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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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    Informatica had its user conference Infa17 this week in San Francisco, from May 15th till May 18th2017. We had the chance to be there on Monday, and actually speak about MDM trends (see the Storify here).

    As usual user conferences come with a flurry of press releases, this one was no difference – let me dissect in the custom style, it can be found here:
    Expands key capabilities of iPaaS to include end-to-end data management
    Advances productivity with CLAIRE – metadata-driven Artificial Intelligence
    Scales enterprise-wide to manage complex hybrid data environments
    Adheres to the broadest security certifications MyPOV – A fair summary, these press releases are a bit too long, when the PR folks realize they need a bullet list of content items at the beginning.
    Informatica World, SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., May 16, 2017 – Informatica, the Enterprise Cloud Data Management leader accelerating data-driven digital transformation, today announced Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services, the most advanced Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) solution available for end-to-end enterprise cloud data management. Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services will feature a next-generation user experience based on a modern API-based microservices architecture, powered by Informatica’s innovative enterprise unified metadata intelligence - known as CLAIRE Engine.
    MyPOV – Great summary, described what is happening and bridges between well know iPaaS to microservices and AI, introducing the CLAIRE engine.
     

    Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services expands Informatica’s leading application and data integration iPaaS capabilities to now include critical end-to-end cloud data management. This includes industry leading and enterprise-class data integration, API management, application integration, data quality and governance, master data management and data security, all re-imagined for the cloud. Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services is built on the Informatica Intelligent Data Platform™, and has reimagined the front- and back-end experience for the modern cloud environment, enabling organizations to efficiently unleash the power of all their data, wherever it resides, to fuel successful digital transformation initiatives.
    MyPOV – Ok more detail, and a reminder all is on one single platform – the Informatica Intelligent Data Platform.
    “As the industry’s number one iPaaS leader, we are driving innovation in this market,” said Amit Walia, executive vice president and chief product officer, Informatica. “With this launch, we are completely re-inventing iPaaS. We are delivering the industry’s broadest end-to-end data management solution for the cloud, with a next-generation user experience running on an API-based microservices architecture. Powered by metadata and Artificial Intelligence, we help enterprises accelerate their cloud-powered digital transformations.”
    MyPOV – Good quote rom Walia. Everybody wants to re-invent things these days, but when putting AI into action, it truly has the potential of doing things differently. My concern is that Informatica uses ‘old’ terms like e.g. metadata. No need to talk about metadata in the AI era. More below.

    Data Management Reimagined for Cloud
    Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services moves past the traditional definition of iPaaS to include cloud data integration, cloud application and process integration, API management and connectivity. Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services delivers the industry’s first, and only, family of clouds that provides industry-leading data management capabilities, powered by CLAIRE from Informatica.
    MyPOV – Ok – this is the third – and different collection of what the iPaaS does, maybe with a data management angle.


    The family of clouds available in Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services include:
    Informatica Integration Cloud– Modern digital strategies require a variety of integration approaches and patterns. Integration Cloud greatly expands the traditional definition of iPaaS to include advanced, unique functionality, such as Integration Hub and B2B. This also includes application integration, data integration and API management. For example, Cloud Integration Hub provides pub-sub-hub integration capabilities for hybrid data management.
    Informatica Data Quality & Governance Cloud– Modern digital strategies require trusted data. Data Quality & Governance Cloud includes functionality that delivers the data quality and governance foundation for all cloud projects and initiatives. For example, Cloud Data Quality Radar provides the ability to assess and fix data quality issues within cloud applications, such as Salesforce and Marketo.
    Informatica Master Data Management Cloud– Modern digital strategies require authoritative data. Master Data Management Cloud provides single, complete and accurate views across all forms of master data, in a single source of truth. For example, Cloud Customer 360 for Salesforce provides cloud MDM capabilities that scale to the most demanding enterprise requirements with a laser focus on business self-service and self-management of master data.
    Future Clouds – Additional, modular data management clouds, products and solutions will be seamlessly added to Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services over time.MyPOV – So what used to be once products are now ‘clouds’. The separation between integration, data management and then data quality and governance makes sense as these are the organic organization and breaking points how data handling organizations are setup. Good to see Informatica leaving the door open for future clouds aka products.
    Adopting cloud and using data to drive disruption requires excellence in data management. The innovative combination of a modern user experience and API-based microservices architecture, built on the industry’s only Intelligent Data Platform powered by CLAIRE, enables Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services to deliver increased productivity and address new use cases, at scale.
    MyPOV – Another collection of capabilities, would be good to have an example or customer proof point.

    Next-Generation Experience and Architecture: Innovative Approach for Maximum Productivity
    All the clouds that comprise Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services share a consistent, next-generation user experience across the entire spectrum of data management capabilities. The API-based microservices architecture delivers common services (e.g., user authentication, workflow creation, asset management, search, tagging, and more) that not only look the same, but also operate exactly the same wherever they are invoked across the cloud. This user experience dramatically reduces the learning curve for new tools and drives self-service across the environment.
    MyPOV – Always good to mention suite level benefits – and this time making them tangible with examples. Consistency and synergies is what enterprises want to see when they buy multiple, suite integrated products from the same vendor.

    The reimagined next-generation user experience includes a single, personalized home page with tiles for items such as personal tasks and connections, plus tiles that are dashboards for the projects that person has underway in each of the data management clouds. This home page gives them visibility and access to all the data management projects they may have underway across all the clouds of Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services.
    MyPOV - It's never enough to offer great capability and functionality behind the scenes, it has to been seen and experience by the user. Good to see the UX progress, which frankly was an area where Informatica has been challenged in the past, particularly in terms of consistency. Good to see the tile approach for UX - which has worked well across the industry to bring information together consistently for multiple user roles. 


    Additionally, the new microservices are based on open REST APIs. This will enable a continued rapid pace of innovation for Informatica, allowing the company to bring new services and advance existing services at a rapid pace. It will also enable quick integration with customer and partner reference architectures.
    MyPOV - An overdue move, good nonetheless. REST has won and it's time to adopt it for vendors. 

    Powered by CLAIRE: Intelligence Throughout the Cloud
    CLAIRE—with clairvoyance in mind and AI in the center—is the industry’s most advanced metadata-driven Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and is embedded in the Informatica Intelligent Data Platform. CLAIRE delivers intelligence to the entire portfolio of Informatica data management solutions that includes data integration, master data management, data quality and governance, data security, cloud data management, and big data management capabilities. CLAIRE delivers AI by applying machine learning to technical, business, operational and usage metadata across the entire enterprise. This scale and scope of metadata is transformational and allows CLAIRE to help data and integration developers by partially or fully automating many tasks, while business users find it easier to locate and prepare the data they are looking for from anywhere in the enterprise. Meanwhile, data scientists gain a faster understanding of data and data stewards find it easier to visualize data relationships.
    MyPOV – Good intro and explanation of CLAIRE, though vague on detail in regards of machine learning algorithms, platform, pricing and so on – but it is early days.

    Enterprise-wide Management for a Hybrid World
    Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services is built to enable enterprises to run complex hybrid environments. It provides operational insights delivered through a single dashboard for monitoring and managing all data management clouds and products and their data. Customers benefit from easy connectivity to all cloud, on-premise and big data sources across the enterprise using pre-built Informatica connectors.
    MyPOV – We live in world of multi-cloud and hybrid systems – integrations in general and MDM in specific needs to span across them – so it is good to see Informatica providing a single pane of glass and tools on a common platform.

    Cloud with Industry-leading Security and Trust
    Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services is built for the enterprise with security as a core design principle. It has the following certifications and standards for industry leading security:
    AICPA SOC 2 Type 2 and SOC 3 attestations.
    Externally audited HIPAA compliance.
    ISO 27000-aligned Information Security Management System, and EU-US Privacy Shield and compliance security program.
    Member of Cloud Security Alliance and Salesforce AppExchange certified.
    MyPOV – Security remains the top – or one of the top 3 concerns of cloud users, so it is good that Informatica seeks security certifications that help address these concerns.

