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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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    We had the opportunity to attend Microsoft’s AI event held in London on July 12th 2017. The event was Microsoft R&D centric, with R&D Leader Harry Shum leading the presentation and more key R&D leaders at hand to share progress and plans that Microsoft has in AI space.



    So, 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:

    Microsoft gains momentum with broad AI portfolio– One can argue that Microsoft may have come late to the recent Machine Learning / AI market trend, but the vendor is certainly into the market now, with a broad, possibly one of the broadest offerings. AI changes almost all of Microsoft’s products, and the vendor has a broad product portfolio – so this does ultimately not come as a surprise at all. So, we see AI offerings coming to Microsoft Office, to Outlook all the way to the virtual keyboard offering SwiftKey (that Microsoft acquired February). Languages remain a border for communication and the online translation capability that Microsoft has built – are very good, embedded in to PowerPoint at first. Yours truly was able to test it with English, German and Italian – and it worked better than I expected. Especially as the translation model still operates on a generic universal (but likely monster size) pattern recognition model. It’s fascinating to see how well an older technology approach can do when pushed very hard (and on the flipside, shows that e.g. Apple – using the same architecture for Siri – has not done much to help her understand users). Speaking of Apple – Microsoft continues its ‘embrace & extend’ strategy for iOS and Android, also for AI, with a release of the “Seeing AI” product – a fun implementation of picture / pattern / emotion recognition to understand and see how the machines can make sense of the world around us. Finally, Microsoft goes all the way to the roots of its AI efforts, to Bing, where almost all of AI started and showed the Bing Entity Search API. This API, as well as the gesture API of Project Prague are interesting and important developer offerings to attract them to build next gen Applications on Microsoft cloud technology.

    Beyond the direct product impact, Microsoft announced “AI for Earth” bringing the heft of R&D and deep pockets of Microsoft to the challenging environmental questions that the world sees – and where AI certainly can help. 



    Packed Event
    Dedicated AI team in Microsoft Research – Microsoft also announced the formation of a dedicated team within its research organization that will focus on a more integrative approach to AI. The team of more than 100 researchers has representation in all the company’s labs around the world, including the UK, the location of the event. Good to see Microsoft adhering to good research principles when it comes to basic research (as it needs to happen with AI) – starting with a cross-disciplinary approach. Microsoft has the deep pockets to do this, one of the few vendors who can, and it will be interesting to see what the approach will yield. Given that there is a global arms race towards usage of AI for all kinds of computing questions, it will be key that over the multi-disciplinary approach Microsoft doesn’t not neglect speed to market. But that’s a common challenge Microsoft has been able to master well during its overall existence.
    Chris Bishop announced AMLab partnership


    Democratization of AI and Ethics– Always good to see the commitment to bring AI to more people and use cases, one of the leitmotivs of any Nadella presentation these days. The event was certainly in line with this and presented many examples for it – all starting with AI for Earth. And good to see that Microsoft has created an ethical design guide for all its employees working on AI. An important subject and mechanism amongst the ‘grown up’ AI vendors.



    Great London Views


    MyPOV

    A notable event to attend, showing Microsoft’s across the board commitment and push to AI. AI everywhere is pretty much at play at Microsoft and is showing first and promising results. Having the event in London showed the R&D investment that Microsoft is doing beyond Redmond / the US and the UK certainly has a substantial contribution to AI in general and a significant Microsoft presence. But it is early days, e.g. one of the mechanisms that have always worked for Microsoft - connecting it all into a suite of consistent and user centric offerings has not happened yet. E.g. translating a slide with a picture of a person in PowerPoint, mentioning the name of the person - will not (yet) make it a recognized person in the “Seeing AI” app. And there are of course the downsides from a data privacy perspective – but Microsoft must realize that its competitors in the space are ruthless at leveraging those synergies. It is likely Microsoft needs (and will) do the same.

    On the concern side, Microsoft has to find a match to the uptake in mindshare and real-world AI deployments that Google’s Tensorflow is seeing, if not Tensorflow will be the Kubernetes of 2017 – a Google launched open source offering that dominates an important aspect of the cloud infrastructure. And one can argue that Tensorflow is even bigger stakes than Kubernetes, as it not only dominates the AI / Machine Learning equation, but due to data gravity pulls along substantial data storage and processing load. Not to mention the model training and execution loads.

    But for now, it is good to see the progress at Microsoft, who is pushing AI wide and deep across its existing products, as well as new offerings. A deep R&D and research check book certainly helps, but must show tangible, shorter horizon returns to capture what matters most in AI these days – cloud load – both from a storage and compute perspective. Stay tuned.


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



    More on Microsoft:
    • News Analysis - Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in Africa - Azure learns Afrikaans to Zulu (and 9 more) - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2017 - Good Housekeeping, laying foundation, deliver on vision - read here
    • Down Report – Power failure takes Azure services down - 3 Cloud Load Toads - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Connect - No April's Fools - Linux, Google and more  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers teams - launches Microsoft Teams - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR  - The SaaS land grab is on  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Ignite - AI, Adobe and FPGA [From the Fences] - read here
    • 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.


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

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    Nothing is more feared by the colleagues of the writing press than summer, when nothing happens. But this summer is off to a different start – with substantial news coming out in the 2nd half of July...




    Here are the key ones for my coverage area on Enterprise Acceleration, Future of Work and NextGen Apps (in alphabetical order and barring nothing else major happens - July ain't over yet):
    • Google introduces Hire
    • Infor introduces Coleman
    • Microsoft makes Azure Stack available
    • Oracle puts money into IaaS
    • SAP makes Leonardo more tangible
    • Samsung has a its best quarter
    • Workday announces a PaaS

    And I  will try a new format across these blog posts:
    • What’s the news– A quick paragraph on what happened – with link to vendor announcement.
    • Why it matters– My take why this is a key development.
    • MyPOV– My usually take on the news.
    • CxO Advice– What’s a CxO to do now. Some advice on the next steps and for who it matters.
    Hope you enjoy the format – let me know what you think – stay tuned.


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

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    What’s the news: Google wants to help recruiters be more successful. It wants them to use G-Suite to schedule appointments, Gmail to email with applicants and internal stakeholders, use Google Search to make job post more attractive. Google has also thought of reports and data migration to get started. Hire leverages assets from Bebop – the ‘acquihire’ that brought Diane Greene to Google. The link to the earlier shipped Google Jops API isn’t fully clear, but its more likely than not leveraged.


    Why it matters: Recruiting or more fancy Talent Acquisition is a team sport that is highly fragmented from a systems perspective. Making it easier for the recruiter and the hiring manager is a key to make hiring decisions faster and better, which matters in a tightening jobs market and is crucial for an enterprise to accelerate. 
    Google Hire Screenshots from Google's Hire website

    MyPOV - Google is getting more and more in the enterprise software space / SaaS market. Good to see it knows that e.g. data migration and reports are a must for the enterprise. It will have to answer questions soon in regards of plans to offer more than recruiting capabilities, e.g. onboarding and learning come to mind. And let’s not forget the veritable market presence LinkedIn (and Microsoft) have in this space. Don’t be surprised if Microsoft ‘embraces and extends’ this automation area at some point and: Microsoft's LinkedIn acquisition makes both vendors already competitors. More competition is good for customers - making products better, licensing competitive etc. So there is little not to like of Google announcing Hire.

    CxO Advice – If your recruiting team and / or company is a Google shop, definitively take a look. If not look at the value of the APIs. It’s unlikely a superior recruiting product can unseat Outlook in an enterprise – this is why all the other recruiting vendors offers interfaces to Outlook (and increasingly, G-Suite). Google may learn this in the next quarters, so stay tuned. Even if you can’t move – ask your recruiting vendors for the same features – on their platform.



    More about Google:

    • Event Report - Google Next 2017 - Google makes progress - but is it fast enough? Read here
    • New Analysis – Google enables citizen developers and developers with Google App Maker - read here
    • First Take - Google enters enterprise software space with Google Jobs API - read here
    • Event Report - Google I/O 2016 - Android N soon, Google assistant sooner and VR / AR later - read here
    • First Take - Google Google I/O 2016 - Day #1 Keynote - Enterprise Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Google's Google I/O 2016 - read here
    • Event Report – Google Google Cloud Platform Next – Key Offerings for (some of) the enterprise - read here
    • First Take - Google Cloud Platform - Takeaways Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - Google launches Cloud Dataproc - read here
    • Musings - Google re-organizes - will it be about Alpha or Alphabet Soup? Read here
    • Event Report - Google I/O - Google wants developers to first & foremost build more Android apps - read here
    • First Take - Google I/O Day #1 Keynote - it is all about Android - read here
    • News Analysis - Google does it again (lower prices for Google Cloud Platform), enterprises take notice - read here
    • News Analyse - Google I/O Takeaways Value Propositions for the enterprise - read here 
    • Google gets serious about the cloud and it is different - read here
    • A tale of two clouds - Google and HP - read here
    • Why Google acquired Talaria - efficiency matters - read here

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

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    What’s the news: Azure Stack – announced a little more than two years ago is Microsoft’s on premise version of Azure (with some reduced / missing capabilities to the cloud version). Originally slated to run on Microsoft hardware and available last summer, the product suite is now available for partners to certify. And partners (the usual suspects) are in line to certifiy their hardware asap.



    Why it matters: Despite the trend to cloud there are still many enterprises that have to operate enterprise automation on premises. Look at the number of SAP customers opting to run S/4HANA on premises. Microsoft now offers a path for them to run Azure similar / identical products – and build and move applications and load to an Azure like on premises stack – with the option to move it later. And there are plenty of motivated hardware vendors that want to sell more servers to customers for their local data centers (Cisco, Dell, HP etc etc.)

    The intro slide of Azure Stack from Build 2015


    MyPOV– Good to see more on-premise options coming, a key move for Microsoft to help customers stay on Microsoft and get future proof. How well the partner approach will work for this – remains to be seen. But Microsoft has a successful track decade spanning record to partner with hardware vendors. The partner approach differs from Oracle – that provides all themselves, but as well with the on premises vs cloud choice. With enterprises getting same / similar options from trusted vendors (don’t forget IBM here, too) – they will look at these offerings more seriously.

    CxO Advice:
    If you are a Microsoft shop with on premises requirements (data privacy, residency, performance, data center availability, legacy loads) this a key announcement. It’s must prototype and pilot territory. Don’t wait for your favorite hardware vendor for this, they will all come along in a few months, when a positive pilot leads to a production decision. Azure stack as a pilot on any test can have the bonus as a lock-in avoidance as well as a commercial argument. In general CIOs and CTOs need to see that not all loads must go to the cloud, but we still recommend the cloud from an innovation speed and elasticity for most enterprise scenarios.

    More on Microsoft:
    • Event Report - July 2017 Microsoft London AI Event - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in Africa - Azure learns Afrikaans to Zulu (and 9 more) - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2017 - Good Housekeeping, laying foundation, deliver on vision - read here
    • Down Report – Power failure takes Azure services down - 3 Cloud Load Toads - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Connect - No April's Fools - Linux, Google and more  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers teams - launches Microsoft Teams - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR  - The SaaS land grab is on  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Ignite - AI, Adobe and FPGA [From the Fences] - read here
    • 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.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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    What’s the news: Buried in the Q4 and all FY announcement of Oracle was the CAPEX figure for Q4 of the last Fiscal year. And it was for the first time in the last eight quarters – more than 2B. YoY it was a close to 1B bump from 1.1B Q4 last year to a little more than 2B this Q4. CEO Saffra Catz seems to like 1.6B CAPEX spend, which was the number in in 5 of the last 8 quarters. But two quarters were just 1B, now Q4 2B+.



    Why it matters: You can’t build out a cloud in the real world without massive CAPEX investment. Look at the AWS / Amazon, Microsoft Azure and Google numbers. On the flip side Oracle execs are smart enough to not throw good money after bad money – e.g. put CAPEX $s in a non-working cloud infrastructure. So, at any chance given to me since 2014 I asked CEO Mark Hurd – when will Oracle spend more CAPEX? The answer has always been evasive… But at its OpenWorld conference, Oracle unveiled the 2nd generation of its IaaS solution. It now seems to get the CAPEX it needs to get real. 



    From Oracle Q4 2017 / FY 2017 earnings call material

    MyPOV– Good to see Oracle finally putting the CAPEX where its ambition is. PowerPoint and keynotes are cheaper than datacenters, Oracle knows this – but as said above, why spend into something that you know will be replaced (e.g. one year ago, internally, IaaS Gen2 was happening) and will have to be replaced later… So, this is good commercial acumen. But it’s only one quarter and Oracle will need a string of 2B CAPEX quarters (or even more) to make IaaS Gen2 a real offering around the world. It was interesting to see earlier this year that Hurd claimed higher data center efficiency due to the Oracle engineered chip to click stack… it was worth AWS data center guru James Cameron to respond (worth the read here). In short: Data center efficiency matters.



    Larry Ellison at OpenWorld 2016 - with TCO claims of Oracle Gen2 IaaS vs AWS
    Here is one more ironic aspect in the IaaS race: AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM (as the other top 5 IaaS providers) – should all (of course secretly) be pulling for Oracle. Why? We estimate 30-40% of enterprise critical systems are running on – or are inextricably linked to an Oracle database. So far – nobody has moved a substantial amount of these systems – not AWS (Oracle AMI since 6+ years), not Microsoft (heck, Microsoft even brought Linux into Azure to run Oracle – 4+ years ago). Why did no migration happen? Re-implementation and testing of enterprise grade systems has multiple red tapes on them. Never break a running system… so, enterprises did not move these systems. Now, if Oracle cannot move these system with IaaS Gen2 / DBaaS, and the help of the pretty driven (to say it nicely) Oracle Salesforce… then these systems will stay on premises – for a long time. It would be withering 10% reduction year over year (the rate of replacement of running, enterprise critical systems. Good news for the Cisco, Dell, HPs etc. and all who make money with on premises IT investments. Not so good for AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM… so therefore they maybe (secretly of course) pulling for Oracle to be successful to move its database to the cloud. Once they are there – even if on Oracle IaaS – competitors can start chipping at Oracle in the cloud… we have seen that game for decades already.

