While we will wait until January to publish our recommendations for the new year, we can digest the lessons learned in 2011 within the technology markets and with Ventana Research right now. That’s appropriate, since we at Ventana Research are committed to helping you with solid information and education. We help thousands of organizations make a better, faster, safer, smarter and more cost-effective environment for leveraging technology to its fullest extent. Our benchmark research worldwide across thousands of organizations of all sizes and vertical industries has found there is a lot more room for improvement than most realize or are addressing.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Industry Analyst, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, IT Performance, Location Intelligence, Market Research, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Operational Performance, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Technology, Workforce Performance, Analytics, CFO, CIO
Management decision-making typically involves a three-step process of inform, analyze and act. In the earliest days of what came to be known as business intelligence, developers created decision support systems that provided information and analytics to help executives and high-level managers choose the best course of action. Working with numbers rather than gut instinct still is viewed as a best practice. After all, a pilot who doesn’t trust his or her instruments is heading for an accident.
Topics: Analytics, best pracices, Big Data, Budgeting, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, business value, challenge, closed loop, Cloud Computing, contingency planning, Customer & Contact Center, driver-based, driver-based planning, Financial Performance, financial planning, In-memory, Modeling, Operational Performance, Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Workforce Performance, Office of Finance, cash management
Rather than make predictions for 2012, which are everywhere right now, I want to look back at some of the surprising events of 2011. I think it’s worth considering what happened that wasn’t expected and what these things might tell us about the information technology market. Here, in no particular order, are the most important ones I see.
Topics: Big Data, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Mobile, Operational Performance, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Workforce Performance
Salesforce.com made a surprising announcement of its agreement to acquire Rypple, a software company that defines its product as a social goals application. I call this a surprise because although Salesforce has been extending its reach beyond sales and customer service to IT in providing a platform, tools and a database for building applications and storing data in the cloud, until now it has not entered directly into other lines of business. After its annual Dreamforce conference last summer, I analyzed the company’s strategy and products. Now I want to consider what this acquisition means for Salesforce and the human capital management market.
Topics: Business Applications, Business Performance, Business Technology, Chatter, Cloud Computing, CRM, Customer & Contact Center, HR, Human Capital Management, Information Management, Marketing, Operational Performance, Oracle, Sales Performance, SalesCloud, Salesforce.com, SAP, SFA, Supply Chain Performance, Talent Management, Workforce Performance, Digital Technology, CFO, CIO, COO, Service Cloud
Cloud-based systems have arrived as an option for how organizations source their IT systems, now and in the future. Proponents of the cloud – of which I am one – will tell you they have several major advantages over conventional on-premises systems. They require little upfront capital expenditure; the major costs come as a monthly “rental” charge for using the service rather than an annual license; they are less demanding on in-house resources; they are quicker, easier and less risky to implement; there is no annual maintenance fee as updates are built into the service charge; and organizations have disaster recovery taken care of by the vendor. With this background I recently carried out benchmark research to discover organizations’ current and likely adoption of cloud-based systems to support their contact center operations.
Topics: Business Mobility, Call Center, Cloud Computing, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Data Management, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Operational Performance, Predictive Analytics, Social CRM, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Voice of the Customer, Workforce Management, Customer Experience, Analytics
At its annual Influencer’s Summit in Boston, SAP offered multiple perspectives on where the company’s strategy and products are heading. Overall, I was struck by the essential similarities to its message on its strategic direction a decade ago. The overarching objective in its roadmap now, as then, is to have information technology increasingly adapt to the needs of individual users and how they choose to execute established/repetitive or ad-hoc processes, rather than forcing them to adapt to the limitations of the technologies they are using. Back then the idea was to create a comprehensive process framework – a closely coupled approach. Today, it’s essentially the opposite, as SAP products run on an architecture that enables flexibility – a loosely coupled approach – both in how the computing infrastructure is organized and how people execute their tasks. It seems to me that this reflects the impact of having choices between cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) and on-premises systems and the need to enable access through a variety of devices (from desktops to mobile handhelds and tablets). Mobility is important both for people whose roles take them beyond the firewall (in sales, service and logistics, for example) and executives and managers who often find themselves managing by walking around. Tablets, smartphones and similar devices are attractive also because people consider them personal items and associate them with fun, whereas desktops and notebooks are corporate and work-related.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, ERP, finance, Financial Performance, Financial Performance Management, GRC, In-memory, Mobility, Operational Performance, Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Risk, Sales Performance, SAP, Supply Chain Performance, Workforce Performance, Office of Finance
I attended the annual SAP Influencer Summit (Twitter #SAPSummit), at which executives from SAP meet with analysts and customers from around the world to discuss the company’s direction. Pointing out that in 2012 SAP will reach its 40th anniversary of operations, chief communications officer Hubertus Kulpus and chief marketing officer Jonathan Becher kicked off the summit, then passed the microphones to co-CEO Jim Hagemann-Snabe and CTO Vishal Sikka for overviews of the business and technology strategies. They presented a well-rehearsed dialogue on SAP’s definition of its software business as being in two areas, the “system of record” and “system of engagement”; the first term describes its transactional applications and the second its portfolio of business analytics.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Applications, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, Business Technology Innovation, Cloud Computing, CRM, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), HR, Human Capital Management, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, IT Performance, IT Research, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Operational Performance, Sales, Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Sybase, Tablets, Talent Management, Workforce Performance, Digital Technology, CFO, CIO, COO, Smart Phones, Mobile
Collaborative and mobile technologies continue to influence business intelligence (BI) software products. The recent release of Yellowfin 6 embraces these innovations in a visually appealing, end-user-oriented BI product. Yellowfin is an independent BI software vendor based in Australia that was recently recognized, along with its customer Macquarie University, as a Ventana Leadership Award winner for the use of location–based aspects of its technology for effective planning and student acquisition initiatives.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Operational Performance, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Workforce Performance, Yellowfin, Mobile, Collaboration
Talend recently announced version 5 of its information management platform, which emphasizes unifying its various components. Through a combination of development activities, acquisitions and partnerships, Talend has been steadily building its portfolio of information management capabilities. In addition to its core data integration capabilities, it has added data quality, master data management, application integration and with this release business process management (BPM).