    Overall MyPOV

    Informatica is in the transition from on premises to the cloud, what started gingerly a year ago at INFA16 is now in full swing and available at INFA17. And a cloud platform brings new capabilities e.g. in the area of Machine Learning, and as we are in the ‘buzzword AI’ age – the AI assistants are coming. Good to see CLAIRE being launched, we have to understand a little bit better what she does, where she lives, how she is educated, and what other needs she have (thanks for staying with the metaphor).

    On the concern side, Informatica use some older vocabulary, and vocabulary is also an indicator for thinking. Metadata was the gold in integration mechanisms of the past. Take a look – to make it not contentious – at Google Photos: Users do not flag or tag pictures anymore. Machine Learning does. That there is a tagging (or metadata) repository underneath it – of course – but users never see that. It isn’t even exposed. If integration vendors will go so far remains to be seen – but with the rise of AI – CLAIRE will take care of the metadata, Informatica user should not know, see and talk about it – just use it the same way people use Google Photos. A high ask, but with a big prize.

    Overall a good INFA17, Informatica is running on all cylinders, the PE investment seems not to hinder the execution, the vendor is moving fast, which is great news for customers and prospects. For enterprises in general, as the integration problems only get bigger for the foreseeable future.



    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify below.

    More on Informatica:
    • Event Report - Informatica World 2016 - The Cloud is the new platform - read here
    • News Analysis - Informatica announces new cloud capabilities - Keep up the Salesforce ecosystem play - read here
    • Event Report - Informatica World 2015 - Product Progress and New Approaches - read here
    • News Analysis - Informatica's Sohaib Abbasi showcases Innovations for the Age of Engagement - read here
    • Future of Work - One spreadsheet at a time, Informatica Springbok - read here
    • Informatica pushes the cloud integration stakes - read here.


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


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    [South Africa has 11 official languages – and as I start blogs on a new IaaS locations with the local language ‘being learnt’ by the provider, I took the alphabetically first and last language.]

    Microsoft made the announcement to bring Azure to South Africa recently. Data Center locations mater from both a constitutional and data residency – as well as a performance perspective.



    So let’s take apart Scott Guthrie’s blog, which can be found here:
    May 18, 2017 – Johannesburg, South Africa – Today Microsoft revealed plans to deliver the complete, intelligent Microsoft Cloud for the first time from datacenters located in Africa. This new investment is a major milestone in the company’s mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, and a recognition of the enormous opportunity for digital transformation in Africa.
    MyPOV – Good to see the intent, in line with the general Microsoft Azure (or is it now the Microsoft Cloud?) value pitch of being the intelligent cloud.
    Expanding on existing investments, Microsoft will deliver cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, from datacenters located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa with initial availability anticipated in 2018. The new cloud regions will offer enterprise-grade reliability and performance combined with data residency to help enable the tremendous opportunity for economic growth, and increase access to cloud and internet services for organizations and people across the African continent.
    MyPOV – So 2018 will see the go live. No surprise there is an Office 365 and Dynamics 365 angle, two products that have to comply with data privacy and data residency legislation.
    “We’re excited by the growing demand for cloud services in Africa and their ability to be a catalyst for new economic opportunities,” said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft Corp. “With cloud services ranging from intelligent collaboration to predictive analytics, the Microsoft Cloud delivered from Africa will enable developers to build new and innovative apps, customers to transform their businesses, and governments to better serve the needs of their citizens.”
    MyPOV – Good quote from Guthrie, which also hints at the next generation application angle for developers and the government angle. Government usually require data residency.
    Expanding Access & Opportunity: Currently many companies in Africa rely on cloud services delivered from outside of the continent. Microsoft’s new investment will provide highly available, scalable, and secure cloud services across Africa with the option of data residency in South Africa. With the introduction of these new cloud regions, Microsoft has now announced 40 regions around the world – more than any major cloud provider. The combination of Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will connect businesses with opportunity across the globe, help accelerate new investments, and improve access to cloud and internet services for people and organizations from Cairo to Cape Town.
    MyPOV – South Africa is an island from a IaaS perspective. A large economy, but far away from a connectivity perspective, it’s in a similar situation like Australia, only that the IaaS vendors made it to Australia much earlier. With 40 regions Microsoft currently leads fellow competitors AWS and Google, but Microsoft does not clarify how many data centers are in one location. And to tackle reliable services in a geography, it needs to be at least, two data centers. Microsoft does not share how many data centers are in a region, but will have two regions with one each in Cape Town and Johannesburg. That should be a good answer for any HA (High Availability) concerns, though Oracle has moved the 'standard' quickly to three data centers per location / region.
    “We greatly value Microsoft’s commitment to invest in cloud services delivered from Africa. Standard Bank already relies on cloud technology to provide our customers with a seamless experience,” says Brenda Niehaus, Group CIO at Standard Bank. “To achieve success as a business, we need to keep pace with market developments as well as customer needs, and Office 365 empowers us to make a culture shift towards becoming a more dynamic organization, whilst Azure enables us to deliver our apps and services to our customers in Africa. We’re looking forward to achieving even more with the cloud services available here on the continent.”
    MyPOV – Always good to have launch customers and good to have them provide a quote in a press release announcing future to be used products / services.
    Investing in African Innovation: This announcement expands on ongoing investments in Africa, where organizations are using currently available cloud and mobile services as a platform for innovation in health care, agriculture, education, and entrepreneurship. Microsoft has been working to support local start-ups and NGOs, unleashing innovation that has the potential to solve some of the biggest problems facing humanity, such as the scarcity of water and food, and economic and environmental sustainability. One start-up, M-KOPA Solar, provides affordable pay-as-you-go solar energy to over 500,000 homes using mobile and cloud technology. AGIN has built an app connecting 140,000 smallholder farmers to key services, enabling them to share data and facilitating $1.3 million per month in finance, insurance and other services.
    MyPOV – Always good to show the potential and upside – and Africa has a lot of both. It’s not clear what M-Kopa and AGIN are or will be using from Microsoft. 


    Across Africa, Microsoft has brought 728,000 small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) online to help them transform and modernize their businesses, and over 500,000 are now utilizing Microsoft cloud services, with 17,000 using the 4Afrika hub to promote and grow their businesses. The Microsoft Cloud is also helping Africans build job skills, with 775,000 trained on subjects ranging from digital literacy to software development. We anticipate the Microsoft Cloud from Africa will fuel extensive new opportunities for our 17,000 regional partners and customers alike.
    MyPOV – Impressive numbers, the consumer and educational aspect of the Microsoft product and services portfolio has a lot of potential in Africa. On the other side it also requires Microsoft to invest into infrastructure in Africa, and this is a first step.
    “This development broadens the options available to us in our modernization journey of Government ICT infrastructure and services. It allows us to take advantage of new opportunities to develop innovative government solutions at manageable costs, as well as drive overall improvements in operations management, while improving transparency and accountability,” says Dr. Setumo Mohapi, CEO at SITA.
    MyPOV – Again – good to see a current / future customer quote – covering the government aspect and potential.
    The Microsoft Trusted Cloud: Microsoft has deep expertise protecting data, championing privacy, and empowering customers around the globe to meet extensive security and privacy requirements. With Microsoft’s Trusted Cloud principles of security, privacy, compliance, transparency, and the broadest set of compliance certifications and attestations in the industry, Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure supports over a billion customers and 20 million businesses around the globe. […]
    MyPOV – Good to see Microsoft stressing the security aspect. As in every new geographic region where the cloud arrives, there is a large group of skeptical CxOs and security concerns are at the top of their list of reasons why they cannot move to the cloud. These concerns need to be addressed. There is no reason though why these concerns cannot be addressed as well in South Africa like they have in the rest of the world… with a broadly favorable outcome for the cloud.


    Overall MyPOV

    Always good to see IaaS vendors adding locations to their global clouds. South Africa is a key possession from the combination of GDP and remoteness toward network backbones. Australia has similar characteristics, but has a 4x larger GDP, so no surprise the global monopoly game between the IaaS vendors has seen Australia see the respective IaaS flags earlier than South Africa. But now it is South Africa, and with that Africa’s turn. And Africa (after Asia) is the world’s second largest continent – from a population perspective. As such Africa is key for Microsoft for all its offerings, as the press release outlines: For Office usage, for Dynamics usage and for getting strongly locally rooted customers (like governments) on the Microsoft cloud.