    CxO Advice: This is good news for a CxO running Oracle systems. When your vendor’s IaaS is more efficient and becomes real – then you are in for better (and likely cheaper) cloud computing. And it is good for the market overall, as more competition improves offerings and keeps the vendors sharp, all to the benefit of enterprises. CxOs running the Oracle database should consider pilots and collect experience with DBaaS on IaaS gen 2. Enterprises can’t miss out on an option to run critical systems with lower TCO. If you are not an Oracle CxOs, look on what is happening, and ask for similar performance and TCO for your RDBMS running in the cloud. Potentially take advantage of aggressive Oracle pricing – migration is a two-way street.





    Recent blog posts on Oracle:
    • News Analysis - Oracle empties the barrel - Revolver style (6) Cloud News Analyses - read here
    • Musings - Does Oracle and Accenture make sense - or never ever! - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle HCM Analyst Summit 2017 - Oracle HCM stronger and stronger - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle OpenWorld - the HCM perspective - Almost no news, but wait... - read here.
    • First Take - Early Oracle OpenWorld 2016 Keynotes - read here
    • 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


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

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    What’s the news: SAP had its Leonardo event in Frankfurt July 11th and 12th. Originally planned as an IoT event (that’s the original Leonardo brand) it was supposed to be a sequence to the (very good) launch event in Rome in fall last year (event report here). Frankfurt was more than IoT, as since Sapphire (see here), Leonardo is SAP’s brand to collect all new offerings on top of the SAP Cloud Platform and to implement next generation application projects together with customers, using the Design Thinking umbrella. Franfurt was a good event to roll out more capabilities of the more mature members of the Leonardo family (BI, IoT) and to get the Leonardo message unveiled to a European / German audience. SAP took special attention to cater to the local audience, even using former CEO Henning Kagermann as a speaker, panelist, something that hasn’t happened since a long time.



    Why it matters: SAP reconfirms its commitment to Leonardo. Leonardo itself is remarkable as SAP basically (but implicitly) admits that the 21st century best practices that enterprise will have to run on – are not established. In contrast – enterprises have to experiment and find their unique path to these best practices. The proven process for this is to pick a strategic area, use design thinking and the modern, 21st century technologies – around Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence / BigData and Cloud – as well as dominating the things with IoT. But these are individual projects, not the best practices that that SAP (and all SaaS vendors) want to have validated and sold to 1000s of customers. So, with the Leonard projects, SAP has the opportunity to have their hands on the pulse of innovation of business processes. In some areas, e.g. IoT SAP’s offerings a more progressed, as SAP has started earlier and is delivering templates, code collections and samples to help jumpstart customer IoT projects. In other areas these assets still have to be created.


    MyPOV–  Good to see SAP getting serious on Leonardo, adding credibility with the first follow up event after the launch at SapphireNow in Orlando. SAP is also putting more pieces in place from the traditional enterprise vendor playbook – e.g. the sign-up of partners, the opening of centers around the world etc. Would be even better if SAP admitted the best practice void, something chairman Plattner (also implicitly) did at the Q&A in Orlando. But maybe most enterprises are not ready for message of this nature from SAP – yet. But the realization is sinking in fast with CxOs. That SAP wants credibility with Leonardo is obvious, e.g. using Kagermann who has a long term trusted reputation for customers in Europe underlines that need.



    The SAP Leonardo Portfolio
    CxO Advice: CxOs know that the 20th century best practices will not keep their enterprise in the survival race of the early 21st century. Design Thinking work shops are nothing new, and have proven themselves in the past. What is new is that an enterprise software vendor of the caliber of SAP is ready to partner with enterprises to establish these new best practices. This ensures integration with the rest of SAP automation and the potential bonus of becoming part of the roadmap. In the traditional approach it was clear that the work would always remain a custom effort – with the associated integration burden and maintenance costs following from a custom effort. CxOs need to be aware of the flipside – that a Leonardo project that makes it to the SAP roadmap, will be available to all SAP customers at some point, not always a desirable outcome, especially for strategically differentiating projects. Enterprises don’t always want that capability beint available to the competition. But for CxOs firmly rooted in the SAP ecosystem, Leonardo projects are not in question: It’s better to have a seat at the dinner where the conversation is about the future of enterprise software, and what SAP can deliver for that – than not being invited to the dinner at all. Better to participate and influence than to watch from the sidelines, with no strategic alternatives. The opportunity of Leonardo should be evaluated by non SAP centric CxOs for that reason as well. And Leonardo should be used by these CxOs to get their vendors coaxed into a similar offering. Exciting times for enterprise software ahead for enterprises, partners and vendors. 




    More on SAP:

    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2017 - All in on Leonardo, but wait there is more... read here
    • News Analysis - SAP reshuffles Executive Board - sets up for next 5 years - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - The quest to make Procurement awesome - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Capital Markets and S/4HANA Update - Good Plan - Execution matters in 2017 - read here
    • News Analysis -SAP Introduces Jump-Start Enablement Program for SAP Leonardo IoT Portfolio >> Bundling and Simplification matter for IoT - read here
    • Event Report - Event Report - SAP TechEd Barcelona - Analytics, ML, PaaS and HANA 2  - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP to unveil HANA 2 - New platform vs a fork's tine - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR - The SaaS land grab is on - read here
    • Event Report - SAP / Trenitalia Digital Summit - SAP is serious about IoT - read here
    • 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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    What's the news: Workday did a soft launch of its new PaaS capabilities at its partners conference earlier in the year. The announcement was short of details, as Workday likely did not want to steal any thunder from its major yearly event, Workday Rising, to be held later this fall (see the blog here).


    Why it matters: Workday has long held the record of most closed major SaaS property in the market. The moniker was something along the lines that “SaaS knows no customization”. A valid point, but only to the degree that enterprises must be able to run their business. At the moment enterprises can’t run their business anymore the pressure on vendors grows very quickly to provide better extension, customization and sometimes even stand-alone software building options. With Workday now offering the beginnings of a PaaS strategy, enterprises will gain more flexibility to make sure their Workday system fits with the specific, sometimes even unique needs. Moreover, hence it was announced at the partner conference, partners can undertake more extensions, potentially even build their own assets that can / could be re-used over their client’s boundaries.


    MyPOV
    – Workday has been the longest hold out in regards of PaaS of all major SaaS players. May it be for the lack of customer pressure, may it be for the extensive customization past of Peoplesoft, Workday executives only saw the need for PaaS enough to make it a product offering in … 2017. Any industry observer may remember 2014, when Oracle made it the ‘fall of PaaS’, and I asked CEO Bhusri back ten if Workday had any plans…. And the answer was no plans, and then – if ever – only for a PaaS with a little ‘p’. I interpreted the little ‘p’ PaaS as a PaaS platform with the focus on integration and extension – versus the capital ‘P’ PaaS that allows to build stand-alone applications. Probably a valid separation and good for Workday to tackle the first two use case for an enterprise vendor’s past first.

    Overall this was a key move by Workday, as we currently see enterprises operate in the era of business process uncertainty: Previously well-established best practices are being challenged by new technology capabilities, that empower the competition for the new best practices of the 21st century. But that’s a time for experimentation, that is challenge for all SaaS vendors – who prefer to build the same software for 1000s of customers. But when the best practices is not clearly defined, PaaS is the life insurance both for a vendor and an enterprise: When the solution does not fully fit, or is even missing, then the vendor’s PaaS is a welcome alternative for both sides to get what they want: The enterprise the fitting and needed software, the vendor the license and usage of the rest of its SaaS software.


    CxO Advice– This is good news for CHROs, who previously may have had a challenging time to convince their CTO and CIO colleagues that they could use Workday for Finance, HCM etc. – no matter what the future holds. Now the ‘PaaS safety blanket’ gives the needed flexibility and peace of mind to CxOs when it comes to extending Workday, and potentially building individual pieces of automation. As with all new offerings, Constellation recommends to wait for the announcement dust to settle, understand the first capabilities of the product, see which enterprises are adopting it, learn from experiences, ask for the roadmap and then chart your enterprise course – where uptake and usage may be at a certain point. As with all enterprise software based PaaS vendors, considerations also need to be take in regards of an overall PaaS strategy for the enterprise and how many different PaaS an enterprise is willing (and required) to use.



    More on Workday

    • News Analysis - Workday, IBM Form Strategic Partnership on the IBM Cloud - The IaaS vendor race for SaaS load is on - read here
    • 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 SAP SuccessFactors Success Connect yearly user conference in Las Vegas, held from August 29thto 31st 2017, at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. The conference was well attended, SAP claimed better than the 2016 edition with over 3500 attendees. 


    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:


    Executive Changes. New leadership in place, now time to pick up speed. As documented, SuccessFactors has new leadership at the board, at the helm and at product level. And accordingly, Rob Enslin, Greg Tomb and newly hired product, engineering and delivery leaders Amy Wilson and James Harvey were on hand for the keynote. Executive transitions are never easy, and while the four executives did an ok job during the keynote, they could have done better. At the end of the day users attend user conferences … to learn about the product – and that part was thinner than at previous Success Connect editions and certainly thinner than at competitor events. Over time I am sure areas of communication will be de-lined and most importantly all executives will have setup the course and roadmap for SuccessFactors to go forward. Well intended attempts of making the keynote more personal and approachable appeared more scripted, and while I know it was all genuine, knowing most executives since many years, the team failed to pick up where the last Success Connect in the US (from a region perspective) and in Europe / London (from a temporal perspective) stood.

    Traditional broad push, more focus on Talent Management with Onboarding. A lot is happening at SuccessFactors, as the vendor claimed 2500 product developers working on the product, a number that seemed high based on my napkin quality calculation. The new highlight was a new Onboarding module, to be built on the SuccessFactors MDF framework. Good to see the leverage of MDF, but not a critical piece of automation for Talent Management. We saw the new iOS mobile application, heard multiple times how it was designed with Apple, and it is a good implementation of a mobile HR application. That previous year pledges not to let the Android version fall behind iOS again was missed, got probably lost in the transition. And then SAP SuccessFactors is (finally) moving to HANA, a move that has been supposed to happen since a while, though the scope is not fully clear, as we heard from ‘fully’ to move of the analytics layer to HANA. Harvey showed some of the benefits of moving to HANA in early product, a good start, that focusses more on dashboards and reporting than more advanced scenarios.



    Long term platform and positioning questions loom.Unfortunately, Success Connect provided no light on the inherent platform issues that SuccessFactors had. To start, the original SuccessFactors operated on three and a half platforms. Then SuccessFactors added the MDF framework, and some modules run on it (EmployeeCentral and soon Onboarding for instance). In the meantime, SAP overall moved to SAP Cloud Platform as its PaaS, based on CloudFoundry. And SuccessFactors still runs on competitor Oracle’s database. All nothing news, all major questions to tackle and we felt SuccessFactors was coming close to answer them – but no update on them yet. One could argue, why do these matter, it’s all SaaS, but the agility of a vendor is determined by the productivity and the number of their platforms… obviously more platforms mean more work, support and maintenance – and therefore matter for customers as well.



    Analyst Tidbits

    Progress on Bias. SAP has been pushing the elimination / reduction of bias via software since Sapphire 2016. We were updated on the progress. Masking of bias related attributes and pictures is now possible. Most efforts – not surprisingly are on the reporting side. A good area to focus on and a possible differentiator.


    SAP and Diversity. SAP has met its goal for gender diversity recently, meeting its goal of 25% of women in leadership positions (1stlevel manager on upwards) early and now established a new goal of 28% by 2020 and 30% by 2022 (more here). Newly minted SAP CMO Alicia Tilman and me had a great conversation on the topic – watch it here.


    MyPOV

    A good SuccessFactors conference, with new leadership in place, finding its way ‘around the furniture’. Under 100 days in its not fair to expect Willis and Harvey to have a plan, sometimes conference schedules don’t align with plan readiness… and it is better to not share something hastily. On a board level Enslin needs to come up with a vision of the SAP SaaS business he oversees now, especially how they relate to S4/HANA, platforms and future direction. But likely also too early to address, so again, better to wait than communicate prematurely. And while those high-level questions are sorted out, there is a lot of progress and work happening on product level. Attendees were generally happy with the progress. Partners showed up in force and see more traction. But strategic direction, messages and vision matter to customers and prospects – so time for SAP SuccessFactors to deliver them.



    On the concern side, SuccessFactors still needs to find its way inside, versus or with the SAP mainstream. The acquisition is soon more than six years ago and while SuccessFactors has delivered a compelling HR Core product with EmployeeCentral, it need to address looming payroll (no mention in keynote) and overall platform / suite level questions. The sooner, the better. And as a general conversation, HR conferences increasingly seem to be about celebrities and good vibes. All good but the product message can’t be overshadowed too much, SuccessConnect in my view reached a critical level here.

    So overall, especially on product level, good progress, let’s hope for SucessFactors clients and prospects that this productivity level is not slowing down, the high-level questions get addressed soon and then SuccessFactors gets to execute toward that vision. There is practically no HCM vendor that is not working on its next generation architecture at the moment, or at least major new investments (e.g. Payroll) – SuccessFactors will have to tackle the same challenges. Customer want and deserve answers. Stay tuned.



    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 had the opportunity to attend ADP’s yearly analyst day, held in New York on September 12th, 2017, at the vendor’s innovation lab in Manhattan (see my site visit report here). The analyst day was well attended with over 25 analysts and influencers in the audience. 




    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 5 (usually 3, yes - but ADP announced a lot):


    Rodriguez on increased ADP R&D spend

    ADP moves to the (public) cloud.
    Likely the most impactful announcement in the long term for ADP customers. Like all large SaaS vendors ADP wants to remain IaaS independent, but needs to start somewhere and the place is likely going to be AWS. As the recent AWS and VMware partnership (see here) has come to a beta phase, of enterprises and vendors validating the proper working of VMware VMs on AWS, ADP is one of the enterprises benefitting from the heavy lifting here, as the vendor currently (amongst others) uses VMware to virtualize it’s on premises load… The general advantages for SaaS vendors to use IaaS are on hand and more and more of them have made their plans public (e.g. Salesforce – see here, and Workday – see here). Their clients benefit from lower capital expenditure spend for gear and data centers, enabling them to spend more on product, a clear win for customers. 



