a press release, but then there are no other software vendors out there where double ownership of that scale is part of a transaction (at least that I know of).


    Implications, Implications, ….

    Let’s look at the implications that this acquisition has for the different constituents of the ERP market:

    Implications for Oracle customers

    This is likely not going to affect Oracle Cloud customers. Oracle has been a serial acquirer, the company knows how to do acquisitions, though this is the 2nd largest acquisition Oracle has done. And NetSuite has more overlap with many Oracle products than Peoplesoft had – e.g. NetSuite brings working CRM and Manufacturing applications to Oracle (something Peoplesoft did to a lesser extend). So Oracle will have to be very clear on where it sees the sweet spot for either product and what customers can expect to use depending on their size and use case. Oracle customers should also press Oracle to clarify and share the roadmap for any plans of 2 tier ERP (where Oracle Cloud products run at HQ and large subsidiaries, and NetSuite may run in smaller subsidiaries) – something that has worked well for customers of other ERP vendors.

    Implications for NetSuite customers

    As always with acquisitions, Constellation Research recommends to get any assurances, promises, roadmap items reconfirmed, best in written form. These are always difficult, but even more in an acquisition scenario. Overall this should be good news. NetSuite has been e.g. slow at rolling out to European data centers, something that Oracle will be able to accelerate – not just for Europe but other regions. It is likely that Oracle will put NetSuite under the ‘Applications Unlimited’ umbrella program – in the worst case – and there Oracle has a pretty good track record of keeping acquired applications maintained, the posterchild being the last century acquisition of RdB from DEC.

    Implications for Partners

    Oracle has already stated that it will keep all partnerships in place that NetSuite has put in place. A wise move but we will see if there is more partner consolidation over time. For Oracle partners that are not NetSuite partners – this maybe an alley to become a NetSuite partner. Conversely, for a NetSuite partner that is not an Oracle partner – it may be the option to become an Oracle partner. It will be interesting to see what it means for one of the best running partnerships in the industry -the NetSuite and Ultimate partnership for HCM, that like all other partnerships is in place and keeps going.

    Implications for Competitors

    We don’t see the acquisition making Oracle Cloud products more competitive – in the next quarters. At best there may be some ecommerce and manufacturing capabilities that Oracle may leverage from NetSuite. Changing store APIs is easy if done correctly. The most direct impact for Oracle customers is likely going to be that Oracle could put in place a similar 2tier ERP strategy, that Oracle rival SAP has been running for a while with byDesign playing the role that NetSuite could play for large multinational Oracle customers. And certainly NetSuite is in a better shape and state than byDesign. In the NetSuite market it may create openings for all other players, assuming distraction on the NetSuite side, something the competition cannot count on, but certainly will try. Who will be – with NetSuite being part of Oracle – the largest independent SMB targeted ERP suite? We will see.

    MyPOV

    A good move by Oracle, that will gain – assuming NetSuite growth holds – almost 1 billion in cloud revenue. Financial analysts and markets will not remember where the cloud revenue bump came from in 15-18 months from now – so we will see if the acquisition will create the bump to the Oracle share price that management and board are expecting (the alternative would have been to buy back Oracle stock at the tune of a few billions). Likely that gamble will pay of due to the recurring nature of cloud revenue, and the one time ‘fizzle’ of share buyback (yes there are fewer outstanding shares, too).

    The good news in the market is that this is not a hostile takeover for NetSuite customers. They knew NetSuite is running largely on Oracle technology, and the acquisition has been rumored for many years. Likely NetSuite customers will win with over time more capabilities and more investment into the NetSuite product. And Oracle customers may receive the one or the other NetSuite capability via an API in the cloud (we guess on commerce, merchant capability, order management etc.) as well as a two tier ERP strategy that has been working well for other enterprises using SAP. But till close both vendors keep operating autonomously so likely for the rest / most of 2016 no immediate change in the market. 

    For the cloud observers, Oracle just secured a large chunk of uniform cloud load for its IaaS, after large on premise loads (see SAP with Microsoft Azure here) and large internet property loads (see e.g. Microsoft and LinkedIn here) this was one of the largest cloud loads (on a compatible platform) that Oracle could acquire. More scale to Oracle’s IaaS offering.

    For the software strategists, the questions is really why now. The acquisition was rumored for a long time, does Oracle need more cloud revenue, was NetSuite getting too expensive, was NetSuite embarking into a ‘not so’ Oracle centric architecture… all and more are plausible motives, which we are more likely than not will ever find fully disclosed.

    Still early days, Oracle OpenWorld is likely to bring a lot of news and roadmaps for this acquisition. Stay tuned.


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

    Another way to look at it - the one slide summary:




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

    Future of Work / HCM / SaaS research:

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

    Also worth a look for the full picture


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

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

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


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


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

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    We have the opportunity to attend Pivotal’s SpringOne Platform conference in Las Vegas, held from August 1st till 4th 2016. The conference is well attended with over 2000 participants, a record for a Spring conference. But then no surprise as Spring is the framework that works probably best with Pivotal’s PaaS product, CloudFoundry, so a large part of the attendees are building applications on CloudFoundry. 



    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:

    Full SDLC support coming– Pivotal wants more pieces of the overall SDLC, or at least what Pivotal throughout the event showed as a 6 step from idea to software delivery cycle. With Tracker, Concourse and PCF Metrics there is no more support for requirements management and tracking, CI and well, metrics. Enterprises will appreciate more integrated tools coming out of one hand, as the last thing a project team needs is integration issues along the software delivery cycle.

    Spring is in its 2nd spring– The almost venerable Spring network has found its second spring and has become the tool of choice for enterprises building on top of Pivotal CloudFoundry. It is almost like Pokémon is the success of PokemonGo – a well-established and known brand from the past making a comeback in a new settings. Most developers are familiar with and have heard of Spring, around 10 years ago. Then it got a little quieter and now, well it’s in its 2nd spring…

    Attractive CloudFoundry investment themes– Pivotal shared the CloudFoundry investment themes and they were welcomed well by the attendants. Needless to list them all but appropriate for the event it is all about making CloudFoundry the best platform for… spring. The focus on multi-cloud has paid of very handsomely for CloudFoundry, and the focus on containers and microservices is high on the agenda for enterprises that plan to build – or are building – next generation applications.

    MyPOV

    A good event for Pivotal and the SpringOne Platform community that is growing and adding more capabilities…. Always a good ‘flywheel’ situation for a platform and its framework. The investment direction seems right and was approved well, owning more pieces of the SDLC is a good strategy for Pivotal.

    On the concern side it is really what the next steps after the immediate and announced ones will be. Adoption remains a challenge for all players, it is one thing to select a tool, a totally different challenge to become a software producer for almost every enterprise. Breaking with the best practice of using standard software and starting to build you own next generation applications is a major internal transformation. From a product capability it will be interesting to see what Pivotal can / will do to make its platform more strategic, e.g. Machine Learning, out of the box capabilities, industry support and more mobile functionality are my bets.

    Overall a very good event for Pivotal. It is a good problem to have for a software vendor when there are no to very few immediate problems what is next looks attractive and the only concern is – what comes after next. We will be watching, stay tuned.

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




    Find more coverage on the
    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below.

    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
     Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.


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    Earler this week Randstad surprised with the acquisition of Monster, the venerable, one valued multiple billions, hob posting site. In a tell of times it shows how the talent acquisition market has changed, where the vendors that once where supposed to go under (Randstad) with little effort can acquire the undertaker (15 years ago or so Monster).





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

    AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS and WESTON, MASS. – August 9, 2016 – Randstad Holding nv (AMS: RAND), a leading human resources services provider, and Monster Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: MWW), a global leader in connecting jobs and people, today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which Randstad will acquire Monster. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Randstad will pay $3.40 per share in cash, or a total purchase price of approximately $429 million (enterprise value).
    MyPOV – Sums up the deal, Monster was losing money (here the link to its last quarter), so Randstad likely got a good deal. Randstad has declared a ‘reinvention’ strategy and this acquisition is part of it. More below.

    By leveraging Monster’s multiple distribution channels to bridge two different but complementary parts of the extended recruiting industry, Randstad intends to build the world’s most comprehensive portfolio of HR services. Monster will continue operating as a separate and independent entity under the Monster name.

    MyPOV – Describes well what Randstad is up to – grow its portfolio of HR Services, and be more than the vendor that comes in the picture for temporary workforce usage. As described, the talent acquisition capabilities of Monster can also help recruiting a contractor workforce, so there may well be synergies on paper and in business, but the new combined entity need to create them first. 


    “In an era of massive technological change, employers are challenged to identify better ways to source and engage talent,” said Jacques van den Broek, CEO of Randstad. “With its industry leading technology platform and easy to use digital, social and mobile solutions, Monster is a natural complement to Randstad. The transaction is aligned with our Tech and Touch growth strategy and reflects our commitment to bringing labor supply and demand closer together to better connect the right people to the right jobs. We look forward to welcoming the Monster team and working together to shape the evolving global job industry.”

    MyPOV – Good quote from van den Broek, aligning it with the Randstad strategy of ‘Tech and Touch’ – where Randstad does not shy away from technology acquisition to bolster its overall ‘human touch’ service portfolio.

    “Joining Randstad provides a unique opportunity to accelerate our ability to connect more people to more jobs,” said Tim Yates, CEO of Monster. “Together with Randstad, Monster will be better positioned to fulfill our core mission, and our employees will benefit from becoming part of a larger, more diversified company. Equally important, this transaction offers immediate value to our shareholders. We are excited to join and be supported by Randstad, as we continue to build the best recruiting media, technologies, and platforms. We look forward to working with the Randstad team to ensure a smooth transition.”
    MyPOV – Also good quote by Yates, showing the potential for Monster as being part of Randstad. And that is tremendous, Randstad is more European than Monster, so growing in Europe is a tangible opportunity for Monster.

    Strategic and Financial Benefits

    Brings Together Complementary Visions to Lead Transformation: Randstad and Monster have a shared vision for the global job industry, which is rapidly transforming as a result of technology advances. The transaction is intended to accelerate their ability to develop new and innovative capabilities that deliver greater value to job seekers and employers by bringing labor supply and demand closer together.
    MyPOV – Always good to hear about vision compatibility, but it will be better to test and see that on a joint roadmap. Too early for now but should be there in the next quarters.

    Creates Most Comprehensive and Technologically Advanced Capabilities for Human Resources Services: Randstad continues to enhance its business model in the rapidly shifting landscape, placing annually more than 2 million people worldwide through its network of more than 4,500 branches and client-dedicated services. With the addition of Monster’s leading recruiting media, technologies, and platforms which connect people and jobs in more than 40 countries, Randstad intends to further expand its services to offer both clients and candidates tools for increased efficiency and engagement, connecting more people to more jobs. […]

    MyPOV – Good description of what Randstad is really up to – and how Monster fits into the picture. There are certainly synergies between the two vendor – we will look at it below.



    Implications, Implications…

    Let’s look at the implications that this acquisition has for the different constituents of the HCM market:

    Implications for Randstad customers

    There are no immediate implications. There is no overlap or potential functionality that may be replaced by Monster on the Randstad side, if a customer still thinks so and sees that (Randstad operates in 20+ markets and has different capabilities in each of them), then it is time to contact Randstad and understand the implications. As usual, Constellation recommends to get everything in writing in regards of operation of products and capabilities that may now be in question. In a few quarters it will be interesting to see how all the many acquisitions that Randstad has done in the last 12 months will come together.

    Implications for Monster customers

    There are two areas of good news – Monster is on much better financial feet and Randstad has said it will keep operating the Monster business as a business unit and under the Monster name. Everything else would be unproductive from a brand recognition and overall market value position. Even though it is not fully clear at the moment what the new ‘Randstad Monster’ will do. Clients should reconfirm roadmaps, future items and SLAs. It is unlikely that anything will change or even deteriorate in the short term, but enterprises should ask the new Randstad owned Monster what the new positioning and capabilities will be. Adding more temporary worker recruiting capability could be a welcome addition for enterprises that use or plan to use temporary workers. If that is not in the future of an enterprise, it is time to take a hard look how good longer term the Randstad permanent worker acquisition tools will be.

    Implications for Partners

    There is no expectation of an immediate impact, though any partnerships that Monster may have had with Randstad competitors will get some scrutiny. Let’s hope the adults are at home and all we be handled in a way where the customer must win, which is always a good true north for companies in acquisition mode.

    Implications for Competitors

    This is an interesting move and may give the executives at Adecco, Kelly Services, Manpower, Robert Half and more some food for thought. If Randstad can become more strategic for HR decision makers and enterprises overall, then all will have to react. In the meantime, they may sit on the sideline and hope Randstad may get distracted and may not deliver, but that’s a risky strategy. There are enough Monster competitors with similar structural market challenges – their valuation maybe on the rise.