    On the concern side, there is little to address. Microsoft is large enough to make the CAPEX happen, the question is only, which geographies got trumped by South Africa. But that’s what we learn soon from the next data center location announcement. And then South African data centers will likely not be efficient to service any economy north of the equator, e.g. the African Mediterranean rim is likely served better from Europe. And then there is the prize of the first Middle Eastern data center. And that Microsoft does not shy away from network investments can be seen from the recent MAREA cable announcement (with Facebook  see here), which will hit Europe closer to Africa than any other transatlantic cable, in Bilbao (Spain).

    But for now, congrats to Microsoft – that between the three large providers (add AWS and Google) is the first with an announcement for a South African location. Even going further down the provider list to e.g. IBM, Oracle and SAP (though SAP may not push the IaaS build out now) – Microsoft has made the first announcement / move towards South Africa / Africa. So, congrats are in order.



    More data center openings blog posts:

    • New Analysis - AWS has now data centers in Canada. Or is it data centres? Speaks "Canadian" now. - read here
    • News Analysis - Amazon Web Services Cloud now speaks… Hindi - Indian AWS Data Centers available - read here
    • News Analysis – NetSuite speaks BeNeLux – expands into Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg - read here
    • New Analysis - Amazon AWS spricht jetzt Deutsch - The cloud wars reach Germany - will European customers adopt the cloud? - read here
    • IBM kicks off the cloud data center race for 2014 - read here

    More on Microsoft:
    • 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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     Oracle had its Media Day earlier in the month and used the opportunity to unleash nothing less than 6 (six!) press releases on its momentum in cloud [Apologies for the gun metaphor, for the ones who don’t know – revolvers mostly have 6 chamber for 6 bullets).



    So, let’s go through the six press releases, selecting a few key paragraphs:

    Oracle and AT&T Enter into Strategic Agreement

    A key customer win for Oracle, as AT&T is staying with Oracle going forward for the foreseeable future. It can be found here.
    The agreement gives AT&T global access to Oracle’s cloud portfolio offerings both in the public cloud and on AT&T’s Integrated Cloud. This includes Oracle’s IaaS, PaaS, Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) which will help increase productivity, reduce IT costs and enable AT&T to gain new flexibility in how it implements SaaS applications across its global enterprise. AT&T has also agreed to implement Oracle’s Field Service Cloud (OFSC) to further optimize its scheduling and dispatching for its more than 70,000 field technicians. With OFSC, for example, AT&T will combine its existing machine learning and big data capabilities with Oracle’s technology to increase the productivity, on-time arrivals and job duration accuracy of AT&T’s field technicians.
    MyPOV – This is an impressive demonstration of the ‘chip to click’ Oracle stack creating value from the IaaS layer all the way to SaaS. For AT&T to throw in critical Field Service into the overall mega deal is a key sign that the Oracle synergies across the stack work. The AT&T machine learning and big data capabilities relied on Oracle and with that move with the Oracle systems. Industry rumors were that AT&T had tried a number (or even any) alternative to stay with Oracle, but could not find anything fitting capabilities as well as TCO. This is a key lighthouse deal for Oracle. The vendor’s shot to become a key player in cloud infrastructure is to capture more deals like this and the bulk of the load that the Oracle DB carries on premises – for the Oracle cloud / IaaS and Database as a Service business.

    Trek Bicycle Shifts to Oracle Cloud to Improve Customer Experience

    Another customer press release, always good to see them – it can be found here.
    As a first step, Trek set out to streamline the customer claims process and engagement with its dealers. Using Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, a key component of Oracle Cloud Platform, Trek developed an innovative new mobile application that enables dealers to submit repair claims using their mobile devices and a few taps of a button. With the new claims application, dealers will simply snap a picture of the customers’ bikes on their mobile device, connect directly to Trek’s supply chain applications through an API, and create a claim in just a couple of minutes. The new claim submission application will also include optical character recognition (OCR) technology that allows service professionals to pull up customer service histories simply by scanning a bike’s serial number. It also allows Trek to better service their bikes and better support existing customers.
    MyPOV – A good example how enterprises need to build software to truly differentiate. PaaS matters for that and Trek built an application that changes the supply chain from closed to open, making the Trek stories active users of the system. Making claims easier and faster to process is great for customers that get a more hassle-free repair experience, great for the Trek dealer who is more productive and has a happy customer and great for Trek that has happy dealers and customers. And likely a competitive differentiator in the market. 

    Oracle Announces EU Region Expansion in Germany

    New locations for IaaS are key as all vendors are in the monopoly race to plant their flag around the world, read the whole press release here.
    Continuing its commitment to cloud customers through extensive engineering and infrastructure investments, Oracle today announced enhancements to the Oracle Cloud EU Region in Germany with the addition of modern infrastructure as a service (IaaS) architecture and new IaaS and platform as a service (PaaS) cloud services. German-based modern IaaS will enable organizations to build and move mission-critical workloads to the cloud with uncompromised security and governance at a significant price performance advantage both over existing on-premises infrastructure and competitive cloud offerings. Oracle’s expanded infrastructure footprint is a result of tremendous customer demand with non-GAAP cloud revenue up 71 percent in Q3FY17 to $1.3 billion. The Oracle Cloud EU Region in Germany builds on the previously announced Oracle Cloud UK Region. The Oracle Cloud EU Region in Germany is expected to come online in the second half of this calendar year.
    MyPOV – Good to see the investment, that is required though to make Oracle a cloud IaaS player. Oracle follows the traditional roll out of the IaaS competitors, starting in the UK and then moving to Europe’s #1 economy, Germany. Frankfurt makes additional sense as it is one of the Internet backbone exchanges, so it makes sense to build data centers there. No surprise this will be a ‘Gen 2’ Oracle region – which usually means 3 data centers (though Oracle would not confirm). That would raise the ‘game’ over the also Germany based IaaS competitors. But then it is half a year out – so many things can change till then. But good to see Oracle spend the CAPEX, which it has to in order to catch up with the ‘Big 3’ of IaaS.

    Oracle Cloud Applications Drive Business Transformation Around the World

    At the end of the SaaS is an important business for Oracle, so it needed an update as well – it can be found here.

    The Oracle Cloud delivers nearly 1,000 SaaS applications to customers in more than 195 countries around the world. With NetSuite now part of Oracle, more than 25,000 organizations around the world now leverage Oracle Cloud Applications to transform critical business functions and embrace modern best practices. To accelerate this growth and help organizations of all sizes transform business processes, Oracle recently announced a series of NetSuite expansions and innovations. It is also introducing artificial intelligence-based enterprise applications. Oracle Adaptive Intelligent Apps blends first-party data with third-party data, and then applies Oracle's decision science and machine learning capabilities to create cloud applications that adapt and learn.
    MyPOV – The NetSuite acquisition is a huge jump in cloud customers for Oracle, albeit on a different and older platform than the rest of the Oracle cloud applications. But it is still an Oracle platform, so a number of investments that Oracle announced at NetSuite’s recent SuiteWorld even (see my takehere). And no surprise to see AI mentioned, and Oracle calls them Adaptive Intelligent Apps. The potential of merging third party data with enterprise data is substantial and we will see how well Oracle can exploit this opportunity. In the following list of Oracle Cloud suites, notably CRM was missing – though Oracle CX / HCM / ERP Cloud were mentioned. An unusual omission which begs questions. But overall good traction of the Oracle SaaS portfolio.

    VMware and Oracle Collaborate to Enable Advanced Security Features and Streamlined Management of Oracle Mobile Enterprise Applications

    Somewhat surprisingly a partnership announcement between VMware and Oracle thrown in the mix.

    VMware is the first mobile application management provider to manage and secure hundreds of Oracle business applications and custom applications built on the OMCS. As such, enterprise IT organizations can manage their Oracle application suite on a single unified platform together with their other business-critical applications and devices. Users who count on Oracle’s business applications to make better decisions, reduce costs and increase performance can benefit by being able to access these applications through a simple digital workspace environment—be it from a mobile device, laptop or desktop – with VMware Workspace ONE™ and AirWatch.
    MyPOV – Always good to see when customers can get vendor to partner and bring their offerings closer, here it is Oracle and VMware. VMware Workspace ONE and VMware AirWatch have reached a critical usage level in enterprises, so these enterprises want to use the same pane of glass to manage Oracle mobile applications. Good to see the partnership a win / win / win for customers and both vendor. 