    Some payrules of ADP's new Payroll Engine

    ADP is building a new payroll engine.
    It’s never easy for a vendor relying on a piece of software to publicizes it is building a new generation of the same functionality. The same for ADP that has been building on its next generation payroll for some time – and now has come public with its high-level architecture and rollout plans. And the architecture looks promising and built right, with ad hoc calculation, policy driven pay rules, the ability to reuse pay rules and an overall modern platform. We will learn more in the next quarters, first customers will go live on the new payroll in 2018, so it’s less than two dozen (European) pay roll cycles away for eager ADP customers. Payroll innovation matters for enterprises, as the regulatory tsunami is in full swing and pay rules are becoming more and more complex. At the same time, the inherent nature of payroll is elasticity, so it’s a prototypical application for a cloud implementation. Ironically almost all large enterprise payrolls are not architected like that, if they were in the workforce – they would be Gen Xers. More elastic, ad hoc payroll capabilities are important to enable the gig economy and reduce payroll complexity. 


    ADP Global Cloud Connect Update with Jimenez

    ADP Global Cloud Connect – on track. ADP is a usually very conservative when it comes to announcing new capabilities, even a tad too much for my taste. That it can do this more like most of the enterprise software industry play it can be seen with Global Cloud Connect, its n:m system connecting platform to make global HR interfaces easier. A gargantuan task and it is no surprises that it takes time to build something like this. The good news Global Cloud Connect is on track and pilots are starting early 2018. Complexity for customers is massive and value that ADP can create substantial. As someone first hand familiar with global HR complexity – I can’t wait to learn more.
     
    Rind demos Assistant

    ADP Data Cloud adds Mobile, more analytics and an assistant.
    ADP Data Cloud has been a very successful product for ADP. The ability to tap into the data created from over 30M+ people paid is of enormous value. The scope is staggering: 200k daily users, 603B US$ paid per year and over 900M+ HCM transactions daily. So, it’s good to see that ADP is adding mobile support to ADP Data Cloud – enabling users to analyze information and search insights from the convenience of their smartphone. ADP has done an impressive job of making these not only reports, but create an interactive application. No surprise ADP is adding more analytics capabilities, e.g. employee effectiveness. But it also uses its machine learning capabilities to create an assistant, that helps users to find insights and more: It reminds users e.g. that a payroll cycle may have to be kicked off now. So it’s more than KPIs and insights, it’s an assistant that understands HCM actions.
     
    Mougalian on ADP Cloud Leadership

    ADP NextGen platform. ADP is not standing still with new payroll, move to cloud and more – but also is looking at rebuilding its platform. We saw how ADP created a new Onboarding application on the new framework. But more interesting is the ability of the new architecture to support what ADP calls Mini-Apps: Small lightweight applications built for narrow use cases to allow the automation of new capabilities, filling of functional gaps and other tactical automation needs. Built with the help of a RAD tool that also supports low code / no code development. A truly interesting approach on the world of usually large, monolithical releases. We need to learn more about ADP Mini Apps.



    Sackman on 3 Innovation Pushes


    MyPOV

    We have been saying since a while: It is not your grandfather’s ADP. But this was the first time that ADP used its analyst day to speak almost exclusively about product. It is very good to see that ADP has now also found its stride to talk about, show and deliver modern HCM products. What used to be almost always a ‘preview’ mode, was now a focus on immediate or near-term tangible product innovation. Good to see ADP finding its stride.

    On the concern side, ADP has to deliver a lot of product and educate its customer base about them, get them to adopt product and turn the innovation investment into revenue. Nothing ADP cannot do – but it needs to do this at a bigger scale than ever before. And we would advise APD to become even a tad more aggressive at bringing innovation to light and revenue.

    And while we are not financial analysts and don’t want to comment on the board challenge ADP is seeing from activist investor Pershing Square, it looks like there have been positive side effects for customers from this challenge: 2018 is probably going to be the year that ADP ships the most product innovation since a long time – if not ever. It definitively has been the most product centric analyst day – ever. Good for customers, ADP and investors. Stay tuned.


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

    More on ADP:


    • Event Report - ADP MOTM - Time get customers on board!? Read here
    • Event Report – ADP ReThink – Great event and great value coming for customers  - read here
    • News Analysis - ADP Acquires The Marcus Buckingham Company to Expand Talent Portfolio - read here
    • Progress Report - ADP Analyst Day 2016 - ADP has turned around Vantage HCM - read here
    • 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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    Even though we are almost only two weeks off Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in San Francisco - Oracle is pushing the gas pedal. Yesterday Oracle announced its Sparc M8 chip / architecture – today it was Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison’s turn: New pricing.



    The press release can be found here. So, let’s dissect in usual fashion:

    At a live event today, Oracle Executive Chairman of the Board and CTO Larry Ellison announced new programs that lower costs by delivering increased automation and flexibility, and enable customers to get more value from their existing Oracle software investments. The new Oracle Cloud programs include Bring Your Own License to PaaS and Universal Credits.
    MyPOV – Nice summary. Pricing simplification has been on Ellison’s mind since a long time. In his view easier pricing accelerates sales processes, something he really wants. This move reminded me of Ellison pushing through a single global price list, published on its website, connected with the Oracle Store in the dot com era. It was revolutionary then – today it was visionary.
    “We are completely transforming the way all companies buy and use cloud by providing flexibility and choice,” said Ellison. “Today, we combined the lowest prices with the highest performance and more automation to deliver a lower total cost of ownership for our customers.”
    MyPOV – Rationale is key to Oracle and Ellison – and his presentation was more about how automation of the Oracle database processes allows Oracle to lower prices and compete with the competition. He even said at one point that Oracle would make cost a SLA item…
    While organizations are eager to move to the cloud, many have not due to obstacles that have forced them to choose between flexibility and lower costs. They have been challenged by the complexity of the cloud and the inability to rebalance spend across different services. Organizations have also been constrained by limited visibility and control over cloud spend. Until now, they have been unable to fully leverage their on-premises software investments in the cloud, having been limited to IaaS services or sacrificing key database features at the PaaS layer. Oracle’s new cloud programs address customers’ cloud adoption challenges by improving and simplifying the way they purchase and consume cloud services.
    MyPOV – Always good to see simplification. In a more complex and accelerated environment enterprises need all the simplification they need. And while pricing complexity is one problem, product fit and evaluation is even bigger. But Oracle is right – once enterprises have established the services they want - / need – budget risk is one of the main pre-occupations of CxOs. Though the ‘horror’ stories of early cloud days of enterprises burning through a month’s budget in few days because someone didn’t turn something off – are over – it remains a concern till today. But price is only half the equation – product / service selection remains a challenge.
    Bring Your Own License to Oracle Database PaaS: Delivering Increased Value Through License Mobility
    Currently, customers can bring their on-premises licenses to Oracle IaaS. Today, Oracle is expanding the offering by enabling customers to reuse their existing software licenses for Oracle PaaS, including Oracle Database, Oracle Middleware, Oracle Analytics, and others. Customers with existing on-premises licenses can leverage that investment to use Oracle Database Cloud at a fraction of the old PaaS price. Running Oracle Database on Oracle IaaS is faster and offers more features than Amazon, delivering the industry’s lowest total cost of ownership. Additionally, customers can further reduce management and operational costs required for on-premises maintenance by taking advantage of this PaaS automation.

    MyPOV – Good to see Oracle expanding its BYOL program. That lowers the hurdle for customers to move to the Oracle cloud – and helps against the competition. That is – in Oracle’s eyes most prominently AWS – so they are mentioned here… Oracle has gone at length that its IaaS Gen2 is cost effective – now it is getting aggressive on the pricing side. Always good to see vendors living up to their announcements.

    Universal Credits: Flexible Buying and Consumption Choices for Oracle’s PaaS and IaaS Services
    Oracle is introducing Universal Credits, the industry’s most flexible buying and consumption model for cloud services. With Universal Credits, customers have one simple contract that provides unlimited access to all current and future Oracle PaaS and IaaS services, spanning Oracle Cloud and Oracle Cloud at Customer. Customers gain on-demand access to all services plus the benefit of the lower cost of pre-paid services. Additionally, they have the flexibility to upgrade, expand or move services across datacenters based on their requirements. With Universal Credits, customers gain the ability to switch the PaaS or IaaS services they are using without having to notify Oracle. Customers also benefit from using new services with their existing set of cloud credits when made available.

    MyPOV – The real simplification comes here. And while pre-pay programs exist for IaaS since a while, they are usually tied to dedicated products and services. Having the portability across products and services is important for customers, especially in early phases of their cloud journey. Over time their footprint solidifies – but given where most Oracle customers are now, this move is a significant reduction in complexity. The option to use the credits for Oracle Cloud at Customers is a differentiation to pure public cloud based IaaS vendors. It caters well to customers who are still cloud concerned, who are in geographies where Oracle’s IaaS Gen 2 may not be yet, or where data residency requires in country operation of IT. 

    Behind the scenes it means – Oracle must have a lot of capacity. The dedicated service / product pre pay helps IaaS vendors to plan capacity and build out of their IaaS capacity. When customers can switch with little notice, an IaaS vendor must be confident to have enough capacity. Theoretically too much demand can create wait lists – but that would be bad for business… but an area to watch going forward.


    Overall MyPOV

    Always good to see simplification. Customers who are uncertain on which products and services they can consume can now start budgeting for instance for trials and proof of concept. BYOL is powerful for customers ready to move to cloud. So overall a good move by Oracle.

    Looking behind the scenes – we can assume a few things: Oracle is confident IaaS Gen 2 works. It just has poured another 2B in CAPEX in Q1 2018. First time Oracle has spent 2B+ CAPEX quarters in recent years (or at all – I did not go back). All these investments need load to get justified. If pricing held customers up – it has been simplified. And the move gives the Oracle sales force the instant chance to have a cloud conversation with customers – given the BYOL option – and the public cloud and cloud at customer options. The executives in 500 Oracle Parkway are making it was easy as possible to sales force and customers to move to cloud and generate cloud revenues. That Oracle is under pressure to show cloud growth (like all major enterprise vendors) is no surprise, and the last earnings call has not lowered pressure, despite good results.

    For the industry, its key to watch how well Oracle can move customers to cloud (or cloud at customer). For Oracle competitors, massive potential could disappear. As Constellation estimates that 30-40% of on premise systems are either Oracle systems, or systems so closely connected to an Oracle system – this is a key development to watch – to determine the overall move of the on-premise load to public cloud (the other one is the VMware / AWS partnership). If Oracle succeeds with this – we may see a fast move of almost all enterprise load to the cloud. The reasons are – when a year of server refresh goes missing, most of on premises IT becomes – very expensive. So expensive that the board s and CEOs are asking how fast the rest can move… Stay tuned. It’s going to be a crucial fall.


    For more on the event - check out the Storify embedded below. 


    Recent blog posts on Oracle:
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - Oracle invests in IaaS (or at least CAPEX) - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle empties the barrel - Revolver style (6) Cloud News Analyses - read here
    • Musings - Does Oracle and Accenture make sense - or never ever! - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle HCM Analyst Summit 2017 - Oracle HCM stronger and stronger - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle OpenWorld - the HCM perspective - Almost no news, but wait... - read here.
    • First Take - Early Oracle OpenWorld 2016 Keynotes - read here
    • 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
    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 Kronos’ very first analyst day, held at the vendor’s new headquarters outside of Boston. It was the first day at the office for many of the executives and employees, a very nicely remodeled older office building (the former Wang HQ), with many interesting and useful features and capabilities. Interestingly there are no rooms, corner offices etc. facing the windows. The idea is to allow as much possible day light to flood the building. Not even CEO Ain has an office with a window.

    So, 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:




    Ain opens 1st Kronos Analyst Day
    Kronos keeps growing in all dimensions. Kronos keeps doing well, having achieved the 1B milestone a few years ago, delivering 1.3B US$ in the last financial year and now aiming at 1.4B US$. The growth is documented in headcount, too – Kronos hired 1000+ in the last 12 months, one additional reason to open the new headquarters. And Kronos has left itself some room to grow – there is still space in the new office building.




    Workforce Ready Key Directions
    Workforce Ready. Kronos’ SMB product is doing well. Adding and cross selling HCM capabilities seems to be something that Kronos has mastered well. The vendor claims they are the fastest growing HCM product, with an ambition to reach +100M US$ soon. The functional highlight was improved reporting with new dashboards, an updated user interface and new mobile capabilities.



     
    Workforce Central Directions

    Workforce Central. Kronos’ larger enterprise product is doing well as well. Often used in conjunction with other HCM products, it has undergone, and will see more API work. RESTful integration is the writing on the wall. And it would not be Kronos if the vendor would not spend R&D on more advanced scheduling capability as well as new schedulers. Improved integration into 3rd party HCM products is another key investment theme.


    MyPOV

    Kronos is investing in product and growing on all fronts. It has carved out a working niche in SMB and has become the ‘Switzerland’ that can partner with the likes of Oracle, SAP and Workday for Workforce Management capabilities. It seems like competition in the field and is building out its capabilities. Good news for customers is that Kronos has overcome technical challenges from the past, and now offers a stable, reliable workforce management system, that clients need and deserve.



    On the concern side, Kronos remains a conservatively run company. As it competes with vendors with more enterprise software DNA, it can find itself on the backfoot when it comes to visionary and sometimes flashy announcements. Customers should ask and dig deeper on Kronos’ innovation pipelines and plans, and likely are not going to be disappointed. Kronos has a large development team and is working on many new workforce management capabilities.


    Stay tuned for Kronosworks later this year in Las Vegas, I am certain we will know a few things more about what’s next for Kronos customers.


    More on Kronos
    • Event Report - Kronos KronosWorks - Solid progress and big things loom - read here
    • Event Report - Kronos KronosWorks - New Versions, new UX, more mobile - faster implementations - read here
    • First Take - KronosWorks - Day 1 Keynote - R&D Investment, Customer Success and Analyticss - read here
    • Kronos executes - 2014 will be key - read here
    • Tweeting and feeling good about it - 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 had the opportunity to attend Zenefits’ Shift 2017 event in San Francisco, held at the Metreon on September 21st, 2017. The conference was well attended, though less in audience  than the Z2 launch 12 months ago. But the main objective was to get an online viewership, and Arianna Huffington delivered, during her keynote / interview the online viewership spiked beyond 60k+.
    Zenefits Shift17 Constellation Research Holger Mueller

    A video shows more than a 1000 words, so if you prefer to watch: (if the video doesn’t show up, check here)




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




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


    Zenefits does another pivot: From disrupting to powering brokers. The original idea of Zenefits was to disrupt both software and brokerage. Use the brokerage commissions and make the software free. Last year, at Z2, Zenefits pivoted to more software, starting to charge the SMB clientele for software and services. At Shift 2017 the vendor communicated even more of a move to software, reducing its own brokerage function and adding the capability to help brokers run more efficiently. Likely Zenefits is productizing internal assets, my speculation here, a strategy that would make sense. Ohh, and Zenefits unveiled also a new logo – but never talked about it… what a difference to Z2.



    Zenefits Shift17 Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Fulcher welcomes to Shift17

    Meet employees where they are: New mobile, Voice (Alexa) demo. Like many other vendors Zenefits follows the credo of people centricity, meaning that consumption of HR software needs to be made as easy and frictionless as possible… this means that HCM software needs to be consumed where users do work: Most prominently in chat software and ideally voice accessible. Zenefits showed a demo with Alexa, going through a time off request.



    Zenefits Shift17 Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Carr talks Services


    New Connect offerings – Ben Connect and Pay Connect. Zenefits has a strong platform and partner focus, but needs to make the consumption of partner services easy… meaning that it needs to do the integration work for these partners to allow easy uptake by its SMB customer base. Benefits does this through the Connect product family, and at Shift 2017 it unveiled the Ben Connect and Pay Connect products. Ben Connect provides integration to benefit providers, Pay Connect to 3rdparty payroll providers (ADP, Gusto, Paychex, and I believe on more provider).



    Zenefits Shift17 Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Reeves talks Products


    Native Zenefits Payroll now at 30 states. A year ago, Zenefits unveiled its payroll offering, supporting a handful of states, the vendor has now arrived at the support of 30 states… and remains committed to support all 50. I missed the roadmap presentation on this, but it supposedly exists, and is key for SMBs to plan their rollouts and / or to make software selection decisions.


    MyPOV

    A good user conference for Zenefits, that is going more into the direction of becoming an enterprise software vendor. New CEO Fulcher has brought in a new management team, with a new COO, CMO and head of product. All industry veterans, so we can expect good things to come for Zenefits customers. The new mobile product looks good, though Zenefits makes the common (SFO / Valley) mistake of favoring iOS over Android. With 50% of US smartphones being Android phones, not really people centric, but as mentioned a common and repeated flaw of HCM vendors.


    On the concern side, Zenefits showed very little software. And while it is great to listen to Arianna Huffington, Patty McCord, Ben Horowitz and Shawn Achor – showing a live mobile demo and an Alexa demo is not cutting the balance between fuzzy feel good and tangible product. We saw the same recently at SuccessFactors conference (Oprah, the Cake Master etc.). Maybe both vendors have new management teams and need to cover over a pause in product development. But vendors should not forget, the main reason to attend their user conference is their product and its roadmap. All appreciation, vision and though leadership on general practices – comes later. Showing core software capabilities as slide show is not what users (and influencers) expect.


    But for now, good progress by Zenefits, more software DNA in its executive team and likely its product future. Stay tuned.



    Stay tuned.



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


    More on Zenefits

    • Event Report - Zenefits Z2 event - Good start for the very SMB - 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 Microsoft’s combined Ignite and Envision events held in Orlando, taking place from September 24th till 28th2017. It was the first time Microsoft merged the two events, resulting in a conference that was attended by almost 30k people. As usual with Microsoft, analyst, influence and press attendance was massive.



    A video shows more than a 1000 words, so if you prefer to watch: (if the video doesn’t show up, check here)



    No time to watch – 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:



    Microsoft is serious about Quantum – During Nadella’s keynote, the Microsoft CEO unveiled the vendor’s ambition in the field of quantum computing. Not too specific on what and when will be available hardware wise, but clear enough that Microsoft is serious on the investment. The most tangible parts of the overalls strategy that materialized in Orlando were with Visual Studio and Azure. Microsoft will provide a new programming language to build Quantum applications – and with that position itself early in the Quantum programming race. Likely this will not get enterprises to soon to build them, but the early platform will help Microsoft in research and academia. On the Azure side, Microsoft will provide a simulator for up to 30 Qubits, system wise that would be the largest system / simulated system out there as of now.




    Microsoft Ignite Envision 2017 Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Nadella talks Digital Transformation



    Cosmos DB gets air time – Cosmos DB, the former DocumentDB, got a lot of air time in the keynotes. And the database has a lot to offer: Easy setup, admin, data migration, global consistency and now   has access to Azure functions to build serverless applications. A key component to consider for global next gen applications, with a strong NoSQL profile.




    Microsoft Ignite Envision 2017 Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    The three graphs at Microsoft

    Visual Studio gets a push – Though Ignite and Envision are not developer conferences, there was plenty of attention and airtime for Visual Studio. Not only does Visual Studio support a brand-new programming language for Quantum applications, it’s remains the developer platform for building next generation applications in the Microsoft ecosystem. That means that Microsoft is making it easier for developers to access the interesting innovative technologies of these days – speech recognition and machine learning. The bot framework is now well integrated and makes it easier for developers to build bot / chat based applications. The inherent fear of developers to be left behind, be eclipsed by other functions (e.g. Data Scientists. AI Pros etc.) is being addressed this way. And of course, Microsoft plays the DevOps, CI / CD and now – continuous innovation game. Putting more intelligence (and automation) in the development process will certainly be welcome by developer as well as enterprises. And Microsoft keeps building out capabilities that it has acquired with Xamarin, probably one of the best acquisitions Microsoft has made with a direct impact in developer and enterprise productivity.




    Microsoft Ignite Envision 2017 Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Microsoft Hybrid Cloud Pillars


    Azure Stack is now GA -  After a pivot from own hardware to partner hardware, Azure stack is now (finally) available for enterprises. The over one-year delay is a proof how complex the traditional architecture and technology roll out in the partner model is. But now Azure stack can be offered (alphabetically) by Cisco, Dell, HP and Lenovo. And with that Microsoft has the partners that are still planning to make substantial revenue on premises, and are grateful for Microsoft to offer Azure Stack. Likewise, are enterprises who still want / need to deploy on premises … with the option to move some or all that load to the (Azure) cloud later.




    MyPOV

    A good event for Microsoft, that showed Microsoft’s broad push across all its products. Customers will welcome that more pieces fit together (for instance CosmosDB and Azure Functions – even the brand-new ones in this case) and that existing products are strengthened (e.g. Visual Studio). But the even lacked the very big announcements, maybe because Build earlier in this year was announcement rich. Maybe because even the GA of major achievements, like GA of Azure Stack get consumed with continuous talk and announcements. Good to see Microsoft being early and laying a foundation for Quantum computing. This architecture is likely going to be the first computing architecture that will no be deployed in the enterprise - at all possibly. Key for all IaaS providers to have it early in the arsenal, especially given the novelty and challenges of Quantum computing. 



    On the concern side Microsoft took an even more notable timeout on the Hololens side. And despite making key announcements that matter to customers (for instance support for Kubernetes, Tensorflow, CloudFoundry), these partnerships were all mentioned in the keynotes but not shown in demos (I may have missed them) or announced in roadmaps. Instead a lot of innovation on Docker came to light, e.g. SQL Server 2017 can run in… a Docker container. The biggest challenge enterprises have with Microsoft is the absence of a holistic PaaS strategy. Microsoft has a strong element with Visual Studio, components with Flow and others, but needs to tie it all together to compete with the other PaaS offerings out there. On the flipside, Microsoft is solving massive problems when it comes to synthesizing the three graphs it has now - the Microsoft, Office and LinkedIn graphs. That takes time to sort out properly. 



    But for now – substantial progress – it cannot always be fireworks. Product development takes time and sometimes event schedules and product cycles don’t align. The good news is – customers are waiting and genuinely excited about the progress that Microsoft is making. Stay tuned.




    More on Microsoft:
    • Event Report - July 2017 Microsoft London AI Event - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in Africa - Azure learns Afrikaans to Zulu (and 9 more) - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2017 - Good Housekeeping, laying foundation, deliver on vision - read here
    • Down Report – Power failure takes Azure services down - 3 Cloud Load Toads - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Connect - No April's Fools - Linux, Google and more  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers teams - launches Microsoft Teams - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR  - The SaaS land grab is on  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Ignite - AI, Adobe and FPGA [From the Fences] - read here
    • 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). A Storify of Scott Guthrie's keynote can be found here.



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


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    As if enterprises, press and influencers would not be busy enough with Microsoft’s combined user conferences in Orlando and the dawn or Oracle’s Openworld next week- SAP decided to do an acquisition (with Gigya, ok these things happen when they happen), with a product launch event (for SAP Data Hub in New York) and its developer conference, SAP TechEd (happening in Las Vegas). 


    Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):





    Want to read on? Here you go:

    SAP (hybris) acquires Gigya - This is SAP’s LinkedIn acquisition – only it offers IAM and SSO capabilities. The data will be interesting for hybris customers, the technology for SAP CP. And at a friction of LinkedIn (I assume here). A good acquisition for SAP customers. 



    SAP TechEd Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    USS Enterprise with Captain Kirk


    SAP gets back to EIM– SAP acquired EIM capabilities with Business Objects (acta) and Sybase – but hasn’t done much with it. The SAP Data Hub is a new and modern attempt to address these markets – and the SAP internal integration challenges. Running elements in Kubernetes containers is an elegant 2017 architecture. Catering for data to stay in place is a risky bet – but SAP Data Hub could feed into a (Big) Data Lake, too. 



    SAP Data Hub Launch Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    The SAP Data Hub Scope

    SAP Data Hub Launch Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Demo at SAP Data Hub Launch

    HANA Express gets more cloud support– SAP’s developer version of HANA is now running on (alphabetically) – Azure, Docker, Google Cloud, Huawei Cloud (!) and of course the SAP cloud. Developer versions are important for community learning, so these are good moves to foster the HANA developer community.


    SAP TechEd Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    SAP CP Marketecture


    SAP Cloud Platform – a ton is happening – Good to see the traction on SAP’s PaaS, SAP Cloud Platform (CP) where a ton is happening:

    • (Finally) ABAP support (beta)– SAP (finally!) courts its largest developer base and gives them a future. And ABAP is SAP’s (Salesforce) Apex or (Workday) Espresso – a very good DSL for business applications.
       
    • Mobile SDK (for iOS)– An area where SAP CP needed to get stronger – and the partnership with Apple needs a platform. Expecting the same to happen for Google.
       
    • CP Beta on GCP– SAP delivered as announced at CF Summit, always good to see vendors delivering. Important for SAP ML (Tensorflow!) and BigData requirements, and the overall partnership with Google.
       
    • S4/HANA SDK - 1000 customers need more software – Time to give the ecosystem a way to extend and build new pieces of S/4HANA, so good to see the SDK.
       
    • JAM APIs - finally some social – SAP’s weakest SMAC relationship, social… good to see APIs of JAM coming to CP, but more needs to happen here.
       
    • SAP Joins Cloud Native Foundation and Open API Initiative– An overdue move, when seriously courting developers and enterprises. Good to see.
       
    • Partnerships with Mendix, Egnyte and Built.io – Important partnerships for document management with Egnite and Built.io. Even more important for low code with Mendix, good to see SAP CP realizing that it can’t do everything inhouse, but low code is key for enterprise PaaS – so watch the space…



    MyPOV

    Overall good moves by SAP. Gigya is a good acquisition with multiple benefits. SAP Data Hub is a good attempt at EIM, but SAP customers have their solutions already, it will be a long slog for SAP to get the product in the install base. Good moves on the developer community with bringing HANA Express to more clouds. But most importantly is the beta of ABAP on SAP CP, as it makes CP the future platform of SAP code, and gives a future to almost 3M ABAP developer (my estimates) out there… finally a future for ABAP. SDKs and APIs are always good – we will see what developers and enterprises will build. The beta of SAP CP on GCP is key, given SAP’s commitments to Goggle Tensorflow.

    On the concern side, SAP is coming late to many of these moves, but better late – than never. Extra kudos for the ABAP beta – we have asked SAP for many years about the future of ABAP developers. If you lose a developer community it is always hard to make up (look no further than IBM with Rational). And SAP decided to build the road before the destination with EIM. Ok. But SAP needs a SAP native (or certified) BigData / Hadoop capability. All next generation application use cases require it. It’s a red thread across the design thinking driven workshops SAP is having for Leonardo (from what we hear from customers). And deep learning needs BigData to rebuilt itself continuously.

    But overall good to see SAP commitment in technology products. Becoming member of CNCF and OAI are good citizen moves on open source – that all key players have do to. It’s not too late, but urgency is needed – and SAP has shown some in the last days. Stay tuned.


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

    More on SAP

    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - New Leadership - Old Challenges - read here
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - SAP Leonardo event July 2017 - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2017 - All in on Leonardo, but wait there is more... read here
    • News Analysis - SAP reshuffles Executive Board - sets up for next 5 years - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - The quest to make Procurement awesome - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Capital Markets and S/4HANA Update - Good Plan - Execution matters in 2017 - read here
    • News Analysis -SAP Introduces Jump-Start Enablement Program for SAP Leonardo IoT Portfolio >> Bundling and Simplification matter for IoT - read here
    • Event Report - Event Report - SAP TechEd Barcelona - Analytics, ML, PaaS and HANA 2  - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP to unveil HANA 2 - New platform vs a fork's tine - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR - The SaaS land grab is on - read here
    • Event Report - SAP / Trenitalia Digital Summit - SAP is serious about IoT - read here
    • 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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    As you know, Microsoft had their combined Ignite and Envision conferences in Orlando this week. As often before major user conferences, I tweet out my top 10 questions for the event (see here). And if I get to it - I answer them afterwards...


    Want to learn more about the event?
    • Here is the one slide summary on Slideshare
    • Here is the video in Youtube
    • You can find Storify tweet collections of the Nadella keynote here and the Guthrie's keynote here.
    • And here is the event blog post. 
    So with no further ado - here you go: {move your mouse over the slide to see the tweet text}




    More on Microsoft:
    • Event Report - Microsoft Ignite / Envision 2017 - Broad push - few highlights - read here
    • Event Report - July 2017 Microsoft London AI Event - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in Africa - Azure learns Afrikaans to Zulu (and 9 more) - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2017 - Good Housekeeping, laying foundation, deliver on vision - read here
    • Down Report – Power failure takes Azure services down - 3 Cloud Load Toads - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Connect - No April's Fools - Linux, Google and more  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers teams - launches Microsoft Teams - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR  - The SaaS land grab is on  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Ignite - AI, Adobe and FPGA [From the Fences] - read here
    • 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.


    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 Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle’s yearly mega user conference, held in San Francisco from October 1st till 5th 2017, at Moscone Center. Moscone is under construction, so it was tough to gauge attendance, but it seemed to be a tad down year over year. Massive press, analyst and influencer presence, as usual. 



    Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):





    Prefer to watch - here is the run down in video format:


    Plenty of more video to watch if you prefer to consume content in that form:

    • On Oracle unveiling 18c - watch here.
    • My takeaways of Monday - watch here.
    • My takeaways of Tuesday - watch here.

    Want to read on? Here you go:

    Top 3 Positives

    The Autonomous Database and Oracle Management and Security Cloud– This was the key topic of CTO Ellison’s keynotes- database on Monday, Cybersecurity on Tuesday. And the timing could not have been better, on a day Verizon has to share that all Yahoo user accounts were compromised, the ex-Equifax CEO gets grilled in Congress – there was certainly an open ear in audience and media for cyber security. Ellison drove home the point that Machine Learning, he called it as revolutionary as the Internet, will change security and software management. Oracle will start shipping the autonomous database for data warehouse loads in early 2018, transactional will come later.

    Oracle Open World 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research - 18c Database
    Oracle 18c


    AI Vision in keynote– As usual most product was announced in Thomas Kurian’s keynote. But what caught most of my attention was how well Kurian articulated the fundamental transformation that AI is bringing to enterprise software. Enabling Machine Learning on the IaaS layer, adding a Machine Learning service to PaaS and using Machine Learning in SaaS and DaaS was well articulated and understood – more than in other executive keynotes in the last years. And the keynote was nicely held together by an overarching demo, well done.


    Oracle Open World 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research - Elllison Machine Learning
    Ellison on Machine Learning


    Oracle SaaS is ready– The key takeaway of Kurian’s (for SaaS) and Miranda’s demo was that they expect all Oracle customers to now look at the current versions of SaaS cloud and to consider upgrading. Functional parity if not superiority has been achieved. Manufacturing (finally) is there and good enough to make the statement. Now future will tell how well Oracle can get customers to upgrade out of its heterogenous ecosystem. Definitively an area to watch.


    Oracle Open World 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research - Miranda Oracle SaaS
    Miranda and the Oracle SaaS Suite

    Top 3 Concerns

    Mega ERP vendor 10 years off-cycle– We are witnessing a unique situation for the ERP buyer. While in the past the major vendors would miss a technology change by a few years at max, we now have market where Oracle and SAP are 10 years apart. Oracle announced Fusion in 2004, SAP announced S4/HANA in 2014. If this means that buyers may change to the relative newer suite in the era of cloud and machine learning remains to be seen. The question for Oracle customers is – is Oracle ready to upgrade from Oracle e-Business Suite, Peoplesoft, JD Edwards, Siebel etc. and the question for SAP customers is – does a look at Oracle make sense. 

    Oracle Open World 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research Oracle Management and Security Cloud
    Oracle Management and Security Cloud


    Can Oracle attract the load– Oracle is late to the IaaS game, but has used the opportunity to redefine some IaaS best practices, e.g. having three data centers at a specific location. It has built a nested hypervisor to be able to attract heterogenous load. But Oracle still needs to show that it can attract the enterprise load – both organic – from existing customers – and external – from net new customers. The reason AWS gets so much attention in the keynotes is not only because AWS is the IaaS market leader, but also because Oracle must show a clear value proposition over AWS, to capture that load that is moving from on premises. When congressional representatives can ask ‘why don’t you put this on AWS?’ – fellow CxOs will as the CIO / CTO the same question. Verdict is still out.


    Oracle Open World 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research - Leone HCM Oracle Recruiting Cloud

    Leone introducing Oracle Recruiting Cloud 


    Can Oracle become gentle? The SaaS Business is different to the perpetual license business. Enterprises and vendors need to work together directly and on a day to day basis. That means a certain degree of affinity does not hurt, but helps the relationship. And while Oracle is certainly respected, it is seldom liked by CxOs. Oracle cannot rely on technological superior products only to win over customers. It has to become more customer oriented, more gentle. The good news for customers and prospects is – that it is not hard. It usually means to give up margin. And Oracle has plenty of that.


    Oracle Open World 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research - Ellison 18c
    Ellison introducing 18c


    MyPOV

    A good OpenWorld for Oracle customers. The vendor took the next step that ultimately all enterprise software have to take – the step to make products self-running and autonomous. The highest frequency of change for a RDBMS is going to be a security measure, even more as database load moves to the cloud. Automating both is attractive to enterprises, and Oracle is the first RDBMs vendor out of the gate with that vision and a tangible product roadmap. But more than the RDBMs needs to be supported, also more of the Oracle tech stack, so addressing that larger scope will be a key area to watch. We also witnessed what is most likely the largest upsell opportunity Oracle has created, as almost every production (and maybe also development and test database) will need the self-driving, autonomous features of Oracle 18c (that’s an upgrade) and the cybersecurity announced with Oracle Management and Security Cloud.

    Beyond RDBMs Oracle has made progress on all layers of the stack. New Sparc / Exadata servers have been announced already before OpenWorld. IaaS gets cheaper storage, cheaper / better networking and more. Dyn seems to have been inherited. PaaS gets a Blockchain, Data Science Service and a serverless product. And Oracle can even partner with Microsoft, that re-iterated its commitment to Java. On the SaaS side, we will have to see that Oracle has reached functional parity or even a lead, that is easier said at OpenWorld than delivered with real customers. So, watch customer upgrades and adoption to the Oracle SaaS products.

    On the concern side, Oracle needs to find a better way with customers and improve its image and day to day standing. Betting solely on the better product is risky. And with the overall bet of Oracle on the large, integrated, chip to click stack (from the Silicon to the user click in SaaS) – enterprises will even more think twice before they do business with a vendor of Oracle’s wreputation. Doing right and better with customers is always a good true North – but it seems it is not (yet) a priority for Oracle executives, as none of that was mentioned in the critical keynotes. More needs to be happen than just statements, programs and initiatives. And I know that Oracle executives know this – they just think they can get away with it by having the better product. That gamble will only work out if the product is so clearly superior, that enterprises have no alternative than use Oracle. To be fair, the Oracle integrated stack has that potential. There was a time when customers could only get a mainframe from IBM – like the vendor or not. But that’s not a long-term strategy, unless your product stays ahead of the pack – by miles. Fascinating to watch.

    Overall, a good OpenWorld for Oracle customers. All product categories are being invested in and growing. Synergies in the layers of the Oracle stack emerge, e.g. in SaaS. Across the layers in e.g.Iaas and PaaS. And Oracle is plugging remaining gaps in HCM (for Taleo) and CX (for Siebel) on a single platform. At the same time Oracle is offering new capabilities, like multi environment deployment, serverless and more that make Oracle PaaS a serious contender for next gen applications. The AT&T deal, with Oracle’s Cloud at Customer deployment, may be a lighthouse opportunity after which more Oracle customers will continue their future with the vendor. So, it’s all about execution in Redwood Shores, once again. Stay tuned.


    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check here) - all the major keynotes are covered:

    • Larry Ellison Sunday - Autonomous Database - read here
    • Mark Hurd Monday - Predictions - read here
    • Steve Miranda - SaaS - read here
    • Chris Leone - HCM Cloud - read here
    • Donatelli / Kurian - IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and DaaS - read here
    • Larry Ellison Tuesday - Oracle Management and Security Cloud - read here

    More on Oracle:
    • News Analysis - Oracle Unveils New Programs that Transform how Customers Buy and Consume Cloud – Gloves Off - read here
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - Oracle invests in IaaS (or at least CAPEX) - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle empties the barrel - Revolver style (6) Cloud News Analyses - read here
    • Musings - Does Oracle and Accenture make sense - or never ever! - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle HCM Analyst Summit 2017 - Oracle HCM stronger and stronger - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle OpenWorld - the HCM perspective - Almost no news, but wait... - read here.
    • First Take - Early Oracle OpenWorld 2016 Keynotes - read here
    • 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

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

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    We had the opportunity to attend the Ceridian yearly user conference, Insights, held at the Aria in Las Vegas, from the 3rdtill 5th of October 2017. The conference had record attendance with almost 3000 participants and was very well attended from influencers and analysts.


    Here is the video summary of the event - with a surprise guest (pardon bad quality - I blame it on the bad Aria Wifi):




    Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):



    Want to read on? Here you go:



    Ceridian Voice– There is not a conference without a voice demo these days, but it looks like Ceridian is ahead of the competition: The vendor showed the most advanced, longest running voice demo of 2017 so far, using an Amazon Alexa and involving a shift swap / trade by an employee. By itself a complex process the demo showed how well suited voice is to make such a process much more intuitive (and likely more efficient) than a traditional enterprise software UI.  




    Ceridian Insights 2017 Holger Mueller
    David Ossip on the core Dayforce rationale


    Much improved, now competitive UI– Ceridian users have in the past not been spoiled by their vendor when it came to UI. But to give credit to the vendor, Ceridian has not stood still and has kept incrementally improving usability and by now completed the move of Silverlight. The last and tricky component was the Scheduler in Workforce Management, and it has now been replaced by a fully functional, intuitive to use and fully browser based scheduler. Well done. Ceridian’s UI is now competitive in the market place.




    Ceridian Insights 2017 Holger Mueller
    Insights in proving times #VegasStrong


    Good start in Compensation Management, more innovation in Talent Management– Ceridian has been consistently filling the gaps it had in Talent Management, this year’s turn was Compensation Management. A Talent Management capability that is predominantly measured by how well it can replace the mostly Microsoft Excel based previous solution, is key to manage the biggest cost factor for most enterprises, Compensation. The first version from Ceridian is a good first version, that should allow most enterprises to automate Compensation Management with Dayforce. Ceridian also unveiled its new Learning capability, partnering with Docebo for the content management side of Learning. It’s a good Learning solution, and likely good for Ceridian to partner for his Talent Management area. Overall Talent Management is now pretty complete for Ceridian, a key functional area the vendor has filled in the last 3-4 years, remarkably delivering to the announced roadmap (as it should be – but not always happens in the industry).


    Ceridian Insights 2017 Holger Mueller
    Ceridian is Cloud Company


    Partnership with Microsoft– The probably long term most remarkable announcement at Insights was the partnership with Microsoft. And while it is good to see that Ceridian partners with Microsoft to bring payroll capabilities to Microsoft Dynamics 365, the more key announcement was that Ceridian will use Azure for its international Dayforce deployments. This is key as it allow Ceridian to spend less on CAPEX going to data centers and servers, and likely invest more R&D in product. All SaaS vendors are moving to standard IaaS platforms, so it is good to see that Ceridian is doing the same.




    Ceridian Insights 2017 Holger Mueller
    Dayforce Scheduler


    UK Payroll– Not so prominent at the conference, as not so relevant for the North American audience, Ceridian has delivered a UK payroll on Dayforce. But a key event from a good housekeeping perspective, as Ceridian replaces older, legacy systems… and a proof point that the Dayforce payroll architecture can serve not only North America, but also the UK. And while the UK is one of the easier payrolls in the world, it still is a key milestone.




    Ceridian Insights 2017 Holger Mueller
    Dayforce Activate




    MyPOV

    A good user conference for Ceridian, that is scaling its Dayforce HCM suite from both a depth and breadth perspective. At his very moment, Ceridian has the most complete HCM Suite in North America, owning almost all pieces of automation, except for Learning and Benefits. And while the latter does not make sense to be built by a mainstream HCM vendor (it makes more sense to partner with the many benefits providers), the former can be (and is being) addressed by a partner solution. Deeply integrated Workforce Management and Payroll capabilities remain the strong differentiator for Ceridian.

    On the concern side, Ceridian must successfully transition to the new era of AI, that has a deep impact on enterprises software. Ceridian itself showed that voice is the new UI. It now has to deliver a successful deep learning strategy. And it has to transition to public IaaS vendors for deployment, as is the rest of the industry. Lastly it may have to revisit the commercial position of a payroll vendor (that gets paid when paychecks are cut) vs. that of a software vendor (that gets paid when the customer gets possession of subscription – in most cases). Delaying that move puts Ceridian at a commercial / cash flow disadvantage.

    But overall, great progress by Ceridian, a vendor that was on a bad path 5-6 years ago and has now been successfully turned around on the product side, and now needs the sales, marketing and channel side to ramp up as well. All good news for Ceridian customers and prospects, not so good news for the competition.


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




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

    And unrelated to Ceridian - but how important payroll can be for HCM innovation:
    • Could the paycheck reinvent HCM - yes it can - read here
    • And suddenly... payroll matters again - read here
    • Musings - How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the Laggards - read here
    • Musings - What is the future of recruiting? Read here
    • Why all the attention to recruiting? Read here.
    • Musings - Is Transboarding the future of People Talent Management? 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 North American edition of the Workday user conference, held in Chicago from October 9th till12th 2017 at McCormick place. The event was very well attended (almost 9k attendees) across customers, prospects, partners and influencers. 



    Before reading - check out this video my colleague Chris Kanaracus and me recorded on the way to O'Hare:


    Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):





    Want to read on? Here you go:

    People Experience– Workday is unveiling a new, open portal that will allow its customers not only to expose Workday information, but also 3rd party / partner information via REST APIs. A good move, that may give the HR system another shot at becoming truly the all-encompassing employee directory (something the overall industry has by large failed at).



    Workday Rising 2017 #wdayrising Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Duffield and Bhusri on the Power of 1

    Platform functionality push
    – Workday is extending its platform capabilities. No surprise – there is Workday Voice – the vendor’s approach to voice recognition. Unfortunately, not show, but vendor independence is the architecture design point a good true north. Workday Bot powers the chat or voice conversations. And Prism analytics, powered by Platfora software and know how assets has gone live for some and in beta for some other capabilities. Finally, Workday Benchmarking has gone GA a few weeks before Rising.


     
    Workday Rising 2017 #wdayrising Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Workday People Experience [Portal]


    Progress in Learning and overall in Talent Management – Learning was the latest addition to the Workday Talent Management capabilities – and it is seeing good customer adoption with about 200 customers having purchased, implementing or being live on it. And Workday is bringing all of Talent Management together with a concept of development journeys – an interesting approach to make Talent Management really work from a talent augmentation and career perspective. 


     
    Workday Rising 2017 #wdayrising Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Workday Cloud Platform


    Workday Cloud Platform– Already mentioned at the recent Workday partner event, Workday also shared its PaaS plans at Rising. It is early days, with 30 services available and a little more than a handful of customers in beta. That will change in 2018 with more early adopters building use cases with Workday Cloud Platform. An interesting takeaway from the executive Q&A was that ISV uptake is expected in a year from now.


    MyPOV

    A good Rising for Workday customer. record attendance with 8500 participants always give a ‘natural’ adrenaline rush to all who made it to McCormick. And Workday is broadly pushing functionality in its core products, but also adding key platform capabilities with PaaS, DaaS and the Prism analytics. Workday Voice and Workday Bot are changing the user experience in the right direction. Unfortunately, it did no keynote time – after being featured prominently a year ago.

    On the concern side, Workday has a lot on its hands. On top of the all the above mentioned innovation, it also is running its first AWS based data center in Montreal, and moving to a more modern container based architecture (Kubernetes). That is a lot to do, but it is key for Workday to provide all of this innovation to remain in a good place when it comes to the newer technologies and platforms. The good news is, that Workday moves to a more commonly understood (and accepted) operating model for SaaS vendors, that should help the vendor reduce its capital expenditures in data centers and that are hopefully invested into new SaaS capabilities. And Workday has a good track record to deliver what it puts on the roadmap.

    Overall Workday is moving in the right direction, I’d like to see it move a little faster, but customers will be in good shape as long as Workday delivers on the platform, architecture and functionality capabilities it has announced and shared at Rising. CxOs making decision should practice the usual caution as with all new products – minimum required capabilities, commercial implications, and roadmap are a few prominent considerations to mention. Stay tuned.


    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check here). There is a total of four Storifys - below is the executive keynote. You can find the Friday keynote here, and takeaways from the Q&A with Bhusri and executive round tables here (very interesting).


    More on Workday
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - Workday announces its PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - Workday, IBM Form Strategic Partnership on the IBM Cloud - The IaaS vendor race for SaaS load is on - read here
    • 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

    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 understand SAP Hybris’ user conference, Hybris Live, held in Barcelona from October 17th till 19th2017. The conference was well attended, with over 3000 attendees. It also marked SAP Hybris’ first global user conference outside of Germany and the 20thanniversary of the Hybris. The conference had a great show floor design, similar to Sapphire, mixing education, SAP and partner booths, refreshments and demo stations in a great setup.


    Of course there is an event video - take a look:



    Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):



    Want to read on? Here you go:



    The SAP Network Economy Message comes together– In spring SAP re-organized its network economy assets (SAP Ariba, Concur, SAP Hybris and SAP SuccessFactors) under Rob Enslin (see news analysis here). The messaging how these entities and products fit together, relate to overall SAP strategy, take up new technologies, relate to S4/HANA etc. is getting clearer (and better) since summer. This is a key area of interest for suite level SAP customers and prospects.




    Thoma opens SAP Hybris Live Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Thoma opens SAP Hybris Live

    Multicloud for SAP Hybris – SAP Hybris’ YaaS strategy is moving towards a general micro services strategy, that can be deployed on the usual IaaS choices, with Kubernetes doing a lot of the heavy lifting. But it also gives SAP Hybris the option to deploy on premises, reaching more customers. The move to microservices and higher consumability is giving customers and prospects flexibility that is key for ecommerce and next gen application deployments.




    Thoma and his One Channel Vision Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Thoma and his One Channel Vision


    Hybris Profile gets Gigya– SAP recently announced the acquisition of Gigya (see press release here), adding capabilities in access and identity management. Though the acquisition hasn’t closed, and executives were not allowed to make forward looking statement, it is clear Gigya will strengthen the SAP Hybris Profile. But it is only a start, more information needs to be collected, including (of course GDPR compliant) 3rdparty information.


    The YaaS Agility Layer Concept SAP Hybris Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    The YaaS Agility Layer Concept

    YaaS goes to next level– SAP has been at the forefront of APIs with YaaS when the services were announced in 2015. SAP is moving the developer centric message more to CxO decision makers, a good shift. SAP Hybris has also understood one of the fundamental issues of building a next generation application – once it is build, there is an integration problem (with the rest of the automation of the enterprise). SAP Hybris plans to address this with the SAP Hybris Agility Layer, allowing to combine the customer facing and back office systems in an elastic, non-monolithic way. A very good capability to have, that customers will welcome.  



    MyPOV

    Overall a good user conference for SAP Hybris, that is growing and showing important functional extensions. Good demos with the Galaxy show floor tracking and VR visualization, the Charly conversational capabilities and the Pepper in store assistant were all well received and show that SAP Hybris has good plans on what is coming next. The shift from developer to executive for YaaS is a good one, at the end of the day it is CxOs who make the decision what to build in enterprises, get the budget and put their reputation (and career) on the line for that next generation application project. The plans around the SAP Hybris agility layer are very promising, solving not only the integration problem – but also create a non-monolithic platform connecting customer and core systems.

    On the concern side, SAP Hybris is in the middle of a transformation on the platform side and at the same side customer best practices are changing. SAP overall is trying to capture this with its design thinking projects under the SAP Leonardo umbrella, it is not clear how SAP Hybris is part of them. Equally missing is the overall SAP CRM vision and plans, something that always affects ecommerce plans, where SAP Hybris plays. Lastly SAP needs a 3rd party data and overall DaaS strategy, as customer acquisition and sentiment collected from first party data – will always remain only a fraction of the challenge ecommerce vendors have to solve.



    But overall satisfactory progress by SAP Hybris. Sometimes user conferences come at a time that does not fit overall strategic positioning cycles, executive transition and product life cycles. We will need to check in at SAP Hybris Live 2018 to get a better feel of innovation speed of vendor and readiness to uptake innovation by customers and prospects. Stay tuned.



    Don't miss the Storify tweet collections summing up the days of SAP Hybris Live (here is day #1) - this is the day #2 keynote:



    More on SAP
    • News Analyses Roundup - SAP's September Tech Announcements - SAP doubles down on technology - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - New Leadership - Old Challenges - read here
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - SAP Leonardo event July 2017 - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2017 - All in on Leonardo, but wait there is more... read here
    • News Analysis - SAP reshuffles Executive Board - sets up for next 5 years - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - The quest to make Procurement awesome - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Capital Markets and S/4HANA Update - Good Plan - Execution matters in 2017 - read here
    • News Analysis -SAP Introduces Jump-Start Enablement Program for SAP Leonardo IoT Portfolio >> Bundling and Simplification matter for IoT - read here
    • Event Report - Event Report - SAP TechEd Barcelona - Analytics, ML, PaaS and HANA 2  - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP to unveil HANA 2 - New platform vs a fork's tine - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR - The SaaS land grab is on - read here
    • Event Report - SAP / Trenitalia Digital Summit - SAP is serious about IoT - read here
    • 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

    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 had the opportunity to attend the first C3IoT analyst day at their headquarters in Redwood City. The office itself is worth mentioning as it’s a nice departure from the often bland offices in Silicon Valley, with lots of greenery, a floor crossing light alcove and a lot of wood.

    Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):




    Want to read on? Here you go:

    Unique model driven architecture– C3IoT has built its platform with integration in mind. While traditional platforms create and then integrate, C3IoT starts with integration to create a new combined data storage, that enables Analytics, Machine Learning and C3IoT Apps. Taking advantage of a type based system, it’s fast and easy for enterprises to integrate their data and then create insight applications. The integration first approach is unique in the enterprise software industry, and acknowledges that no enterprise starts from scratch in 2017 (and beyond).

    C3IoT is more than IoT– In contrast to the vendor name, C3IoT’s platform does more than ‘just’ IoT – it very much can power all seven generic next generation application use case that we track at Constellation (next to IoT, Tame the Internet, Revolutionize Inter Enterprise, Data as a Service, Digitize Value Chains, Re-Invent Communication, and Innovate the Human Machine Interface). The vendor will have to clarify its broader scope to the markets, the good news is, that C3IoT already has customers implementing beyond IoT use cases.

    Broad platform support– C3IoT made the announcement of supporting AWS at last year’s reinvent conference, by now it has added support for Microsoft’s Azure. No surprise as the C3IoT customer base is formed of large multi-national enterprises, that all have their respective bets on different IaaS. It’s good to see that C3IoT with a relatively small employee base can provide its platform on different IaaS platforms so quickly. On the Machine Learning side, C3IoT is also supporting a wide variety of libraries and is adding more. As typical for these days of Machine Learning, Tensorflow support is crucial.

    Good customer adoption– Small companies are not in the cross hairs for C3IoT. The vendor prefers large strategic relationships with large multinational enterprises. But large does not mean slow, as the first use cases with C3IoT go live in a few months, sometimes in a few weeks. Growth of know-how is crucial for C3IoT, so projects are often started in a jointly staffed center of expertise, with a customer’s developers and data scientist gradually taking on more responsibility. During the analyst day two large enterprises had over two dozen employees being trained at C3IoT headquarters. For 2018 the vendor plans to push education in high gear, planning a MooC course.

    MyPOV

    Overall C3IoT has shown that it has an appealing approach and architecture to enable enterprises to build next generation applications. Most PaaS offerings in the market start with build first, integrate next. Enterprise software has been built with that approach for a long time, but that has led to fractioned applications and functional silos. The nature of the C3IoT applications has a strong holistic approach to an enterprise’s data and automation, and therefore requires starting with integration into a data storage (if you wish a data lake) first, then built analytics, Machine Learning or applications on top of that information base. Usually approaches like this took years to build, often being too slow to keep up with the transactional source systems. The fast implementation times of C3IoT customers are encouraging that the vendor has provided a platform that may have broken the tide on this.

    On the concern side, C3IoT is a relatively small vendor, with limited resources that must support a large solution footprint and a demanding customer base. Single projects that the C3IoT platform powers typically required a headcount larger than C3IoT’s complete employee base. Truly a David vs a Goliath task scenario, which C3IoT can only solve with scaling know how and 3rd party resources rapidly on its platform. Training customers directly is going to be too slow, so the train the trainer and center of expertise approaches are promising. Adoption by the large SI firms will help, too. But likely C3IoT will stand and fall by the adoption of its planned 2018 MooC offering.

    On the flipside, having adoption challenges is a good problem to have for a vendor that has a working platform, products and is well funded. It’s now key for C3IoT to overcome the resource shortage it needs to address to become a truly successful enterprise platform. It has the DNA for it – from architecture, platform, funding and executive leadership. Time to show it in 2018.



    More on Next Generation Applications:
    • Event Report - Cloud Foundry CF Summit 2017 - Microsoft joins the kingdom - read here
    • Event Report - Google I/O 2016 - Android N soon, Google assistant sooner and VR / AR later - read here
    • Event Report - Pivotal SpringOne Platform - Spring in its 2nd spring - 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
    • Event Report - Cloud Foundry Cloud Foundry Summit - It's good to be king of PaaS - 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 Salesforce’s Dreamforce event – held at the usual location, Moscone Center in San Francisco, from November 5th till 9th 2017. As usual, it was mega event, distributed across downtown, with Salesforce claiming 170k+ attendees. Salesforce shared some interesting ecosystem statistics, for instance it will generate / power 850B+ US$ in business in the next 10 years and have a net positive employment effect of 3.3M+ FTEs. Impressive statistics.

    Here is my short video blog on Dreamforce - take a look (if the video does not show up - check my Youtube channel here):




    And here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):



    Want to read on? Here you go:

    Salesforce discovers personalization, puts a ‘my’ in front of offerings– The main product innovation of the keynote was Salesforce discovering personalization. Salesforce is making sure that Einstein becomes personal, that IoT gets a personal touch, that Lightning fits and most importantly that learning – via Trailhead (see later) becomes personal. Certainly, a good – but also overdue move.
     
    All the mascots are here -  Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    All the mascots are here

    Partnership with Google– That one sounded familiar – and yes in 2008 a partnership of Salesforce and Google was announced (see here). Fast forward to 2017 and both are at the same – better integration of and more products – Salesforce now has Quip and Lightning, Google Talk is gone – and we have Google Hangouts (and more) on the Google side. New is the Google Analytics partnership allowing sales and marketing professionals to come one step closer to marketing effectiveness and lead qualification information.
    But the key announcement is Salesforce choosing Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as its preferred cloud platform for international expansion. That comes on the heels of a Salesforce and AWS partnership (my take here, spring 2016) and Salesforce just announcing it is live on AWS in Australia (see here, from October 17th 2017). Not sure if Australia is not international, but at the end of the day a large SaaS vendor like Salesforce needs IaaS options, the surprise is that that GCP comes in so soon and close to AWS reInvent – certainly a coup by Google. 
    [Salesforce has clarified in factual correction that there are two preferred public cloud for international extension - AWS and GCP.] Unfortunately, both vendors were pretty closed up to share specifics and e.g. an announcement of Salesforce using more of Google in the form of Kubernetes and AI / Tensorflow – did not happen. But only what hasn’t happened can still happen… 


    Salesforce and Google Partnership -  Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Salesforce and Google Partnership

    New developer tooling– Closer to developers, Salesforce announced some key tooling, like the platform support of dynamic pages, a keynote topic. Equally, given the novelty of the new Salesforce TrailheaDX offering (see my June 2017 event report here) – Salesforce announced new capabilities in developer tooling, automated flows for DevOps. Good to see the traction here.

     
    Salesforce myTrailhead - Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Salesforce myTrailhead

    myTrailhead – All enterprise software vendors need a way to get their users qualified in their software. And it’s 2017 and this cannot be achieved with traditional class room style learning and courses. It must be a new learning system, with easy content consumption (mobile), self curated (at the learner’s pace and time) and self created (for new content offerings). All Learning systems are getting there, so Salesforce saw the opportunity to package the overall learning system as myTrailhead. Compatible with the Trailblazer them, myTrailhead, allows to create content with TrailMaker, target learner / employee profiles with Trailhead Profile, create learning paths with Trail Mixer (it creates trail mixes, really) and TrailTracker which provides – no surprise – gamification for learning experiences. Enterprises can brand their offering, create their own content and tie into their existing LMS. Salesforce is very explicitly stating that myTrailhead is not – and does not replace the LMS that enterprises have. The product will come out in the first half of 2018 – for now it’s in preview with Salesforce content. A good move by Salesforce, Learning matters and is going through a fundamental platform and best practices change that SaaS / Enterprises vendors need to reflect in their offerings.