    Overall MyPOV

    Randstad is going through a transformation, trying to become more than the trusted staffing partner. The vendor as acquired and made a number of investment, just in the last quarters it acquired RiseSmart (see here), entered Talent Management with twago (see here), and changed its staffing need e.g. with Careo Group in Japan (see here) or Obiettivo Lavoro in Italy (see here) and most recently in France with Ausy (see here). On top of that Randstad is open to disrupt itself with putting no limits on the investment objectives of the Randstad Innovation Fund (see here). These are serious investment, that are changing who and what Randstad is. Tucked in the Monster press release is a statement that the pace will not remain as frantic, as Randstad expects ‘only’ expenditures on acquisition to be around 100M Euro. Certainly good to see as buying goes faster than integrating, educating the market on new capabilities, training sales people and getting the first lighthouse customers.

    And that also leads to the concern side, Randstad may have chewed up more than it can handle. On the flipside it is a very large company with deep pockets on stable revenue stream. The other concern is that Monster has been on steady decline since more or less 2000. Very similar to recently acquire Yahoo! When the web property was the one and only place where business would be done. But recruiting has changed, not just with the rise of social networks like Facebook and Linkedin (my take on the acquisition of the vendor by Microsoft here) for how Recruiting should (and will work) see my post here. So Randstad may have acquired the 'yesteryear' best practices vendor. 

    But overall it is always a good sign when a vendor is trying to make it easier for customers, and that is Randstad’s leitmotiv here, with the genuine business interest of becoming more strategic for its customers and prospects. It has to bridge a traditional 'moat' in the enterprise software landscape - as staffing, job sites and HR vendors have not come together in the past. Now we will have to see if Randstad can deliver on the vision, it has made the acquisitions and has the resources to make it happen. We will be watching.

    Find my 10 tweets in the topic at this storify here (or below).

    More on Randstad:
    • Progress Report - Randstad Sourceright - Good Progress and the beginning of a balancing act – 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
    • 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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     Earlier today IBM and Workday announced a partnership with the intent of Workday using IBM’s Cloud for its development and test systems. Announcements of SaaS vendors (like Workday) and IaaS vendors (like IBM) are popular these days, and we have commented on them earlier (e.g. Salesforce chooses AWS, SAP choosesMicrosoft (and earlierIBM), JDA choosesGoogle Cloud Platform, all the way back Infor choosesAWS.


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


    ARMONK, NY and PLEASANTON, CA– 15 Aug 2016: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced Workday(NYSE: WDAY), a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, has adopted the IBM Cloud as part of a multi-year strategic partnership. IBM Cloud will become the foundation for Workday’s development and testing environment providing Workday with greater efficiency, flexibility, and global scale.


    MyPOV – Describes well what is going – Workday ‘has adopted’ IBM Cloud (likely SoftLayer) but will become the foundation for Workday’s development and test environments. Development and test environments are usually of less interest to SaaS customers, but the cost of providing, provisioning and maintaining them is a large chunk of CAPEX for any ISV / SaaS provider. The ease of use of provisioning instances does not only matter to enterprise building next generation applications, but also to ISVs / SaaS vendors and their developers. A lower TCO both in physical and labor cost to get an instance may even affect how many developers can work how efficiently on providing code, as it all comes from a development / R&D budget.


    As IBM Cloud becomes the primary platform for Workday’s development and testing, Workday will continue accelerating the pace of innovation for its applications and services. IBM Cloud will also provide important capacity expansion in support of Workday’s growing development and testing requirements.

    MyPOV – Describes what Workday gains, more flexibility to focus on its own application instead of running environments. Testing requirements also matter to customers, as often the so called ‘sand box’ environments run under that label – and easier and faster to access sand box environments mean easier and faster access to code for customers trying to familiarize themselves with upcoming release capabilities.


     “IBM and Workday are both delivering transformative applications and services in the cloud,” said Aneel Bhusri, Co-Founder and CEO, Workday. “Workday will use IBM Cloud to continue accelerating Workday’s internal development and testing efforts to support our ongoing global expansion.”

    MyPOV – Good quote from Bhusri, interesting to see the focus on global. IBM Cloud’s is in a leading position here compared to the IaaS competitors – with close to 50 locations. And location matters both for performance in general – but for HR and Finance applications (as Workday builds) from a statutory and legal compliance perspective. When e.g. employee data needs to be in country (e.g. Russia), testing of code with the real customer / production data should be happening in the same country, too. A major challenge for all SaaS vendors at the moment, given the accelerated rate of regulatory changes we predict in the near term future.


    "Leading enterprises like Workday continue to turn to IBM Cloud for its global reach, flexibility, and resiliency," said Robert LeBlanc, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud. “Through a preferred cloud partnership with IBM, Workday can accelerate its innovation efforts to better serve clients around the world.”

    MyPOV – Good quote of LeBlanc, too – highlighting the faster pace of innovation that is possible when an ISV / SaaS vendor gets rid of running their own environments.


    IBM’s global cloud data center presence includes nearly 50 highly scalable and security-rich IBM Cloud datacenters in 17 countries on six continents. The company delivers enterprise cloud services ranging from analytics and Watson to Blockchain and Internet of Things to provide clients with more choice and flexibility in their digital transformation.

    MyPOV – Important to mention the location number in the 50ies, with the closest competition working through the twenties in regards of numbers of location. IBM benefits here from the comparatively very small pod size of a SoftLayer data center compared to the competition, which allows IBM to open IBM Cloud locations with less load in a location than the competition.


    Workday intends to expand the use of IBM Cloud over time beyond development and testing. Today’s announcement builds on the IBM and Workday partnership, which includes IBM’s global Workday Consulting Services, the 2015 acquisition of Meteorix–a leading Workday services partner–and IBM’s own use of Workday Human Capital Management for its global workforce. 

    MyPOV – No ISV / SaaS vendor moves development and test environments to a platform without thinking what comes after that. Sandboxes, Learning environments, production environments etc. The elimination of any environment variable that may slow down the release of software with new capabilities or fixes is something DevOps and Product teams at ISVs / SaaS vendors strive for. Though even not mentioned, the question will be soon when e.g. production environments will run on the IBM Cloud.


    [Updated August 15th 2016] I had a chance to catch up with IBM's Jim Comfort and Workday's David Clarke earlier today and there are a few additional takeaways:

    • Only the beginning - As usual with partnerships both partners point out that there is more to come... in this case I'd be more optimistic that this will happen given that SoftLayer supports Workday's architecture well, IBM is more than only a IaaS vendor but has e.g. Workday implementation business with Meteorix (see a tidbit on this in my Rising Event Report here).
    • Partnership synergies - It escaped me when writing the original blog post - IBM partnered with VMware earlier in the year (see here) and that partnership was important for the Workday partnership, as the vendor is using VMware for some aspects of its technology stack. A good example how partnerships enable partnerships.  



    Overall MyPOV

    As mentioned before, software vendors are looking for IaaS partnerships to reduce their cost of product development. It is a good time, as the IaaS vendors are almost desperate to get the load from ISVs / SaaS vendors onto their infrastructure, as the load is uniform. For an IaaS vendor to get 100 production environments from 100 enterprises is 100 sales, consulting and implementation cycles. In other words, a custom process. Compare that with becoming the cloud of choice for an ISV / SaaS vendor – those 100 production environments come from 100 customers of that vendor. And all are the same profile in regards of technical requirements, footprint etc. – and best the ISV / SaaS vendor will move them over time - themselves. So no surprise the race for the uniform load of ISVs / SaaS vendors is in full swing. As a matter of fact, it is the biggest prize for IaaS vendors at the moment.

    How prized the ISV / SaaS load is can be seen in the case of Workday, with the industry anecdote that happened over three years ago: At HP Discover then COO Veghte saidthat Workday was moving to HP’s Cloud, dropping AWS. AWS CTO Werner Vogels quickly de-bunked that on Twitter, with re-confirmation from Workday. In the meantime, Workday has shared at their Tech Summits that it is using public cloud infrastructure for development and test environments. So let’s check what Vogel tweets or any other official reaction.

    For the long time enterprise software observers, this comes as a little bit of a deja-vu, too – as over 12 years ago, shortly before the acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle, Workday picked the IBM technology stack to build its next generation of its software on. This announcement is different though, as it affects more the operational side, the Workday tech stack (seems to) stay fully intact and is not affected by the environment.


    AWS CTO Vogels tweet back in 2013, when HP claimed Workday cloud load for the HP cloud


    As always with partnerships – let’s look at this from the customer view first: 

    It is good news for Workday customers when Workday can lower development costs, provide internal environments fast and more efficiently and provide environments in more locations. At the moment Workday does not develop in low cost / high talent locations (aka 'offshore' unless you count Ireland as such a location), but the IBM partnership gives the vendor that option. So ultimately the chance for more hands building code and code in more places. 

    The good news for IBM customers is that IBM cloud has signed a large uniform SaaS vendor deal, which lowers the cost for IBM to run its cloud, may make locations more commercially viable and may even bolster the opening of locations beyond the 50+ locations IBM supports today. In difference to the partnership IBM has with SAP, that was more focused on the older SAP technology implementations, and presenting single customers with savings, this partnership has the potential of adding (over time and a few more decisions favorable for IBM) a lot of load to IBM’s cloud. Last but not least, the bare metal nature of the IBM / SoftLayer based cloud comes with advantages when speaking with more conservative organizations in regards of putting their sensitive Finance and HR data in the cloud. Being able to ‘see, touch & control’ a server takes away a lot of cloud angst from many CIOs and CTOs in more concerned geographies and cultures.


    Overall a good move for both vendors, and most importantly for their future joint customers. Now we need to understand more, e.g. Workday confirmed running on OpenStack, IBM supports OpenStack, this will be a move that will make the partnership even more palatable to CIOs / CTOs as OpenStack is a known technology for them. And then the 1B$ question will be if and when production environments may move from Workday data centers to IBM data centers… plenty of questions. Stay tuned. 




    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)
    • Salesforce chooses AWS (read here

    More on IBM:

    • News Analysis - IBM Boosts Support to OpenStack's RefStack... first serious attempt to make OpenStack interoperability real - read here
    • Event Report - IBM Interconnect - IBM innovates and partners into the hybrid cloud era - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM and VMware announce partnership to accelerate enterprise hybrid cloud adoption >> Looking promising - read here
    • Event Preview - IBM Interconnect 2016 - read here
    • Site Visit - IBM Design Studio Austin - read here
    • MarketMoves - IBM strikes 3x in Fall - Cleversafe, The Weather Company and Gravitant - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM launches Industry's First Consulting Practice Dedicated to Cognitive Business - a good move it's early times - read more
    • News Analysis - IBM plans to acquire Cleversafe to propel Object Storage into the Hybrid Cloud >> a good move. Read here
      Market Move - IBM acquires StrongLoop - nodejs comes to BlueMix - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM and ARM Collaborate to Accelerate Delivery of Internet of Things - The IBM NextGenApps Stack emerges - read here
    • Progress Report - IBM Cloud makes good progress - but needs to attract more load - read here
    • Market Move - IBM gets into private cloud (services) with Blue Box acqusition - read here
    • Event Report - IBM InterConnect - IBM makes bets for the hybrid cloud - read here
    • First Take - IBM InterConnect Day #1 Keynote - BlueMix, SoftLayer and Watson - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM had a very good year in the cloud - 2015 will be key - read here
    • Event Report - IBM Insight 2014 - Is it all coming together for IBM in 2015? Or not? 
    • First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from IBM Insight Day 1 Keynote - read here
    • IBM and SAP partner for cloud - good move - read here
    • Event Report - IBM Enterprise - A lot of value for existing customers, but can IBM attract net new customers? Read here
    • Progress Report - The Mainframe is alive and kicking - but there is more in IBM STG - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM and Intel partner to make the cloud more secure - read here
    • Progress Report - IBM BigData an Analytics have a lot of potential - time to show it - read here
    • Event Report - What a difference a year makes - and off to a good start - read here
    • First Take - 3 Key Takeaways from IBM's Impact Conference - Day 1 Keynote - read here
    • Another week and another Billion - this week it's a BlueMix Paas - read here
    • First take - IBM makes Connection - introduces the TalentSuite at IBM Connect - read here
    • IBM kicks of cloud data center race in 2014 - read here
    • First Take - IBM Software Group's Analyst Insights - read here
    • Are we witnessing one of the largest cloud moves - so far? Read here
    • Why IBM acquired Softlayer - read here

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

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    We had the opportunity to attend the yearly IBM Alliance Insights event, held August 23rd and 24th in New York. The analyst event was well attended with the usual colleagues covering services players, coming all the way from Europe. The focus was on three major partnerships of IBM, respectively with SAP, Oracle and Microsoft.



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


    No time to watch – here is the one 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:

    Deep Plans - IBM has substantial business with all three partners, so not surprisingly the plans with each are elaborate, carefully crafted and validated multiple times. The common leitmotiv for all three of them is that IBM is trying to push its two strong assets with Watson and IBM Cloud in all partnerships, while maintaining and expanding its substantial professional services business with all three vendors. The relationship is different with all three partners so let’s take a look:
    • SAP - IBM goes the longest back across all three partners, and has a very strong professional services business. SAP was also the first ISV with which IBM partnered to position the IBM Cloud (read here), which has put IBM in a very strong position across the existing (and future) SAP IaaS partners. Similarly IBM and SAP are using Watson in talent acquisition scenarios as well as other scenarios. Both vendors are committed to the partnership (see more here).
    • Oracle - The 2nd largest of the three partnerships, where IBM has a unique portfolio, not only offering services for Oracle’s current cloud products and its older e-Business Suite product family, but also for the acquired products Peoplesoft, JDE Edwards and Siebel. IBM has seen the high cloud priority for Oracle and has substantially invested into training, education and certification of the IBM professional resources, and this investment is starting to pay off in 2016. Positioning of Watson and IBM Cloud are a little trickier than with SAP, with Watson client lead and demanded offerings being on the way. With the older Oracle offerings like e.g. Siebel, JDE and Peoplesoft the cloud overlap does not exist and IBM Cloud is a key asset for the IBM teams. 

    • Microsoft - The youngest of all three partnership, that only recently has been promoted from a regional level (in Europe) to a global level. The overall product portfolio overlap between IBM and Microsoft is the biggest, giving less room for synergies. IBM and Microsoft started around CRM and Dynamics and both areas are doing well. IBM is copying working best practices and offerings of the IBM and Apple partnership to a Surface partnership with IBM which is off to a promising start, with IBM providing both service and financing products for Surface customers. In this partnership IBM is likely to require to invest more in common offerings around net new businesses, e.g. for the Microsoft Hololens and whatever Microsoft plans to productize on the LinkedIn side. 

    Watson and Cloud are the pillars - We have written earlier and multiple times that both Cloud (via the SoftLayer acquisition) and Watson are the strong cards for IBM’s overall product portfolio (see e.g. here). It makes sense for IBM to use them in the above alliances, and it is good to see both product are well on the way to support partnerships. The Watson pivot to the expose APIs via BlueMix is successful and uniquely supportive of partner engagements both on a product and professional services side. And the relative low commercial entry point of IBM Cloud to establish data centers is a key attraction for joint customers as well as ISVs (see e.g. with Workday most recently here). But the competition does not sleep, SAP seems to apply past best practices to databases now to partnering on IaaS and Microsoft has its own Machine Learning ambitions.

    Vertical and IP ambitions - Beyond the more horizontal capabilities of Watson and IBM Cloud, IBM clearly sees vertical offerings as a major opportunity across all three partnerships. This is a perennially valid perspective, as all product vendors in the league of the three partners think horizontal and then vertical – leaving room open for partners to fill the gap. Its back to IBM now to address with the often seen consulting offerings or taking this effort a step further and creating true products (with a version number, a roadmap, support and maintenance) for them. Definitively a different DNA required for this, but IBM has this DNA in house in the product divisions. Will be interesting to watch.

    Finally IBM also has a data / data services maybe even DaaS play with these partners, as it is looking at offering both analytical insights as well as data services with the Weather Company, data access to the Twitter firehose and many more. But these are offerings that IBM needs to provide regardless of these three partners. It will be interesting to observe, if IBM will partner with these three for data exchange, benchmarking (e.g. with SAP for the Sybase 365 data, that recently SAP started to sell via SAP Digital (see here), Oracle’s elaborate DaaS offerings (see here) and Microsoft with Linkedin (see here).

    Overall MyPOV

    These are very large and strategic partnerships for IBM. Roughly every 6th IBMer is creating value in the ecosystem of these partners. That is larger than many service providers are stand alone. So no surprise IBM is planning, coordinating and crafting strategies with a lot of thought, substance and depth. No surprise.

    On the concern side, IBM now needs to execute on these plans, without falling back to traditional ‘professional services’ roots and deliver the more IP based, productized offerings. IBM has the DNA, resources and people to do that, but they need to come together at the right time. The Rubicon that the services business has to cross is not to only leverage existing product commitments from a services perspective, but to create lasting IP or even product offerings that create a flywheel effect between its services and these new products.

    For enterprises looking at IBM as a partners this is overall good news, as less time and labor based, not start from scratch projects, but fast to value approaches are what enterprises need in an ever faster evolving world. Like with all service providers we recommend enterprises to look for product naming, version numbers, roadmaps and dedicated support and maintenance strategies – across a growing customer base for these offerings.

    Overall it is good to see the progress IBM has already made on some of the partnerships (e.g. with SAP where the renewed partnership was just launched in spring of this year). It won’t get boring in the near future, we will be watching, stay tuned.




    More on IBM:

    • News Analysis - Workday, IBM Form Strategic Partnership on the IBM Cloud - The IaaS vendor race for SaaS load is on - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM Boosts Support to OpenStack's RefStack... first serious attempt to make OpenStack interoperability real - read here
    • Event Report - IBM Interconnect - IBM innovates and partners into the hybrid cloud era - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM and VMware announce partnership to accelerate enterprise hybrid cloud adoption >> Looking promising - read here
    • Event Preview - IBM Interconnect 2016 - read here
    • Site Visit - IBM Design Studio Austin - read here
    • MarketMoves - IBM strikes 3x in Fall - Cleversafe, The Weather Company and Gravitant - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM launches Industry's First Consulting Practice Dedicated to Cognitive Business - a good move it's early times - read more
    • News Analysis - IBM plans to acquire Cleversafe to propel Object Storage into the Hybrid Cloud >> a good move. Read here
      Market Move - IBM acquires StrongLoop - nodejs comes to BlueMix - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM and ARM Collaborate to Accelerate Delivery of Internet of Things - The IBM NextGenApps Stack emerges - read here
    • Progress Report - IBM Cloud makes good progress - but needs to attract more load - read here
    • Market Move - IBM gets into private cloud (services) with Blue Box acqusition - read here
    • Event Report - IBM InterConnect - IBM makes bets for the hybrid cloud - read here
    • First Take - IBM InterConnect Day #1 Keynote - BlueMix, SoftLayer and Watson - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM had a very good year in the cloud - 2015 will be key - read here
    • Event Report - IBM Insight 2014 - Is it all coming together for IBM in 2015? Or not? 
    • First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from IBM Insight Day 1 Keynote - read here
    • IBM and SAP partner for cloud - good move - read here
    • Event Report - IBM Enterprise - A lot of value for existing customers, but can IBM attract net new customers? Read here
    • Progress Report - The Mainframe is alive and kicking - but there is more in IBM STG - read here
    • News Analysis - IBM and Intel partner to make the cloud more secure - read here
    • Progress Report - IBM BigData an Analytics have a lot of potential - time to show it - read here
    • Event Report - What a difference a year makes - and off to a good start - read here
    • First Take - 3 Key Takeaways from IBM's Impact Conference - Day 1 Keynote - read here
    • Another week and another Billion - this week it's a BlueMix Paas - read here
    • First take - IBM makes Connection - introduces the TalentSuite at IBM Connect - read here
    • IBM kicks of cloud data center race in 2014 - read here
    • First Take - IBM Software Group's Analyst Insights - read here
    • Are we witnessing one of the largest cloud moves - so far? Read here
    • Why IBM acquired Softlayer - read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

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    We had the opportunity to attend O.C. Tanner’s first analyst summit held in Salt Lake City on August 26th 2016. For the first edition there was good attendance from the analyst and influence community. 

    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:

    Leader in traditional R&R - There can be little question that O.C. Tanner is one of the leaders in the traditional R&R (Rewards & Recognition) space – all the way to the origins of the enterprise, when founder Tanner created commemorative pins in the basement of his mother’s house. The vendor has optimized its delivery process, pushing the lean concept with great success – all the way from 20+ days to 20 minutes to produce an individualized commemorative reward item. Equally the vendor employs graphic and user experience designers and other creative capacities to advise enterprise on the implementation of a successful R&R strategy, from planning overall all the way to design of e.g. the Yearbook (see below more) and appreciation items.

    Branching out into technology R&R - O.C. Tanner is a pioneer in the R&R space starting with its SaaS based daily (Performance) recognition product launched over ten year ago followed by the Yearbook product launch approximately three years ago. The Yearbook is a tailored, individualized appreciation item for an employee with an anniversary. It is open for input from both inside of the enterprise sources, as well as friends and family. From customer and vendor presentations the Yearbook is very successful in enterprises to boost morale and show employee recognition. Along the same lines O.C. Tanner has made a foray into the corporate wellness market with its Welbe application. It is well built, with a good and modern user interface and some crowd based capabilities (e.g. start your own communities), a good start.

    Performance Management in O.C. Tanner Labs
    - The other new application we saw coming out of O.C. Tanner labs (more below) was focused in the area of Performance Management. This solution is still under non-disclosure so more to come in the near future. Given the sore state of Performance Management, the question is on the hand if O.C. Tanner is not getting into the Performance Management market. The O.C. Tanner labs initiative is certainly a starting point, we will see where the vendor (and customers and prospects) take it.
     

    MyPOV

    Always good for vendors reaching out to the analyst / influence community. When they make over 400M US$ revenue, they take a sizeable HR spend and HR leaders want to know what the vendors are up to from the analyst community, so kudos to O.C. Tanner to start these meetings. Equally impressive is that executives at O.C. Tanner have realized that the technology R&R products are likely not to come from the traditional organization, and have setup O.C. Tanner labs, both as an innovation incubator as well as a potential source for future growth in the technology enabled segments of the R&R market. Lastly it is good to see a vendor investing when times are good, O.C. Tanner has just extended / remodeled its HQ in a very impressive way, the result is an appealing place to work and to host customers as well as prospects.

    On the concern side, the vendor has to bridge a traditional moat from traditional to technology based R&R products. It takes different skills and different market dynamics – remaining good at one and getting better at the other is not easy to achieve. One only has to look at the many IS consultants who have failed and still try to become software product providers. But you can’t fault O.C. Tanner for trying and the first steps are promising.

    For existing customers and prospects these investments are good news. More capabilities and a more complete offering. Decision makers need to have a look on the cost side, but getting more from one vendor is usually music in the ears of HR decision makers who fear nothing more than integration costs and risks. To be fair they face galore of those, so having less potential headaches in the R&R space is good news. But with all R&R projects, they need to ‘work’ in regards of employee engagement and motivation. At this point we do not see the risk of O.C. Tanner resources getting distracted with two different strategic areas, but that’s always a risk to keep an eye on when a vendor is branching out.

    Overall good to see a company entering the last decade before turning 100 to do well, invest and even not shy away from disrupting itself. We will be watching – stay tuned.


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


    More HCM Strategy Musings posts:
    • Musings - The Bots are coming to your conversation - what are the implications? Read here
    • Musings - We are entering the age of the Über Super Computer - read here
    • Musings - Retail is the breeding ground for NextGen Apps - read here
    • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! Read here
    • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrastructure updates - read here
    • Are we witnessing the Rise of the Enterprise Cloud? Read here
    • What are true Analytics - a Manifesto. Read here
    • Is TransBoarding the Future of Talent Management? Read here
    • How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the Laggards - read here
    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 SAP SuccessFactors SConnect event in Las Vegas this week, held from August 29th till 31st 2016 at the Venetian in Las Vegas. The conference had (in my records) the best attendance since I am attending in 2013, with over 4000 attendees coming from customers, prospects and partners.




    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 ones:

    New User Interface - The new user interface is certainly the most impressive advancement across all that SuccessFactors delivery plans. In the past there was often a lack of consistency across the SuccessFactors products, that the vendor is now addressing. The new UI, starting with the high frequency screens looks attractive and feedback from users was positive to very positive. Now we will watch what real world feedback is going to be and what the next set of improvements SuccessFactors will put in places.

    The Centers have come and more are coming– Last year SuccessFactors introduced the center concept. A single place to look for functions or content, one year later we can state that the Center concept has been well accepted and more centers are on the way. The Release and Report Center are the ones that stood out in my view, as getting customers faster on a release and finding reporting information is always valuable. But there are many more and SuccessFactors is certainly up to something here.

    Intelligent Services– Another capability that SuccessFactors debuted last year, Intelligent Service – is seeing good uptake by customers, some executives even shared better uptake than they expected. Personally I am not surprised, as automating more repetitive tasks is something not only HR professionals but especially business users have been asking for a long time. The debate if Intelligent Services is ‘just workflow’ keeps going on, but at the end it does not matter what it can be labelled as from a taxonomy standpoint, what matters is that functionality provides day to day value for SuccessFactors users. And that was a question last year – by now from adoption and customer conversations there is no question anymore.

    Performance Management keeps getting continuous– When SAP unveiled its plans to come up with a different approach to Performance Management, there was general surprise. After all, SuccessFactors is the ‘800-pound gorilla’ in Performance Management and gorillas are not know for disrupting themselves. So kudos for that to SuccessFactors, on the flipside the direction of a more continuous form of Performance Management is not in the league with e.g. Columbus finding America. But HR professionals don’t want risky discovery, but a solution to the inaptitude of current Performance Management, and the new SuccessFactors offering is working well in these regards. Also good to see that SuccessFactors did not rest and is building more capabilities into Performance Management.



    Analyst Tidbits

    • Payroll– Amongst the numerous announcement was also a payroll related one, that Accenture, EPI-USE and NGA HR would take a SAP customers payroll, ‘lift & shift’ it to their environments and have it run / managed from there. An interesting solution for customers who want to use the SAP cloud offerings, but not go through the risk and cost to re-implement a payroll. Pretty sure this will help SAP / SuccessFactors in one or the other competitive situation.
       
    • Bias & Diversity– Back at Sapphire Thomas Otter and me recorded a video on how software can help eliminate bias and increase diversity (see here) – and now SAP is getting ready to release first product capabilities, starting with a resume parser that flags words that may be offensive or limiting candidate response due to bias or targeting only a slice of the candidate population. In combination with the new Investigate (see below) capability there will be also the functionality to analyze the workforce in regards of bias and diversity.
       
    • Marketplace - It’s the biennial of the marketplaces, and SuccessFactors does not stand back, launching a training marketplace for its Learning product. A good start and an area where customers have requested more capabilities. Also a good place to show SAP wide benefits – as SuccessFactors leverage ‘sister division’ hybris capabilities. We will be curios on the uptake.
       
    • Analytics– I have been critical of SAP’s analytics efforts overall and HCM in specific (see my definition of ‘true’ analytics here) – so it is good to see that things at SuccessFactors are changing for the better. Next to the new Report Center and the upcoming ‘Investigate’ capability, SuccessFactors has now a number of veritable predictive analytics projects ‘under the belt – which is a much better situation than a few quarters ago. We will have to see how yesterday’s SAP BW/HANA announcement may affect the reporting / analytics strategy for whole divisions like SuccessFactors (see our analysis here).



    MyPOV

    A good event for SuccessFactors that is growing on all fronts – customers, users, partners, prospects and most importantly product capability. Both SAP CEO Bill McDermott (with a first live appearance at the event) and Mike Ettling mentioned that the largest R&D contribution of SAP is in the HCM area. And with a focus on horizontal capabilities (e.g. User Interface and Reporting), the benefits are visible and delivered quickly. Also good to see that SuccessFactors has followed up on what they said they would deliver at the analyst summit earlier this year (Progress Report here). Moreover, it was good that this was not another ‘EmployeeCentral’ themed SuccessConnect – which for a long time has been the center of attention for good reasons, but almost to the point where traditional SuccessFactors clients on the older SuccessFactors products felt left out. A focus on overall HCM best practices has been good for the conference.

    On the concern side SAP must – like all vendors with a history in the enterprise software market – address the question of technical debt. Some of the acquired older SuccessFactors products are turning double digit if not teenage years old, always a point to rethink and possible rebuild products. At the same time SAP as a company overall is on the quest of rebuilding the suite with S/4HANA and that has repercussions on all product lines – that at least need to be answered (see the BW/HANA announcement happening in parallel). But that is not only a problem for SAP / SuccessFactors – nonetheless an area to watch.

    Overall a good event, good to see activity and progress on all fronts. We also learnt that SAP has an ambitious partner agenda – that should drive EmployeeCentral customers to 2000 by end of the year – from a current base of 1200 and change. We will be watching, but for now congrats to SuccessFactors to a good event, showing value to customers across the SAP HCM capabilities.

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


    And more on SAP:
    • Event Report - SAP Insider Vienna - HCP, BI and SuccessFactors are the takeaways - read here
    • 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

    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 BoxWorks in San Francesco, held from September 7th till 9th 2016. It was record attendance for Box, with over 7k registrants, the largest BoxWorks ever. 

    So take a look at my musings, I was joined by fellow colleague Alan Lepofsky at the conference - and here in the video): (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 – here are my Top 3:

    Box is a viable business– Not too many years ago there was a concern that the File Synch & Share market would get commoditized, and players like e.g. Box being squeezed out by the entrance of larger players like e.g. Microsoft or Google. Today we can say that this concern has not materialized, and Box is on the path to become a 100M / quarter enterprise vendor, having turned around the potential threats into partners / frenemies / co-opetitors: Both Microsoft (with Peggy Johnson) and Google (with Diane Greene) were on stage with partnership announcement. Quite a remarkable turnaround.

    Product Innovation in the core– One of the reasons why Box is doing well is that the vendor is (more than I have seen in the past) actively working on improving the core product. A new user interface is available (finally) and addresses a number of usability concerns many have been vocal before. The new UI feels less clunky and is more in synch with 2016 UI best practices (e.g. dynamic re-sizing). The collaboration on Box Notes will be improved. The most prominent announcement though was the new Relay product – that in conjunction with IBM – will bring light workflow capabilities to the Box product, something Box has been missing (and / or avoiding?) for a long time vis a vis long entrenched workflow / document vendors like EMC’s Documentum, Opentext and others.

      
    Product Innovation with Box Platform– The newly unveiled Box Platform, that enables developers to build content centric applications is off to a strong start, with over 80k developers, 2k apps and most interestingly 50% of APIs calls of Box overall. The last statistic shows that there was demand for building content centric applications in the market and the Box install base. From a load / platform perspective Box would be only half the vendor it is today, something few may notice today, but has severe (positive) effects in the medium run. With the additional platform load Box not only gets more customers and users, but also gets better economies of scale to operate its platform and last but not least gets more of an interesting partner for large cloud vendors (no surprise AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM were there – on stage and as sponsors).

    But developer adoption does not come by itself, so it is good to see that the Box Platform team is focused on developer experience – which first and foremost starts with developer productivity. Building content centric apps is not trivial from a user experience, so providing controls with the Box UI toolkit is key for developer productivity, as well as an important decision criterion to use Box as a platform. Box has also done work for new media (360-degree video e.g. from drones featured prominently) – and expanded its native viewer capabilities, that are key to keep a seamless user experience. And when applications have been built, they need to be operated and maintained, the new Box Developer Console is a good version one product to address this… And documents often have legal ramification, so apart from Box Zones (available since earlier this year), making available compliance APIs is another key step the Box Platform team has taken to make it easier for developers to address the pesky and tedious compliance questions.

    MyPOV

    A good event for Box, that not only has reached critical mass but also is progressing well at creating the ‘2nd leg’ with the Box platform. It is early days, but good progress and promising new capabilities are in the pipeline. Things will look (even) better for Box once those will be delivered over the next quarters.

    On the concern side there was little progress and announcement on the machine learning side. As an overall trend the intelligence permeates the LCD, which means the intelligence and the actor is not the human anymore – but the software behind it. In many cases today already, software is the better ‘driver’ for content than humans, it is cheaper, never sleeps, does not make mistakes, and if programmed correctly is bias free. We got a glance in a presentation of the ‘future of content management’, it is good to see Box is seeing all the trends, next will be to get them on the product roadmap. It also has some existing partners who are strong in the space (all mentioned above). Sharing documents into the overall business data maelstrom on Hadoop is another area where Box needs to spend some thought (and potential product development) cycles. Lastly Box Zones is a key step forward, but like with all other SaaS vendors, the multi-spliced-multi-location problem is still unsolved. Letting customers select their favorite location is not a medium term viable solution.

    For Box customers these are all welcome developments, the new UI certainly having the most immediate, direct impact. Watching the developments around Relay will be a key area for customers to follow – and to consider which workflow around documents may be moved to Box. Equally customers and prospects who are looking at building their own content centric apps have plenty to use and more to come for them. There is little concern at the moment that developers cannot build very powerful content centric next generation applications on the Box Platform, a key value proposition today. Coupled with Box Zones this makes Box also a good partner for global use cases.

    Finally it was refreshing to hear a vendor speak so openly about technical debt and how to actively address this phenomena which is part of all software development, but seldom addressed so openly and directly. Good to see, and kudos to the Box team to have the courage to openly talk about the challenge.

    Overall encouraging progress and signals from BoxWorks. Stay tuned.

    P.S. Checkout Alan Lepofsky's event report here he has the content, collaboration and social angle.

    More on Box


    • Event Preview - What Alan Lepofsky and I want Box to address this BoxWorks [2015] - read here
    And more platform Event / Progress Reports (based on recency):

    • Event Report - Pivotal SpringOne Platform - Spring in its 2nd spring - read here

    • Event report - AWS Enterprise Summit 2016 Frankfurt - The German Road to Cloud adoption is ... long - read here
      Event Report - SAP Insider Vienna - HCP, BI and SuccessFactors are the takeaways - read here
      Event Report- Alteryx Inspire 2016 - Enabling change agents in data management - read here
      Event Report - Cloud Foundry Cloud Foundry Summit - It's good to be king of PaaS - read here
      Event Report - Google I/O 2016 - Android N soon, Google assistant sooner and VR / AR later - read here
      Event Report - Infosys Confluence - The Future Watch is Software + People - read here
      Event Report - Microsoft Build 2016 - A platform vision and plenty of tools for next generation applications - read here
      Event Report – Google Google Cloud Platform Next – Key Offerings for (some of) the enterprise - read here
      Progress Report - Cloudera grows product, verticals and globally - now needs to execute - read here
      Progress Report - Hortonworks wants to become the next generation for the enterprise – a tall ask - read here
      Progress Report - Oracle Cloud - More ready than ever, now needs adoption - read here
      Progress Report - Workday Tech Summit - Good Progress, More Insights, Less Concerns - read here
      Event Report - Oracle Openworld 2015 - Top 3 Takeaways, Top 3 Positives & Concerns - read here
      Event Report - SAPtd Las Vegas 2015 - Analyics, HCP, and Fiori BUILD - read here
      Event Report - Salesforce Dreamforce - Value for customers - but some concerns on direction - read here


    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check here). (The Day #1 Storify is here - the Analyst Day is 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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    Dell Technologies came into existence on September 7th 2016 (see here) – almost a year after the original announcement – and after clearing all regulatory hurdles. 

    So take a look at the video (check out Ray Wang and my first take here, too and colleague Chris Kanaracus has a CR Insights piece here):


    Want to learn more – here is the 1 slide update:






    Want to read on here -you go:

    When new companies are formed, the question is of course, what is their business model and market going forward, we take a look at 3 scenarios:

    Nothing changes
    (in the private to public cloud ration) – Dell is no doubt well positioned, serving the existing level on premises / private cloud computing, not only providing all gear to build and operate a data center, but also important software that enterprises beyond that (e.g. think of Pivotal products, VMware EUC). Those enterprises that don’t want to run local data centers – there is a good / interesting offering with Virtustream. Dell also has a veritable services business that will not see turmoil, as buying decisions would support the status quo, as such giving time to fine tune services model. The only problem in this scenario: It never happens that nothing changes.

    Slow move to public cloud (10 years till we reverse today) – Here we assume a slow move to public cloud, reversing that the 10-20% of enterprises load that is in the public cloud will be the level of private cloud / on premises remaining in 10 years. This scenario is still favorable to Dell, as it allows for Dell to build products and services that will be in demand of that transition. To a certain point the recent VMworld and EMC World events gave a glance into this area, where both vendors pointed out offerings that will make it easier for enterprises to move to the public cloud. The private nature of Dell, being shielded from quarterly earnings pressure, may also allow Dell to build the hardware and software it needs to equip the large public cloud vendors, that are at the moment not using any Dell gear and software (it doesn’t help they are not using any competitor’s offerings either). The changing services model can be addressed with new services offerings, re-skilling people at a realistic pace and innovating with new services for the modified landscape. So with some hard work and successful innovation Dell can do well in this scenario.

    Fast move to public cloud (3 years) – Here we assume that in 3 years from now only the above 10-20% of enterprise load remain on premise. This scenario is not favorable for Dell, as the investment required to make this scenario happen, will happen with known technology decisions of the current public cloud vendors, that do create any or only very little revenue for Dell. R&D and innovation will be under massive time pressure to deliver in the next 3-6 quarters, something that is hard for any R&D organization. As a matter of fact, Dell has a showcase for this in house now, with VMware, that despite knowing enterprise load more intimately than any other vendor, was not able (so far) to capitalize in any substantial way from the move of enterprises load to the public cloud (barring e.g. the partnership with IBM, see here). So this scenario is most bearish on Dell.