    Oracle and Partners Make It Easier for Global Organizations to Move to the Cloud

    In another partner announcement, Oracle shared that Equinix is joining the FastConnect program – the press release can be found here.

    Oracle FastConnect addresses one of the most important issues that impacts migration to a cloud service: the unpredictable nature of the Internet. With FastConnect, customers can create a high-throughput and low-latency connection that delivers the benefits of a hybrid cloud setup by providing an easy, cost effective way to create dedicated and private connectivity to Oracle Cloud. In addition, customers can address common concerns with security and performance issues associated with cloud technologies. This is especially true for mission-critical enterprise workloads that frequently demand high levels of availability, security and performance.
    MyPOV – Network connectivity remains a crucial component for hybrid and migratory scenarios. Good to see Oracle expanding the program with Equinix, joining Megaport, Verizon, BT and NTT Communications.


    Overall MyPOV

    A good media day with Oracle, showing good traction across its cloud products. Good to see not only customer traction, but (probably well planned) traction on the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS level. As well as partner ecosystem moves that help Oracle customers move to cloud (FastConnect and VMware).

    On the concern side, Oracle will have to have a few more of similar ‘revolver style’ press events to change perception that its cloud offerings are behind compared to other IaaS / PaaS players. But you have to start with one, so let’s see when the second similar, overall Oracle cloud momentum release will happen. If this will be before Oracle OpenWorld, a good sign, it certainly is expected to repeat itself at OpenWorld.

    But for now – good to see the overall traction, with the opening of a region in the 4th largest economy on the planet probably being the most substantial of the 6 press releases.


    Recent blog posts on Oracle:
    • 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 Infosys’ yearly user conference Confluence in San Francisco, held from May 24th till 26th 2017 at the Moscone West. The conference was well attended with a good mix of customers, partners and influencers. 

    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

    Infosys really wants to be a Products AND Services company– We have written about the early stages and first initiatives of Infosys building software products, pretty much since the arrival of Vishal Sikka. Last year it was a clear message of services and products, this year it was even more in the direction of products, with an event at Moscone West – where usually the product vendors show up. And with brining all products under one overall leader and product strategy lead, Infosys is now also taking the organizational steps towards more products in its future. All customers we spoke to are positive on this development. Sikka shared that the products have already helped Infosys to save over 10k positions from a productivity perspective. A good start. 


    Infosys Confluence Holger Mueller Constellation Research Sikka
    Sikka opening his keynote

    Nia is Mana and more– Last year Infosys launched Mana, its Machine Learning platform. Recently Mana became Nia with additional assets from Skytree, robotic process automation capabilities and OCR functions being added. The extensions all make sense, and Sikka shared that there are now over 120+ Nia engagements across 50+ customers. That is traction, but Infosys needs more of that, especially customer adoption Nia that are confident to share the main keynote stage. We will see what next year will bring. 



    Infosys Confluence Holger Mueller Constellation Research Dadlani
    Dadlani shares his Unlimit - learning to bike

    Innovation across the portfolio– All key products in the Infosys portfolio showed progress with new releases and capabilities. What stuck out are the new Panaya ALM related Release Dynamix (RDx) offering, with the traditional focus on quality (here is the press release). And a new open source based platform to build next generation platforms with oecloud.io. Makes sense for Infosys to productize its platform – though it’s not clear at the moment which and how many and when the Infosys products will uptake a common platform like e.g. opensouce.io (more can be found here). Not mentioned in the keynote (sic!) was a new data lake offering, running on AWS Cloud, an important component of almost any next generation application project (press release here).



    Infosys Confluence Holger Mueller Constellation Research Progress
    Infosys Renew Progress


    MyPOV

    A good Confluence event by Infosys, that is rapidly reinvent itself. Changes are not only coming with products, but also with the plans to onshore more services, with the ambition to hire 10k+ employees in the US, starting in Indiana. Infosys is as well ramping up its ambitions and capabilities around Digital project. So, innovation and new practices on all fronts, good news for customers. Also good to see that Sikka can an update on last year's leitmotiv - ZeroDistance - which seems to have made a difference for customers and Infosys. This year's theme of "unlimit" was a good theme, too - basically Infosys is trying to inspire customers to think about next generation applications in the age of unlimited storage (BigData, data lakes) and almost no cost compute (for ML / AI).

    On the concern side Infosys needs to successfully navigate the challenges that the SI business faces with the raise of SaaS, the needed re-skilling and potential location challenges coming to the outsourcing business from the Trump administration in the near future. On the product side Infosys needs to take the last step and issue roadmaps and add release numbers / versions to its products – in the public communication. And last but not least – more customers live on products, as customer references are the ‘mother milk’ for a product company’s success.

    But for now – another good Confluence for Infosys, that is inspiring its customers and getting more attention from partners than before. At least there were more exhibiting and having HPE CEO Meg Whitman there is certainly a sign for traction in the partner space. Stay tuned for more.

    More on Infosys:


    • Event Report - Infosys Confluence - The Future Watch is Software + People - read here
    • Progress Report - Infosys Analyst Meeting - Can you transform customers while you transform yourself? Looks like it - read here

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

    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below, it's about the Day #1 keynote, the Day #2 keynote is here and the 10 Questions I had before SapphireNow are here. (if it doesn’t show up – check here).

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    We had the opportunity to attend Ceridian’s yearly analyst meeting in New York, held May 24th till 25th 2017, at the W Union Square in New York. The analyst meeting was very well attended with close to 30 analysts in the audience.

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




    [Factual Correction: Ceridian does NOT miss Onboarding, its available, see below.]

    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:

    Ceridian Dayforce Analyst Day Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Ossip opens CENaday17 (picture credit to Lisa Sterling)


    Suite strengthening – When comparing the major HCM players, Ceridian has the most functionality on a single platform, given assets in HR Core, Payroll, and WFM. Ceridian has acknowledged that it lacked in Talent Management and with the announcement of Ceridian Learning has closed one more functional gap on Talent Management (it now has Recruiting, Onboarding, Performance and Compensation Management, the remaining ones are Succession and Career Planning, and Ceridian has plans for them as well). In the area of user experience Ceridian has moved most of their user interface to HTML5, which gives it a consistent look & feel across browsers and platforms. As a remarkable engineering feat, Ceridian was able to bring the critical scheduling functionality to HTML5 as well, and with that eliminating one of the last bastions of Microsoft Silverlight (Ceridian’s previous user interface platform). Good to see for users who are in for a much more 21st century experience than with Silverlight. 


    Ceridian Dayforce Analyst Day Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    5 Dayforce Differentiators


    Predictive Analytics– An area all HCM vendors are playing some sort of catch up is in the area of helping users make better decisions and Ceridian is releasing its predictive analytics offering with recommendations (lime many other vendors have) on flight risk. It speaks for the honesty / modesty of the vendor not to be tempted to call this Artificial Intelligence (AI) as many vendors, especially startups do these days. Now it will be important to quickly add further areas helping users to make better decisions around HR questions.


    Ceridian Dayforce Analyst Day Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Dayforce in 1 Slide

    Developer and Partner Ecosystems– All SaaS vendors need to grow and nurture ecosystems – both from a developer and partner perspective. Ceridian was behind in this area when it comes to developers, and is addressing this now with the launch of the Ceridian Developer Network. A demo of the community and documentation pages looked compelling – now it will be interesting to see adoption and what developers will build. They will come from partners, where Ceridian has created more traction as well, sharing a few partner under NDA, NetSuite being the one we can mention here.