    MyPOV

    A good Dreamforce for Salesforce and its ecosystem. Customers, partners are energized and ready to take their Salesforce investments to the next level. The absence of any major announcements on the product side did not spoil the party, customers have plenty to noodle on adoption wise. And with Salesforce going into extraordinary depth with very few highlight customers in the demo (Adidas was the most prominent one) there is more detail to absorb than at other user conferences. The myTrailhead product is interesting and key for Salesforce – education will help the vendor to get more product into enterprises, using the admins as the trojan horse. A good strategy.

    On the concern side, Salesforce remains slow at innovating, but that is understandable, given the vendors efforts to move its platform from inhouse / Oracle to public cloud (AWS, Google) and more opensource. 
    [Salesforce points out that Oracle remains a partner and that Salesforce works with all its partners to deliver the best for its clients.] Not an exciting message for a general user conference, but the move will change Salesforce more than many other potential product announcements. Salesforce must go through this re-platform successfully, to remain competitive from a infrastructure perspective and also to power and create a modern platform around BigData and Machine Learning. [Salesforce points out that it is not re-platforming, but offering customers choice. I agree on choice but still think they are re-platforming.] Both are moved are prohibitively expensive on the current inhouse platforms. [Salesforce wants to point out that the Winter '18 release has over 300 product innovation and 36 ideas. I'd still hold against that is a sliver of what Salesforce could produce if focussed 100% on functionality. I can of course be wrong here.] That Salesforce can do this in a calm and controlled way is good news for the ecosystem and at the same time a sign that its key CRM competitors (Microsoft, Oracle and SAP) are moving (even) slower on their CRM capabilities. That may not remain the same, anybody long enough in enterprise software will remember what happened to Siebel Systems. And will also remember that putting a ‘my’ in front of the products – as well intended as a strategy – has not been proven to be a long term success (remember mySAP?).

    But overall a good Dreamforce for Salesforce, that is moving its platform and taking its foot off the gas pedal in regards of major new functionality. Customers and the ecosystem don’t seem to mind, so all is green for Salesforce at the moment. Longer term Salesforce needs to pick up innovation speed. Wished it was 2019 or 2020 already?


    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check here). And please checkout the blogs of my colleagues at Constellati
    on Research 

    • Alan Lepofsky - with a detailed look at Quip - here
    • Alan Mulholland - with a look at IoT - read here
    • Cindy Zhou - with a look at the Sales and Marketing news - read here
    • Doug Henschen - on a next step for Einstein - here


    And more on Salesforce:

    • Event Report - Salesforce TrailheaDX - AI, Events and more - read here
    • Progress Report - Salesforce has a platform vision - 2017 it has to get real - read here
    • Event Report - Salesforce Dreamforce - It's not about Einstein - but the platform - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce selects AWS as preferred Public Cloud Infrastructure Provider - Good move - read here
    • Event Report - Salesforce Connections - Bringing together Builders and Studios for Marketing Success - read here
    • Event Scorecard - Salesforce Dreamforce 2015 - App, Analytics, IoT... - pre event thoughts assessment - read here
    • Event Report - Salesforce Dreamforce - Value for customers - but some concerns on direction - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Unveils Breakthrough Salesforce IoT Cloud, Powered by Salesforce Thunder - First dips into IoT - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Unveils the Next Wave of Salesforce Analytics Cloud—Delivering Actionable Insights Across the Customer Success Platform - Glass half full - and half empty! Read / watch here
    • Event Preview - What I would like Salesforce to address this Dreamforce 2015 - read / watch here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Announces Salesforce App Cloud - A Unified Platform for Building Connected  Apps, Fast - It’s all coming together, across the clouds - read here
    • News Analysis - alesforce Delivers Salesforce1 Lightning Components and App Builder […] - More productivity for Admins and Developers - read here
    • News Analysis - News Analysis - Salesforce Launches Salesforce Shield - More PaaS capabilities coming to Salesforce1 Platform - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Transforms Big Data Into Customer Success with the Salesforce Analytics Cloud - Read here
    • News Analysis - Market Move - Salesforce (re) enters HCM - will it rypple the market this time? - Read here
    • Event Report - Salesforce Dreamforce - A Customer Succes Platform, Analytics and Lightning - but really Salesforce is re-platforming - read here
    • Constellation Research Summary of Salesforce Dreamforce 2014 - read here
    • Research Summary - An in depth look at Salesforce1 - Better packaging or new offerng? Read here.
    • Dreamforce 2013 Platform Takeaways - All about the mobile platform - or more? Read here
    • Platform ecosystems are hard - Salesforce grows it - FinancialForce shrinks it - read here.
    • Our take on Salesforce.com Identity Connect - from three angles - Identity, CRM and PaaS - read here.
    • Takeaways from the Salesforce and Workday Strategic Partnership - read here.
    • Act II - The Cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
    • How many Pivots make a Pirouette? Salesforce's last Pivot - read here.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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    When SAP and Microsoft announced the plans to move more of SAP load to Microsoft Azure in Spring of 2016 (here is the news analysis blog post), it was clear this was a partnership that was bound and needed to happen. Customer overlap, technology partnership and ecosystem synergies all made this partnership nothing in the massive surprise category… But in the meantime, the partnership has been quiet – apart from some joint plans for SAP SuccessFactors. So, it’s good to see some new traction and plan in the partnership, unveiled on November 27th. 



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

    REDMOND, Wash., and WALLDORF, Germany — Nov. 27, 2017 — Microsoft Corp. and SAP SE on Monday announced integrated offerings to provide enterprise customers with a clear road map to confidently drive more business innovation in the cloud. In a bold show of commitment, the two companies also announced they will be deploying each other’s cloud solutions internally. Through their unique partnership, the companies will co-engineer, go to market together with premier solutions and provide joint support services to ensure the best cloud experience for customers.

    MyPOV – No surprise – Microsoft and SAP will drink their own champagne and use each other products / services… the emphasis on clear roadmap maybe some self-reflection on the fact that there has not been too much roadmap traction in the past 18 months. Good to see co-created and supported offerings and services – that’s what prospects and customers expect from both vendors when they partner.



    SAP HANA® Enterprise Cloud — SAP’s private managed cloud service — on Microsoft Azure will allow customers to run SAP S/4HANA in a secure, managed cloud. Additionally, Microsoft will deploy SAP S/4HANA® on Azure to help run its own internal finance processes, and SAP will move its key internal business critical systems to Azure. Finally, SAP Ariba is currently utilizing Azure and is exploring further use within its procurement applications. Together, SAP and Microsoft will help companies make the most of running SAP applications in the cloud.

    MyPOV – Great paragraph summing up the scope of the announcement. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) gets a new home option on Azure (next to SAP, that will keep offering the service). SAP Ariba is considering expanding its use of Azure (hoping for details). And of course, both are using each other – Microsoft is upgrading its SAP systems to S/4HANA on the finance side, SAP will run its internal systems on Azure. Should be good CAPEX savings for SAP, and good load / utilization of Azure, meaning a better return on capital for the Microsoft investments into Azure (assuming load will move from SAP based HEC to Azure based HEC).



    SAP CEO Bill McDermott (left) and Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft, double down on their commitment to partnership

    “As technology transforms every business and every industry, organizations are looking for the right platforms and trusted partners to help accelerate their digital transformation,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Building on our longtime partnership, Microsoft and SAP are harnessing each other’s products to not only power our own organizations, but to empower our enterprise customers to run their most mission-critical applications and workloads with SAP S/4HANA on Azure.”


    MyPOV – Good quote by Nadella, describing the scope of the partnership announcements.



    Enterprise companies are increasingly moving business-critical systems to the cloud for the benefits digital transformation provides: better customer relationships, more empowered employees, streamlined operations, new business models, and new products and services. […] As leaders in enterprise software, SAP and Microsoft are aligning closely to provide customers with the safe and trusted path to digital transformation.

    MyPOV – This paragraph looks like it was bolted into the press release later, just to mention digital transformation. It’s not clear how moving the underpinning of HEC from SAP infrastructure to Azure enables digital transformation. Both vendor could / should have mentioned this.



    “We are taking our partnership to the next level with this new capability to run SAP S/4HANA in the Microsoft Azure environment,” said SAP CEO Bill McDermott. “The world’s significant businesses trust Microsoft and SAP. Together, we will help companies win the customer-driven growth revolution.”

    MyPOV – Good quote by McDermott – but introduces another benefit / goal for enterprises – customer driven (aka organic) growth. Another message next to digital transformation.



    SAP and Microsoft both will run SAP S/4HANA on Azure for their internal operations. Microsoft is transforming its internal systems — which include legacy SAP finance applications — and will implement the SAP S/4HANA Finance solution running on Azure. Microsoft also plans to connect SAP S/4HANA to Azure AI and analytics services for more efficient financial reporting and more powerful decision-making. SAP is migrating more than a dozen business-critical systems to Azure for the optimal efficiencies, flexibility and innovation the platform offers. This includes the SAP S/4HANA software supporting Concur, an SAP company.

    MyPOV – Good to see more details on the mutual plans to use each other services, products and platforms. It was time or Microsoft to upgrade its SAP systems, and given the partnership with SAP – where else than Azure would Microsoft run them? Interesting that the press release shares that Microsoft is using Azura AI and analytics services for better reporting and decision making… The SAP answer would be using the SAP Digital Board Room – but that product is not mentioned here. And Microsoft has to use its own AI of course. Too bad SAP doesn’t share what it is moving to Azure… let’s not hope these are email, Lync and other services. Kudos for sharing that the (also Seattle based) Concur serving S4/HANA system, will move to Azure. So, SAP is running multiple S/4HANA instances… certainly a good pilot.



    Both companies will document the internal projects to provide customers with guidance and enterprise architecture for deployment of SAP applications on Azure.


    MyPOV – Good to see – can’t wait to learn more on the progress and details.



    With SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud on Azure, customers get the best of both worlds: application management and product expertise from SAP and a global, trusted and intelligent cloud from Microsoft Azure, including the range of Microsoft cloud services.

    MyPOV – Good summary – but surprises that data residency / privacy aspects have not been mentioned. As well as which Azure locations will start with the HEC offering, and then roll out – a key aspect for customers making decisions to use HEC on Azure.



    Enterprise customers of all types, such as The Coca-Cola Company, Columbia Sportswear Company, Coats and Costco Wholesale Corp., count on SAP and Azure today for their businesses.

    “The strategic partnership announced between Microsoft and SAP is an extremely important development for the Coca-Cola System,” said Barry Simpson, senior vice president and chief information officer at The Coca-Cola Company. “The value of aligned engineering, sales and delivery between these two strategic partners will allow our system to accelerate our digital agenda. This is a very positive and exciting development for us.”

    “SAP and Microsoft are key partners with Costco, and this alliance will help drive our cloud strategy and digital business forward,” said Jim Rutherford, senior vice president of Information Systems at Costco Wholesale.

    “Microsoft and SAP are strategic partners helping us grow our wholesale and direct-to-consumer businesses. Their close alignment is an integral part of advancing our technical architecture and cloud strategy to better serve our customers around the world,” said Mike Hirt, vice president and chief information officer at Columbia Sportswear Company. “We produce innovative products that allow our customers to pursue and enjoy their outdoor passions. Our partnership with Microsoft and SAP is essential to us continuing to deliver on that commitment.”

    “With SAP HANA on Azure, we have the data intelligence to operate more efficiently across all aspects of our business and accelerate the delivery of finished goods to our customers,” said Hizmy Hassen, chief digital and technology officer, Coats. “The Microsoft and SAP alliance provides us with the assurance we need for our innovation in the cloud.”


    MyPOV – Nothing is better than customer proof points for a partnership – and Microsoft and SAP can bring some big ones to the table. Few cloud partnerships can muster Coca-Cola Company, Costco, Columbia Sportswear Company and Coats for a launch press release (and these may only have been the ones starting with a ‘C’ in case anyone noticed).



    Overall MyPOV

    A partnership that was about to happen, the question is really what took both parties so long… one can speculate that hopes for the cloud version of S/4HANA staled these plans for a bit, but just speculation. There is little that Azure wasn’t ready to run HEC in fall of 2016 than compared to today… and surely customers are happy to see SAP and Microsoft ‘drinking their own champagne’ – but no need to wait before those internal processes were agreed on.

    For customers the partnership is a win… as SAP can spend less CAPEX (over time) into HEC as load moves to Azure… and hopefully put this back into more R&D (e.g. for S/4HANA) – and a better return on capital for Microsoft as Azure gets more utilization. If all goes well it means customers will have to pay less for running S/4HANA, while it is being operated by a vendor who does (amongst other things) infrastructure management (IaaS) for a living, compared to SAP (who is certainly in the SaaS and PaaS – but less and less (if at all) in the IaaS space).

    On the concern side this partnership needs to pick up steam, show customer traction, value and customer success… both vendors know how to do this – now they have to deliver. Stay tuned.


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



    More on Microsoft:
    • Top Event Questions [Anwered] - Microsoft Ignite and Envision 2017 - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Ignite / Envision 2017 - Broad push - few highlights - read here
    • Event Report - July 2017 Microsoft London AI Event - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in Africa - Azure learns Afrikaans to Zulu (and 9 more) - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2017 - Good Housekeeping, laying foundation, deliver on vision - read here
    • Down Report – Power failure takes Azure services down - 3 Cloud Load Toads - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Connect - No April's Fools - Linux, Google and more  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers teams - launches Microsoft Teams - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR  - The SaaS land grab is on  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Ignite - AI, Adobe and FPGA [From the Fences] - read here
    • 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.