ERP systems not only collect information about transactions, they also automate processes. The latter includes managing the handoffs between roles and enabling electronic document creation and management associated with that. Indeed, it was the promise of improving process management and process execution that spurred companies to adopt ERP in the 1990s.
The old proverb “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” applies well to the management of customer relationships. If business technology vendors are to be believed, managing customer relationships involves – indeed, is driven by – software.
Topics: Cloud Computing, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Predictive Analytics, Social CRM, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Customer Experience, Analytics
NICE Systems last week announced an agreement to acquire Merced Systems, a provider of business applications for customer service and sales organizations. This acquisition slipped by with little fanfare, but it marks a significant milestone for NICE, a major provider of applications and technology for call centers and a player in their evolution into multichannel contact centers. Building on a good 2010, as my colleague Richard Snow noted, NICE expects to reach almost $800 million of revenue in 2011, which would make it one of the largest companies in its segment. NICE has made multiple acquisitions to build its software portfolio, including purchases of Actimize, CyberTech, eGlue and others mentioned below. It recently won our 2011 Ventana Research Leadership Award in the contact center category with its customer deployment at Alliance Data. NICE Systems plans to have Merced Systems as a foundation of its enterprise systems and a complement to its contact center workforce optimization offering. This purchase builds on its other acquisitions, including FizzBack recently and IEX and Performix in 2006, which helped NICE establish its customer service and back office agent performance management software. That area has not grown as quickly as NICE would like, mostly due to marketing that was not aggressive enough in attracting customers. NICE recently rebranded its NICE SmartCenter for helping agents, as Richard noted, and is leveraging its assets into the back office, which he also assessed. Our benchmark research on contact center technology found that companies’ priorities for future investments match up well with NICE Systems’ focuses on expanding customer service agent applications and analytics applications.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Call Center, CFO, Cloud Computing, CMO, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Analytics, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Data Management, Customer Feedback Management, Customer Service, Desktop Analytics, Financial Performance, Marketing, Merced Systems, Operational Performance, Predictive Analytics, Revenue Performance, Sales, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, Sales Performance, Sales Performance Management, SFA, Social CRM, Social Media, Speech Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Voice of the Customer, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance, Customer Experience, Analytics, NICE Systems
I thought of writing a note on this topic when multinational corporations started to withdraw their deposits from eurozone banks, but the pessimism that event engendered was short-lived. Now, as the monetary crisis deepens in Europe, it’s perhaps time to ask what your company would do if parts of its financial system implodes. You may think that your company will not be affected because it doesn’t do business with the eurozone. Or you may believe that it’s unlikely to happen and therefore not worth spending the time to consider the implications. I think both assumptions are mistaken.
Topics: Analytics, best pracices, Budgeting, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, business value, challenge, Cloud Computing, contingency planning, crisis, Customer & Contact Center, driver-based, Financial Performance, financial planning, Modeling, Operational Performance, Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Workforce Performance, Office of Finance, Big Data, cash management
In a move to invigorate adoption of its cloud computing and talent management applications, SAP has announced its intent to acquire SuccessFactors – a deal valued at US$3.4 billion . SAP’s years of development and business efforts have produced only mediocre results in customer growth and revenue in cloud computing for human capital management comparably to its expectations and others in the market. In a teleconference SAP and SuccessFactors executives hyped the potential of the combined organizations. SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott said that it will become a “Cloud Powerhouse” and a “Unbeatable Force” and “will become the number-one cloud computing HCM solution in the cloud – period.” This may overstate the case: SuccessFactors is unproven as a power in cloud computing beyond the appeal of its own applications for human capital and HR. It can’t compare, for example, to the reach of Salesforce.com and its Force.com and application ecosystems like that in sales, marketing and other people-related application areas nor provide a platform and tools supporting collaboration and mobility.
Topics: Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Financial Performance, HRMS, Human Capital Management, Infor, Mobility, Operational Performance, Oracle, SAP, SumTotal Systems, Talent Management, Taleo, Workday, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance