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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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    Even though we are almost only two weeks off Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in San Francisco - Oracle is pushing the gas pedal. Yesterday Oracle announced its Sparc M8 chip / architecture – today it was Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison’s turn: New pricing.



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

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

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

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

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

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


    Overall MyPOV

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

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

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


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


    Recent blog posts on Oracle:
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - Oracle invests in IaaS (or at least CAPEX) - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle empties the barrel - Revolver style (6) Cloud News Analyses - read here
    • Musings - Does Oracle and Accenture make sense - or never ever! - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle HCM Analyst Summit 2017 - Oracle HCM stronger and stronger - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle OpenWorld - the HCM perspective - Almost no news, but wait... - read here.
    • First Take - Early Oracle OpenWorld 2016 Keynotes - read here
    • Event Preview - Oracle OpenWorld 2016 - What to expect, what to watch for ... will IaaS start Clicking? - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle acquires NetSuite - Oddly consolidation means more options for customers - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle Unveils Suite of Breakthrough Services.. or short: Oracle Cloud Machine - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud - More ready than ever, now needs adoption - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle Openworld 2015 - Top 3 Takeaways, Top 3 Positives & Concerns - read here
    • News Analysis - Quick Take on all 22 press releases of Oracle OpenWorld Day #1 - #3 - read here
    • First Take - Oracle OpenWorld - Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Oracle Openworld - watch here

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

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

    And if you want to read more of my findings on Oracle technology - I suggest:
    • Progress Report - Good cloud progress at Oracle and a two step program - read here.
    • Oracle integrates products to create its Foundation for Cloud Applications - read here.
    • Java grows up to the enterprise - read here.
    • 1st take - Oracle in memory option for its database - very organic - read here.
    • Oracle 12c makes the database elastic - read here.
    • How the cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
    • Act I - Oracle and Microsoft partner for the cloud - read here.
    • Act II - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
    • Act III - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Netsuite with a touch of Deloitte - read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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    We had the opportunity to attend Kronos’ very first analyst day, held at the vendor’s new headquarters outside of Boston. It was the first day at the office for many of the executives and employees, a very nicely remodeled older office building (the former Wang HQ), with many interesting and useful features and capabilities. Interestingly there are no rooms, corner offices etc. facing the windows. The idea is to allow as much possible day light to flood the building. Not even CEO Ain has an office with a window.

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





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




    Want to read on? 

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




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




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



     
    Workforce Central Directions

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


    MyPOV

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



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


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


    More on Kronos
    • Event Report - Kronos KronosWorks - Solid progress and big things loom - read here
    • Event Report - Kronos KronosWorks - New Versions, new UX, more mobile - faster implementations - read here
    • First Take - KronosWorks - Day 1 Keynote - R&D Investment, Customer Success and Analyticss - read here
    • Kronos executes - 2014 will be key - read here
    • Tweeting and feeling good about it - read here
    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check here).


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


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    We had the opportunity to attend Zenefits’ Shift 2017 event in San Francisco, held at the Metreon on September 21st, 2017. The conference was well attended, though less in audience  than the Z2 launch 12 months ago. But the main objective was to get an online viewership, and Arianna Huffington delivered, during her keynote / interview the online viewership spiked beyond 60k+.
    Zenefits Shift17 Constellation Research Holger Mueller

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




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




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


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



    Zenefits Shift17 Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Fulcher welcomes to Shift17

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



    Zenefits Shift17 Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Carr talks Services


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



    Zenefits Shift17 Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Reeves talks Products


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


    MyPOV

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


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


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



    Stay tuned.



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


    More on Zenefits

    • Event Report - Zenefits Z2 event - Good start for the very SMB - read here

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





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    We had the opportunity to attend Microsoft’s combined Ignite and Envision events held in Orlando, taking place from September 24th till 28th2017. It was the first time Microsoft merged the two events, resulting in a conference that was attended by almost 30k people. As usual with Microsoft, analyst, influence and press attendance was massive.



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



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


    Want to read on? Here you go:

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



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




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



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




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

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




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


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




    MyPOV

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



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



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




    More on Microsoft:
    • Event Report - July 2017 Microsoft London AI Event - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in Africa - Azure learns Afrikaans to Zulu (and 9 more) - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2017 - Good Housekeeping, laying foundation, deliver on vision - read here
    • Down Report – Power failure takes Azure services down - 3 Cloud Load Toads - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Connect - No April's Fools - Linux, Google and more  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers teams - launches Microsoft Teams - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR  - The SaaS land grab is on  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Ignite - AI, Adobe and FPGA [From the Fences] - read here
    • News Analysis - GE and Microsoft partner to bring Predix to Azure - Multi-Cloud becomes tangible for IoT - read here
    • Market Move - Microsoft acquired Linked - Tons of synergies, start with Cortana, maybe too many - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft opens Windows Holographic to partners for a new era of mixed reality - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • Musings - Will Microsoft's Hololens transform the Future of Work? Read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2016 - A platform vision and plenty of tools for next generation applications - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Build 2016 - Day 1 Keynote Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Microsoft Build 2016 - Top 3 Things to watch for developers, managers and execs...  read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft - New Hybrid Offerings Deliver Bottomless Capacity for Today's Data Explosion - read here
    • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
    • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
    • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
    • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
    • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
    • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
    • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
    • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
    • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
    • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.

    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check here). A Storify of Scott Guthrie's keynote can be found here.



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


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


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





    Want to read on? Here you go:

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



    SAP TechEd Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    USS Enterprise with Captain Kirk


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



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

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

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


    SAP TechEd Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    SAP CP Marketecture


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

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



    MyPOV

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

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

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


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

    More on SAP

    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - New Leadership - Old Challenges - read here
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - SAP Leonardo event July 2017 - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2017 - All in on Leonardo, but wait there is more... read here
    • News Analysis - SAP reshuffles Executive Board - sets up for next 5 years - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - The quest to make Procurement awesome - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Capital Markets and S/4HANA Update - Good Plan - Execution matters in 2017 - read here
    • News Analysis -SAP Introduces Jump-Start Enablement Program for SAP Leonardo IoT Portfolio >> Bundling and Simplification matter for IoT - read here
    • Event Report - Event Report - SAP TechEd Barcelona - Analytics, ML, PaaS and HANA 2  - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP to unveil HANA 2 - New platform vs a fork's tine - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR - The SaaS land grab is on - read here
    • Event Report - SAP / Trenitalia Digital Summit - SAP is serious about IoT - read here
    • First Take - SAP BW/4HANA - Data Gravity and Cloud win - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SConnect - Push on all fronts - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Insider Vienna - HCP, BI and SuccessFactors are the takeaways - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2016 - Top 3 Positives & Concerns: SAP changes - probably for the better - read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • First Take -  SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Preview - SAP Sapphire 2016 - What to expect and look for - read here
    • News Analysis - Apple & SAP Partner to Revolutionize Work on iPhone & iPad - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP SuccessFactors makes good progress - now needs appeal beyond SAP - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP HANA Vora now available... - A key milestone for SAP - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Good Progress sprinkled with innovative ideas and challenging the status quo - read here
    • News Analysis - WorkForce Software Announces Global Reseller Agreement with SAP - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Day #1 Keynote Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
    • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
    • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here
    • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
    • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
    • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
    • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
    • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
    • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
    • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
    • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
    • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
    • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
    • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
    • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
    • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
    • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
    • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here

    And more about SAP technology:
    • Event Prieview - SAP TechEd 2015 - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP Unveils New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop to Accelerate Digital Transformation – A key milestone for SAP read here
    • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
    • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
    • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
    • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
    • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
    • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
    • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
    • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
    • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
    • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.



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    As you know, Microsoft had their combined Ignite and Envision conferences in Orlando this week. As often before major user conferences, I tweet out my top 10 questions for the event (see here). And if I get to it - I answer them afterwards...


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




    More on Microsoft:
    • Event Report - Microsoft Ignite / Envision 2017 - Broad push - few highlights - read here
    • Event Report - July 2017 Microsoft London AI Event - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in Africa - Azure learns Afrikaans to Zulu (and 9 more) - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2017 - Good Housekeeping, laying foundation, deliver on vision - read here
    • Down Report – Power failure takes Azure services down - 3 Cloud Load Toads - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Connect - No April's Fools - Linux, Google and more  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers teams - launches Microsoft Teams - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR  - The SaaS land grab is on  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Ignite - AI, Adobe and FPGA [From the Fences] - read here
    • News Analysis - GE and Microsoft partner to bring Predix to Azure - Multi-Cloud becomes tangible for IoT - read here
    • Market Move - Microsoft acquired Linked - Tons of synergies, start with Cortana, maybe too many - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft opens Windows Holographic to partners for a new era of mixed reality - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • Musings - Will Microsoft's Hololens transform the Future of Work? Read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2016 - A platform vision and plenty of tools for next generation applications - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Build 2016 - Day 1 Keynote Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Microsoft Build 2016 - Top 3 Things to watch for developers, managers and execs...  read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft - New Hybrid Offerings Deliver Bottomless Capacity for Today's Data Explosion - read here
    • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
    • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
    • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
    • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
    • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
    • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
    • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
    • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
    • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
    • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.


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

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



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





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


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

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

    Want to read on? Here you go:

    Top 3 Positives

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

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


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


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


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


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

    Top 3 Concerns

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

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


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


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

    Leone introducing Oracle Recruiting Cloud 


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


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


    MyPOV

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

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

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

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


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

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

    More on Oracle:
    • News Analysis - Oracle Unveils New Programs that Transform how Customers Buy and Consume Cloud – Gloves Off - read here
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - Oracle invests in IaaS (or at least CAPEX) - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle empties the barrel - Revolver style (6) Cloud News Analyses - read here
    • Musings - Does Oracle and Accenture make sense - or never ever! - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle HCM Analyst Summit 2017 - Oracle HCM stronger and stronger - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle OpenWorld - the HCM perspective - Almost no news, but wait... - read here.
    • First Take - Early Oracle OpenWorld 2016 Keynotes - read here
    • Event Preview - Oracle OpenWorld 2016 - What to expect, what to watch for ... will IaaS start Clicking? - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle acquires NetSuite - Oddly consolidation means more options for customers - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle Unveils Suite of Breakthrough Services.. or short: Oracle Cloud Machine - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud - More ready than ever, now needs adoption - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle Openworld 2015 - Top 3 Takeaways, Top 3 Positives & Concerns - read here
    • News Analysis - Quick Take on all 22 press releases of Oracle OpenWorld Day #1 - #3 - read here
    • First Take - Oracle OpenWorld - Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Oracle Openworld - watch here

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

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

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

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

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


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




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



    Want to read on? Here you go:



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




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


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




    Ceridian Insights 2017 Holger Mueller
    Insights in proving times #VegasStrong


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


    Ceridian Insights 2017 Holger Mueller
    Ceridian is Cloud Company


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




    Ceridian Insights 2017 Holger Mueller
    Dayforce Scheduler


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




    Ceridian Insights 2017 Holger Mueller
    Dayforce Activate




    MyPOV

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

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

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


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




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

    And unrelated to Ceridian - but how important payroll can be for HCM innovation:
    • Could the paycheck reinvent HCM - yes it can - read here
    • And suddenly... payroll matters again - read here
    • Musings - How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the Laggards - read here
    • Musings - What is the future of recruiting? Read here
    • Why all the attention to recruiting? Read here.
    • Musings - Is Transboarding the future of People Talent Management? Read here

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


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    We had the opportunity to attend the North American edition of the Workday user conference, held in Chicago from October 9th till12th 2017 at McCormick place. The event was very well attended (almost 9k attendees) across customers, prospects, partners and influencers. 



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


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





    Want to read on? Here you go:

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



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

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


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


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


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


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


    MyPOV

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

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

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


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


    More on Workday
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - Workday announces its PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - Workday, IBM Form Strategic Partnership on the IBM Cloud - The IaaS vendor race for SaaS load is on - read here
    • News Analysis - Workday Delivers Payroll for France Customers - read here
    • Progress Report - Workday Tech Summit - Good Progress, More Insights, Less Concerns - read here
    • News Analysis - Workday and ADP partner to Deliver a Seamless Customer Experience for Global Payroll - read here
    • Event Report - Workday Rising - Learning is there and good housekeeping - read here
    • News Analysis - Workday completes Talent Management with Learning - Finally - or too late? Read here.
    • Event Preview - What I would like Workday to address this Rising read here
    • News Analysis – Workday to Expand Suite of Applications for Healthcare Industry - with a SCM twist - read here
    • News Analysis - Workday supports UK Payroll - now speaks (British English) Payroll  - read here
    • Workday 24 - 'True' Analytics, a Vertical and more - now needs customer proof points - read here
    • First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from of Workday Rising Day 1 Keynote - The dawn of the analytics era - time to deliver Insight Apps - read here
    • Progress Report - Workday supports more cloud standard - but work remains - read here

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


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


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



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



    Want to read on? Here you go:



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




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

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




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


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


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

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



    MyPOV

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

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



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



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



    More on SAP
    • News Analyses Roundup - SAP's September Tech Announcements - SAP doubles down on technology - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - New Leadership - Old Challenges - read here
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - SAP Leonardo event July 2017 - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2017 - All in on Leonardo, but wait there is more... read here
    • News Analysis - SAP reshuffles Executive Board - sets up for next 5 years - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - The quest to make Procurement awesome - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Capital Markets and S/4HANA Update - Good Plan - Execution matters in 2017 - read here
    • News Analysis -SAP Introduces Jump-Start Enablement Program for SAP Leonardo IoT Portfolio >> Bundling and Simplification matter for IoT - read here
    • Event Report - Event Report - SAP TechEd Barcelona - Analytics, ML, PaaS and HANA 2  - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP to unveil HANA 2 - New platform vs a fork's tine - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR - The SaaS land grab is on - read here
    • Event Report - SAP / Trenitalia Digital Summit - SAP is serious about IoT - read here
    • First Take - SAP BW/4HANA - Data Gravity and Cloud win - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SConnect - Push on all fronts - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Insider Vienna - HCP, BI and SuccessFactors are the takeaways - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2016 - Top 3 Positives & Concerns: SAP changes - probably for the better - read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • First Take -  SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Preview - SAP Sapphire 2016 - What to expect and look for - read here
    • News Analysis - Apple & SAP Partner to Revolutionize Work on iPhone & iPad - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP SuccessFactors makes good progress - now needs appeal beyond SAP - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP HANA Vora now available... - A key milestone for SAP - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Good Progress sprinkled with innovative ideas and challenging the status quo - read here
    • News Analysis - WorkForce Software Announces Global Reseller Agreement with SAP - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Day #1 Keynote Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
    • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
    • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here
    • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
    • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
    • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
    • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
    • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
    • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
    • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
    • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
    • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
    • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
    • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
    • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
    • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
    • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
    • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here

    And more about SAP technology:
    • Event Prieview - SAP TechEd 2015 - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP Unveils New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop to Accelerate Digital Transformation – A key milestone for SAP read here
    • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
    • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
    • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
    • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
    • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
    • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
    • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
    • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
    • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
    • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here

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





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


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

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




    Want to read on? Here you go:

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

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

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

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

    MyPOV

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

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

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



    More on Next Generation Applications:
    • Event Report - Cloud Foundry CF Summit 2017 - Microsoft joins the kingdom - read here
    • Event Report - Google I/O 2016 - Android N soon, Google assistant sooner and VR / AR later - read here
    • Event Report - Pivotal SpringOne Platform - Spring in its 2nd spring - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • Event Report - OpenStack Summit 2016 - Austin - OpenStack matures, grows up - read here
    • First Take - Workato’s Workbot cuts business users some slack with Slack integration - read here
    • Event Report - Cloud Foundry Cloud Foundry Summit - It's good to be king of PaaS - read here
    • Progress Report - Cloudera is all in with Hadoop - now off to verticals - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - The next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves into DaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to Cloud Foundry and OpenStack - Key Steps - but what is the direction? Read here
    • Event Report - MongoDB is a showcase for the power of Open Source in the enterprise - read here
    • Musings - A manifesto: What are 'true' analytics? Read here
    • Future of Work - One Spreadsheet at the time - Informatica Springbok - read here
    • Musings - The Era of the no-design Database - Read here
    • Mendix - the other path to build software - read here
    • Musings - Time to ditch your datawarehouse .... - Read here

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

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    We had the opportunity to attend Salesforce’s Dreamforce event – held at the usual location, Moscone Center in San Francisco, from November 5th till 9th 2017. As usual, it was mega event, distributed across downtown, with Salesforce claiming 170k+ attendees. Salesforce shared some interesting ecosystem statistics, for instance it will generate / power 850B+ US$ in business in the next 10 years and have a net positive employment effect of 3.3M+ FTEs. Impressive statistics.

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




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



    Want to read on? Here you go:

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

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


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

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

     
    Salesforce myTrailhead - Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Salesforce myTrailhead

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

    MyPOV

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

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

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


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

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


    And more on Salesforce:

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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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


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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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


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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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


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



    Overall MyPOV

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

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

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


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



    More on Microsoft:
    • Top Event Questions [Anwered] - Microsoft Ignite and Envision 2017 - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Ignite / Envision 2017 - Broad push - few highlights - read here
    • Event Report - July 2017 Microsoft London AI Event - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in Africa - Azure learns Afrikaans to Zulu (and 9 more) - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2017 - Good Housekeeping, laying foundation, deliver on vision - read here
    • Down Report – Power failure takes Azure services down - 3 Cloud Load Toads - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Connect - No April's Fools - Linux, Google and more  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers teams - launches Microsoft Teams - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR  - The SaaS land grab is on  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Ignite - AI, Adobe and FPGA [From the Fences] - read here
    • News Analysis - GE and Microsoft partner to bring Predix to Azure - Multi-Cloud becomes tangible for IoT - read here
    • Market Move - Microsoft acquired Linked - Tons of synergies, start with Cortana, maybe too many - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft opens Windows Holographic to partners for a new era of mixed reality - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • Musings - Will Microsoft's Hololens transform the Future of Work? Read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2016 - A platform vision and plenty of tools for next generation applications - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Build 2016 - Day 1 Keynote Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Microsoft Build 2016 - Top 3 Things to watch for developers, managers and execs...  read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft - New Hybrid Offerings Deliver Bottomless Capacity for Today's Data Explosion - read here
    • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
    • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
    • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
    • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
    • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
    • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
    • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
    • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
    • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
    • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.


    And more on SAP:
    • Event Report - SAP Hybris Live 2017 Barcelona - YaaS morphs and more agility ahead - read here
    • News Analyses Roundup - SAP's September Tech Announcements - SAP doubles down on technology - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - New Leadership - Old Challenges - read here
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - SAP Leonardo event July 2017 - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2017 - All in on Leonardo, but wait there is more... read here
    • News Analysis - SAP reshuffles Executive Board - sets up for next 5 years - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - The quest to make Procurement awesome - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Capital Markets and S/4HANA Update - Good Plan - Execution matters in 2017 - read here
    • News Analysis -SAP Introduces Jump-Start Enablement Program for SAP Leonardo IoT Portfolio >> Bundling and Simplification matter for IoT - read here
    • Event Report - Event Report - SAP TechEd Barcelona - Analytics, ML, PaaS and HANA 2  - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP to unveil HANA 2 - New platform vs a fork's tine - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR - The SaaS land grab is on - read here
    • Event Report - SAP / Trenitalia Digital Summit - SAP is serious about IoT - read here
    • First Take - SAP BW/4HANA - Data Gravity and Cloud win - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SConnect - Push on all fronts - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Insider Vienna - HCP, BI and SuccessFactors are the takeaways - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2016 - Top 3 Positives & Concerns: SAP changes - probably for the better - read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • First Take -  SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Preview - SAP Sapphire 2016 - What to expect and look for - read here
    • News Analysis - Apple & SAP Partner to Revolutionize Work on iPhone & iPad - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP SuccessFactors makes good progress - now needs appeal beyond SAP - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP HANA Vora now available... - A key milestone for SAP - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Good Progress sprinkled with innovative ideas and challenging the status quo - read here
    • News Analysis - WorkForce Software Announces Global Reseller Agreement with SAP - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Day #1 Keynote Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
    • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
    • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here
    • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
    • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
    • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
    • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
    • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
    • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
    • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
    • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
    • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
    • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
    • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
    • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
    • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
    • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
    • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here

    And more about SAP technology:


    • Event Prieview - SAP TechEd 2015 - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP Unveils New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop to Accelerate Digital Transformation – A key milestone for SAP read here
    • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
    • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
    • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
    • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
    • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
    • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
    • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
    • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
    • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
    • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here

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

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



    Want to read on? Here you go:

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



    Holger Mueller Constellation Research Kronos Kronosworks 2017
    Workforce Dimensions


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



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


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



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


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


    MyPOV

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

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

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


    More on Kronos:

    • Progress Report - Kronos grows and grows - read here
    • Event Report - Kronos KronosWorks - Solid progress and big things loom - read here
    • Event Report - Kronos KronosWorks - New Versions, new UX, more mobile - faster implementations - read here
    • First Take - KronosWorks - Day 1 Keynote - R&D Investment, Customer Success and Analyticss - read here
    • Kronos executes - 2014 will be key - read here
    • Tweeting and feeling good about it - read here

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

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

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    We had the opportunity to attend Ultimate Software’s first analyst summit, held at the vendor’s headquarters in Weston, Florida, November 16th. Always good to be at an inaugural analyst meeting, good attendance by the usual HCM analysts. 


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




    Want to read on? Here you go:

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

    Ultimate Software Constellation Research Holger Mueller
    Hartshorne plays a game


    MyPOV

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

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

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


    More on Ultimate Software:
    • Event Report - Ultimate Software Connections 2017 - Broadest product push (ever?)! - read here
    • Event Report - Ultimate UltiConnect - Product, Platform and Services Innovations - read here
    • First Take - First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from Ultimate’s UltiConnect Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Report - Ultimate Software Connection - People first and an exciting roadmap ahead - read here
    • First Take - Ultimate Software UltiConnect Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Report - Ultimate's UltiConnect - Off to a great start, but the road(map) is long - read here.
    • First Take – 3 Key Takeaways from Ultimate’s UltiConnect Conference Day 1 keynote – read here.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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    We had the opportunity to attend Pivotal’s yearly user conference of the Spring developer community. SpringOne, held in San Francisco December 4th till 7th 2017 at Moscone West. With about 3000 attendees it is the best attended Pivotal conference every, a proof point for the popularity of the Pivotal products. [I am writing this blog post after attending the analyst summit on Monday, and attending Tuesday at the conference – more news is coming out and I may revise my judgement at that point.]



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




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




    Want to read on? Here you go: 

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


    Mee opens SpringOne


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



    If Onsie Then Emojis


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



    And yes - a new Spring Banner is unveiled


    MyPOV

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

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

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

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

    More on Pivotal / Cloud Foundry
    • Event Report - Cloud Foundry CF Summit 2017 - Microsoft joins the kingdom - read here
    • Event Report - Cloud Foundry Summit Europe - Europe & Cloud - A long path - read here
    • Event Report - Pivotal SpringOne Platform - Spring in its 2nd spring - read here
    • Event Report - Cloud Foundry Cloud Foundry Summit - It's good to be king of PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - Pivotal makes Cloud Foundry more about multi-cloud - read here
    • News Analysis - Pivotal pivots to OpenSource and Hortonworks - Or: OpenSource keeps winning - read here
    • New Analysis: Pivotal Now Makes It Easier Than Ever to Take Software from Idea to Production - read here

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

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

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    It’s a new year and new product announcements are coming out – normally in the consumer space, given CES looming large. Looks like SAP did not want to stand back and had a major announcement in the HCM space: The announcement of a new, on premises (yes you read this right) HCM product, planned to be available in 2023, a record time range of 5 years out. Definitively worth a news analysis, the press release can be found here.