    Bonus Scenario – Continuous Asset Sale– This week’s news that OpenText is picking up EMC’s Content division, including Documentum (read here) reminded me of the option. Dell may sell non-strategic products and services along the way of its transformation, becoming leaner, meaner and potentially more focused on the ultimate prize. While it certainly will help the cash position, this constant sale is not helping to keep prices up, makes it hard for customers to understand what the new Dell really will be and is not positive on employee morale. An unlikely scenario in my view, but one to keep an eye on. It certainly would help if Dell declared what assets will be Dell ‘forever’ at least for the next 2-3 years to come, customer deserve to know and are sensitized to the topic, given the recent developments at HP.

    MyPOV

    It’s always good to try and win / fail that not trying at all (Roosevelt said something along the lines), so definitively kudos to Dell for engineering the largest merger in the high tech industry history and certainly trying. And the combined new Dell has a number of strong assets, it has the #1 PaaS product with CloudFoundry, it has a strong EUC and MDM portfolio in VMware, it has the leading hosting solution for hosting (older) SAP with Virtustream, that are clearly standing out. Then we get into the weaker or slowly fading areas of PCs, servers (at Dell), virtualization (at VMware), Databases (at Pivotal) and converged on premise storage (EMC) and security (RSA). Some innovative R&D e.g. with Photon at VMware has peaked out in the past. A large part of the Dell business will be hardware, and despite Dell building market share with PCs, overall PC sales are slowly dwindling, and servers that Dell can built are commoditized to the point that the don’t need to be purchased from Dell (neither its competitors). The area to watch is if any of the large IaaS provider and maybe IBM will build data centers with Dell products. There are rumors of a Microsoft Azure data center being largely built on Dell, but if true and a success, I am sure Dell would have been out there already touting the benefits.

    So it all depends on the Trillion-dollar IT industry question – timing and volume of the move to public cloud infrastructure. We don’t debate the If anymore, but only the When. Dell will need time to make its offerings more attractive, the next quarters will tell us more on how fast enterprises are moving, and how fast Dell can innovate new attractive offerings for the more public cloud future. Stay tuned.



    More on recent Market Move 

    • Market Move - Randstad to acquire Monster Worldwide - Bridges a moat, now it has to work - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle acquires NetSuite - Oddly consolidation means more options for customers - read here
    • Market Move - Microsoft acquired Linked - Tons of synergies, start with Cortana, maybe too many - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle acquires Ravello Systems - makes good on nested hypervisor roadmap - read here
    • Market Move - Atos completes acquisition of Unify - gets more into IP - read here
    • Market Move - Dell plans to acquire EMC, VMware, Virtustream, Pivotal and more - read here
    • Market Move - IBM acquires StrongLoop - nodejs comes to BlueMix - read here


    More on Dell:

    • Market Move - Dell plans to acquire EMC, VMware, Virtustream, Pivotal and more - read here


    More on VMWare
    • News Analysis - IBM and VMware announce partnership to accelerate enterprisehybrid cloud adoption - read here
    • News Analysis - VMware unveils Workspace ONE – will the EUC adoption begin now? Read here
    • Market Move - Dell plans to acquire EMC, VMware, Virtustream, Pivotal and more - read here
    • Event Report - VMware VMworld 2015 - VMware stays the course - executes - progresses on fight for long term relevance - read here
    • Musings – What will it be this year at VMWorld - read here
    • Market Move - EMC to acquire Virtustream - More paths to the cloud - read here
    • News Analysis - Pivotal makes CloudFoundry more about multi-cloud - read here
    • News Analysis - Pivotal pivots to Open Source and Hortonworks - or: Open Source keeps winning - read here
    • News Analysis - VMware makes progress towards the (hybrid) cloud - now let's watch the adoption - read here
    • Speed Briefings at VMworld - read here
    • Event Report - VMware makes a lot of progress - but the holy grail is still missing - read here.
    • First Take - VMware's VMworld Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here.
    • Progress Report - Good start for VMware EUC - time for 2nd inning - read here.
    • Speed Briefings at VMworld - inside and outside the VMware ecosystem - read here.
    • VMware defies conventional destiny - SDDC to the rescue - read here

    More on Pivotal / Cloud Foundry
    • Event Report - Pivotal SpringOne Platform - Spring in its 2nd spring - read here
    • 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
    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 ADP Analyst Day, held on September 15th on Pasadena, at the ADP innovation center. Always good to be at a location where ‘work and innovation happen’, after having the event twice at the New York Innovation center it was great to see a new location (and not to see TSA on the travels to get there). The event was well attended, with all firms, colleagues pretty much in attendance. 




    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:

    Vantage is alive and growing– A few years ago ADP’s in house efforts on its Talent Management Suite where at a decision point – partner or keep investing. ADP decided for the latter and it is good to see that this decision pays off, ADP was able to grow the customers for Vantage HCM from low 200s to almost 500, almost a doubling in 12 months. Considering that the potential market is approx. 3000 customers, very good progress and it is clear that ADP customers now know that there is a native ADP Talent Management offering for them. And ADP keeps investing into Vantage HCM, new Onboarding has come live, more efficient ways to Recruit and already a while ago, the new ADP UI has found its way to Vantage. ADP will have to keep pushing the gas pedal, here as pretty much every Vantage HCM sales is a competitive replacement, and enterprises already have a Talent Management solution in place, even if they are ADP Payroll customers.

    ADP Data Cloud is a DaaS enabler– ADP has been and keeps investing into its Data Cloud, which powers not only the insights into the overall labor market, that usually beats the government forecast, but into individual salary decisions. As such it has the potential to replace the traditionally outdated and inaccurate salary surveys that still are the tool of choice for compensation planners today- but these days maybe counted. The value proposition lies in the fact that what ADP can provide, is an actual (and not a historic) paycheck. But the ADP Data Cloud is also the platform for the mundane task of Reporting, which ADP has rebuilt. Some innovative features like drag and drop of OLTP fields into the report writer and a compelling user interface make it an appealing Reporting solution. Finally, the Data Cloud powers all the (really) interesting advanced / predictive analytics scenarios, e.g. predicting flight risk, giving insight in pay levels considering diversity levels and more. Good progress on the product, now ADP is pushing it beyond the US market. Data Cloud can / could be the enabler of new revenue streams for ADP, enabling advanced Data as a Service (DaaS) scenarios, a not to be underestimated future revenue stream for software companies that hold real, relevant data, like e.g. paychecks. At one point I counted a dozen benchmarks in the product already (see the Storify).

    Focus on Global
    – ADP also delivered on its promise to bring the new ADP UI to the MNC solutions, that now feature the same compelling UI. Some features, e.g. the interactive paycheck, are even more value able in international settings, given no direct local and small time window phone support for any paycheck related questions of an international worker. ADP also shared a new ambition on the integration side, where ADP wants to create an integration platform / product (named Global Cloud Connect), that will integrate various HR Core systems with the ADP products, on the Payroll, Talent Management, Time and Attendance as well as Benefits. Interface Technology has progressed and ADP has been establishing REST based interfaces with Workday and SAP, and more partner integrations are to come. It is a good time for ADP to re-establish integration strategies and platform, given the changes and innovations that have recently happened in the integration space. Even more valuable in the more heterogeneous environment, so good to see the new ambition, way too early to predict the execution and state of the offering.

    Marketplace grows– SAP launched its marketplace quite a while ago and it is growing well. The most remarkable characteristic remains that ADP allows anyone to submit their complimentary and competitive (with the exception of Payroll) product to the ADP products. This ‘sink or swim’ approach towards uptake of its own products is unique in the enterprise software space, but makes the ADP marketplace truly valuable for ADP customers. And certainly more attractive to ISVs and future / existing partners.


    MyPOV

    We already have written plenty about the new ADP, good to see the further execution, and good to see that innovation has more than a New York pocket. Scaling innovation is always a problem for software vendors, and tapping into diverse talent in different markets as well. It looks like ADP has mastered this challenge at the moment. And ADP does well what matters most for customers: Deliver what it has previously put on the roadmap, and then grow from there, as we saw e.g. with Onboarding.

    ADP’s role in the market is also changing, it is becoming more of a formal partner than ever before, with recent partnerships with Workday (read here) and SAP in place, and there are more to come. It almost looks like REST technology and the ease of plugging e.g. a Payroll ‘under the hood’ of another HR Core system have accelerated these efforts by ADP. And for all payroll vendors nothing is more interesting than getting more scale on their platform, as it reduces the cost of R&D and maintenance for it with every additional paycheck run through it. It’s a win / win / win across ADP, partner and joint customer. ADP gets more utilization of assets it has built and needs to maintain anyway, the partner avoids having to build and maintain a payroll and customers get more scale, a trusted provider and proven offering, at lower prices (hopefully). Certainly a flywheel in the payroll business.

    On the concern side ADP cannot afford to rest. While the current UI is still appealing, it is no longer as fresh and in tune with the latest innovations in UI that are happening these days. Likewise its Data Cloud is on the right architecture and platform, given these decisions were taken 2+ years ago, but a fresh start today may consider other platforms, designs and architectures. But it is good to for ADP to have ‘Innovator Dilemma’ now, something many observers not too long ago would not have been a challenge for ADP due to lack of innovation and market success. These days are history now, good news for ADP customers and new innovative offerings may come out of the labs sooner than later. E.g. we saw a conversation UI prototype, that nicely tied together a different user interface with deep insights that ADP can provide.

    So few things not to like at the moment at ADP, the vendor needs to keep executing, revisit some recent innovations in regards of staling and maybe some platform decisions as the pace of innovation on analytics and BigData is not slowing, but accelerating.


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


    And more on ADP:

    • Event Report - Event Report - ADP MOTM - ADP delivers: New UI, Benchmarks, Market Place & More - read here
    • News Analysis - Workday and ADP partner to Deliver a Seamless Customer Experience for Global Payroll - read here
    • Progress Report - ADP Analyst Day - ADP executes, kills (most) ghosts from the past - read here
    • Event Report - ADP Meeting of the Minds - It’s all coming together for ADP in 2015 - product wise - read here
    • First Take - ADP Meeting of the Minds - Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Progress Report - ADP shows great vision, delivers product innovation - now it needs adoption - read here
    • Site Visit - ADP's new innovation lab in Chelsea - read here
    • News Analysis - ADP announces Spin-Off plans for Dealer Services, sharpens ADP's focus on HCM - read here.
    • Event Report - ADP's Meeting of the Minds - ADP has made up its mind (almost) - customers not yet - read here.
    • First take - 3 Key Takeaways from ADP's Meeting of the Minds Conference Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • ADP innovates with with verve and good timing – read here.
    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 this year’s edition of Oracle’s mega user conference, Oracle OpenWorld, held in San Francisco from September 18th to 23rd 2016. Expect it to be a big event on all levels, attendees, press releases, news, lines, exhibitor and parties. 



    So catch the video of the key areas to watch:



    No time to watch here is the one slide summary:


    Want more detail, then read on:

    Thomas Kurian splits the Oracle cloud offerings usually in 4 areas, so we follow his lead:

    IaaS re-launch, better work this time! Oracle has had a few pivots and re-starts on IaaS, which all did not help, given the relatively late start to IaaS. Kudos all the way to Ellison to acknowledge this last OOW. In the earnings call Ellison hinted that this is ‘version 2 of IaaS – we will see how well the nested hypervisor as well as the Ravello capability can attract enterprise load. Oracle keeps designing at a price point that it maintains is lower than Amazon AWS. It probably has to attract enterprise load and get more scale for its offering.

    PaaS – what will be Oracle’s path to PaaS?– There are two extremes on how PaaS vendors go to market at the moment – the Chinese menu approach (e.g. AWS) or the more packaged, this is the way to do it (e.g. Pivotal, IBM) approach. The former caters more to developers, the latter caters more to enterprise executives who want to take the mystery, myth and risk out of PaaS delivered projects. Oracle to a certain point needs to cater to both, as both user groups are its customers, but we think that it needs to come to a more packaged offering going forward. We also are curious on the low code / no code capabilities that Oracle has been working on now for a while.

    DaaS – Customer Adoption Check– Kurian has been one of the earliest and most consistent vendor executives to talk about DaaS. We know that Oracle and its leaders get the value proposition, and Oracle has been acquiring companies along the way to become a DaaS player, on top of its native DB, Analytics and BI DNA. The Oracle Identity Graph is a very valuable information offering, now it comes to what Oracle can do to leverage and monetize it beyond the traditional use cases of the recent acquisitions.

    SaaS – Different Maturity – Different things to look for  – With little doubt the most mature and advanced Oracle SaaS automation area is HCM. For HCM it will all be for Oracle to show how it will differentiate its product going forward, and create compelling value for more market success to both customers and prospects. For both Finance and CRM Cloud, the question is more on customer adoption, as both products have made progress, but have to reach more market penetration before they are on a similar level like HCM. And finally SCM / Manufacturing, which is traditionally late with Oracle, here the question will be how real the first customers on core manufacturing, order management and more advanced purchasing scenarios are.


