Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

HP’s New World Order according to Leo Apotheker

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 23, 2011 9:00:23 PM

The new CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Leo Apotheker, has unveiled his vision of the future in the consumer and enterprise markets. His announcement carried some suspense after interviews in which he said “HP has lost its soul” and added that he will “get rid of cynics” inside HP who try to undercut his mission. Now Leo has defined what his company calls Everybody On, which is described as “seamless, secure, context-aware experiences for a connected world.” He intends that HP will reposition itself in providing a new generation of cloud services to interconnect its software and technology assets. HP of course is no small technology provider, with over $125 billion in revenue and a predominantly legacy and acquired software business worth over $6 billion. I want to provide some analysis of HP’s announcements in the context of what I see as the coming business technology innovations of this decade. My view overlaps with the HP vision. HP is expanding the territory of its business,  focusing less on the enterprise software business of database, middleware and applications and more on the management and security of cloud services and software.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, IT Research, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Chief Information Officer, CIO, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), HP, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Location Intelligence, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance

The Business Intelligence Technology Revolution in 2011

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 20, 2011 8:31:57 PM

The business intelligence (BI) technology market is undergoing a revolution. I’ve been working in this segment for 20 years, and it is and has been an exciting market in which to work, but its dynamic nature can be daunting to organizations trying to evaluate, purchase and deploy BI to improve their business processes. And despite the advances our benchmark research shows high levels of dissatisfaction with and immaturity in BI capabilities within organizations.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, IT Research, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, Chief Information Officer, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance, Information Management, Information Technology, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance

With IT Departments, Companies Get What They Deserve

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 20, 2011 8:19:58 PM

One of the many interesting findings that came out of Ventana Research’s comprehensive benchmark research on business analytics was partly buried in an analysis of maturity groups. The Maturity Index of our research benchmarks classifies organizations at four maturity levels (from bottom to top, Tactical, Advanced, Strategic and Innovative) in each of four categories: People, Process, Information and Technology. We’ve conducted more than 100 benchmarks during the past seven years, covering thousands of organizations and gauging their maturity in performing important operations. We’ve consistently found an interrelationship among the people, process, information and technology dimensions in every major business issue. That is, companies that fall short in one dimension tend to fall short in others, and usually to the same degree, precisely because corporate pathologies are self-reinforcing.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, IT Research, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, Chief Information Officer, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Enterprise Software, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance

Business Collaboration Brings Together People and Technology

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 17, 2011 8:05:42 PM

In today’s competitive environment, people working in collaboration can make the difference between a company’s success or failure. But hitting “reply to all” on an e-mail chain isn’t the kind of collaboration I’m talking about. Neither is managing your employee and business communications with cups connected by string and Ouija boards.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Learning, Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Four Steps for Improving the Customer Experience

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 17, 2011 7:52:04 PM

There is a lot of talk today about customer experience management, but use of the term is vague, much as customer relationship management meant different things to different people. For some it is much the same as CRM, for others it is about using the voice of the customer to gain insights to make customer-related decisions. I have another view. Let’s consider phone calls, which according to my research into the use of technology in contact centers, is still the main way consumers interact with companies. What makes these calls good or bad experiences? Being driven mad by a badly created IVR system and waiting in a queue both come down on the “bad” side, and companies should do something about them. Those aside, my research into agent performance management(APM) shows that the majority of companies correctly believe that how their agent deals with the call makes the difference. So it makes sense that companies should take action to help agents deliver good experiences. Here are four things they can do.

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Topics: Customer Experience Management, Operational Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM

SAS and its Business Intelligence & Information Management Direction

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 17, 2011 7:36:39 PM

I recently attended SAS Institute’s annual analyst conference. My colleague covered the multibillion-dollar company’s strategy and the event. Now I want to look into some of the details of SAS’s products for business analytics and how they are supported with business intelligence (BI), and information management. Although SAS is not a publicly traded company and therefore is not required to make the financial disclosures that others are, the company revealed numerous financial statistics. Business intelligence represents over $200 million in license revenue to SAS. That’s a significant figure, larger than publicly traded BI vendors QlikTech (NASDAQ: QLIK) and Actuate (NASDAQ: BIRT) have and smaller than but still in the same order of magnitude as MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR) and Information Builders. These figures are consistent with results in our benchmark research on business intelligence and performance management: 18% of our research respondents reported using SAS products, which places it in the middle of the pack.

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Topics: SAS, Social Media, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Business Technology, Chief Information Officer, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Information Management, Information Technology, Mobility, Operational Intelligence

Infor’s Hospitality Applications Software Business

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 17, 2011 7:14:27 PM

The hospitality industry has a complex structure. It is highly fragmented, with many small operations but also a significant number of global companies. Moreover, a property can be managed by one company (the brand name over the door) yet owned by another, which might be a one-off local real-estate partnership or a larger-scale owner of multiple sites. The consumer side of hospitality has its own challenges as well, resulting from the dramatic shifts brought about by the Internet in how people worldwide buy travel and leisure services.

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Topics: Performance Management, Sales Performance, Hospitality, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Chief Information Officer, Customer & Contact Center, Enterprise Software, Information Management, Infor

SAS Institute: The Multi-Billion Dollar Business Analytics Supplier

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 15, 2011 9:15:06 PM

The just-concluded SAS Institute analyst summit (Twitter: #SASSB) provided the annual update on the company’s performance, strategy, products and customers. My analysis of last year’s event talked about its continuation of its product roadmap to new customer acquisition and the broadening of its underlying platform, applications and vertical solutions. SAS is no small-time mover and shaker when it comes to the analytics industry; it extends from technology to tools and applications across industries, which adds up to $2.4 billion in revenue. SAS’s growth was worldwide, with Canada and Asia-Pacific delivering the largest percentage revenue growth and Europe, Middle East and Africa representing the largest revenue for the company at more than $1 billion in revenue; U.S. revenue came in slightly lower.

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Topics: Sales Performance, SAS, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Fraud, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Business Technology, Chief Information Officer, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance, Information Management, Information Technology, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Risk

SAP Enterprise Information Management 4.0: A Technology Secret

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 13, 2011 9:58:33 PM

SAP has launched its Enterprise Information Management (EIM) 4.0 release as part of its “Run Better Tour.”  It includes a broad range of information management components spanning data integration, data quality, data profiling, metadata management and more. The launch was done in conjunction with SAP Business Intelligence (BI) 4.0, which got much bigger billing at the event –to the point where one might call this a stealth marketing campaign. However, the event did identify three themes intended to highlight EIM capabilities: event insight, trusted data and text processing. The goal here was to communicate the integration SAP has achieved within and between its BI and EIM products. IBM announced a similar advance with its InfoSphere products and Informatica has also invested heavily in integrating its information management products. Our Information Management benchmark research validates this approach, finding that incompatible tools create a significant obstacle to organizations’ quest for consistent sets of data.

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Topics: Data Quality, SAP, Social Media, IT Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Technology, Chief Information Officer, Complex Event Processing, Data Governance, Data Integration, Information Management, Information Technology, Operational Intelligence

CallTower Powers Communications in the Cloud

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 13, 2011 9:48:44 PM

The contact center market is buzzing with talk about cloud-based computing. It began with applications such as CRM from salesforce.com, then came IBM with services based on hardware in the cloud and recently vendors such as ContactualinContact, and LiveOps have brought nearly complete contact centers into the cloud. As well, vendors such as Interactive Intelligence have announced communications in the cloud. Now I have always considered public communications to be in the cloud: How else does a telecommunications operator route a call from one part of the world to another? Likewise how does the Internet log users into websites, which are based who knows where? What Interactive Intelligence and other such vendors do is add intelligence to call-handling – they make communications smarter. For example, they add smart routing so calls can be delivered based on a predefined set of rules. This is beneficial to companies running “virtual” contact centers because a call can be routed to the location and person best qualified to handle it.