    So let’s jump into my customary dissection of a press release:

    Nearly six years ago, SAP acquired SuccessFactors, providing our customers with the best cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solutions on the market. Since then, the number of customers using SAP SuccessFactors solutions has nearly quadrupled, and we continue to see increasing momentum toward the cloud for HCM globally and across all industries.

    MyPOV – Good description of the status quo both in regards of product and go to market strategy and reality. SAP customers had the choice to keep their existing, R/3 based SAP HCM product (which isn’t a bad product btw.) on premises. Many used the SuccessFactors Talent Management functions in parallel, in the cloud. SAP’s strategy was to use EmployeeCentral as the fix point for HCM automation and then gradually move its customers to a cloud based, maybe SuccessFactors based architecture (my speculation) was foiled for reasons outside of SAP HCM product / go to market makings with the overwhelming on premises adoption of SAP S/4HANA. 


    Our investment strategy follows this market demand, with the bulk of the planned innovations for our HCM portfolio focused on SAP SuccessFactors solutions.

    MyPOV – This is the reassurance statement for the SAP SuccessFactors customers – the last thing SAP wants them to get nervous and look at other cloud based HCM products. 


    SAP also continues to support our customers using SAP ERP HCM, our on-premise HCM solution. While an increasing number of them are migrating to SAP SuccessFactors solutions to accelerate their digital HR journeys, we also recognize that every customer journey is unique and must be undertaken at each customer’s own pace. For some SAP customers this includes a desire to deploy their HCM solution in an on-premise environment for the foreseeable future. 

    MyPOV – Good for SAP to acknowledge customer reality. Vendors can strategize and build on product as much as they want – they need customers to follow. When they don’t follow – later more – investments have to be adjusted. The ‘some SAP customers’ are the first 1000 (and numbers growing) SAP S/4HANA on premises customers. The foundation of what SAP wants to be the new ERP suite of the 21st century, it’s 21st century version of R/3. 


    To support these customers’ needs, we plan to offer a new on-premise HCM option based on SAP ERP HCM with a comparable functional scope (except for the SAP E-Recruiting application and SAP Learning Solution).”  It is intended to be deployed alongside, and integrated with, SAP S/4HANA. The solution is planned for availability in 2023, with maintenance planned at least through 2030.

    MyPOV – And the cat is out of the bag… a new HCM “option” (press release aficionados will cherish the absence of naming this “product” or at least “solution”) with a comparable scope to the current SAP HCM solution is planned for 2023. As readers know, the current SAP HCM is supported till 2025. So this will require some precision upgrading by the SAP install base and is pretty much a product road map / deliver plan that allows for very little slippage. The product comes with the ‘default’ 7 years of maintenance, that if there is any success is likely to extended. Also interesting that the new HCM option is going to be deployed next to S/4HANA, SAP calls this ‘side car’. Actively wondering why this HCM option is not offered as part of S/4HANA. Quick reminder: Originally S/4HANA was a copy of R/3, and now simplification and improvements have been and are being added. And no surprise the cloud intensive HCM functions of Recruiting and Learning are being excluded. These would be hard to size from a system capacity perspective for customers, customers are likely going to be happy to keep e.g. the video processing and playback to the cloud. 


    To recognize our customers’ existing investments, it is our intent to offer a license conversion program. Details are planned to be finalized in 2018 although the solution will not be available for purchase until eventual availability. At that time, it is intended that customers can license the new solution and start migrating to it using planned SAP-provided migration tools and services. As the underlying solution is intended to be based on SAP ERP HCM, we expect this to be a nondisruptive transition. It is planned that customers running an integrated ERP and HCM deployment in one instance today can move to a partitioned deployment model and run the offering on a separate instance.

    MyPOV – No surprise – SAP wants to make it easy for customers to adopt the new product. License conversion on the commercial side, migration help on the implementation side. Will be great to see / learn more details and good to see SAP setting an internal target of 2018… not much will happen till then on the customer side. 


    We are pleased to provide options to meet our customers’ preferences across cloud, on-premise and hybrid operating environments and will continue to provide updates on our solution road map and ongoing innovations.

    MyPOV – Boilerplate, good – but eventually acknowledging that the customer is king, and vendors have to meet customers where they are, where they want to stay and be. 



    Overall MyPOV

    Pinch me – it’s 2018 and we analyze a press release about an … on premises product. Reality in Europe (and some other parts of the world) is though that customer want a cloud ready product, that could be operated in the cloud if they desire, but then deploy on premises. Data safety, data statutory, privacy and performance arguments are the  most prominent reasons customer want to stay on premises. Of course there is a substantial portion of sticking with what has worked and is familiar since half a century…

    At the end of the day the SAP HCM product strategy got run over by the SAP S/4HANA strategy and adoption reality. I have been pointing out the lack of HCM (and CRM) messaging, road map and positioning in S/4HANA (to the point of having an informal bet with the former head of SAP SuccessFactors on SAP needing an on premise adoption option for HCM in 2018 as a consequence, made at the SuccessConnect analyst summit in 2016…). SAP customers bought a suite and want a suite back. At the moment they see fragmentation across the board, at least for HCM, CRM and Procurement. With 9x%+ of 

    SAP S/4HANA customers opting for on premises SAP was faced with the option of extending the old R/3 code and maintaining it for longer than 2025. But that would have taken off upgrade pressure on customers to move to S/4HANA… and SAP wants return of R&D from S/4HANA and some revenue. Even if SAP had provided a full suite (incl. payroll) in SuccessFactors, in the cloud today, on premises minded and bound customers would not have taken it. And a customer upgrading to S/4HANA (with no HCM in it) would have to either keep operating some R/3 infrastructure for HCM automation or move to the (non-existing) full automation of HCM in SuccessFactors… that would have opened up potential selection of other HCM suites. And with SAP competition pushing suites (beyond HCM), the overall S/4HANA upgrade could be questioned. 

    So SAP customers found themselves in a tough spot: Influence SAP through the user group to extend R/3 based HCM support (and the rest) beyond 2025 – and operate on an aging on premises infrastructure. Or reap the benefits of S/4HANA investments and force / influence SAP to undertake a S/4HCM (my naming!) project. I call it S/4HCM as I expect SAP to undertake the same process it did for e.g. Finance with S/4HANA – now again for HCM. Take R/3 based HCM, move it to a new product / code line, simplify, update to 21st century, take advantage of Leonardo (my speculation) etc. – a repeat of the S/4HANA approach and process, just for HCM. Now tons of branding pros and cons on this one. The SAP user groups had to choose between a rock and a hard place: Keep old R/3 or move forward with S/4HANA. At the end it seems (e.g. in Germany with DSAG) the active customers, using, adopting and planning to use S/4HANA have won inside of the user groups). 

    With all the challenges, there are also some kudos for SAP into this. Announcing a new product to be available 5+ years from now is probably a record for the enterprise software industry (for the observers, Oracle held that with a 4 year ETA for the called Oracle Fusion in 2008). This gives customers a chance to plan on the long-term side and monitor SAP’s progress. The other side of the coin is of course that SAP will now push the S/4HANA upgrade path even more. Deploy the new SAP ERP sidecar option and move to the new ‘digital core’ (as SAP calls it). 

    At the end of the day this is a great lesson learnt that customer adoption ultimately dictates product investment and road maps. Vendors can only move and entice customers on a value based proposition so far… with the bulk of S/4HANA being on premises the writing was on the wall that SAP needed an on premises strategy for HCM (and likely for CRM and Procurement). Now the question is… what does this mean for SAP’s CRM and Purchasing plans. We can only speculate…



    And more on SAP:
    •  News Analysis - Microsoft and SAP join forces to give customers a trusted path to digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Hybris Live 2017 Barcelona - YaaS morphs and more agility ahead - read here
    • News Analyses Roundup - SAP's September Tech Announcements - SAP doubles down on technology - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - New Leadership - Old Challenges - read here
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - SAP Leonardo event July 2017 - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2017 - All in on Leonardo, but wait there is more... read here
    • News Analysis - SAP reshuffles Executive Board - sets up for next 5 years - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - The quest to make Procurement awesome - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Capital Markets and S/4HANA Update - Good Plan - Execution matters in 2017 - read here
    • News Analysis -SAP Introduces Jump-Start Enablement Program for SAP Leonardo IoT Portfolio >> Bundling and Simplification matter for IoT - read here
    • Event Report - Event Report - SAP TechEd Barcelona - Analytics, ML, PaaS and HANA 2  - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP to unveil HANA 2 - New platform vs a fork's tine - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR - The SaaS land grab is on - read here
    • Event Report - SAP / Trenitalia Digital Summit - SAP is serious about IoT - read here
    • First Take - SAP BW/4HANA - Data Gravity and Cloud win - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SConnect - Push on all fronts - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Insider Vienna - HCP, BI and SuccessFactors are the takeaways - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2016 - Top 3 Positives & Concerns: SAP changes - probably for the better - read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • First Take -  SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Preview - SAP Sapphire 2016 - What to expect and look for - read here
    • News Analysis - Apple & SAP Partner to Revolutionize Work on iPhone & iPad - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP SuccessFactors makes good progress - now needs appeal beyond SAP - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP HANA Vora now available... - A key milestone for SAP - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Good Progress sprinkled with innovative ideas and challenging the status quo - read here
    • News Analysis - WorkForce Software Announces Global Reseller Agreement with SAP - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Day #1 Keynote Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
    • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
    • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here
    • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
    • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
    • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
    • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
    • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
    • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
    • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
    • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
    • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
    • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
    • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
    • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
    • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
    • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
    • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here

    And more about SAP technology:
    • Event Prieview - SAP TechEd 2015 - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP Unveils New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop to Accelerate Digital Transformation – A key milestone for SAP read here
    • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
    • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
    • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
    • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
    • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
    • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
    • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
    • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
    • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
    • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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    The monopoly race is on between all key cloud IaaS players, the most prominent ones being AWS, Microsoft, Google, IBM and Oracle. There are always monthly press releases about new data centers being announced, opening etc. But seldom there is a ‘bulk’ announcement like the one that Google announced yesterday, in a blog by Treynor Sloss, that can be found here.


    So, let’s dissect the blog in our customary way:


    At Google, we've spent $30 billion improving our infrastructure over three years, and we’re not done yet. From data centers to subsea cables, Google is committed to connecting the world and serving our Cloud customers, and today we’re excited to announce that we’re adding three new submarine cables, and five new regions.


    MyPOV – Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) fuels IaaS expansion, and the 30B claim stakes a ground for the other IaaS players to measure themselves on. Google is investing heavily in submarine cables by its own, that will drive up the tab. But it has advantages – read on.

      
                                                                 

    We’ll open our Netherlands and Montreal regions in the first quarter of 2018, followed by Los Angeles, Finland, and Hong Kong – with more to come. Then, in 2019 we’ll commission three subsea cables: Curie, a private cable connecting Chile to Los Angeles; Havfrue, a consortium cable connecting the U.S. to Denmark and Ireland; and the Hong Kong-Guam Cable system (HK-G), a consortium cable interconnecting major subsea communication hubs in Asia. 