    MyPOV

    It will be another busy event this year at OOW, all eyes will be on the new IaaS capabilities. I have asked Oracle executives for year what will happen when this is fixed, and what the repercussions will be for the higher levels of the Applications stack… and the answer was always the technically correct one – all is encapsulated well with APIs, programmatically…. And that’s good – now we will have to see how smooth PaaS, DaaS and SaaS products will be able to take advantage of the new IaaS platform. 

    Stay tuned for more updates from Oracle OpenWorld, fist look on Twitter, then Video – and if you are there – try to catch me in real life – nothing beats that!


    Recent blog posts on Oracle:
    • Market Move - Oracle acquires NetSuite - Oddly consolidation means more options for customers - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle Unveils Suite of Breakthrough Services.. or short: Oracle Cloud Machine - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud - More ready than ever, now needs adoption - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle Openworld 2015 - Top 3 Takeaways, Top 3 Positives & Concerns - read here
    • News Analysis - Quick Take on all 22 press releases of Oracle OpenWorld Day #1 - #3 - read here
    • First Take - Oracle OpenWorld - Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Oracle Openworld - watch here

    Future of Work / HCM / SaaS research:

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

    Also worth a look for the full picture

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

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

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

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


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    A few days ago SAP formally launched its newest offering, its BW product as BW/4HANA. No surprised on HANA, as it dominates branding with SAP these days, the 4HANA suggests a sister relationship to the OLTP / ERP S/4HANA. 


    So catch the video of the key areas to watch:




    No time to watch here is the one slide summary:



    Want more detail, then read on:
     

    Data Gravity Wins – The concept of data gravity, that more data will attract and almost like a black hole ‘suck’ in lesser data has been talked, written about a lot (see my March 8th 2013 post on this here). The question of course was – when will land mark products and vendors account for this shift. With the launch of BW/4HANA SAP – maybe unwillingly – caters to data gravity. As enterprises are building next generation applications that they can only scale in the cloud, the need to complement that information with key data and processes from its other enterprise systems. With offering BW/4HANA SAP basically offers all SAP ERP information as available for enterprises who want to build these next generation applications.

    Cloud Wins– While SAP both offers BW/4HANA on its venerable HEC (HANA Enterprise Cloud) and AWS, it is pretty clear that the AWS platform is the winner. With X1 instances of up to 15 TB of RAM, AWS has provided a platform for SAP customers that cannot only run the largest BW/4HANA deployments, but also S/4HANA – should customers realize the size of these platforms. To procure and operate similar machines on premises (and also on HEC as I think) is not cost effective, especially in the days of early deployments.

    SAP goes multi-platform– SAP has been signing IaaS partnerships now for close to a year, starting with IBM (read here), then Microsoft Azure (read here) and now Amazon’s AWS. It is a sign of SAP not pushing that much its own cloud infrastructure but starting to leverage partners. We may see a comeback of the former database choices, but this time for IaaS. A good move by SAP as it needs to support multiple public cloud infrastructures… likely AWS at this point was the only IaaS partner to allow a BW/4HANA deploy at this scale.

    MyPOV

    A good move by SAP, that may not even realize what it has done: Move customers to the public cloud with an offering, where they cannot even argue why it should not be there. SAP customers with next generation applications will want their business context and data next to their next generation applications data, to enable the necessary new business processes. SAP has the opportunity to provide more micro services on top of that and monetize them. And I would not be surprised to see customers follow with S/4HANA into the public cloud – once all their BW data is there, why hold back on the transactional system? And: It does not make sense for companies to buy, operate and maintain 15 TB in memory machines, when they can get them in 7 locations from AWS on demand – right away, with SAP support. Why buy, implement and carry the risk of installing and operating BW/4HANA right.

    And a major win for AWS, getting more of the SAP load, though starting with a new offering with BW/4HANA. But AWS is in there for the long run, and if things work out as I think they will work out – the data gravity of the next generation applications has already ‘sucked in’ the enterprise data warehouse… nothing holding back the transactional system. SAP makes it easy – as they all run on HANA, the same / similar platform.

    For SAP customers this means another proof point that, if they want to remain a SAP customer, they need to adopt HANA. No surprise, we have seen data points before, but by now it is clear there will be no course reversal in the HANA destination. And it also means to make platform decisions for next generation applications first, the rest – the data warehouse and the transactional systems will follow suite. When SAP as largest enterprises vendor does it this way, there is little room to do it differently as an enterprise. Closer to IaaS it means likely that HEC is not a final destination to run SAP applications, with manifold implications.

    So congrats to SAP to honor data gravity and ship a large scale product in V1 on a public IaaS, congrats to AWS to snatch some load with massive long term potential. Stay tuned.
    And more on SAP (more on AWS below):
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SConnect - Push on all fronts - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Insider Vienna - HCP, BI and SuccessFactors are the takeaways - read here
    • 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



    More on AWS:
    • Event report - AWS Enterprise Summit 2016 Frankfurt - The German Road to Cloud adoption is ... long - read here
    • 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.

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


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    We have the opportunity to attend Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, happening from September 19th till 22nd 2016. With over 60k+ attendees, multiple show floors, Howard Street closed, it is the mega event that we always expect it is.


    So catch the video of the key areas to watch:


    No time to watch here is the one slide summary:

    <SlideShare>


    Want more detail, then read on:


    Oracle IaaS 2nd Gen– Ellison unveiled what Oracle calls its 2ndgeneration of IaaS. Coming from the ‘skunkworks’ project in Seattle, Oracle is operating on a new data center and networking design. Having challenged (and attracted) talent by starting with a green slate, Oracle now plans to provide 3 data centers at one location for redundancy, all of this highly abstracted between compute and storage, flat network, isolated cross site traffic etc. think of a modern SDDC data center times 3 for each location.


    PaaS more ExaData, more development models– No OpenWorld without a new release of the Oracle database, so Oracle 12c Release 2 is here, with many housekeeping items – and a cloud based consumption model, at an aggressive entry point. Interesting is also Oracle’s push into visual programming – Ellison showed a graphical programming UI creating a chatbot (what else).


    SaaS becomes intelligent– On the SaaS side (combined with DaaS) Oracle announced the Adaptive Intelligent applications. Oracle stopped short of calling them AI (we agree), as Ellison said ‘this is not AI’. But it is Oracle’s foray into Machine Learning – that was long overdue, with interesting use cases across CRM, ERP, SCM etc. All coming next year. My colleague Doug Henschen has a whole blog on this - check it out here


    Customer Momentum - CEO Mark Hurd was up next on Monday, offered his usual keynote, this time behind a news desk setup. Economic changes, what is a CEO going to do, what it means for IT and what Oracle offers to help. Different this year were remarkable customer stories, Orange and HSBC (all in for SaaS on Oracle) stood out. 


    MyPOV

    A good start for OpenWorld, with over 18 announcements made in Ellison’s keynote – reminding us what a 5B+ R&D budget produces on all fronts of the stack. All eyes are on the new IaaS capability; Oracle needs to get this right in order to keep delivering its vision of the integrated stack. That vision would literally break in half if IaaS does not deliver. Stay tuned for more.


    The Storify of the Hurd keynote can be found here - see below for Ellison's.

    Recent blog posts on Oracle:
    • Event Preview - Oracle OpenWorld 2016 - What to expect, what to watch for ... will IaaS start Clicking? - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle acquires NetSuite - Oddly consolidation means more options for customers - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle Unveils Suite of Breakthrough Services.. or short: Oracle Cloud Machine - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud - More ready than ever, now needs adoption - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle Openworld 2015 - Top 3 Takeaways, Top 3 Positives & Concerns - read here
    • News Analysis - Quick Take on all 22 press releases of Oracle OpenWorld Day #1 - #3 - read here
    • First Take - Oracle OpenWorld - Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Oracle Openworld - watch here

    Future of Work / HCM / SaaS research:

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

    Also worth a look for the full picture


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

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

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

    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check 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 could not make it to Microsoft’s IT management focused in Atlanta, but that did not hinder us to watch the event from the fences. The conference is well attended, Microsoft says over 22k attendees, a very good turnout considering this was only the 2nd edition of the Ignite conference. 



    Here is the 1 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:

    All about AI, democratize AI – In the afternoon keynote Satya Nadella coined a new marketing slogan we will hear more often from Microsoft – Democratize AI. Not surprisingly for Microsoft this means bringing Machine Learning to all its products – we saw Office, Dynamics, Hololens, Security, IoT, of course Cortana and more. Nadella was proud for Microsoft to win 2 world championships in Machine Learning – congrats – we need to see who participated. Voice and Conversation as a Platform that Nadella was very much about at the developer Build conference in spring (see my Event Report here), was less prominent, as was the push for voice is the new UI. But overall messaging was consistent – all the way to the Nadella very early days with MobileFirst and CloudFirst.


    Adobe chooses Microsoft– We have written often about Microsoft needing to acquire additional load to fuel the growth of Azure, once Office365 conversions run out of steam. Beyond Office Microsoft does not have too much organic load in house, so it is key for Microsoft to attract ISVs, as ISVs provide a lot of load – and best – transform the load to their IaaS. Adobe is moving out of multiple clouds, but mainly out of AWS, where Adobe was certainly a Top 10 customer. We would not be surprised if commercial terms for Adobe were very attractive. Both vendors have more synergies, like Adobe integrating its marketing products with Dynamics (explicitly mentioned), and longer term Adobe using Microsoft Machine Learning capabilities (more implicit). My colleague R “Ray” Wang has also covered the decision in a News Analysis blog post – check it out here.
     


    Azure is (almost) 100% FPGAed– Out of the R&D project Catapult that a brave researcher got passed former Microsoft leader Ballmer, Microsoft not only found a way to accelerate Bing, but all of Azure. Effectively Microsoft now has equipped almost every server in Azure with a FPGA and every new one has one, that allows to scale the server better. Especially for Machine Learning, as Microsoft impressively demonstrated that all of Wikipedia could be translated into Spanish in less than 0.1 seconds using all of Azure. So the FPGAs must be doing some very smart balancing across even hundreds of thousands of servers. An interesting approach, that has the flexibility of the programmable FPGA, but is very hard to code. It will be interesting to see how often Microsoft will re-program the FPGAs, for different purposes – or even open them up for Azure customers. But early days and kudos to Microsoft to come up with a unique architecture. 

    MyPOV

    A good start for Ignite, that not only showed innovation across all products, but also the depth and breadth Microsoft has from its R&D team and how it can differentiate offerings. It is clear Microsoft is on a good course, creating new products, innovating, adding new capabilities (e.g. Docker to Azure, normally a bigger announcement, but did not make the Top 3) – and attracting load – Adobe is certainly a big fish to catch. Strategy and messaging has remained consistent compared to the other two major events.

    On the concern side Microsoft needs to stretch the rubber between where it needs to be vis a vis the competition (there most notably AWS and Google) and at the same time where its customers are. There is a lot for customers to digest, understand and bring back to their executive teams for the adoption conversation. Making the case to a CIO’s peers was something that Microsoft has room to improve on, and at the same time needs to make sure their customer base does not get overwhelmed. Sometimes less is more. But a good problem to have.

    Overall a good start at MS Ignite and interesting and differentiating offerings shown and announced. No surprises – even on the FPGAs (more a question if Microsoft really pushed this out to all Azure Server, but it says it has). Interesting and exciting times stay tuned.


    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)
    • Salesforce chooses AWS (read here
    • Workday chooses IBM for DEV and TST (read here)

    And more on Microsoft:

    • News Analysis - GE and Microsoft partner to bring Predix to Azure - Multi-Cloud becomes tangible for IoT - read here
    • 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.


    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check 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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    Long rumored (see my colleague’s Doug Henschen pre-acquisition take here) and now it’s official, SAP has acquired Altiscale, a Big Data as a Service vendor.



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


    Today, September 27, SAP officially announces its completed acquisition of Altiscale, which provides a high-performance, scalable Big Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) solution that uniquely includes full operational services.
    […] Altiscale will operate as a focused and integrated BDaaS offering from SAP to help accelerate and operationalize Big Data deployment in the enterprise.

    MyPOV – Good point on what Altiscale does and how it helps, key SAP will keep operating Altiscale. Important for existing customers, but also going forward.