    Ceridian Dayforce Analyst Day Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    MSS in Dayforce

    MyPOV

    Good to see Ceridian make progress across the board. It didn’t make the Top 3 – but a new (and of course faster) implementation methodology is another key area that the vendor is rolling out. A key ingredient for fast go lives is to have more integration options available out of the box, and Ceridian has not less than 1400 today. Both impressive and a sign of complexity of HR solutions and a key reason why implementations take long. Now it will be key to see if Ceridian can bring implementation times further down. Good to see the addition of Learning, as well as the ecosystem progress. W

    On the concern side Ceridian will have to consider some technology decisions in regards of potentially choosing an IaaS vendor as partner, it needs to move into Hadoop / MapReduce area (to power e.g. Benchmarking, DaaS and more). And conversational user interfaces are emerging, a key usability improvement – as language is a more natural way to interact with software than through a keyboard and mouse. To be fair, these are challenges for most vendors in the industry at the moment.

    But for now, and overall, good progress by Ceridian, which is at the verge of finishing the transition from a mostly mainframe based service bureau to enterprise SaaS vendor. Only 25% of the Ceridian business are still in payroll bureau and that area is shrinking quickly. That has been replaced by a single system that for a North American target user, only lacks very small talent management automation pieces. Stay tuned.


    Also on Ceridian
    • 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

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    We had the opportunity to attend Cornerstone’s yearly user conference Convergence in San Diego, held from June 5th till 7th 2017, at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina. The conference was very well attended with over 1000 attendees, and almost 30 influencers. The show floor saw a wide range of partners – including – as it’s in the time of the marketplace – coopetitors. A good sign for customers. 



    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:


     
    Conerstone on Demand Confluence Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Miller opens keynote

    Back to the [Learning] Basics
    – Cornerstone started in the Learning area of Talent Management and that is where till today the bulk of its customers are. But the focus in the last years has been on adding more Talent Management capabilities, notably in Recruiting and Performance Management, and most recently (last year) even beyond Talent Management with HR Core. In the meantime, software technology has progressed in regards of video capabilities, publishing, machine learning etc. and that requires a re-visit on how Learning best practices are evolving or have changed. So, its timely for Cornerstone to go back to the basics and revisit Learning. Inspiration came from Netflix (see content that’s relevant) to Spotify (serve next relevant content – like the next song), with that Cornerstone is heading in the right direction. But Cornerstone has more than a software direction, the vendor also has a content ambition, starting with the launch of CyberU a year ago – but even more so now, trying to become a content aggregator for all things (enterprise) learning. It’s good to see that the 21st century Learning experience is understood as the combination of functionality and content.

     
    Conerstone on Demand Confluence Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    The new learner experience

    New Products – Engage and Benchmarking– The demand around engagement remain strong it seems, as Cornerstone was compelled to add its own engagement capabilities with a new product called "Engage". This is a valuable mover for customers, as they don’t have to look for a separate vendor to address the employee survey / engagement needs. It’s too early to tell if Cornerstone can play well enough in the engagement game compared to the best of breed vendors, but it’s the consequential strategy of the suite vendor to add new functionality when demand is there. On the Benchmarking side, Cornerstone follows a general trend. With cloud scale backends, customer want to (finally) see answers on how they are doing compared to peers and other enterprises. So, good to see Cornerstone launching its product in the space. 



    Conerstone on Demand Confluence Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Cornerstone Engage

    Overall on the right track
    – In previous years I have shared my concerns around Cornerstone’s architecture, technology, user experience and implementation cost. To make it short, Cornerstone has advanced in all four areas. While most of the technology and architecture changes are still under wraps, the direction with smaller services, looking at cloud native deployment - are the right steps. The user experience is much improved when compared to 12 or 24 months ago, something that wasn’t left unnoticed by customers. And Cornerstone has always listened to customers when it came requirements and implantation, the latest push is the new customer advocate Karla. All things moving in the right direction for customers, who want easy to use, easy to deploy and flexible to run HCM offerings. Cornerstone is working hard to get in that direction.


     
    Conerstone on Demand Confluence Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Cornerstone Benchmark

    MyPOV

    A good user conference for Cornerstone customers and partners. The vendor is growing and that always generates a good vibe at user events. Customers are expanding their Cornerstone footprint. The new HR Core offering, launched only a year ago, (not surprisingly) is seeing more traction in Europe than North America. Cornerstone is working hard to get a bigger footprint in the Japanese market as well.

    On the concern side, Cornerstone is in a transition mode on many fronts. Its architecture and deployment must change successfully in the next 12 months, it is building for new best practices that customers will have to adopt and it is pushing for more growth overall. On the bright side the vendor has turned to profitability, a financial state it now needs to maintain, if not improve. So, a lot of challenges in the next 12 months, no reason or indicators that Cornerstone cannot handle them, nonetheless – there is a lot on the plate for the vendor and a lot of change coming for customers.

    Exciting times ahead, stay tuned. 




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




    More on Cornerstone
    • Progress Report - Cornerstone Convergence - HR Core debut, lot's of product, time to execute! Read here
    • Progress Report - Cornerstone innovates with Analytics, PaaS and Learning, but needs to watch the basics - read here
    • News Analysis - Cornerstone On Demand announces CornerstoneEdge, the 1st PaaS Solution for the Talent Management Industry - read here
    • Progress Report - Cornerstone completest Talent Management - what is next - read here 
    • Event Report - Cornerstone re-imagines Talent Mangament - and itself - read here


    More HCM Musings blog posts
    • Musings - The Bots are coming to your conversation - what are the implications? Read here
    • Musings - We are entering the age of the Über Super Computer - read here
    • Musings - Retail is the breeding ground for NextGen Apps - read here
    • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! Read here
    • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrastructure updates - read here
    • Are we witnessing the Rise of the Enterprise Cloud? Read here
    • What are true Analytics - a Manifesto. Read here
    • Is TransBoarding the Future of Talent Management? Read here
    • How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the Laggards - read here
    • Musings - What is the future of Recruiting? Read here
    • Why all the attention to Recruiting? Read here
    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 Hortonworks analyst day in San Jose, held June 12th 2017, at the Marriott San Jose, in advance to the Dataworks Summit, held at the McEnery Convention center next door. The analyst meeting was well attended with over 20 influencers present. From Constellation, my colleague Doug Henschen was there, and he and fellow colleague Chris Kanaracus have published two insight pieces, and we jointly published another on the IBM partnership – see below for links.



    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:

    Hortonworks is doing well– The often-discussed challenges around the opensource based services model apparently are not too much of an issue for Hortonworks, that is showing healthy growth with 35%+ on revenue. All key metrics are up – so the vendor is doing something right. I asked the executive team on why the win and the list was long, but here it is (in the sequence they were mentioned): Native YARN support, Data Governances across products, one consistent Framework, Hybrid deployment, quality of Support, successful leverage of the ecosystem and delivering value to customers. All good value propositions to work with, the good news was – most of them were validated in the customer panel and customer conversations later.
     
    Holger Mueller Constellation Research Hortonworks Financial Data
    Hortonworks Financial Highlights


    Hortonworks keeps pushing data in motion– A little more than year ago, Hortonworks surprised with a commitment to not only capture data at rest (with HDP), but also the plan to capture data in motion, aka steaming data with HDF. And Hortonworks keeps investing, rolling out HDF 3.0 at the conference, a release which most prominent features are Streaming Analytics Manager and new Schema Registry Capabilities The former is targeted at making the complex process of creating systems for streaming data more (end) user friendly, the latter is all about making HDF easier to implement. Both good moves to make HDF more attractive to enterprises building next generation applications. If this will tip the adoption challenge for HDF remains to be seen, oddly Hortonworks did not share any customer adoption numbers for HDF.


    Holger Mueller Constellation Research Hortonworks Executive Team
    Hortonworks Exec Team w (ltr) Gnau, Bearden, Davidson and Verma

    Partnership with IBM – IBM and Hortonworks, both founding ODPi members, are working even closer together. After more partnering in February around hardware, both vendors now create a common offering in data science / machine learning / Big Data Query on top of HDP. The partnership was the easiest to pull off for IBM, given the common ODPi partnership. The challenge would be for customers who are not using Hortonworks under IBM DSX, but that should be a smaller number. If Hortonworks can get a substantial part of the IBM Big Insights business to run on HDP it will be a win for the vendor. And customers profit with more scale of their vendors – IBM will be able to focus (or reduce?) R&D spend, Hortonworks gets more load on HDP, and IBM’s sales force is reselling HDP. Moreover, Hortonworks gets a SQL on Hadoop offering with BigSQL, that’s key in competitive situations with nemesis #1, Cloudera.

    MyPOV

    Substantial progress by Hortonworks, that is sticking to its strategy with HDP and HDF. Adding more capabilities to HDF should make it more attractive to enterprises, but the verdict is still out if enterprises will build streaming applications themselves – or license them. Right now, Hortonworks is betting on the former.

    On the concern side, HDF has not shown reasonable acceptable market adoption – at least that’s the interpretation since Hortonworks shared … no numbers on adoption. [Added 6/14: Hortonworks points out that half of their large, 1M+ deals included HDF, so there is interest by large customers]. It’s going to be key for Hortonworks to get some traction, otherwise the return of R&D will be suboptimal for customers. On the brighter side HDP is doing well in the market, the IBM partnership will help further. It’s a departure from Hortonworks ‘open source only’ mantra, but reflects market realities and opportunities.

    Overall good progress by Hortonworks, making good steps to offer its product in a more hybrid offering, both on premises and in the cloud. Let’s check adoption of products, partnerships and overall performance later in the year. Stay tuned.

    Constellation Insights related to the conference:

    • Hortonworks Rolls Out 'Flex' Support Subscription Model for Its Big Data Platform - read here
       
    • Hortonworks Ships Updates to DataFlow, Its Platform for Streaming Analytics – read here
       
    • IBM, Hortonworks Deepen Their Big Data Partnership: Parsing the Details read here


    More on Hortonworks / BigData

    More on BigData

    • Progress Report - Hortonworks wants to become the next generation data platform for the enterprise – a tall ask - 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
    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Transforms Big Data Into Customer Success with the Salesforce Analytics Cloud - read here
    • Progress Report - Teradata is alive and kicking and shows some good 'paranoid' practices - read here
    • Event Report – Couchbase Connect – Couchbase’s shows momentum - read here
    • News Analysis - Couchbase unveils N1QL and updates the NoSQL Performance Wars - read here
    • Event Report - MongoDB keeps up the momentum in product and go to market - read here
    • News Analysis - Pivotal pivots to OpenSource and Hortonworks - Or: OpenSource keeps winning - read here
    • Progress Report - Cloudera is all in with Hadoop - now off to verticals - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves into DaaS - 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

    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.

    <Slideshare>

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    We had the opportunity to attend HireVue’s yearly user conference Digital Disruption in Deer Valley, held from June 12th till 14th, at the panoramic Stein Ericson lodge. The conference was similarily attended as last year with attendees from customers, prospects, partners and the influencer community (the letter was “very well” attended – insider joke, check Twitter). 

    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):

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

    HireVue doubles down on Video– HireVue sticks to its roots in video interviewing, now re-branding the capability with Video Intelligence. The core pitch remains the same – instead of doing static, lengthy assessments, do a video interview – and capture more data in a dynamic ambience. I think it was something like 20k data points that are captured in five minutes of video. Sifting through the video, doing transcripts is something HireVue can do – but needs to position more aggressively. The UI has been improved, always good to see. 



    HireVue DIgital Disruption 2017 Holger  Mueller Constellation Research Enterprise Software Musings
    CEO Parker opens VUEDD17


    Coach is here– Last year the new product announcement was HireVue Coach. The idea was that the video assets can be re-used to test training success. Employees, at the end of a training, deliver their lessons learnt / show their capabilities as requested. Managers / Trainers can use the same video tools as the Recruiter / Hiring manager to evaluate progress of the trainee. An elegant solution with a lot of market – but no easy sale, and requiring a healthy dose of changing existing (not so) best practices. But Coach is here – let’s see adoption numbers.



    HireVue DIgital Disruption 2017 Holger  Mueller Constellation Research Enterprise Software Musings
    HireVue CodeVue


    4M+ Interviews and now? CEO Kevin Parker shared that HireVue has now passed over 4M+ interviews, with 5M+ in reach during 2017. That’s an impressive set of data, that HireVue should leverage more to help customers better with their hiring success. Now HireVue asks customers to provide / share at least 300 or so videos to build the assessment model for the questions that will be asked to the candidate. With soon 5M+ interview videos (and hiring success) available – HireVue could help customers sooner and better with using their existing data repository. Yes, data ownership, privacy etc. all loom, but something that can be / has to be overcome.



    HireVue DIgital Disruption 2017 Holger  Mueller Constellation Research Enterprise Software Musings
    HireVue Video Intelligence



    MyPOV

    Hirevue is under new management and Parker is assembling a new management team. I didn’t have the chance to attend the analyst session so I will reserve my judgement on the business plans for a later time. On the product side, the vendor has made progress and customers will welcome a more modern, consistent UX across the products.

    On the concern side – HireVue, that was leading in terms of modelling for predictive analytics (yes, we called it like that a few years ago), has lost a little bit of its edge, as it has not changed to neural networks, the Swiss army knife to all things Machine Learning. Not too late, but key to move as the self-learning ability of (deep) neural networks is what is revolutionizing enterprises applications now.

    Overall good progress, HireVue remains a product that pretty much every Talent Acquisition team needs to have on the look out list. With the prevalence of video in their private life (Skype, FaceTime, Allo etc.) - candidates reservation to interview via video dissipates quickly. We will have to see what happens next. Stay tuned.


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



    More on HireVue
    • News AEvent Report - HireVue Digital Disruption 2016 - More Recruiing and now... Coaching - read here
    • nalysis - HireVue Secures $45 Million in Funding to Fuel Team Acceleration Software - read here
    • News Analysis - HireVue announces Insights - a key step to bring (true) analytics to enterprise software - read here.
    • First Take - 3 Takeaways from HireVue Digita Disruption Conference - Day 1 Keynote - read here

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

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

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    We had the opportunity to attend Cloud Foundry’s yearly user conference, Cloud Foundry Summit in Santa Clara, held from June 13th till June 15th, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. The conference was well attended, similar to last year, though with a wider variety of partners and sponsors. 

    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:

    Microsoft joins the kingdom, SAP makes mark– Last year I referred to Cloud Foundry as the ‘King of PaaS’ – due to the lack of competition, most prominently in regards of the platform’s uptake by industry players that in another era would have built their own platform. And certainly not adopted an open source project. So, along the analogy, Cloud Foundry sees Microsoft joining the kingdom. While all partners are important, Microsoft is almost the last data point (Oracle is the last major player still standing out – formally) to join. Microsoft is a key win for CloudFoundry due to the vendor’s long history as development tool, platform product vendor and of course as owner of the Windows franchise. It also helps Microsoft as it gives its customers a (lower level) PaaS as go to location. Coupled with the expanded SAP presence and keynote by CTO Goerke it gives CloudFoundry more chops, most importantly adding two more cloud platforms with Azure and the SAP Cloud. 


    Cloud Foundry CF Summit 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Google's Bannerman MCs Day #2 at CFSummit

    Ecosystem, certification, platforms – all grow. For any platform growth is vital to keep attracting more enterprises and developers. And the Cloud Foundry ecosystem is alive and well, e.g. the system monitoring vendors were out in force at CF Summit (not so much last year). Over a year ago Cloud Foundry embarked in creating its certification program – a good move – as certifications (when done right) bring order to a services ecosystem: Developers know where they stand, what they can charge and enterprises know who can do what and costs how much. With 5 certifications out there, it’s clear the Cloud Foundry certification program is off to a good start. And lastly CloudFoundry is adding more platforms with the addition of Microsoft to the foundation, there is now formal support for Azure. And with SAP usage of Cloud Platform (CP) on Cloud Foundry, the largest enterprise software vendor has put its weight (and business) on top of the CloudFoundry platform. Nothing not to like. All helps to make Cloud Foundry even a little more dominant than before. 


    Cloud Foundry CF Summit 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    SAP CTO Goerke sees Enterprise as the new Black

    The cloud conundrum– While the capability that is working for Cloud Foundry is its support of multi cloud capability, the reality is different in regards of deployments. While we see most of our client interactions using one of the popular cloud platforms, the uptake of multi cloud capabilities right from the very go live is very seldom the case. It looks like enterprises select Cloud Foundry more for the potential of what they could do later – than what they do immediately. Certainly rationale, as in the age of digital disruption it is better to have a next generation application first, and then worry about its longevity. But enterprises ask for the longevity from a capability right when selecting the PaaS platform. Very likely to come in handy later. The surprise was larger when of the 5 customers in the analyst session, 4 were deploying on premises – all with the help of VMware. Granted the industries were Banking, Insurance, Healthcare and Manufacturing, where regulatory and access issues play a role at slowing down the desire for public cloud substantially. It will be interesting to see where enterprises are deploying in the next quarters.
     