    Google Cloud Platform Datacenter Map - Source:Google


    MyPOV – 5 new regions are a frantic benchmark for all IaaS providers. With the competition not having shared their overall 2018 objectives this is certainly a high mark. But we will have to see. The remarkable difference are the three subsea cables that will come in 2019. They connect traditionally underserved regions (e.g. Denmark (and with that Scandinavia have no fast connection to North America) – or bypass expensive land connections (e.g. Chile to Los Angeles). Interesting that the latter is a private cable for Google (the others are consortiums).  



    Together, these investments further improve our network—the world’s largest—which by some accounts delivers 25% of worldwide internet traffic. Companies like PayPal leverage our network and infrastructure to run their businesses effectively.



    Google Network - Source: Google 


    MyPOV – 25% of the worldwide traffic is an impressive number. The scale of that helps Google further, but is also important to keep up good network quality and SLAs, consequently Google need to invest into the network and it’s good to see it keeps doing that.



    “At PayPal, we process billions of transactions across the globe, and need to do so securely, instantaneously and economically. As a result, security, networking and infrastructure were key considerations for us when choosing a cloud provider,” said Sri Shivananda, PayPal’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “With Google Cloud, we have access to the world’s largest network, which helps us reach our infrastructure goals and best serve our millions of users.”


    MyPOV – Always good to have a customer using the announced system and services, bonus if well known and demanding a huge scale like PayPal.

    Curie cable



    Our investment in the Curie cable (named after renowned scientist Marie Curie) is part of our ongoing commitment to improve global infrastructure. In 2008, we were the first tech company to invest in a subsea cable as a part of a consortium. With Curie, we become the first major non-telecom company to build a private intercontinental cable.


    MyPOV – Indeed an inflection point for Google again. I remember other tech players wondering why Google invested in 2008 into a consortium…why spend capital when you can rent later? The same questions may come up around the Curie cable. A fast North / South America connection is huge – both for Google and its customers. As South America grows, so does the need for bandwidth.



    By deploying our own private subsea cable, we help improve global connectivity while providing value to our customers. Owning the cable ourselves has some distinct benefits. Since we control the design and construction process, we can fully define the cable’s technical specifications, streamline deployment and deliver service to users and customers faster. Also, once the cable is deployed, we can make routing decisions that optimize for latency and availability.

    Curie will be the first subsea cable to land in Chile in almost 20 years. Once deployed, Curie will be Chile’s largest single data pipe. It will serve Google users and customers across Latin America.


    MyPOV – Good explanation of why Google is building its own cable... and the unique benefits it brings to Chile and Latin America.



    Havfrue cable

    To increase capacity and resiliency in our North Atlantic systems, we’re working with Facebook, Aqua Comms and Bulk Infrastructure to build a direct submarine cable system connecting the U.S. to Denmark and Ireland. This cable, called Havfrue (Danish for “mermaid”), will be built by TE SubCom and is expected to come online by the end of 2019. The marine route survey, during which the supplier determines the specific route the cable will take, is already underway.


    MyPOV – Interesting update on Havfrue – and shows that Google can partner with competitors – like Facebook. While there is plenty of options to network to Ireland, avoiding the land / sea / land /sea way most routes take from Ireland to the rest of Europe is an advantage.



    HK-G cable

    In the Pacific, we’re working with RTI-C and NEC on the Hong Kong-Guam cable system. Together with Indigo and other existing subsea systems, this cable creates multiple scalable, diverse paths to Australia, increasing our resilience in the Pacific. As a result, customers will experience improved capacity and latency from Australia to major hubs in Asia. It will also increase our network capacity at our new Hong Kong region.


    MyPOV – I think this is more about Hong Kong, and some appeasement for traditionally bandwidth starved Australia, something likely mot changing till someone puts more North America to Australia direct sea cable on the bottom of the Pacific.



    Google has direct investment in 11 cables, including those planned or under construction. The three cables highlighted in yellow are being announced in this blog post. (In addition to these 11 cables where Google has direct ownership, we also lease capacity on numerous additional submarine cables.)


    MyPOV – A good summary, showing the unique position of Goggle.



    What does this mean for our customers?

    These new investments expand our existing cloud network. The Google network has over 100 points of presence (map) and over 7,500 edge caching nodes (map). This investment means faster and more reliable connectivity for all our users.


    MyPOV – Good to have a taxonomy and the 100 points of presence and over 7500 edge 
    nodes are impressive. And likely the leading network.


    Simply put, it wouldn’t be possible to deliver products like Machine Learning Engine, Spanner, BigQuery and other Google Cloud Platform and G Suite services at the quality of service users expect without the Google network. Our cable systems provide the speed, capacity and reliability Google is known for worldwide, and at Google Cloud, our customers can make use of the same network infrastructure that powers Google’s own services.

    While we haven’t hastened the speed of light, we have built a superior cloud network because of the well-provisioned direct paths between our cloud and end-users, as shown in the figure below.


    MyPOV – Indeed the opportunity for Google is that it can run services and products on its network – that potentially other IaaS competitors cannot achieve. Or can only achieve with lengthy negotiations with network providers.



    We’re excited about these improvements. We're increasing our commitment to ensure users have the best connections in this increasingly connected world.


    MyPOV – You bet. 😉



    How Google sees the Google network vs the options of other IaaS players - Source: Google 


    Overall MyPOV

    In general, there is a trend of commoditization between the IaaS vendors – with differentiation getting harder to determine. One area that sticks out is the Google network. Anyone who lands in a country on this planet and turns on their smartphone can see the benefits: Gmail arrives not seconds, but often full minutes earlier than other email accounts. And of course, there are much more benefits beyond simple email – but Gmail is a tangible example that everybody can test themselves. Where it gets exciting is around use cases like Cloud Spanner. Achieving transactional consistency in under sub second is a key quality for many critical next generation applications, e.g. in the are of IoT.


    This blog post is doing an excellent job at explaining Google investment and the benefits, but Google will have to keep pushing messaging and awareness that enterprise decision makers can evaluate these capabilities, and realize how critical they maybe for their next generation applications running on Google Cloud Platform.



    Lastly, exciting times for the worldwide IaaS rollout. All too often users and enterprises are overseeing the heavy lifting that is necessary behind the scenes to make the ‘cloud’ happen. If you are lucky and every visited an undersee cable trawler / ship – you realize that there is m any aspects that go into a great user experience. Some of them salty. But for now, congrats to Google to keep investing in one of the core differentiators for Google Cloud, the Google network. 




    More about Google:

    • Summer 2017 - News Analysis - Google introduces Google Hire - read here
    • 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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    This morning ADP informed the markets about its acquisition of WorkMarket, founded 2010 and a leading platform / marketplace for freelancers.



    A first move by a key HCM player, so certainly worth one of our customary news analysis blog posts, with a Market Move format angle at the end. The press release can be found here.

    ROSELAND, NJ -- (Marketwired) -- 01/22/18 -- ADP® today announced the acquisition of WorkMarket, a leading cloud-based workforce management solution provider that allows companies to build and manage an integrated workforce across W-2 employees, 1099 contractors, vendors and other types of workers. With this acquisition, ADP builds on its current portfolio of industry-leading payroll and human capital management solutions that help clients and workers modernize the way work gets done while unlocking productivity, engagement and growth.
    MyPOV – Good summary of the acquisition and of the potential… could have used some of the often-seen stats on the growing gig economy to underline the relevance.


    WorkMarket was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in New York City. Backed by leading venture firms such as Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital and Foundry Group, as well as Accenture Ventures, WorkMarket helps companies manage their integrated workforce in a simple, secure and compliant manner. WorkMarket’ s innovative solutions include tools to source and vet independent workers, manage their engagements, and pay and evaluate these workers. In addition to offering robust freelancer management functionality, the company has extended its capabilities to help clients optimize how work gets done across any labor type. Their client base spans global brands, as well as small and mid-sized businesses.
    MyPOV – Good and fair summary of what WorkMarket does. The capability to optimize across labor types is what is interesting for people leaders these days.


    "At ADP, we innovate by anticipating how the world of work evolves and how dynamics -- like the rise of the gig economy -- impact the needs of our clients and the modern workforce. WorkMarket allows us to provide ready access to a growing contingent labor pool and the tools to manage and pay them in a secure, efficient and compliant manner. Through this acquisition, ADP continues its tradition of helping clients keep pace with change and manage increasing complexity," said Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of ADP. "WorkMarket is a proven expert in freelancer management. We are thrilled to welcome their team to ours and to leverage our global footprint and bring scale to their expertise and technology."
    MyPOV – Good quote by Rodriguez. Describes the goal going forward – scale WorkMarket globally and to the ADP customer base – with an eye on the core of ADP, payroll.


    The rise of the contingent workforce is shaping the global workforce. ADP data shows that approximately 80% of U.S. businesses already rely on independent contractors and the number of contingent workers as part of the overall workforce is growing. According to […], by 2020 nearly 60% of human resource leaders will use a unified talent strategy for employees and contractors. With this acquisition, ADP becomes the only human capital management provider with broad functionality for HR professionals to manage and have insights into this new mosaic of labor, which will be comprised of both full-time employees and contingent workers.

    MyPOV – Ok – here are the market sizing statistics. More on ADP being the only one… below.


    Jeff Wald, co-founder and president of WorkMarket, said, "The WorkMarket team is thrilled to be joining ADP. We share the same vision of enabling companies and workers alike to navigate the changing labor marketplace with greater ease, and we look forward to offering our solutions to ADP's vast client base."MyPOV – Always good to have a quote of the founder of the acquired party in the acquisition press release. Judging from the presence of Thomas Buckingham (ADP acquired TMBC almost exactly 1 year ago – see here) Jeff Wald maybe around for a few years. It’s always good to see the founders carrying the torch on a great scale. We will see.



    Overall MyPOV

    After overcoming the Pershing Square board challenge in fall of 2017, ADP keeps firing on all cylinders. It announced a new payroll and has more to come in 2018. Getting in early on the gig economy is a good move, as it has massive repercussions on how workers get paid. And while the new payroll supports all the gig economy requirements, there is more needed to feed that payroll: Contractor data, validation, market places – to mention a few. A key piece is also workforce scheduling, planning and simulation, something ADP will have to consider likewise – its either build, partner (existing partnerships with Kronos are in place) or acquire here, too. Future will tell.

    On the concern side, one more acquisition of course. But ADP has shown it can acquire and keep momentum… WorkMarket though requires a different architecture and approach than traditional ERP / HCM software: Marketplaces, working on both sides of the firewall, marketing automation etc. are some of the prominent additional design points. It will be interesting to follow ADP through 2018 and see how soon the vendor will tackle the area. Oh, and on the claim, being the first HCM vendor, so maybe, as SAP with Fieldglass will have a word to say (but ok, ADP could say SAP is a ERP vendor). But all is good as it means choice and competition by vendors with deep pockets to help enterprises manage their heterogenous workforces of the future. Seamless employee / contractor management is the prize, with all the implications on the compliance, motivation and alignment side.

    But for now, congrats to ADP for a key acquisition and to WorkMarket – that just got turbo charged. Stay tuned for more.



    More on ADP:

    • Progress Report - ADP pushes on - 2018 will be BIG - read here
    • 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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    More and more software is moving to the cloud and it allows vendors to redefine the value proposition of their software during the process. A good example is Informatica with its integration product capabilities.

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

    Redwood City, Calif., Dec. 19, 2017 – Informatica, the enterprise cloud data management leader, today announced the general availability of its next-generation integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) solution, Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services.
    MyPOV – Good intro, we know what this is about and General Availability – GA – is always a key milestone for enterprise software. Extra kudos for shipping in time as communicated at Informatica World in Spring of 2017.