    Several key factors drove SAP’s decision to acquire Altiscale.
    The two companies have complementary approaches to implementing enterprise Big Data solutions. SAP has taken the approach to build its distributed based on deep understanding of requirements coming from enterprise applications, analytics, data platform, data warehousing and cloud platform. Altiscale has focused on cloud and data infrastructure with its Altiscale Data Cloud offering, which starts with a highly optimized cloud infrastructure, continues with a Spark and Hadoop data platform.
    Altiscale is a natural fit for SAP, as we share our overall focus of helping enterprises derive business value from data – and successfully leverage Big Data. Since Altiscale is a leader in Big Data-as-a-Service based on Hadoop and Spark, it enables SAP to drive end-to-end value in Big Data across the technology, data platform, PaaS, analytics, and application stack.
    Altiscale offers high job performance, reliability, and economic performance for Hadoop and Spark in the cloud. It has an established and very satisfied customer base that includes a variety of industries, including financial services, telecommunications, media, ad tech, and marketing analytics.
    SAP’s initial foray into Big Data processing began with its investment in SAP HANA Vora, a distributed computing framework that extends Spark’s execution engine to address some key inefficiencies in processing Big Data for business use. Through this experience, SAP saw the unique challenges faced by businesses in the provisioning, scaling, and operation of Hadoop in a production environment. Altiscale directly addresses these challenges, providing the customer with full-service Hadoop and Spark in the cloud to boost performance, eliminate roadblocks, and accelerate customer go-live. The combination of Altiscale and SAP HANA Vora will enable SAP to provide a holistic and accelerated Big Data solution, allowing businesses to quickly achieve positive business impact from Big Data.
    Altiscale is a great fit beyond SAP’s Big Data strategy. It is also integrates well with a number of SAP strategic initiatives, such as SAP HANA Cloud Platform, IoT, analytics, LoB cloud apps, and business networks. Altiscale’s Hadoop-as-a-Service (HaaS) capabilities enable SAP to offer a much more comprehensive and robust enterprise solution that meets the unique needs of customers on their digital transformation journey.

    MyPOV – All points describe well how Altiscale is a fit for SAP: SAP has been slow warming up to Hadoop – as stated SAP HANA Vora was the first foray – but lots of questions had to be addressed till SAP would from in memory SAP HANA and SAP HANA Vora to ‘spinning rust’ on HDDs managed by Hadoop. This is truly complimentary to SAP – has Altiscale offers that SAP does not have and would have had to build from scratch: The dynamic provisioning of large scale BigData implementation for its customers.
    There are many use cases for Altiscale in the following areas and industries:
    IoT: Uses include manufacturing, utilities, transportation, smart cities, and more.
    Financial services: Applications include fraud detection, cybersecurity, and achieving a 360-degree customer view.
    Media: Examples include advertising optimization and recommendation engines.
    Ad tech and marketing analytics: Uses include multi-channel analytics and advertising attribution.
    Pharmaceutical: Drug research, market segmentation, and supply chain optimization are all examples.
    Telecommunications: Altiscale can be used to optimize billing and facilitate churn analysis.
     MyPOV – Exactly, it is at the end not about Hadoop and BDaaS (which both are key for SAP extending functional capability and use cases as well as addressing the Hadoop know how / expert shortage questions) – but ultimately all technology is about enabling customer benefits through powering hands on use cases. It’s a good list. Sticklers will note the absence of security, which Altiscale featured high, replaced now with what matters to SAP customers at the moment – IoT). Fair enough 

    SAP and Altiscale are currently working to synchronize both companies’ technology, products and market perspectives. We will be systematically evolving the Altiscale Data Cloud for integration into the SAP portfolio. […]
    MyPOV – No surprise – looking forward to learning more specifics on the roadmap.
    As we go forward, SAP remains committed to honoring all customer contracts and ensuring high customer satisfaction. SAP and Altiscale will work closely with customers in the coming months to determine how SAP’s future Big Data and other data analytics offerings can best meet each customer’s unique needs.
    MyPOV – Good to see SAP honoring Altiscale contract – especially in BDaaS, because – it is BigData.

    Overall MyPOV

    A good move by SAP – that needed to have native Hadoop, HDD based BigData capabilities to operate use cases where in memory was either commercially or not even technically feasible. With Altiscale SAP now only addresses this part – but also the know- how challenge that is surrounding BigData. At Constellation we see more than 66% of BigData projects that are live and delivering value seeing interruption because of know-how issues, vendor changes, new software, new consultants etc. So SAP gains both product capabilities and services capabilities, the combination is crucial.

    On the concern side, SAP took long to get here and needs to move fast. Clarity on where data resides, which IaaS platforms will be supported etc. needs to come soon, as enterprises make decisions on the providers and platforms for their next generation applications. SAP is always in the picture for ERP content, how much SAP can be in the picture for more of the next generation applications business will be determined by speed and clarity on moving to full Hadoop support.

    But for now a truly synergistic acquisition for SAP, which also gets a Hadoop pioneer and its team with Raymie Stata, let’s see how far and fast it can get SAP to power a more complete set of next generation applications – that always need… Hadoop.




    And more on SAP
    • First Take - SAP BW/4HANA - Data Gravity and Cloud win - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SConnect - Push on all fronts - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Insider Vienna - HCP, BI and SuccessFactors are the takeaways - read here
    • 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
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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    So the rumors are out, Twitter is up for sale – and I see it with a wary eye, my most used social network may change owners… time to muse about it.




    But let’s start what Twitter really is, sharing 5 things Twitter does really well, but you may not have thought of it (my goal is that at least three were new angles for you):

    An amazing feed engine– Twitter veterans know the early growth problems of Twitter, but since a few re-architectures Twitter has been stable and scaling well to its 300M+ users. It is unique, as it scales to 300M+ feeds (yes Facebook scales to 1B+ feeds, but they are not of the same virality, velocity and volume like twitter posts). The Twitter engine is what many people try to build their next generation apps for – e.g. to monitor things in the IoT world.

    A barrier breaker– Information gets filtered, refactored, edited etc. all the time, a traditional way of preparing and consuming information. With Twitter anyone can find an outlet and post tweets to the world, of different quality, but when e.g. an executive at vendor starts to tweet, it often is an insight on where the executives and / or the vendors thinking is at the moment. If it is worth a tweet, it means something for a busy executive. But often not mentioned, it works as a very effective internal communications tool, were an executive can meet internal and external audiences in a quick, light weight fashion.

    The priority inbox– As a heavy Twitter user, I check Twitter often, maybe too often. But it also leads me to check DMs more often than… emails. So the DM has become the priority Inbox. My colleagues even know during covering an event – the best way to reach me is a DM. But it also works as a bypass – some executives have asked and received the best unfiltered feedback about a product, customer, event on DM. And last but not least it works for customer service, too. I have not talked to e.g. a United agent for 2 years, kudos to the Twitter team there that has done all from rebooking, changing flights, changing seats, giving connection information and adding my PRE number (that’s how it all started). So another channel – with some priority.

    A note taker – As bad as Twitter is to find people on Twitter where usually Google wins out as most efficient, it works great for atomic note taking. And the search on it is very very powerful. Before going to an event, I look up tweets from last year’s event with a hashtag search. No more efficient way I can think off and have seen. And as an influencer -why should my thoughts, observations and notes not be public right away? Yes, it amounts in lots of tweets, but has proven to be – very valuable.

    A survival tool– A lot of my friends and family have gotten Twitter accounts, because they live in … California. And between wild fires and waiting for the ‘big one’ – Twitter is the best safety / survival tool out there. A thin tweet – at sometimes even a text / SMS is visible not only to your followers but the rest of the world. Wishing no one to lay in a ditch or under a collapsed structure – but posting to Facebook is hard and less visible. Instagram and Snapchat are too heavy data wise. On Google+ no one will notice etc.

    Who could buy Twitter?

    Well anyone who can afford the lofty premium Twitter wants of course for their existing data and Twitters potential to have us users create more data.

    But let’s start who should NOT buy Twitter

    • Enterprise software vendors (this includes rumored Salesforce) – Not a good move, these vendors need to stay on top of digital data to power marketing, sales and service – but social media usage and related data exhaust are fickle – owning one major data source will not allow these vendors to do what they need to: Cross social network sensing, execution and operation of related business functions.
       
    • Big Pipe Companies (this are the AT&T, Comcasts, Verizons etc.) – Not a good move either, unless a very bold transformation strategy, so far not unveiled in the direction of DaaS and advertising. Unlikely to be the case – so discard). And these vendors are still licking their wounds from them by now almost entirely abandoned data center diversification strategy.
       
    • Big Media (networks, Disney etc.) – Not a good idea either, though the engagement of Twitter users around live events is very powerful and all these players are losing viewership due to loss of engagement. But 10% of the Twitter price will let these players try all engagement strategies in the universe… so I expect them to spend their $s there. 

    So who could buy Twitter?


    • Obviously DaaS players, we were just reminded e.g. by Oracle last week that they have 3.5B consumer graphs, adding the Twitter data (which maybe there already) is valuable, and likewise something to monetize. Salesforce and IBM e.g. have access to Twitter, too – the value of the functions. But given Twitter’s price, DaaS vendors would need to monetize the Twitter data – and likely sell them to their competitors. The value of Twitter is to be able to push any related services closer to real-time. Malls still rule the spontaneous purchase – because the consumer was there – but Twitter is an opportunity to move this online.
       
    • Certainly Advertisers, as they can get a real input in regards of what moves a tweeter. But Twitter itself has not figured out to do this – and anyone in the space needs to be careful not to turn off / drive off usage by too much in the face advertisement. So any acquirer in this space better have a way how to solve what Twitter has not been able to solve.
       
    • Social Media catch up players can be interested in Twitter. 300M is not Facebook but a Top5 social media network out there. Compared to e.g. Snapchat Twitter is more global and more cross generational and more business. Any player who wants to grow here, wants to get into social could be an acquirer. Google comes to mind immediately.
       
    • A combination player (e.g. Google, Microsoft) that could leverage synergies across multiple fields of existing operations, or form a new offering with Twitter and existing assets. E.g. if it was Google it could not only fuel DaaS for enterprises, add to advertisement, but complement Google+ with Twitter and vice versa – bring more social tools to Twitter from the social toolbox. 

    MyPOV

    It is fascinating to see Twitter grow to its current usage level and still struggle with monetization, turning to a profit. There are many assets inside of Twitter that can be of value for an acquirer – but they are all not easy to unlock, leverage. To me Google makes the most sense – but not sure if the vendor has the appetite to such a large investment. And Google is working hard to get more into the enterprise – se the announcements from the recent Google Horizons event. Unless I missed some major hitter – everybody else will have some challenges with Twitter – not making tis an easy target. So likely Twitter will have to march on -till the investment case gets clearer, another player gets desperate and most likely – Twitter becomes more affordable with a drop in market cap.


    So what's your take? 


    More Musings
    • Musings - The Bots are coming to your conversation - what are the implications? - read here
    • Musings - We are entering the age of the Über Super Computer - read here
    • Musings - Retail is the breeding ground for NextGen Apps - read here
    • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! Read here
    • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrastructure updates - read here
    • Are we witnessing the Rise of the Enterprise Cloud? Read here
    • What are true Analytics - a Manifesto. Read here
    • Is TransBoarding the Future of Talent Management? Read here
    • How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the Laggards - read here
    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 Froundry’s CFSummit conference held in Frankfurt September 27th and 28th 2016. The conference was well attended with over 700+ 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:

    Cloud Foundry is growing– Not surprisingly, Cloud Foundry is doing well in Europe. Last year’s Cloud Foundry Summit in Berlin saw about 400 attendees, the 2nd edition this year in Frankfurt saw over 700. Interest in Cloud Foundry is the same as in North America, enterprises are looking for a PaaS platform that allows them to build Next Generation Applications, with the option to deploy on premises and in the cloud, to multiple clouds, and develop software in a modern way that is in tune with the 21st century challenges and best practices. Being in Europe / Germany – there is a European touch to the ecosystem – with e.g. local vendors like SAP and Atos having more prominent roles than e.g. at Cloud Foundry Summit in Santa Clara earlier this year.




    Focus on Government– Contrary to the North American edition of the conference, the European edition had an emphasis on showcasing on what is happening in government, with Tuesday having a UK government technologist, and Wednesday having a Dutch government technologist on stage. Certainly no coincidence – could it be that European governments are endorsing and embracing PaaS projects more than e.g. in the US? An interesting wrinkle – that needs more discussion going forward.




    IoT rules all use cases– No surprise, as seen on other European events, the IoT use case is strong and prominent. All the way to the fact that IoT reference customers at North American events – usually come from … Europe. And while the average European IT leader is concerned moving customer and employee data into the public cloud – there is no concern, not even discussion when it comes to IoT. The technical requirements are simply too large to even consider running on premises and the pressure on the high quality, high price European manufacturers is simply too high for not choosing a faster to implement cloud strategy.




    Community Outreach– On the flipside the more traditional use cases take more time, PaaS, agile development, CI / CD etc. are all newer trends for the Europeans than their North American colleagues. So Pivotal, Cloud Foundry and partners need to invest into community evangelism efforts, and the creation of the Ambassador program is certainly a good step. We will have to check in a few quarters on progress and if it has really moved things in the direction of higher awareness, less concerns and ultimately better adoption.