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Topics: Customer Experience Management, CallTower, Operational Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM

When It Rains, …

Posted by alanskay on Mar 13, 2011 9:36:12 PM

A colleague had written a piece about disaster recovery and business continuity – motivated not by the horrors that exploded over the television last night after an 8.9 earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered  a tsunami, but by unexpectedly heavy rain and snow in the northeast. Should he hold off publishing it, he asked, so as not to be seen as exploiting the disaster?

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Topics: Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, IT Performance, Chief Information Officer

Aquire Brings Fresh Face to Workforce Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 10, 2011 9:28:24 PM

The state of the economy has intensified scrutiny of organizations’ people assets, and so we’re seeing new dialogues about human capital management. Deriving full value from the people in a workforce requires more than just HR managing annual performance reviews or occasional scrutiny of the compensation processes for increases to merit pay or incremental incentives. Investing wisely in workforce-related processes requires assessment and optimization  using analytics that can provide a lens on the past but more importantly can provide visibility into forward-looking results. This renewed focus on improving the workforce analytics fits with the findings of our recent benchmark on workforce analytics, which shows that workforce analytics are important to 89 percent of organizations. But using them efficiently and effectively is no easy task since spreadsheets are used in 62 percent of organizations.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Learning, Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

On Becoming Part of the Ventana Research Team

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 10, 2011 9:24:34 PM

Hello there! Starting this week, I’m part of the best independent research team in the business – the Ventana Research team – and I couldn’t be more thrilled. As the song goes, “What a long, strange trip it’s been” to get here.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, Learning, Performance, Recruiting, Onboarding, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Hiring, Talent Management, Workforce Performance Management

VPI Makes Contact Center Operations Suite and Simple

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 9, 2011 9:15:44 PM

Running a contact center has never been easy, and today it is harder than ever. Customers have become more demanding of good service and less tolerant of errors and are inclined to communicate over multiple channels of communications. Companies not only have to get all the technology together to handle all these forms of interactions but must also ensure that their contact center agents are working as efficiently and effectively as possible. My latest research into the technologies companies use in trying to achieve these objectives shows that three goals dominate most companies’ planning: improving the information they have available to monitor and assess their overall operation, agents’ performance and the outcome of interactions; focusing training and coaching to better target the needs of individual agents; and improving their interaction-handling processes.

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Topics: Customer Experience Management, VPI, Operational Performance, Cloud Computing, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM

SAS Institute: The Multi-Billion Dollar Business Analytics Supplier

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 9, 2011 8:52:31 PM

The just-concluded SAS Institute analyst summit (Twitter: #SASSB) provided the annual update on the company’s performance, strategy, products and customers. My analysis of last year’s event talked about its continuation of its product roadmap to new customer acquisition and the broadening of its underlying platform, applications and vertical solutions. SAS is no small-time mover and shaker when it comes to the analytics industry; it extends from technology to tools and applications across industries, which adds up to $2.4 billion in revenue. SAS’s growth was worldwide, with Canada and Asia-Pacific delivering the largest percentage revenue growth and Europe, Middle East and Africa representing the largest revenue for the company at more than $1 billion in revenue; U.S. revenue came in slightly lower.

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Topics: Sales Performance, SAS, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Fraud, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Business Technology, Chief Information Officer, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance, Information Management, Information Technology, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Risk

The Contact Center Technology Revolution in 2011

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 9, 2011 7:52:52 AM

With the new year has come a significant advance in contact center technologies, enabling enterprises to roll out new applications and interaction-handling processes in record time. What used to take six months to a year to develop and deploy – and that was considered fast! – can now be done in a week or two, creating more potential for innovation in contact centers than I have seen in the last 20 years.