    Enterprises can leverage the new iPaaS to power their data-driven digital transformation in a multi-cloud environment, and benefit from a flexible, cloud-based integration and data management solution that is built to scale at the speed of business. Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services offers a unified and modern user experience across iPaaS integration patterns and is supported by a modular, microservices architecture that is customizable and easy to navigate. The new iPaaS experience is leveraging the CLAIRE engine to provide AI metadata driven recommendations to automate and accelerate integration and data management work.
    MyPOV – A functionality rich paragraph describing what the Informatica iPaaS does: multi-cloud data driven transformation and integration. Good to see the AI angle with the CLAIRE engine.


    The IT landscape is evolving to support complex business needs around data management and current solutions are not enough. Enterprises are rethinking iPaaS usage to drive innovation across front end and back end, supporting all levels of users.
    MyPOV – Correct, enterprises are realizing, that they have a new kind of integration problem at hand. On the bright side they now have the option to move the integration engine platform from on premises to the public cloud, a key inflection point for the iPaaS industry.


    […] Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services is built on a foundation of trust, with security and privacy as an integral part of the infrastructure successfully audited for compliance with security regulations like HIPAA and certifications like SOC2 type II, SOC3 and more. Additionally, enterprises will be able to use Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services as part of a solution that is compliant with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect May 2018. For more details check out trust.informatica.com.MyPOV – When enterprises move automation to the cloud, they immediately have questions on security and privacy. Good to see Informatica addressing these proactively in the press release, with extra kudos of mentioning the looming GDPR deadline.


    To learn more, participate in the Informatica virtual cloud event, “iPaaS Reimagined: Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services Launch,” featuring a keynote, deep-dive demos, live expert chat, and insightful sessions on a range of cloud/hybrid topics.
    MyPOV – Always good to see virtual, on demand events, which take out the demand of calendar synchronicity for attendants.



    Overall MyPOV

    Good to see the progress by Informatica moving the integration portfolio to the cloud, as announced at Informatica World. CxOs are ready to use new platforms to integrate their applications, as the enterprise automation portfolio more and more disintegrates between on premises and multiple clouds. In the past integration tools would stay on premises, as the core of automation resided there, going forward we see more automation happening across several clouds, resulting in multi-cloud landscape. Such a landscape makes on premises based integration tools obsolete and expensive, as e.g. network transfer rates are one of the key costs in a hybrid cloud environment. It’s early days for Informatica’ s assistant – CLAIRE – so it will be interesting to see first use cases. The technology and demand are both promising, it’s up to vendors to make it happen.

    On the concern side, this is a new release of software, so the usual cautions apply to adoption. CxOs need to be aware of potential quality risks as early adopters, or work closely with early references of fast followers. Informatica has a good track record from a quality perspective, but integration is a binary animal, either it works – or it doesn’t.

    But for now, congratulations to Informatica to move its integration portfolio to the cloud. A key new option for CxOs to solve the integration puzzle of their enterprise automation, and an early entry in the cloud based iPaaS market. Stay tuned.


    More on Informatica:
    • News Analysis - Informatica Reinvents iPaaS with Next-generation Cloud Services Reimagined to Address Data Management Challenges - read here
    • 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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    SAP hasn’t been on the 1B+ acquisition path since 2014, and at the same time is building out its next generation ERP offering with S/4AHANA. SAP seemed to be on an organic build out path of capabilities, so the more (or less) was the surprise that SAP stepped back into acquisition mode, acquiring Dublin, CA based CallidusCloud (Callidus going forward here) for 2.4B US$.


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

    DUBLIN, Calif. and WALLDORF, Germany — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) and Callidus Software Inc. (doing business as CallidusCloud®) (Nasdaq: CALD) today announced that SAP America, Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire CallidusCloud, the leader in cloud-based Lead to Money (Quote-to-Cash) solutions.


    MyPOV - Good summary. Interesting that the acquisition is done by SAP America, not SAP SE… but we have seen that before and I am sure the colleagues with a tie (aka the financial analysts) have a good answer for this.


    SAP will assemble the most complete and differentiated portfolio to manage today’s customer experience
    CallidusCloud’s Lead to Money suite for sales combined with SAP’s Customer Engagement suite creates leading CRM solution portfolio


    MyPOV – The usual bold statements made around an acquisition. SAP is never shy here, but to be fair Callidus gives SAP some options of differentiation around Sales Effectiveness (this is guiding sales people to do the ‘right’ thing in selecting leads to develop, opportunities to pursue, products to select – all with influencing them via variable compensation – while having some training / gamification assets to educate them on what is ‘right’). Not so clear how SAP’s Customer Engagement suite (is that SAP Hybris?) combines to that. Callidus has been great to steer sales people to do the ‘right’ thing, not end users / consumers.


    The CallidusCloud board of directors has unanimously approved the transaction. The per share purchase price of $36.00 represents a 21% premium over the 30-day volume weighted average price per share and a 28% premium over CallidusCloud’s 90-day volume weighted average price per share. The per share price represents an enterprise value of approximately $2.4 billion. SAP has elected to fund the transaction with existing cash balances and an acquisition term loan. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, subject to approval from CallidusCloud stockholders, clearances by the relevant regulatory authorities, and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to be essentially neutral to SAP’s non-IFRS earnings per share for fiscal 2018 and accretive to SAP’s non-IFRS earnings per share for fiscal 2019.

    MyPOV – Good to see the transparency on the financing… looks like SAP wants to keep some powder dry for more (?) and take advantage of still low interest rates. Interesting in the cloud era that SAP sees now accretive effects in earning starting only in 2019. Maybe the acquisition and onboarding costs are eating those. Again a tidbit to check with the financial analysts.


    Reinventing the Front Office
    The acquisition gives SAP immediate leadership in the Lead to Money space that includes sales performance management (SPM) and configure-price-quote (CPQ). CallidusCloud offers a full suite of SPM and CPQ solutions, including sales enablement, sales analytics and customer engagement. The combination of SAP’s assets with CallidusCloud’s will deliver the most complete, end-to-end, fully cloud-based ‘Lead-to-Cash’ offering. CallidusCloud has been a partner of SAP for several years, based on a joint selling agreement.


    MyPOV – Another gutsy statement in regards of reinventing the front office. Interesting SAP does not use the more common CRM, this maybe the start of SAP pushing more again into CRM. Front Office is a good term, but most ERP vendors shied away from it as Back Office isn’t terribly appealing. The irony is that Callidus is the Back Office of the Front Office – doing the choreography of sales people. CallidusCloud has an immediate effect on SAP’s traditional CRM offering (Is it still Cloud 4 customer?). That’s where Callidus comes from and does the bulk of its revenue. Good to notice that both vendors have been partners since a long time. That should accelerate product based integration offerings.


    Two Growth Companies, Stronger Together
    CallidusCloud is a synergistic addition to SAP’s portfolio and significantly strengthens SAP’s position in the customer relationship management (CRM) space. CallidusCloud’s solutions are tailored to the specific needs of sales people on the ground and link sales-related information, such as pricing, incentives, and commissions, to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. CallidusCloud as part of SAP will seamlessly link front and back offices, align sales, compensation and corporate goals, and ensure real-time data flow between the field and finance department.


    MyPOV – This is the most realistic and real paragraph of the press release. Yes, its about CRM and Sales Effectiveness – with a heavy slant in regards of variable compensation of sales people (or Incentive Compensation). And variable pay has a wider organizational impact, with a large part of the processing happening in the CFO organization, sometimes even the CHROs (close to payroll).


    Statements by the Chief Executive Officers
    “SAP is connecting the back office to the front office in this consumer-driven growth revolution,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP. “Our customers are focused on reinventing sales, service, marketing, and commerce. The addition of CallidusCloud aligns perfectly to SAP’s innovation strategy to transform the front office. SAP gives CallidusCloud the global scale to accelerate its already impressive growth. These two strong companies will be better together, help the world run better and improve people’s lives.”

     MyPOV – Good quote of McDermott. Obviously “Back Office” does not have a bad reputation these days in the eyes of SAP. Stressing the need of reinvention… which SAP badly needs on the CRM front.


    “We are super excited to join forces with SAP,” said CallidusCloud’s CEO Leslie Stretch. “This move gives customers precisely what they want, the market leading Sales Performance (SPM), Sales Execution (CPQ) and Sales Enablement clouds combined with SAP Hybris and S/4HANA. This is true Lead to Money, beyond CRM and beyond Quote-to-Cash. It’s the joined-up Front Office and Back Office Cloud everyone needs for 21st Century Business. In addition, the purchase price provides substantial value to our stockholders.”

    MyPOV – Good quote by Stretch. Might be the last time we hear of “Lead to Money”, the Callidus marketing moniker. As with all acquisitions – it will be interesting how the Callidus business will be organized. Past multiple billion acquisitions saw SAP preserve the organization initially (SuccessFactors, Business Objects, Ariba …) – no mention here.


    Additional Business Synergies
    SAP’s S/4HANA business suite in the cloud, SAP Hybris, and Gigya solutions already help businesses deliver new customer experiences, connecting the demand chain to the supply chain. SAP Hybris solutions help companies serve consumers in any channel, on any device. In addition, SAP Hybris’s revenue and billing solutions enable companies to monetize new business models. Gigya helps companies secure, protect, and service the consumer’s digital identity in the age of data protection and regulation.


    MyPOV – Good attempt to paint the big picture and synergies… but as usual these days with SAP – the demarcation lines between S/4HANA and new assets – here SAP Hybris aren’t fully clear. Good to see the mention of Gigya, but also not clear how it plays here (customer first party data for Sales Effectiveness – huh? Callidus is about to align employees – not customers / consumers directly).


    CallidusCloud, combined with SAP’s solution portfolio, also will offer companies powerful tools to enhance sales execution and transform customer engagement. CallidusCloud’s portfolio will strengthen existing SAP sales solutions. The portfolio will be enriched with sales planning and forecasting, territory management, and pipeline management. SAP’s sales content management will benefit from easy access to contracts, collateral, and learning.
     MyPOV – A much fairer paragraph on what Callidus brings to SAP and what the synergies are – mostly on the back office side of the front office.


    Additionally, with the Lead to Money suite, CallidusCloud is a leader for cloud-based Quote-to-Cash solutions. This area includes solutions for sales performance management (SPM), sales execution including configure-price-quote (CPQ) applications, sales enablement including learning applications, customer engagement and analytics. CallidusCloud SPM solutions give salespeople instantaneous knowledge of their compensation associated with particular product and pricing configurations and reduce errors in calculating sales commissions and compensation arrangements. CallidusCloud CPQ solutions enable salespeople to identify and configure product packages that have built-in rules for discounts and that can generate proposals for the customers on the spot and during the conversation with the customer. CallidusCloud CPQ solutions also can automatically generate contracts in real time while the salesperson is with the customer. Part of CallidusCloud’s offering is a sales-focused and mobile-native learning platform called “Litmos,” which shows solid growth.

    MyPOV – Good summary of what Callidus can do. Glad there was no link to SuccessFactors (yet) or SAP HCM – as learning platform was mentioned- that could / would create more confusions – though I expect SAP to leverage synergies between the across the Bay neighbours… Learning is crucial to aid enterprises with acceleration.


    SAP will follow a strategy of openness that will continue to support integration of CallidusCloud solutions with third-party installations. 

    MyPOV – Very important statement here – as from my estimate more than 70% of Callidus customers don’t use … SAP. But most prominently Callidus partners Oracle and Salesforce. Keeping these customers will be key from a financial ROI for SAP of this acquisition. The next months will be key to keep the confidence of these customers up.


    Upon completion of the transaction, SAP expects to consolidate all CallidusCloud product assets within SAP Hybris solutions as part of SAP’s Cloud Business Group. The existing management team will continue to lead CallidusCloud. The SAP Cloud Platform is to be used for the technical integration of CallidusCloud solutions.

    MyPOV – So the home for Callidus is clear. Part of SAP Hybris, under Atzberger, rolling up to Enslin. Glad to see the SAP Cloud Platform mentioned here – though Callidus has some interesting technology and architecture for SAP overall and SAP CP (e.g. OrientDB, a multi model database, with a graph database origin).


    Implications, implications... 

    SAP Customer Implications

    This is likely going to be good news for SAP customers, who get market leading Sales Effectiveness capabilities. Joint customers are the lucky group, but will have to look at what happens to integration, and should seek re-assurance in regards of old (likely pre SAP Cloud Platform) built integrations. License considerations will also have to be considered. A joint roadmap should be asked for, as well as re-assurance of in flight promised capabilities to be delivered.

    Callidus Customer Implications

    See above for joint SAP customers. Customers with other ERP back ends will not have to panic, as SAP’s record for diverse backends has improved, nonetheless re-assurances in regards of continued operation are key (beyond this press release). Contact your Callidus account manager asap and be visible. Special attention needs to be given to non SAP integration / functionality commitments that they are delivered, and will have the usual support and maintenance timelines. Non SAP customer also need to seek re-assurance on longer term roadmap commitments that are crucial to them.

    Partner Implications

    Joint partners will be the lucky ones, but may have to do some practice consolidations. Their clients need to make sure they keep the professionals they like to work with. Callidus only partners have to make a call if they want to become SAP partners – or focus on the other partners. Callidus and other ERP / Salesforce partners may look for alternatives, depending on how large their business and trust with SAP is.

    Competitor Implications

    Overall CRM / ERP integration will become more important, which is great news for customers, as they operate both CRM and ERP and have often left at integration odds (even with the same vendor for both automation areas). When enterprise vendors have to focus more on Sales Effectiveness, good things happen for enterprises. Likely Oracle will have to ramp up investments, and Salesforce will have to ease integration work needed to integrate with ERP backends. This acquisition will also put pressure on Salesforce to move the best of breed yard stick out further – to justify integration costs any non ERP based offering in CRM has to justify.

    Overall MyPOV

    A good move by SAP, that had to do something to get its CRM business invigorated. Looking at the back office of the front office – which Callidus largely does – is a good move as it allows differentiation towards key competitors Salesforce and Oracle. Moreover, Callidus capabilities align well with synergies next to ERP, of course SAP Hybris, SAP SuccessFactors and even SAP Ariba (Contract creation, next best action etc.). Most importantly for enterprises, it means ERP players (SAP, Oracle) are paying more attention to CRM again, which in recent years has been left largely to Salesforce. More competition and functional differentiation is good for enterprises.

    On the concern side, SAP is late to re-invigorate its CRM plans. Salesforce has done a lot of business in the SAP install base in the last years, so likely that needed a reaction. With Atzberger, McDermott has put a talented executive on the job, it will be important to fill out roadmap and more plans through 2018. It’s not too late for SAP, but not much time left, going beyond the realization that more than e-Commerce (aka SAP Hybris) are needed to play big in CRM.

    Overall good news, customers and prospects now have to await the road maps, which maybe at at Sapphire if all goes well. Stay tuned.


    And more on SAP:
    • News Analysis - SAP HCM On-Premise Option for SAP S/4HANA - or is this S/4HCM? - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft and SAP join forces to give customers a trusted path to digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Hybris Live 2017 Barcelona - YaaS morphs and more agility ahead - read here
    • News Analyses Roundup - SAP's September Tech Announcements - SAP doubles down on technology - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - New Leadership - Old Challenges - read here
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - SAP Leonardo event July 2017 - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2017 - All in on Leonardo, but wait there is more... read here
    • News Analysis - SAP reshuffles Executive Board - sets up for next 5 years - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - The quest to make Procurement awesome - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Capital Markets and S/4HANA Update - Good Plan - Execution matters in 2017 - read here
    • News Analysis -SAP Introduces Jump-Start Enablement Program for SAP Leonardo IoT Portfolio >> Bundling and Simplification matter for IoT - read here
    • Event Report - Event Report - SAP TechEd Barcelona - Analytics, ML, PaaS and HANA 2  - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP to unveil HANA 2 - New platform vs a fork's tine - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR - The SaaS land grab is on - read here
    • Event Report - SAP / Trenitalia Digital Summit - SAP is serious about IoT - read here
    • First Take - SAP BW/4HANA - Data Gravity and Cloud win - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SConnect - Push on all fronts - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Insider Vienna - HCP, BI and SuccessFactors are the takeaways - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire 2016 - Top 3 Positives & Concerns: SAP changes - probably for the better - read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • First Take -  SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Preview - SAP Sapphire 2016 - What to expect and look for - read here
    • News Analysis - Apple & SAP Partner to Revolutionize Work on iPhone & iPad - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP SuccessFactors makes good progress - now needs appeal beyond SAP - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP HANA Vora now available... - A key milestone for SAP - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Good Progress sprinkled with innovative ideas and challenging the status quo - read here
    • News Analysis - WorkForce Software Announces Global Reseller Agreement with SAP - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Day #1 Keynote Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
    • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
    • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
    • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
    • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here
    • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
    • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
    • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
    • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
    • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
    • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
    • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
    • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
    • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
    • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
    • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
    • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
    • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
    • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
    • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
    • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
    • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
    • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
    • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here

    And more about SAP technology:

    • Event Prieview - SAP TechEd 2015 - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP Unveils New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop to Accelerate Digital Transformation – A key milestone for SAP read here
    • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
    • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
    • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
    • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
    • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
    • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
    • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
    • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
    • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
    • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
    • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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    Few open source standard have won faster than Kubernetes, and that also means the ecosystem consolidation is moving faster than almost any market in enterprise software. So it came as no surprise that Red Hat announced it acquired CoreOS.



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


    Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire CoreOS, Inc., an innovator and leader in Kubernetes and container-native solutions, for a purchase price of $250 million, subject to certain adjustments at closing that are not expected to be material. Red Hat’s acquisition of CoreOS will further its vision of enabling customers to build any application and deploy them in any environment with the flexibility afforded by open source. By combining CoreOS’s complementary capabilities with Red Hat’s already broad Kubernetes and container-based portfolio, including Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat aims to further accelerate adoption and development of the industry’s leading hybrid cloud platform for modern application workloads.

    MyPOV – Good intro, shares the motivation (applications / containers everywhere), the prices (250 M) and where the new home is (Red Hat OpenShift) and the prize (hybrid cloud deployment). Kudos to the press release authors.


    We believe this acquisition cements Red Hat as a cornerstone of hybrid cloud and modern app deployments.
    PAUL CORMIER PRESIDENT, PRODUCTS AND TECHNOLOGIES, RED HAT


    MyPOV – Ok good to have a quote, with the usual optimistic to grandiose outlook today woth Paul Cormier.


    As applications move to hybrid and multicloud environments, a growing number of organizations are using containers to more easily build, deploy and move applications to, from, and across clouds. […]

    MyPOV – No question containers are popular for load portability. Nice would have been a statement e.g. how many containers are run by Red Hat / CoreOS.


    Founded in 2013, CoreOS was created with a goal of building and delivering infrastructure for organizations of all sizes that mirrored that of large-scale software companies, automatically updating and patching servers and helping to solve pain points like downtime, security and resilience. Since its early work to popularize lightweight Linux operating systems optimized for containers, CoreOS has become well-regarded as a leader behind award-winning technologies that are enabling the broad adoption of scalable and resilient containerized applications.

    MyPOV – Fair history of CoreOS… but not sharing the Google investment, and plan to make Kubernetes more popular for on premises.. that master plan has pretty much paid off by now… and the market leader for Linux (Red Hat) gives CoreOS the biggest reach for on premises deployments.


    CoreOS is the creator of CoreOS Tectonic, an enterprise-ready Kubernetes platform that provides automated operations, enables portability across private and public cloud providers, and is based on open source software. It also offers CoreOS Quay, an enterprise-ready container registry. CoreOS is also well-known for helping to drive many of the open source innovations that are at the heart of containerized applications, including Kubernetes, where it is a leading contributor; Container Linux, a lightweight Linux distribution created and maintained by CoreOS that automates software updates and is streamlined for running containers; etcd, the distributed data store for Kubernetes; and rkt, an application container engine, donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), that helped drive the current Open Container Initiative (OCI) standard.

    MyPOV – Good summary of what CoreOS does and has achieved in remarkably short time. Red Hat now needs to explain and share what it plans to do with the products in the next months.


    Red Hat was early to embrace containers and container orchestration and has contributed deeply to related open source communities, including Kubernetes, where it is the second-leading contributor behind only Google. Red Hat is also a leader in enabling organizations around the world to embrace container-based applications, including its work on Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform. Now with the combination of Red Hat and CoreOS, Red Hat amplifies its leadership in both upstream community and enterprise container-based solutions.

    MyPOV – Everybody likes to claim to be an early adopter of a winning standard, but in this case RedHat has the chops to prove it, based on the Kubernetes distribution it has delivered… of course partnering with Google since a year on many levels never hurt that effort.


    The transaction is expected to have no material impact to Red Hat's guidance for its fourth fiscal quarter or fiscal year ending Feb. 28, 2018.
    The transaction is expected to close in January 2018, subject to customary closing conditions.


    MyPOV – Things move fast in the open source and container world.


    Paul Cormier, president, Products and Technologies, Red Hat
    “The next era of technology is being driven by container-based applications that span multi- and hybrid cloud environments, including physical, virtual, private cloud and public cloud platforms. Kubernetes, containers and Linux are at the heart of this transformation, and, like Red Hat, CoreOS has been a leader in both the upstream open source communities that are fueling these innovations and its work to bring enterprise-grade Kubernetes to customers. We believe this acquisition cements Red Hat as a cornerstone of hybrid cloud and modern app deployments.”


    MyPOV – Good quote from Cormier on why Red Hat acquired CoreOS.


    Alex Polvi, CEO, CoreOS
    “Red Hat and CoreOS’s relationship began many years ago as open source collaborators developing some of the key innovations in containers and distributed systems, helping to make automated operations a reality. This announcement marks a new stage in our shared aim to make these important technologies ubiquitous in business and the world. Thank you to the CoreOS family, our customers, partners, and most of all, the free software community for supporting us in our mission to make the internet more secure through automated operations.”


    MyPOV – Ok quote from Polvi, indeed a new phase for CoreOS. Good to thank all that got the vendor to this point.




    Overall MyPOV

    Containers have quickly become the deployment form of choice for enterprises, mainly because of their portability. And Kubernetes has practically won that game, being supported on all major clouds. But enterprises for a variety of reasons (security, performance, data residency being the most prominent ones) still deploy on premises. There the OS of choice is Linux, and Red Hat is the market leader. So adding more support for Kubernetes makes sense for Red Hat. It also has the upside to convert some CoreOS customers to on premises with Red Hat.

    On the concern side, this acquisition removes one of the key promoters of Kubernetes, funded by Google with the intention to help its propagation… but Kubernetes growth and foot print are likely robust enough to not be damaged from the market move.

    But for now, congrats to Red Hat on a key acquisition and good luck to the CoreOS team and customers being part of the Red Hat ecosystem, likely going to be all good news.


    More on Red Hat


    • Event Report - Red Hat Summit 2017 - The New Kids on the Block are thriving
    • Red Hat makes multi-cloud real, Google makes multi-PaaS real - 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 ADP’s ReThink 2018 conference in Monaco from January 29th till February 1st, 2018. The conference targets ADP customers who use its Global View product, most of them large international enterprises. The enterprises who made it to Monaco represented 6T US$ in global revenue… 




    Prefer watching over reading - here is the event video (if it doesn't show up, click here):




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



    Want to read on? Here you go:

    An event that stands out
    There is pretty much no event that can compete with ADP ReThink from a quality of speaker and location perspective. Last year in Barcelona the headline speaker was Amal Clooney, this year there was former UK Prime Minister Right Honorable David Cameron and the youngest Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafazi, interviewed by magazine editor legend Tina Brown… who also shared her life story and view on women topics. It’s great to see ADP going for speakers that can tackle common, but also controversial topics (e.g. Brexit) and let speakers share their views freely. Customers certainly appreciated the caliber of speakers… and few events happen in a hotel, where you sleep over a Formula 1 GP track, exiting to the most famous hairpin curve in the world… very well done.