    Cloud Foundry CF Summit 2017 - Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    The CF CLI on ... Azure

    MyPOV

    A very good Cloud Foundry Summit for the open source project. Another data point on how open source has won, and it was not even close. Cloud Foundry Summit is quickly becoming what OpenStack Summit used to be – the key event enterprises software vendors cannot miss. The addition of Microsoft as formal member is a key step for both Cloud Foundry and Microsoft. The latter gets a seat at the table. And ironically – at joining Cloud Foundry late – is not a major mistake: As more load exists with other IaaS vendor- that could theoretically get ‘poached’ over to the own infrastructure. Different geographic presence makes it another point of play: An enterprise may have started with IaaS A – but use IaaS B because vendor B is earlier in an important part of the world.

    On the concern side – Cloud Foundry needs to stop going ‘wider’ (in the sense of platform support) – but ‘deeper’ in regards of making assumptions on the overall stack. Otherwise it risks to have achieve something historic – application portability – but loose that capability due to platform specific ‘stickiness’. There are many paths Cloud Foundry to become ‘opinionated’ (a favorite term) meaning making assumptions on higher up the stack capabilities. This is more than CI / CD, or data base abstraction, but means also e.g. hot new topics like Machine Learning could be modelled across platforms.

    But for now, good progress for Cloud Foundry – that one way or the other – openly and directly – or under hood of vendors like GE, IBM, Microsoft, SAP and more creeps its way into the enterprise. CTOs making next gen Apps platform decisions cannot ignore CloudFoundry – and even those who made actively different decisions will see Cloud Foundry comeback (as OEM). (Still) good to be King.
    Stay tuned.

    More on Pivotal / Cloud Foundry
    • 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

    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 Unit4 bi yearly analyst conference in Boston, held on June 15th, 2017, at the Boston Seaport Hotel. The meeting was (very – see the #MRS rule on Twitter) well attended, similar to two years ago – with about 20+ analysts attending.
    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:

    The People Architecture is Real– Two years ago Unit4 shared its vision of self-driving ERP and a people oriented architecture. The platform is reality since a year, built on top of Azure and passionately using the Microsoft technology stack (e.g. Luis for the Assistant Wanda). Unit4 has almost finished moving its ERP product – Business World On to the new platform – with a goal to be done by fall (which I read by end of the year). With that Unit4 is on the most modern ERP platforms, when it comes to adopting a modern tech stack, running on a public cloud IaaS (Azure) and taking aggressively advantage of platform capabilities, e.g. shipping Wanda on the Microsoft platform before Microsoft has an assistant in its Dynamics product suite. It’s seldom partners outpace their technology stack providers.

    Unit4 Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    CEO Sieber 
    The Battle for the Service Industry Front Office– Unit4 serves service industries. Its European DNA and lack of North American presence has forced it to acquire US businesses like Three Rivers for a better footprint in Higher Education. It also wants a slice of the PSA market, with the recent Assistance Software acquisition (that despite being of Dutch origins, has more customers in North America than Europe). Assistance Software runs on top of Microsoft Dynamics, making it a nice launchpad for many geographies were Dynamics is running. And Unit4 is investing into these offerings, e.g. the Student Information Systems (SIS) for Higher Ed has completely been rebuilt on the new People Architecture. And Assistance Software is in progress to integrate as well with Business World On as with Dynamics for ERP integrations.

     
    Unit4 Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    The Future at Work Vision


    Prevero is an ace up Unit4’s sleeve– Almost a year ago Unit4 acquired German CPM / BI vendor Prevero. Integration is advanced and most importantly Prevero has now more developers than ever, helping to build out the product. The beauty about CPM / BI is that Prevero not only creates value for the install base of Unit4 – but is also a value proposition that Unit4 can take to complete new prospects. Provero e.g. still supports interfaces into SAP. The product is (no surprise) in memory based, has an attractive UX and enough customer proof points to be taken more than seriously by prospective customers.

     
    Unit4 Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    The Platform


    MyPOV


    Unit4 has made good progress. Creating a new platform is never easy – and to keep the revenue stream up, during the transition is not a walk in the park either. The common best practice is to acquire new companies that can create revenue growth during that time and that’s what Unit4 has done with Three Rivers, Command Software and Prevero. Surprisingly the vendor chooses not to address its progress and status of its ERP product – Business World On – but we asked for it (see above). CEO Sieber made the point that ERP is getting commoditized and that the differentiation happens in the Front Office. A fair point certainly, but end to end replacements happen as well. Unit4 customers should ask actively for the status of Business World On and prospects should consider it with purchase decisions in the imminent 2nd half of 2017.

    On the concern side Unit4 has its hands full. New platform, Business World On almost completely on it, new acquisitions to integrate and a new value proposition for customers. The good news for customers is that Unit4 is almost out the tunnel… It would be well advised to find a more aggressive go to market in North America in regards of its ERP products. More competition is good for customers and markets. And modern offerings are only modern … for so long.

    But for now, good times are coming for Unit4 customers, the vendor is over the mountain in regards of platform and the benefits should be visible to customers soon: Modern ERP software for services industries. Stay tuned.

    .

    More on Unit4:
    • News Analysis - Unit4 releases Wanda bot; the first true self-driving ERP user experience - read here
    • News Analysis - Unit4 announces Business World On – A modern ERP offering - read here
    • News Analysis - Unit4 announces integration with Slack - read here
    • News Analysis - Unit4 picks Microsoft Azure for ‘Self-Driving’ ERP vision - Cloud, Machine Learning, Office and PaaS are the attractors - read here
    • Progress Report - Unit4 lays out a big vision - now it needs to execute - read here
    • News Analysis - Unit4 acquires Three Rivers Systems - read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here


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    We had the opportunity to attend FinancialForce’s 2nd user conference, Community Live – the first open for influencers, held in Las Vegas, from June 19th to 21st, at Cesar’s Place. Over 700 attendees, extraordinarily well attended by the influencer community (per MSR rule). 




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



    I also recorded my first impressions of the keynote with Den Howlett over at Diginomica – watch it 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:

    FinancialForce doubles down on Services
    – FinancialForce has always focused on service industries, in the keynote new CEO Tod Nielsen re-iterated the commitment, drawing a wider picture – that ‘everything’ is becoming a service. This was taken all the way to the (not so serious) example of “Puppy as a Service”. But a valid point the resonated well with the audience. Not so long ago we talked about outcomes are what matter for customers, and outcomes as a service (including services) would have been a bolder point. But that can still happen.



    FinancialForce Community Live 2017 Holger Mueller Constellation Research Future of Work
    Tod Nielsen opens FinancialForce Community Live 2017

    Focus on Talent Management for Services Industries– It’s always with a grain of salt when vendors reduce their ambition – and that’s what FinancialForce has done in HCM. Instead of becoming a full-fledged HCM vendor, FinancialForce will focus on Talent Management for Services Industries (with white collar workers). It chose ADP as its part for HR Core and Payroll, certainly a good move to choose the most used payroll platform in North America. And payroll is crucial in the services industries: Professionals stop working to check their paycheck – often even at customer site – so getting this integration right is crucial. And FinancialForce and ADP plan to provide a vendor based integration, likely around the REST technology that ADP has championed with another ERP vendor recently (check my blog).



    FinancialForce Community Live 2017 Holger Mueller Constellation Research Future of Work
    Studer with Imbrogno - Partnership of FinancialForce and ADP


    Financials Roadmap– With all these changes, the core of FinancialForce, Financials, almost took a backseat. But there was room in the keynote to point out to a key road map

    items, most prominently revenue recognition, renewal risk and revenue analysis.


    FinancialForce Community Live 2017 Holger Mueller Constellation Research Future of Work
    FinancialForce uses Salesforce Wave


    MyPOV

    Always good to be at an early edition of a user conference, where the user community gets shaped, develops expectations and the vendor ecosystem goes through its first incarnations. The ‘tribal’ values of an ecosystem get established in these first conferences. It was especially interesting with the executives who shouldered the bulk of the first day keynote – Nielsen and Studer being with FinancialForce for respectively (only) six and three months. But both showed they are familiar with customers, their expectations and demands, a good sign.

    On the concern side – it is always sensitive when vendors retrench in footprint plans and ambition. FinancialForce has done a respectable job at addressing these concerns and informing customers ahead of the changes in HCM and the partnership with ADP. At the end of the day it is better for vendors to realize what the can do with their R&D budgets, and better to stop too ambitious plans sooner than later What matters for FinancialForce customers is that the partnership with ADP will deliver – if and when it does – the potential FUD around this change - will all be history.

    Overall a good Community Live conference for FinancialForce customers and partners, now it is time to deliver and what was announced. 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 the America's Cup (AC), currently happening in Bermuda. For any sports (and sailing enthusiast) a once in a life time opportunity. And there is always something to be learnt in life - with applicability to the enterprise... here I share my top 3 lessons learnt from AC 35.
     


    Take a look at the video that I recorded in Bermuda for a start:




    And of course there is a one slide summary:




    And here are the three lessons learnt:

    Challenge Best Practices

    AC35 Development– For the first time AC teams have members of their team called ‘cyclist’, in this case Emirates Team New Zealand even has an Olympic medalist on board. It matters as the New Zealand team creates the vital pressure for maneuvers and adjusting with … spinning on stationary bikes. Four of the six team members… pedal. Unthinkable for sailing so far – the biggest forces in sailing were generated by arms, by the so-called grinders. And while all five other teams did not want / could not react to the New Zealand innovation. The power advantage is obvious, based on the team claims that the best Emirates Team New Zealand value is averaging 800W per race, the best grinder of Oracle Team USA does… 350W per race.

    The CXO Lesson– Best practices are not there to be followed blindly but questioned regularly. Lateral thinking is crucial: Find what works in other areas and can solve the problem better. Everybody knows humans have more power in their legs than their arms – so why not use it … on a sailboat. What is the lateral thinking to disrupt and innovate on best practices for your enterprise?


    Make the organization a living being

    AC35 Development– AC teams have traditionally been very hierarchical organizations, the buck stops with the skipper, giving the commands and the ream receiving them. The tactician was an innovation introduced decades ago, to give the skipper a second opinion, another set of eyes. Tacticians would advise, skippers sometime follow. Compare to what Emirates Team New Zealand does: The helmsman drives, another team member is the foil trimmer and another one oversees sails (ironically the formal skipper, Ashby). Full delegation, no need to communicate / coordinate (listen into the live broadcast).

    The CxO Lesson– Organizations need to be reviewed regularly. Too much communication and coordination can slow down an enterprise. Autonomy is powerful, empowers people to make the right decision, focus on the job and get It done. How many of you directs can / could do with more autonomy? Do they give them directs more economy?

    Show up - late and ready works

    AC35 Development– Emirates Team New Zealand only made it to Bermuda in May, races started in June. Oracle Team USA was their already almost two years earlier. As it turns out – the conditions the New Zealand team trained under at home, were more the ones that are now occurring in the Great Sound of Bermuda. Maybe lucky, maybe not. For sure the other teams saw less of the cycle setup.

    The CxO Lesson– You don’t have to be first. Your enterprise must be there at the right time and ready. Every move will cause a reaction by the competition. The earlier your enterprise acts, the more time for the competition to react, adapt and maybe beat you. Late and ready is better than to be early and surprised and with no potential to adapt or react.

     

    MyPOV

    There are many lessons to be learnt in life and it’s nowhere cast in stone that new strategies in business have to come from lessons learnt in business. Lateral thinking, questioning the status quo, bending best practices, ignoring best practices and challenging them need to be part of the daily work of a CxO. Once implemented, they need to be executed, and we know flatter, more autonomous and more diverse teams do better. Empower the organization. And have a plan over time. Leave something in the tank to change the way the game is being played and playing out. If you are ready, coming later with impact is better than be early and exhausted.

    The America’s Cup is not over. More lessons maybe able to be learnt. When I recorded the video, the score was 4:1 for Emirates Team New Zealand. At the time of writing this, the score is 6:1. But in 2013, Oracle Team USA came back from a 1:8 deficit. Maybe that’ the last lesson for CxOs from the AC: Never say never, and it’s never over till it’s over. Watch Race #9 tomorrow – there may be more – or not – but there is definitively something to learn from AC35.

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    We had the opportunity to attend Salesforce’s developer and admin conference TrailheaDX in San Francisco, held from June 28th till June 29th 2017, at the Moscone West. It was the 2nd edition of the conference, attended by 5k+ participants, the bulk being developers and administrators. Moscone West was dressed up in the usual Trailhead design, with plenty of Cody the Bear and other outdoor motives. 





    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:

    Salesforce DX Beta (open)– Announced at Dreamforce, Salesforce delivered its new CLI for developers to access and run Force related developments from a command line. Pulls after changes were demoed under loud applause. Salesforce also delivered on the scratchorgs, making it easier for developers to build / test and experiment with code. Code now can go into multiple orgs – before code was inside of one org (and had to be copied, maintained to go to over orgs, quite a pain). So, a major change in the way how developers build on Salesforce Force platform. It is now in open beta - and something a developer in the Salesforce ecosystem should make time to evaluate and get familiarized with.

     
    Holger Mueller Constellation Research Salesforce TrailheaDX
    Salesforce Ecosystem Stats


    New Einstein Services– In the spring of AI, a conference with a vendor with AI ambition cannot lack the announcement / deliver of more AI services and Salesforce was no exception, announcing Vision, Sentiment and Intent (based on text input) and Object Machine Learning APIs. Good to see the progress, and the demos shown were good use cases on what developers may build with these new APIs.

     
    Holger Mueller Constellation Research Salesforce TrailheaDX
    Moscone in TrailheaDX clothes


    Better relationship with standard tools– For a long time the Salesforce development tools stood out of the general realm of the other tools that developers use (on the Force platform) – so it was good to see Salesforce changing course, with partnerships with Atlassian and GitHub being the most prominent ones. Developers don’t want to change their tooling – or work with the commonly accepted as best tooling – so this is a key step for Salesforce to make it easier (and more popular) for developers to work on the Salesforce platforms.

    In other news…. Salesforce also unveiled a new event system. A demo was showed that applications can now listen to events, and then act on them. Thousands of use cases, to achieve the loose coupling users want from 21st century platforms and applications. This may be the first step for Salesforce to bundle general platform services – think also e.g. identity, data movement, federation, APIs etc. into a single (new! – see below) place.

    MyPOV

    A good conference for Salesforce developers and administrators. Not only is Salesforce serious about the effort, but also serious about making the necessary learning and training a fun and enjoyable experience. Collecting badges may sound silly at first, but pretty much all the ecosystem is into badge collection, as a way of showing various levels of proficiency inside the Salesforce technology stack and platforms. Salesforce has listened to developers and addressed several ‘sins of the past’ in the current year, with taking the code out of the orgs, with delivering scratch orgs. In many ways, the Salesforce platform feels now more like a platform as opposed to an application vendor’s customization (and extension) environment.

    On the concern side, Salesforce is the only vendor that maintains two complete application platforms with Force and Heroku. Granted, this is less an issue for Salesforce in 2017 than it was eg. in 2012, as the vendor has grown to an impressive scale. But still R&D, marketing, sales etc. efforts go towards to platforms. And both platforms aren’t brand new in 2017, so neither will be the future platform for SaaS / PaaS. Those thoughts have to happen at Salesforce and will likely result in the emergence of a third platform in the coming year. This doesn’t make the R&D challenge easier, but basically on where we stand today, is a certain thing to happen… and better sooner than later for Salesforce customers, developers, administrator and Salesforce itself.

    But for now, substantial progress and moves to make the Developer Experience – that’s what DX stands for – a much better, more standard, more normal one. Stay tuned.


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

    More about Salesforce:
    • 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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    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