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Topics: Customer Experience Management, Operational Performance, Cloud Computing, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM

Aster Data is Now Part of the New Teradata

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 4, 2011 7:51:21 PM

There has been a spate of acquisitions in the data warehousing and business analytics market in recent months. In May 2010 SAP announced an agreement to acquire Sybase, primarily for its mobility technology and had already been advancing its efforts with SAP HANA and BI. In July 2010 EMC agreed to acquire data warehouse appliance vendor Greenplum. In September 2010 IBM countered by acquiring Netezza, a competitor of Greenplum. In February 2011 HP announced after giving up on its original focus with HP Neoview and now has acquired analytics vendor Vertica that had been advancing its efforts efficiently. Even Microsoft shipped in 2010 its new release of SQL Server database and appliance efforts. Now, less than one month later, Teradata has announced its intent to acquire Aster Data for analytics and data management. Teradata bought an 11% stake in Aster Data in September, so its purchase of the rest of the company shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. My colleague had raised the question if Aster Data could be the new Teradata but now is part of them.

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Topics: Data Warehousing, Microsoft, RDBMS, SAS, Teradata, IT Performance, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Data Management, HP, IBM, Information Management, Oracle

Secrets Revealed in Columnar Database Technology

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 3, 2011 9:55:23 PM

This is the second in a series of posts on the architectures of analytic databases. The first post addressed massively parallel processing (MPP) and database technology. In this post, we’ll look at columnar database technology. Given the recent announcement of HP’s plan to acquire Vertica, a columnar database vendor, there is likely to be even more interest in columnar database technology, how it operates and what benefits it offers.

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Topics: Data Warehousing, RDBMS, IT Performance, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Data Management, Information Management

Human Concepts Brings Workforce Analytics and Mobility to the Cloud

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 3, 2011 9:27:11 PM

Recently Human Concepts sold its personal organizational structure software OrgPlus to Administaff . Since it retains other products with the OrgPlus name, this step might seem puzzling, but it makes sense in terms of the company’s developing product strategy. The sale also frees Human Concepts to focus on organizations with more than 1,000 employees, where growth is more readily available. Human Concepts is experienced in the workforce management market; its customer and partner Zentiva Group won our firm’s 2010 Leadership Award in HR and Workforce Management. Late last year Human Concepts unveiled a new workforce analytics technology tool called Workforce Monitor. It uses the organizational chart as an analytical tool for more than display or monitoring of information – it can provide workforce analytics and planning to serve the needs not only of HR but of line-of-business management and analysts. The product does not just retrofit the limited capabilities of spreadsheets and presentations widely used for analytics, planning and publishing of workforce information. This is a valuable advance; our benchmark research in workforce analytics found that spreadsheets are used universally or regularly in 96 percent of HR organizations but that 39 percent of organizations are not satisfied with their technology and information is not actionable in more than half of organizations.

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Topics: Learning, Performance, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Living in the Era of Hadoop and Large-Scale Data

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 2, 2011 9:57:28 PM

It’s clear that now we are living in the era of big data. The stores of data on which modern businesses rely are already vast and increasing at an unprecedented pace. Organizations are capturing data at deeper levels of detail and keeping more history than they ever have before. Managing all of the data is thus emerging as one of the key challenges of the new decade.

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Topics: Data Warehousing, RDBMS, IT Performance, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Data Management, Hadoop, Information Management

SAP Business Intelligence 4.0

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 1, 2011 9:36:23 PM

Last week SAP launched the 4.0 Release of its Business Intelligence and Enterprise Information Management products in conjunction with the New York City stop on its “SAP Run Better Tour”. My colleague Mark Smith has already covered the announcement in the context of some of today’s major technology trends. In this post, I’ll focus on the specifics of the product announcements.

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Topics: Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Business Technology, Chief Information Officer, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance, Information Management, Information Technology, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance

Bringing Tax Into Mainstream Finance

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 1, 2011 7:04:34 AM

Taxes are a big expense for most companies, profitable or not. Many larger and midsize companies must traverse a complex and constantly shifting landscape of tax rules, rates, and jurisdictions. I’ve previously written about the need for corporations to manage their taxes more intelligently, and that that may require someone in the tax department who understands both the department’s functional requirements and what information technology can do to improve those functions. Today I am going to discuss some organizational changes that are required to transform the tax department from a poorly understood, isolated and tactically driven silo into a mainstream finance function that is tightly integrated with the rest of that organization.

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Topics: Tax, Business Performance, Financial Performance, CFO, Corporate Finance, Financial Performance Management