    Malala Yousafzai Tina Brown ADP rethink Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Malala Yousafzai in a conversation with Tina Brown

    Global Cloud Connect makes progress - ADP’s key new product for global customers, Global Cloud Connect (GCC) is making satisfactory progress.  For the first time with GCC, ADP had one of their client design partner’s join them on stage. The global nuclear energy company shared their experience mapping and transforming data with GCC, which the client’s payroll expert even referred to as ‘fun’. An emotional status seldom associated with global payroll setup… the customer shared that they had moved from 80 to 3 relevant interfaces. That is a substantial reduction in complexity for a global company, in any automation area, particularly payroll. ADP is currently working to begin GCC pilot clients, beginning the first wave of pilot implementations in February with an expected GA in June 2018. The scope of GCC is massive, but the prize is well worth it. ADP progresses with usual ADP caution, but that is probably warranted given the scope and importance of the task. Getting payroll 99.9% right is not good enough…

     
    Jimenez Holger Mueller ADP Rethink Constellation research
    Jimenez and what ADP does with GCC


    ADP gears up for Gig Economy 
    ADP acquired WorkMarket a few weeks ago, becoming the first large HCM vendor to get into automating the Gig Economy (see my Market Move blog post here). If only half of the optimistic forecasts on the gig economy come true, all HCM vendors need to provide the relevant capabilities for the new best practices a contingent workforce requires. WorkMarket was present in Monaco, showing their product to great interest of attendees. With WorkMarket ADP has acquired one of the leading vendors powering the Gig Economy, now the new area on how to keep operating and integrating a Gig Economy platform with a traditional HCM platform looms. Few weeks in and certainly too early to ask and address, but something ADP will have to tackle in the coming quarters.
     
    Weinstein Holger Mueller ADP Rethink Constellation research
    Weinstein on how is doing the work


    Strategy and Technology on appealing track– Both Don Weinstein for overall ADP strategy and Roberto Masiero for the technology vision presented in Monaco, and both are on track in regards of direction. Weinstein described the Future of Work (always like when keynotes are named identically to the research area at Constellation Research….) and how ADP plays a role in this. Masiero always has some interesting nuggets out of the innovation labs to share. If ADP delivers on half on the strategy shared by Weinstein and half of Masiero’s technology plans soon, ADP will be sitting well in regards of the demands and hopes of people leaders making system decisions in the next year.


     
    Masiero Holger Mueller ADP Rethink Constellation research
    Masiero with the "1st Spreadsheet"

    MyPOV

    ADP is quickly moving on expanding its core competence of (global) payroll to overall HCM vendor for global enterprises. Mentioned only on passing, but asking attendees to take a look, ADP mentioned its new HCM system, Lifion. Good to see that ADP wants its international customers to take a look at the product. ADP did not mention its new payroll – PI – understandable as most customers are GlobalView customers at the conference, but it will have to get less shy about talking more software going forward. The event had close to a dozen customer testimonials, which are always interesting for attendees, as all grapple with the challenges of global HCM systems, learning about the challenges, opportunities and best practices is always a great topic for any conference. The key product for the audience is GCC, that appears to be on track and customers took note.

    On the concern side, ADP will have to switch the format of the event from vision heavy to more product centric. It would almost be a crime in the positioning category not showing and sharing with its global customers what is happening with Lifion and Pi. That changes the character of the conference a bit, but in my view for the better… at the end enterprises send their representatives to a great conference like ADP ReThink to get their arms around products, understand their ability, maturity and roadmap ahead. On the flip side ADP has its hands full with Lifion, Pi and GCC, so the traditional steady pace of rolling out innovation is a good, quality minded approach. But ADP needs to get all of its innovations in front of its global customers. An ‘always on’ payroll matters for international companies, too.

    But for now, congrats to ADP to one of the top events in the industry. Hard to top in 2019, but that’s a good problem to have. And the need to morph the event to more hands-on product mix is a good opportunity to open new categories of automation for customers. 


    More on ADP:

    • Market Move - ADP Acquires WorkMarket to Further Extend Human Capital Management to Contingent Workers [...] - The Gig Economy looms on the Future of Work- read here
    • Progress Report - ADP pushes on - 2018 will be BIG - read here
    • 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.
    Want to learn more? Checkout the Storify collection below (if it doesn’t show up – check here) – and Day #2 can be found here.


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

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    At CloudWorld today, Oracle announced additional capability on the road to self-driving technology stacks, the Oracle Cloud Platform Autonomous Services. 



    Important enough to dissect the press release in our customary style, it can be found here:

    Oracle President of Product Development Thomas Kurian demonstrated the latest advances in Oracle Cloud Platform, expanding its Oracle Cloud Platform Autonomous Services beyond the Oracle Autonomous Database, to make all Oracle Cloud Platform services self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing. With its enhanced suite of autonomous Cloud Platform services, Oracle is setting a new industry standard for autonomous cloud capabilities. Oracle is applying AI and machine learning to its entire next-generation Cloud Platform services to help customers lower cost, reduce risk, accelerate innovation, and get predictive insights.
    MyPOV – When Ellison announced the self-autonomous database at Oracle OpenWorld in fall 2017, something was missing: The application of the same principles to the overall technology stack. After all – what is an autonomous database good for, when it gets compromised by network security issues that do not have the benefits of autonomous capabilities. So, this is a key follow up announcement.


    As organizations focus on delivering innovation fast, they want a secure set of comprehensive, integrated cloud services to build new applications and run their most demanding enterprise workloads. Only Oracle’s cloud services can automate key operational functions like tuning, patching, backups and upgrades while running to deliver maximum performance, high availability, and secure enterprise IT systems. In addition, to accelerate innovation and smarter decision making, Oracle Cloud Platform is incorporating additional autonomous capabilities specific to application development, mobile and bots, app and data integration, analytics, security and management.
    MyPOV – Good description. Usual ‘only Oracle’ claims, that others will be able to contest, taking away credit from the overall holistic approach by Oracle that is truly unique. Other vendors focus on single areas like e.g. security, server access, DevOps etc.

    “The future of tomorrow’s successful enterprise IT organization is in full end-to-end automation,” said Kurian. “At Oracle, we are making this a reality. We are weaving autonomous capabilities into the fabric of our cloud to help customers safeguard their systems, drive innovation faster, and deliver the ultimate competitive advantage with smarter real-time decisions.”
    MyPOV – Good quote from Kurian about what Oracle plans to do / is doing. The key point is the benefit that mundane and routine tasks are going away, freeing up resources for other priorities.


    Oracle’s autonomous capabilities are integral to the entire Oracle Cloud Platform, including the world’s first autonomous database unveiled at Oracle OpenWorld. The Oracle Autonomous Database uses advanced AI and machine learning to eliminate human labor, human error and manual tuning delivering unprecedented availability, high performance and security at a much lower cost. Multiple autonomous database services, each tuned to a specific workload, will be available in 2018, including Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud Service for analytics, Oracle Autonomous Database OLTP for transactional and mixed workloads, and Oracle Autonomous NoSQL Database for fast, massive-scale reads and writes.
    MyPOV – Good summary reaching back to OpenWorld, but also a reminder that the autonomous database is still all about future capabilities to be shipped in 2018.


    In addition to the Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Cloud Platform autonomous capabilities for application development, mobile and bots, integration, analytics, security and system management, are scheduled to be available in the first half of calendar year 2018. Oracle Cloud Platform services all share foundational autonomous capabilities including:
    MyPOV – Important information here – all the below capabilities seem to be catching up to the database announcement, which means that Oracle likely has held back on the announcement and building capabilities in quiet… notice though that none capabilities are explicitly mentioned. 

    • Self-Driving to Lower Costs and Increase Productivity: Eliminate human labor to provision, secure, monitor, backup, recover and troubleshoot. Automatically upgrade and patch itself while running. Instantly grow and shrink compute or storage without downtime.

    • Self-Securing to Lower Risk: Protect from external attacks and malicious internal users. Automatically apply security updates while running to protect against cyberattacks, and automatically encrypt all data.

    • Self-Repairing for Higher Availability: Provide automated protection from all planned and unplanned downtime with up to 99.995 percent availability, resulting in less than 2.5 minutes of downtime per month including planned maintenance.

    MyPOV – Good summary of the benefits of a self-driving platform – or as Oracle calls it an autonomous platform. The good news for customers here is that it’s a win / win for them as providers – like Oracle – try to improve availability and increase SLAs.


    Examples of additional autonomous capabilities being added to functional areas across the rest of the Oracle Cloud Platform include:

    Application Development

    • Automated artifact discovery, dependency management, and policy-based dependency updates increasing code quality and developer productivity

    • Automated identification and remediation of security issues throughout the CI/CD pipeline significantly reducing security risks

    • Automated code generation with single button deployment enabling rapid application development even by line of business users

    MyPOV – Increasing developer productivity and automating the code production pipeline is key for enterprises, as they become software companies and need to build more software faster.


    Mobile and Bots

    • Self-learning chatbots observing interaction patterns and preferences to automate frequently performed end-user actions freeing up time for higher productivity tasks

    • Unsupervised, smart bots using machine learning to learn from user conversations enabling fluid, contextual conversations

    • Automated caching of API calls to the nearest data center in real time for lowest latency responses based on end user location

    MyPOV – Voice is the new UI was a slogan some years ago, and the underlying benefits are still strong, it’s the providers of platforms who have made it hard for enterprises to build them – and then to maintain and updated them. More self-driving bot capabilities are a good move by Oracle.



    Application and Data Integration

    • Self-defining integrations automate business processes across different SaaS and on-premises apps

    • Self-defining data flows with automated data lake and data prep pipeline creation for ingesting data (streaming and batch)

    MyPOV - Self Driving application and data integration are a no brainer for vendors in this space, and several announcements have been made, good to see Oracle joining the trend.


    Analytics

    • Automated data discovery and preparation

    • Automated analysis for key findings along with visualization and narration delivering quicker real time insights

    MyPOV – Same as for data integration, one can only hope that in the near-term future an expensive, white collar worker does not have to spend time to chart a timeline and business data in tool. It’s time to see this capability in action.


    Security and Management

    • Machine learning-driven user and entity behavior analytics to automatically isolate and eliminate suspicious and malicious users

    • Preventative controls to intercept data leaks across structured and unstructured data repositories

    • Unified data repository across log, performance, user experience and configuration data with applied AI/ML, eliminating need to set and manage performance and security monitoring “metadata” such as thresholds, server topology, and configuration drift

    MyPOV – The traditional area where most of the activity of vendors, good for Oracle customers to see Oracle catching up here.


    Oracle today also demonstrated a single Oracle Digital Assistant for users to interact across Oracle’s SaaS and PaaS services including analytics. Oracle Digital Assistant provides centralized connection for the user to converse across the user’s CRM, ERP, HCM, custom applications and business intelligence data and uses AI to intelligently correlate data and automate user behavior. Oracle Digital Assistant capabilities include:

    • Integration to speech-based devices like Amazon Echo (Alexa), Apple Siri, Google Home and Speech, Harman Kardon (Cortana), and Microsoft Cortana

    • Deep neural net based machine learning algorithms to process the message from the voice based devices to understand end user input and take action

    • Intelligent routing to the Bot with the knowledge to process the end user input

    • Deep insights into user behavior, context, preferences and routines that is used by the Oracle Digital Assistant to self-learn to recommend and automate across all data sets on behalf of the user

    MyPOV – This maybe the more important announcement. The ability to be build bots and use all the leading speech recognition platforms is important for enterprises. Even more interesting (and important) is the reference for neural network support. More details are needed though – what type of neural network and where do they run. Does it have deep learning ability (because that is what self-driving applied to neural network means).