    And more on SAP:
    • Event Report - SAP Hybris Live 2017 Barcelona - YaaS morphs and more agility ahead - read here
    • News Analyses Roundup - SAP's September Tech Announcements - SAP doubles down on technology - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - New Leadership - Old Challenges - read here
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - SAP Leonardo event July 2017 - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2017 - All in on Leonardo, but wait there is more... read here
    • News Analysis - SAP reshuffles Executive Board - sets up for next 5 years - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - The quest to make Procurement awesome - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Capital Markets and S/4HANA Update - Good Plan - Execution matters in 2017 - read here
    • News Analysis -SAP Introduces Jump-Start Enablement Program for SAP Leonardo IoT Portfolio >> Bundling and Simplification matter for IoT - read here
    • Event Report - Event Report - SAP TechEd Barcelona - Analytics, ML, PaaS and HANA 2  - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP to unveil HANA 2 - New platform vs a fork's tine - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR - The SaaS land grab is on - read here
    • Event Report - SAP / Trenitalia Digital Summit - SAP is serious about IoT - read here
    • 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

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    We had the opportunity to attend Kronos’ yearly user conference, held at the Aria in Las Vegas from November 12th till 15th 2017. The conference was well attended, similar to last year, we sensed an increased partner interest and exhibition demand, compared to 2016. 

    Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):



    Want to read on? Here you go:

    Kronos unleashes Falcon – launches Workforce Dimensions. Complete new products / product suites are seldom launched by surprise. But Kronos managed to do this – keeping the cloth of confidentiality on its new product, Workforce Dimension, for over 3 years. The approach that Kronos took was remarkable: It formed a separate team, with the objective to disrupt Kronos. The team was physically separated from the existing R&D team and laid the foundation for Falcon, the codename for what is today Workforce Dimensions. Moreover, Kronos took the time to listen and had the stamina, guts and discipline to get Workforce Dimensions built out to the point of functional parity with its two other key products – Workforce Central and Workforce Ready. Truly remarkable, and a departure from the typically seen ‘announce first, deliver later’ approach in enterprise software.



    Holger Mueller Constellation Research Kronos Kronosworks 2017
    Workforce Dimensions


    Workforce Dimensions – a modern WFM management system. In Workforce Dimensions, Kronos has done many things right, but let’s start with the most crucial ones: Kronos has re-started with a brand-new domain model. Often overseen, but if gotten right, a key capability to support 21st century best practices, that often were hard if not impossible to achieve on older systems. Moreover, Kronos takes advantage of machine learning, to power interesting capabilities like Workforce Advisor and assure compliance. And lastly, Kronos Dimensions is built on a new platform the D5 platform… and D5 runs on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The last decisions are likely going to be key, as all SaaS vendors are moving to IaaS platforms (instead of running on inhouse data centers). 



    Holger Mueller Constellation Research Kronos Kronosworks 2017
    Ain makes commitment to existing customers


    Commitment to Workforce Central and Workforce Ready. When new products are announced, customers that have experience in the enterprise software market right away are concerned on existing R&D commitment and support / maintenance of existing products. The only way for vendors to address these concerns is to issue roadmaps and deliver on the R&D, support and maintenance commitments. At launch of the new product, vendor cannot do more than make the commitments, and Kronos has done well making these. For instance, the vendor committed 100M US$ in R&D for both Workforce Central and Workforce Ready in 2018. Now Kronos has to follow up and deliver to keep customers comfortable. The last thing vendors with new products want to see happening is a RFP. 



    Holger Mueller Constellation Research Kronos Kronosworks 2017
    Kronos Workforce Dimensions beta customers


    Google Cloud Platform is the IaaS for Kronos Workforce Dimensions. SaaS vendors are picking their IaaS partners, as they can turn capital expenditure (CAPEX) into OPEX… if done right it should yield in more budget for R&D of the SaaS product. Kronos choice of GCP is not the typical first choice, so quite a coup for Google. But the machine learning and performance capabilities of GCP are something all SaaS vendors have noted. A good choice by Kronos from all we can tell at the end of 2017.


    MyPOV

    It’s seldom that new enterprise products are announced in the era of SaaS. But with the DNA of most products still reaching into the 20th century, they all need a considerable re-thinking in regards of their capabilities vis a vis 21st century best practice needs. Kronos making the decision to start from scratch is certainly a good one, given the legacy of Workforce Central and Workforce Ready. More important Kronos has also entered the HCM market, as it announced that it will scale up the Workforce Ready HCM capabilities up to enterprises with 10k FTE. What this means for the good partner relations that Kronos has with all the larger HCM and ERP vendors remains to be seen, but Kronos is certainly now in a position of strength. The remarkable ability to announce with a ready product is also a sign of competitive market weakness… most vendors in enterprise software don’t have the luxury to build their next generation product for 3+ years – and still grow. Likely Kronos will be able to exert some competitive pressure on the other players in Workforce Management.

    On the concern side, Workforce Dimensions is a new product. Though Kronos has done a good job working with launch customers, presenting them at KronosWorks etc. – the proof will be in the pudding when a few dozens of customers are live. There are a lot of moving parts when creating a new platform and a new SaaS product, that runs on an IaaS platform, and they have to be all in line. There is nothing prompting a concern at the moment, but Kronos still has to master this. Kronos customers are now on the pickle to determine their upgrade decision and path. The older platforms have enough pain points (just mention Java on Desktop. Flash, UI, reporting) to force the hand of decision makers to look at Workforce Dimensions soon. And lastly Kronos needs to get the ecosystem ready, there will be a lot of services and support work needed. But this is a good problem to have.

    Overall a great KronosWorks for Kronos and its customers. Kronos has created an attractive, modern Workforce Management system that will give all its customers pause to think about upgrade plans. Not only has Kronos managed to address challenges of the past, but has also shown vision in regards of user experience and best practices, to make the evaluation of Workforce Dimensions almost a no brainer for the install base. A great start for a brand-new product. Stay tuned.


    More on Kronos:

    • Progress Report - Kronos grows and grows - read here
    • Event Report - Kronos KronosWorks - Solid progress and big things loom - read here
    • Event Report - Kronos KronosWorks - New Versions, new UX, more mobile - faster implementations - read here
    • First Take - KronosWorks - Day 1 Keynote - R&D Investment, Customer Success and Analyticss - read here
    • Kronos executes - 2014 will be key - read here
    • Tweeting and feeling good about it - 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 had the opportunity to attend Ultimate Software’s first analyst summit, held at the vendor’s headquarters in Weston, Florida, November 16th. Always good to be at an inaugural analyst meeting, good attendance by the usual HCM analysts. 


    Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):




    Want to read on? Here you go:

    Deeper Insights into the Ultimate People Culture– We had the chance to get another glimpse into the Ultimate Software culture – with Chief People Officer Maza joining us for dinner. A truly remarkable story, in which more aspects get uncovered each time… this time what stood out that founder Scherr preferred to go in debt over laying off employees. And certainly, a vendor’s culture is strong when …. The waiter at the restaurant knows all about it. On the analyst day we had CEO Scherr share more on this, including the trust card and objective coin. All good principles of people leadership, built on the conviction that happy employees work better, resulting in happier and more satisfied customers. 

    Ultimate Software Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Scott Scherr takes us through Ultimate Software History

    Workforce Management on Track – One of the bigger functionality items that Ultimate announced at Ultimate Connections this spring was Workforce Management. The vendor confirmed that the new capability is on track for a January 2018 general availability. It will be interesting to monitor adoption and further roadmap – and what it means for Ultimate’s partnership with Infor. And overall the yardstick in workforce management has been moved with Kronos’ recent launch of Workforce Dimensions (see here). It certainly is a key area in HCM going forward – payroll relevance, gig economy potential and compliance aspects all make workforce management a must have capability for HCM vendors. 

     
    Ultimate Software Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Software & Services happy together (Dodd & Rogers)


    (New) Mobile Application Adoption Good– Ultimate has had an uneven mobile user experience in the past and announced to rectify this at Ultimate Connections. The mobile application (both for iOS and Android) has shipped and has seen good adoption. Mobile remains the preferred access for most HCM interactions. So, it is important for Ultimate customers that the vendor is getting this right and it certainly looks like that. Now Ultimate has to keep it that way. 

    Ultimate Software Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    2 confident sales leaders - Swick & Phenicie


    Marketplace Progress Good– Marketplaces are key for modern enterprise software sales, as the days of ‘minibus load visits’ are coming to an end. HCM buyers want to see, try and buy software fast, and that means they have to look at Marketplaces. The Ultimate Marketplace, just launched recently, has made good progress in both partner adoption and market impact. And it is early days and differentiation in the field is getting hard. But a must have area for all vendors, including Ultimate so key and good to see the progress.

    Ultimate Software Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Hartshorne plays a game


    MyPOV

    After announcing its most ambitious product roadmap agenda at Ultimate Connections in Las Vegas this spring, Ultimate has been making good on the delivery of the roadmap. And that matters, as the vendor was slowly but steadily falling behind… not so anymore if the current development speed and output can be maintained and met with customer adoption and revenue in the next quarters and years. Ultimate has made progress with its AI platform and assistant Xander and now needs to keep the momentum, to build on the leadership of being the first HCM vendor with a working assistant.

    On the concern side, Ultimate must increase the speed of its UX renovation / innovation. There are too many at best mediocre UX quality screens left in the system, especially at the manager and HR professional level. Maybe Ultimate is banking on replacing a large part of that with a chat / voice based assistant – trying to leap frog this UI innovation cycle… Ultimate Connections 2018 will give us the answer into this question.

    But overall a new and re-energized Ultimate Software. Committed to people, customers and R&D. On track for 1B US$ in revenue for 2018. Stay tuned.


    More on Ultimate Software:
    • Event Report - Ultimate Software Connections 2017 - Broadest product push (ever?)! - read here
    • Event Report - Ultimate UltiConnect - Product, Platform and Services Innovations - read here
    • First Take - First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from Ultimate’s UltiConnect Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Report - Ultimate Software Connection - People first and an exciting roadmap ahead - read here
    • First Take - Ultimate Software UltiConnect Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Report - Ultimate's UltiConnect - Off to a great start, but the road(map) is long - read here.
    • First Take – 3 Key Takeaways from Ultimate’s UltiConnect Conference Day 1 keynote – 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 Pivotal’s yearly user conference of the Spring developer community. SpringOne, held in San Francisco December 4th till 7th 2017 at Moscone West. With about 3000 attendees it is the best attended Pivotal conference every, a proof point for the popularity of the Pivotal products. [I am writing this blog post after attending the analyst summit on Monday, and attending Tuesday at the conference – more news is coming out and I may revise my judgement at that point.]



    Prefer to watch – here is the video summary (if it doesn’t show up – find it on my YouTube Channel here).




    Here is the 1 slide condensation (if the slide doesn’t show up, check here):




    Want to read on? Here you go: 

    Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) 2.0 is here– Pivotal thought that so much substantial work has happened on Cloud Foundry recently, that it is worth to rev a release number, making it PCF 2.0. And certainly, the addition of Kubernetes support (announced in August, now GA) with PKS, the announcement of serverless capabilities (Pivotal Function Service – PFS), the integration of VMware NSX-T stack for networking and security – all make this a lot of new functionality. In combination with support for Microsoft Azure Stack, more support for Windows containers (like auto-scaling) and access to Google Cloud platform services more additional capabilities are being added … and partners are flocking to PCF, the most prominent being IBM, adding Open Liberty as an embedded server option to Spring Boot, commercial support for IBM WebSphere Application Server Liberty Buildpack in PCF and better integration to a whole plethora of IBM product and services. 


    Mee opens SpringOne


    Pivotal moves into Serverless– No surprise, Pivotal announced its serverless plans, that supposingly materialize across 2018. Serverless is powerful for enterprises to build and operate their next generation applications, and in order to keep enterprises and developers happy, Pivotal had to come up with its own serverless alternative. It looks architected well, with the usual Pivotal suite integration (Rabbit MQ) but also with Apache Kafka, to manage events that wake up the serverless capabilities. But it is early days - so stay tuned for more on this in the coming months.



    If Onsie Then Emojis


    Partner, partners… did I mention partners?– Enterprise software ecosystems have a fine nose when it comes to identify a vendor that has momentum, and vendors that can partner tend to flock to that vendor. Pivotal is no exception. Accenture launched a joint business unit with Pivotal, signaling the engagement of the large system integrators. The IaaS side is well represented with Google and Microsoft. Developer tools integration is happening with IBM, Microsoft and many more. Tech stack integration is happening with IBM and others. The Dell EMC keiretsu was there with Dell EMC (an on-premise deployment option for PCF), Virtustream (running PCF for you) and VMware (NSX most prominent). And many startups like e.g. Datadog, Solace etc. Year over year – since SpringOne in Las Vegas last year, I’d say the ecosystem has doubled in presence and efforts.



    And yes - a new Spring Banner is unveiled


    MyPOV

    Pivotal is on a roll when it comes to Cloud Foundry and Spring. Enterprises want (and need) to build next generation applications fast, and they naturally look for frameworks (Spring) to help them on a platform (Cloud Foundry). This created the “2nd spring for Spring” as I stated a year ago (see here) - which otherwise was a developer community slowly fading away… not anymore and good to see the revival. Serverless is an important innovation for Pivotal to keep new type of workloads in the fold… we now have to see how it materialized in a few quarters from now. Almost ironically there were more Cloud Foundry announcements than Spring announcements – at least on the first day when I attended. The audience did not seem to bother, enterprises and developers know that at the end of the day, that the platform comes first.

    On the concern side, while it was almost refreshing not to hear a mention of Machine Learning / AI at a conference in 2017, it still means that Pivotal will have to give its customers and users a solution in this important space. But fair enough, serverless first. Equally the BigData / Hadoop relationship is not mended with the leading vendors, given Pivotal’ s database history… but better to fix this sooner than later… and the only IaaS hold outs to come to the Google, IBM and Microsoft level really have been AWS and Oracle… but it is likely that Pivotal is out to get those players in 2018. The ecosystem and success that Pivotal has been able to create around Cloud Foundry is too much of an attraction not to be part of the party.

    Overall great momentum for Pivotal, good innovation and announcements for both Cloud Foundry and Spring. Excited and eager customers, increased partner interest are all good signs that all is well in Pivotal land. Stay tuned.

    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check here). And a Storify collection of the analyst summit can be found here.

    More on Pivotal / Cloud Foundry
    • Event Report - Cloud Foundry CF Summit 2017 - Microsoft joins the kingdom - read here
    • Event Report - Cloud Foundry Summit Europe - Europe & Cloud - A long path - read here
    • 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.