    MyPOV

    A good event for Cloud Foundry and partners. European enterprises have a keen interest to understand what PaaS in general and more specifically – Cloud Foundry can do for them. But basic skepticism towards new best practices, tools and trends coming from North America run high traditionally in Europe – and with good reason: Not everything that comes over the Atlantic, hyped as the derniere cri real lasts and has an impact on enterprise automation. Cloud Foundry now needs to convert that good interesting, first showcase and trial objects into live customer projects, that can be showcased at the 3rd edition of CFSummit Europe in 2017. We will be watching.

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




    More on Pivotal / Cloud Foundry
    • Event Report - Pivotal SpringOne Platform - Spring in its 2nd spring - read here
    • 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.

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    We had the opportunity to attend the Trenitalia / SAP Digital Summit, held last in Rome, Pietrarsa, October 29th 2016. Though not formally labelled as a launch event, it felt like SAP bringing together messaging, executive, an early adopting customer with Trenitalia and products in a single event.

    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:

    SAP is committed to IoT– As SAP stated in a press release earlier in the week (see here), SAP plans to spend over 2B Euro on the next 5 years to build its position in IoT. The move makes a lot of sense as SAP has a strong install base in manufacturing and other IoT relevant industries – and these customers are high price, high quality manufacturers who have to come up with an IoT strategy for the customers of their things. Time is of essence in IoT as it is the only next generation application use case where there is worldwide consensus that it has to run in the cloud. Even cloud skeptical decision makers in Europe are firmly in the cloud camp, given volume, velocity and uncertainty as key characteristics of any IoT implementation.

    Trenitalia is an early adopter – The event was held in Italy as Trenitalia is an early customer of SAP’s IoT Package ‘Vehicle Management’, with the plan to manage all of the railway’s rolling stock with SAP. During the event we were riding a FrecciaRossa 1000 train and looking at the digital exhaust of the ‘train thing’ while riding the train. Trenitalia expects to be done implementing SAP IoT by 2018, with all rolling stock being managed with the solution. New best practices in preventative maintenance are getting tangible for Trenitalia, e.g. scheduling maintenance based on usage, wear and tear vs. the usual hours of operations. Trenitalia technicians will also know before a train rolls into the maintenance facility, what they will have to service on the train. Trenitalia CEO Morgante pointed out that the IoT information will help to make the maintenance technician work more diverse and interesting, a worth to note wrinkle in the usual full of concern discussion on the repercussions of technology on the future of workers.

    SAP knows it’s a long journey – Despite early adopters like Trenitalia, SAP realizes that IoT is a long game. On the product side it is good to see that SAP has realized that the usual standard application approach cannot be the solution to make customers successful with IoT, but that a combination of pre-packaged capability together with the HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) is needed. Trenitalia was a showcase for the SAP IoT package Vehicle Management. SAP plans to ship general horizontal, vertical (e.g. Smart Cities) and application specific packages (e.g. Vehicle Management). But SAP is not going to build all applications in house, but sees the need of acquisitions – with the acquisition of PLAT.ONE and Fedem. PLAT.ONE brings SAP good horizontal capabilities that will help building IoT solutions on top of HCP, e.g. lifecycle management for IoT devices, broad device connectivity as well as important IoT edge capabilities. Fedem solves a ‘secondary’ IoT problem, related to having models that tell operators how a thing will behave in the real world, with more or less available physical measuring points. The technology around the digital twin that Fedem has developed becomes crucial when IoT adoption rises, especially on new products / things, where industries have little experience how long they last, what exposure to e.g. elements they can withstand and what durability they will have overall. A long term investment that can develop into a crucial differentiator for SAP in a few years.
    Equally SAP realizes that with the current Industrie 4.0 (by purpose with the German spelling) conversation is helping the vendor, but needs more amplification. So SAP plans to open IoT labs, in Berlin, Johannesburg, Munich, Palo Alto, Sao Leopoldo and Shanghai. Probably a necessary move to get the word out and educate customers on the possibilities and best practices around IoT.

    MyPOV

    A very good event, probably the best I have attended in a long time, for sure the best SAP has done (and I have been to a few / attend a lot, maybe too many events). Watching IoT information live, while being a passenger in the train / thing is just. pretty cool. With introductory presentations in Rome, a dual customer and SAP led presentation on the train, interrupted by video messages from CEOs and heads of development / IT, an event in a train museum, a maiden voyage on a train, an agenda lead 50% by the customer, both CEO’s of vendor and launch customer present etc. – all made this a very well executed and impressive event. And SAP’s ambition to invest 2B Euro over the next 5 years in IoT is certainly worth a similar event. SAP is doing many things right in IoT, basing the offerings on its PaaS with HCP, offering packages, acquiring basic, key and differentiating capabilities, and evangelizing the capabilities, these are all the right steps going forward.

    On the concern side SAP still needs to clarify its BigData in general and it’s Hadoop strategy specifically, acquiring Altiscale (my take here) is a step in the right direction, so was Vora (here my take at GA). But IoT – and all next generation applications need a Hadoop answer that runs on cheap HDD, as well as a supported IaaS platform answer. And while I understand the SAP strategy in regards of IaaS is evolving (partnerships with IBM (see here), Microsoft (see here) and AWS (for BW/4HANA – see here)) – the support for Hadoop on HDD in regards of official platforms support is - overdue. SAP needs to answer both to become a viable partner for IoT, eliminating all ‘big’ question marks enterprises have today. ‘Small’ question marks always remain, but SAP needs to eliminate the big ones to really play in IoT better sooner than later.

    In closing SAP CEO McDermott shared on the question on what the audience can do to propel digital transformation (from yours truly), that DaaS – Data as a Service – is something to look at – both an opportunity for customers and for SAP. Good to hear SAP / McDermott mention that and starting to tackle that 4th ‘aaS’ area.

    Back to the event, well done by Trenitalia and SAP, very few things that could have done better, congrats to an almost perfect event. As for SAP IoT, lots of good moves, but some key decisions are still missing, have to be made. The good news is - they are not hard and could come sooner than later.

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


    And more on SAP:
    • First Take - SAP BW/4HANA - Data Gravity and Cloud win - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SConnect - Push on all fronts - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Insider Vienna - HCP, BI and SuccessFactors are the takeaways - read here
    • 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


    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 Dreamforce 2016, held in San Francisco, from October 4th till 7th 2016. As usual, it was a massive affair, Salesforce claims over 160k attendees. Noticeable from last year, our conversation with exhibiting partners was more positive than last year, so Salesforce has done something right. 


    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 2 slide condensation – overall and for platform (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):



    Want to read on? Here you go: 

    Overall

    Salesforce joins the AI frenzy– No conference in 2016 without AI, so Salesforce made no difference, Einstein (like most other announcements) leaked weeks before Dreamforce. The main message is that Einstein works out of the box, no data scientist required, and of course works on all Salesforce data. But the examples were almost all based on scoring and recommendations, capabilities that Salesforce had already, or just acquired and are really the conservative bottom of AI. E.g. scoring does not pass the muster to be AI. But it works and that’s what matters. Basically Salesforce has put all predictive analytics (or I call it ‘true’ analytics – see here) under the Einstein marketing umbrella. And now needs to figure out more on what the platform is, how data will be aggregated, where that all will run, what it means for privacy and security etc. etc. But a fair start that would have looked better with less marketing hype, but this is Salesforce. (Read below what Salesforce does to enable developers to build AI applications, that is interesting).

    Commerce Cloud– Salesforce has a proven track record to help CRM specialists, the humans. It’s e-commerce capabilities were less developed and the recent acquisition of Demandware has changed that picture (see here for my colleagues take on the acquisition). that. Salesforce store / e-commerce capabilities are now more beefed up and legitimate than before, so time for Salesforce customers to look at the offering. Commerce Cloud certainly is the cloud with the most product in Salesforce’s cloud arsenal.

    Another Quip at productivity– Another acquisition – Quip – has been integrated with Salesforce and tries to solve the separation of business applications and productivity applications – a long, practically forever challenge for business users. With a document collaboration model that brings together both structured, unstructured and document information, including the usual side bar for collaboration / notes it certainly is a plausible approach that Salesforce customers should check out.

    Salesforce unshackles itself form the past– Salesforce is one of the SaaS pioneers, and has built on a very successful platform – force – but it is showing its age since some time and it was not designed and built for the cloud age. Since years Salesforce is dancing a limbo between products built on force (e.g. Sales Cloud and Service Cloud) vs. those built on Heroku (e.g. Marketing Cloud) (and Heruko runs on Amazon’s AWS for the less technically inclined readers). Dancing is a great activity, but not the best for an enterprise software vendor, but given the success of the force platform - not an easy thing to address and solve. But Salesforce has made a substantial commitment to AWS (see our analysis here) and at Dreamforce said for the first time that force applications will run on AWS. Likewise, developers can be building force applications will be able to move their DEV ant TST environments to AWS. Both are key developments that allow the conjecture that at some point the Salesforce platforms may again be truly combined, at the moment it looks like on AWS Cloud. And that is a key takeaway, as life gets better for all players in the Salesforce ecosystem, customers, partners and Salesforce itself.

    Platform

    Events have arrived– The force platform on an object model level showed its age as it could not model modern entities such as e.g. Events. Now with a new Events object being created as a first class Salesforce object, this gap from the past gets addressed. And it is key for the future of Einstein – as Machine Learning (and maybe later AI) cannot work on just ‘business data’ alone, they need to model events and know if an outcome is positive – or not so positive. So a key step in the Salesforce entity / object model. Unfortunately, it does not find itself on the platform side, too – where due to the acquisitions that Salesforce has made, there is a large variety on design how to model events and outcomes. It would be good to see Salesforce providing a common event model on the Heruko side of the landscape, too – we should see if that will happen. But for now a good move. 

    Force to AWS– Mentioned already above, probably the most important takeaways for customers. When Salesforce succeeds in running the force apps (mostly Sales Cloud and Service Cloud) on AWS, it will change its need to invest into, build, operate and maintain data centers. A very important move that should ultimately allow Salesforce to put more R&D on product development, but also help customers with more local instances of Salesforce, which helps both with performance and data residency requirements. Allowing developers to develop in force on AWS is another key step here. We will be watching.

    PredictionIO comes to Heroku– This was actually the most important announcement for Einstein going forward. More developers to build machine learning applications with the help of the PrecisionIO capabilities. Salesforce needs more AI applications and empowering developers, who in general are keen on this and hear from all tool makers how they can build Machine Learning / AI aps is important. Didn’t have a chance to see how easy Salesforce is making this, but this will be key for Einstein success going forward.

    Kafka runs on Heroku– A consequence and productization of last year’s IoT Cloud announcement, but an important step to ingest data from other sources into Heroku, which becomes more and more the future of Salesforce Application Development – both internally and for the developer community. Let’s hope Salesforce did not have to do too many tweaks to Kafka for it to run on Heroku, so that Salesforce developers can take advantage of the high speed of innovation we see on the open source side. Future uptakes of Kafka in Heruko will write that story.

    MyPOV

    A good Dreamforce for Salesforce. Einstein took center stage, and certainly was a ‘must do’ announcement for Salesforce – given the announcements by the competition in the same area. But the real advancements, with short and longer term effect are on the platform side – the move to Heruko / AWS. Something that could have happened a few years ago now finally seems to take place, we don’t know what made Salesforce execs wave the start flag – but realizations like at customers that common data center based infrastructures do not scale for next generation applications may have happened in a Salesforce office, too. So it is good news for Salesforce customers that a potential end of the dual infrastructure reality is in sight, a move to AWS / Heruko can only help customers. More modern development, DevOps tools, best practices like CI / CD become tangible now, very important to make sure Salesforce not only remains an attractive and viable platform, but also to make its SaaS applications more innovative.

    On the concern side, time is off the essence for Salesforce. Key competitors in e.g. CRM as well as platform have made that move already and do not have to pay the tax for a dual platform in all phases of the software development lifecycle. The problem is that Salesforce product development speed is not moving breathtaking fast, e.g. an indicator is that the Sales Cloud has not fully moved to the new Lightning user experience / platform, that was announced …. at Dreamforce… 2014. Granted, Sales Cloud is a massive product, with lots of screens, but 2+ years for a new UI is clearly in negative record territory for any leading SaaS vendor. On the flipside Salesforce is making the right moves to make developers faster and more efficient – when it happens for (paying) platform developers and ISVs, it also happens for Salesforce in house developers. How much will be built in the next 12 months will give an answer to that.

    Overall a good Dreamforce for Salesforce, granted platform is not the topic 160k attendees will get excited, but platform messages work and are important (see Salesforce ‘cousin’ Workday making the platform theme the one theme of their keynote – last week) – even for end user audiences. I can’t wait the Salesforce marketing skills and spend to be unleashed for platform – maybe at Dreamforce 2017? We will keep watching.


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


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