    […]

    Overall MyPOV

    Oracle could not stop with the autonomous database, the whole autonomous stack is needed, with forays into PaaS, changing the SDLC fundamentally. That was a missing part on the vision and it is good to see Oracle making up with this announcement at Oracle Cloud World. Now Oracle has to deliver in 2018, we will see how much will happen in this FY (ending in May).

    More important is the assistant announcement – as it refers to a neural network – void the details though. All the autonomous capabilities need to be powered by a neural network, a deep learning one ideally (as it would not be autonomous otherwise) and exposing it in assistants is a good start.

    On the concern side, Oracle that just had its stack together, has to do back to the drawing board and bolt on machine learning capabilities to realize the vision of a self-driving stack as well as fundamentally changing how software is created, integrated, and finally how data is moved, interfaced and analyzed. It’s a great test of the design principles of the Oracle stack – and a validation if it is really as API driven as Oracle has said in the past. Speed of Oracle providing these autonomous features will be the proof… the timelines are aggressive – making me mildly optimistic.

    But for now, exciting times. Oracle came late to cloud, and who comes late must have some serious point of attraction to get attention of the party goers. Self-driving or autonomous as Oracle calls it definitively has that – so well done. Remarkably the usual competitors have not yet matched the Oracle vision. But it’s early in the year and I expect similar offerings from all infrastructure and platform players to come out later this year. Stay tuned, exciting times.



    More on Oracle:
    • Event Report - Oracle Open World 2017 - Top 3 Positives / Top 3 Concerns - Overall good - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle Unveils New Programs that Transform how Customers Buy and Consume Cloud – Gloves Off - read here
    • Summer 2017 News Analysis - Oracle invests in IaaS (or at least CAPEX) - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle empties the barrel - Revolver style (6) Cloud News Analyses - read here
    • Musings - Does Oracle and Accenture make sense - or never ever! - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle HCM Analyst Summit 2017 - Oracle HCM stronger and stronger - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle OpenWorld - the HCM perspective - Almost no news, but wait... - read here.
    • First Take - Early Oracle OpenWorld 2016 Keynotes - read here
    • Event Preview - Oracle OpenWorld 2016 - What to expect, what to watch for ... will IaaS start Clicking? - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle acquires NetSuite - Oddly consolidation means more options for customers - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle Unveils Suite of Breakthrough Services.. or short: Oracle Cloud Machine - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud - More ready than ever, now needs adoption - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle Openworld 2015 - Top 3 Takeaways, Top 3 Positives & Concerns - read here
    • News Analysis - Quick Take on all 22 press releases of Oracle OpenWorld Day #1 - #3 - read here
    • First Take - Oracle OpenWorld - Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Oracle Openworld - watch here

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

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

    And if you want to read more of my findings on Oracle technology - I suggest:
    • Progress Report - Good cloud progress at Oracle and a two step program - read here.
    • Oracle integrates products to create its Foundation for Cloud Applications - read here.
    • Java grows up to the enterprise - read here.
    • 1st take - Oracle in memory option for its database - very organic - read here.
    • Oracle 12c makes the database elastic - read here.
    • How the cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
    • Act I - Oracle and Microsoft partner for the cloud - read here.
    • Act II - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
    • Act III - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Netsuite with a touch of Deloitte - read here
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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    We had the opportunity to attend Microsoft’s first Business Applications analyst meeting, in Seattle on February 11th till 12th 2018, held at its HQ in Seattle. The event was well attended with over 30 analysts, including my colleagues Cindy Zhou, Dion Hinchcliffe and Ray Wang, look for their findings of the event here



    Prefer watching over reading – here is my short video summary (if it doesn’t show up, check here): 




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


    Want to read on? Here you go:

    The Digital Feedback Loop

    All vendors need some thought leadership piece de resistance where to align their offerings around, and for the Microsoft Business Apps team it is digital transformation and there specifically supporting the digital feedback loop. Unsurprisingly it features the product areas where Microsoft has most SaaS support – around People, Customers and Products with Data and AI / Intelligence at its core. 


    Microsoft Business Apps Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Microsoft's new TriFoil: The Digital Feedback Loop with People, Customers and Products
    Source: Twitter (@holgermu)


    MyPOV– Good to see People / HR prominently, Digital Transformation is a pitch that is aging fast to hang your hat on as a SaaS vendor, but it seems to work for Microsoft (seeing the reaction from customers recently, it looks this is a mainstream concern for the target group, always a good reality check). If “products” flies well for the services target group remains to be seen. For traditional ERP the Finance decision makers may not see their ‘home’ right away. But we will see more of the feedback loop from Microsoft this year, likely with some tweaks.

    The Platform as the Differentiator

    SaaS has arrived on PaaS (and IaaS) – Microsoft has moved all its Business Applications (aka MSFT Dynamics) to the its Azure IaaS and PaaS stack, starting with a new unified user experience. Under the hood, the suite now takes advantage of PowerBI for analytics, PowerApps and Flow for low code / no code extension and customization, and there is a data fabric underneath the whole suite. The latter wasn’t shared, as weren’t too many details on the ongoing integration of the 3 graphs (see below) as well as integration with Office (and there notably Teams). 


    Microsoft Business Apps Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    The Microsoft Marketecture
    Source: Twitter (@holgermu)


    MyPOV– It’s always hard for SaaS vendors with a PaaS and IaaS to use the latest PaaS / IaaS capabilities. The latter products move faster than traditional enterprise applications and re-certifying the SaaS suite on them takes time and resources. Nonetheless Microsoft has achieved that, which may explain the relatively few functional highlights on the roadmap for the rest of the year. But Microsoft is doing what everybody expects – prospects and clients – that is that all Microsoft products work together in a consistent and synergetic way. The resulting differentiation and efficiencies will be appreciated by customers and prospects.


    The Graph Data Differentiator

    Windows, Office and LinkedIn – Microsoft is combining three massive graphs at the moment: The Windows graph (devices, networks, logins etc.), the Office graph (all your documents, OneDrive, Teams (?) and the LinkedIn graph. Conceptually there needs to be a Microsoft Business Apps graph (or a customer graph etc.) as well, but wasn’t mentioned. Combining these and exposing these are substantial engineering, architecture and usability challenges. Not to mention the privacy aspect. But Microsoft is in the process and I guess it will be later in the year where we will learn more about this in detail. The usual feature shown was the LinkedIn Sales Navigator – but that is an older integration, even from the time before Microsoft acquired LinkedIn. 


    Microsoft Business Apps Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    Alysa Taylor walks by the 3 Graphs - Windows, Office and LinkedIn
    Source: Twitter (@holgermu)


    MyPOV– A very compelling undertaking by Microsoft, finally delivering on its founder’s vision of “Information at your Fingertips”. Without the connective tissue of a multi-dimensional graphs, that cannot work and today we know that it could not have worked (in today’s scope) back then. Kudos for Microsoft to tackle the problem now, with CosmosDB playing a key architecture role (not mentioned at this meeting, interestingly). There are almost infinite opportunities and benefits for users from this, they have to be made more tangible by Microsoft going forward, across the product portfolio. 2018 should be the year where this offering is ripe enough.


    Finally a HCM Story: Microsoft Talent

    Pressed in time, but nonetheless (finally) present was Microsoft’s HCM story – starting with Microsoft Talent. A good place to start, given the LinkedIn acquisition. It also includes key HR Core capabilities which the Talent product name does not pay justice. As well as partnerships in the payroll space, starting with Ceridian (I expect more to follow this year).


    Microsoft Business Apps Holger Mueller Constellation Research
    The Digital Feedback Loop - People Dimension Details
    Source: Twitter (@holgermu)


    MyPOV
    – A key area to address by Microsoft, even before LinkedIn. You cannot run an enterprise ignoring the biggest expense (and investment) for an enterprise, people. But Microsoft is not acting as a Top 3 (maybe even #1) HCM vendor – just based on the LinkedIn revenues. LinkedIn is de-factor an HR software company, probably larger than SAP and Oracle (who don’t break out revenues) with a small sliver of Talent Management, Talent Acquisition. Clarifying the road forward between the Microsoft and LinkedIn HCM roadmaps is going to be key portfolio and messaging homework, as it’s confusing for customers…


    Overall MyPOV

    Good to have the inaugural event, which was overdue from many angles. Good to see Microsoft investing into synergetic benefits across all offerings, something customers always expect, but not always see vendors deliver. But that takes time and resources, and the usually associated functional pause needs to overcome now by Microsoft Business Apps. The gaps and white space are the largest in the HCM space, where Microsoft’s offerings are to new to compete on an overall end to end suite with the established players. But differentiators like LinkedIn can help, though Microsoft needs to work on the product, platform and commercial integration. I expect a similar line of thinking coming from my colleagues Cindy Zhou and Ray Wang along the lines of the Adobe partnership.

    On the concern side, Microsoft is late to the ERP suite game. It certainly has put the leadership team in place, now it comes to delivering. 2018 already saw the ERP market leader announce an on premises product, a key lesson learnt that when you don’t develop fast enough, customers will dictate the platform. In this scenario Microsoft has Azure Stack, but that was not mentioned at all on Day #1 of the analyst meeting. And Microsoft needs organic, in-house SaaS load to scale Azure successfully. But for that customers need attractive automation benefits: If Microsoft can be half as successful as it was with its CRM offerings in the other key areas of ERP automation (Finance, SCM, Procurement and HCM) – it will be in a great place for customers in a few years. But that’s a big ask.

    But it’s early in 2018, much more to come this year, and it’s a good start for Microsoft Business Applications. Stay tuned.



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

    And there is more coverage by Constellation colleagues:

    - by Ray Wang see here.


    More on Microsoft:


    •  News Analysis - Microsoft and SAP join forces to give customers a trusted path to digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • Top Event Questions [Anwered] - Microsoft Ignite and Envision 2017 - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Ignite / Envision 2017 - Broad push - few highlights - read here
    • Event Report - July 2017 Microsoft London AI Event - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Cloud from datacenters in Africa - Azure learns Afrikaans to Zulu (and 9 more) - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2017 - Good Housekeeping, laying foundation, deliver on vision - read here
    • Down Report – Power failure takes Azure services down - 3 Cloud Load Toads - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Connect - No April's Fools - Linux, Google and more  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers teams - launches Microsoft Teams - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announces SAP's choice of Azure to help enterprises transform HR  - The SaaS land grab is on  - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Ignite - AI, Adobe and FPGA [From the Fences] - read here
    • News Analysis - GE and Microsoft partner to bring Predix to Azure - Multi-Cloud becomes tangible for IoT - read here
    • Market Move - Microsoft acquired Linked - Tons of synergies, start with Cortana, maybe too many - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft opens Windows Holographic to partners for a new era of mixed reality - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP and Microsoft usher in new era of partnership to accelerate digital transformation in the cloud - read here
    • Musings - Will Microsoft's Hololens transform the Future of Work? Read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2016 - A platform vision and plenty of tools for next generation applications - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft Build 2016 - Day 1 Keynote Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Microsoft Build 2016 - Top 3 Things to watch for developers, managers and execs...  read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft - New Hybrid Offerings Deliver Bottomless Capacity for Today's Data Explosion - read here
    • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
    • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
    • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
    • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
    • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
    • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
    • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
    • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
    • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
    • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.