Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

Top Ten Best Practices Learned from 2011 Technology Market Chaos and Stupidity

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 31, 2011 8:58:16 AM

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.

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

Today’s Companies Need Action-Oriented Information Technology Systems

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 29, 2011 11:08:54 AM

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.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Modeling, Budgeting, closed loop, contingency planning, driver-based, driver-based planning, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, Applications, best pracices, business value, cash flow, challenge, financial planning, spreadsheet

What Enterprises Can Learn from Major Events and Surprises in 2011

Posted by Ventana Research on Dec 28, 2011 12:06:06 PM

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.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance

Salesforce.com looking for a Successful Rypple in Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 20, 2011 12:39:22 PM

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.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, SAP, Supply Chain Performance, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Operational Performance, Apple, Business Performance, Business Technology, Chatter, Chief Information Officer, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Information Management, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Business Applications, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operation Officer, CRM, HR, SalesCloud, ServiceCloud, SFA, Talent Management

Cloud-Based Contact Center Research Finds Deployment Growth

Posted by Richard Snow on Dec 20, 2011 12:01:03 PM

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.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

SAP Must Translate Technology Advances into Business Use

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 20, 2011 10:13:59 AM

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.

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, SAP, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, GRC, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Software, Financial Performance, In-memory, Mobility, Workforce Performance, finance, Risk, risk management, Financial Performance Management

SAP Aims to be More Cloudy and Mobile in 2012 and Beyond

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 20, 2011 8:20:33 AM

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.

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Topics: Sales, Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Human Capital Management, Mobile Computing, Smartphones, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, IT Research, Operational Performance, Apple, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, Chief Information Officer, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Business Applications, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operation Officer, CRM, HR, Sybase, Tablets, Talent Management

Yellowfin 6 Advances Collaboration and Mobility Capabilities

Posted by Ventana Research on Dec 20, 2011 3:56:05 AM

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.

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Topics: Mobile BI, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Collaborative BI, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Yellowfin

Talend 5 Unifies Information Management Platform

Posted by Ventana Research on Dec 15, 2011 9:00:26 AM

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).

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Topics: Big Data, Data Quality, Master Data Management, Talend, BonitaSoft, Business Analytics, Cloud, Data Governance, Data Integration, Hadoop, Information Applications, Information Management

Users Should Apply ERP To Manage End-to-End Processes

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 12, 2011 9:28:08 AM

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.

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Topics: ERP, end-to-end, process, procure-to-pay, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Business Process Management, CFO, business process execution, order-to-cash

Maturing Customer Relationships Continuously

Posted by Richard Snow on Dec 8, 2011 8:20:43 AM

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. 

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Text Analytics

NICE to Acquire Merced Systems for Excellence in Customer Service and Sales

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 6, 2011 11:45:54 PM

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.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Marketing, Merced Systems, NICE, Revenue Performance, sales analytics, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, 360-degree view of the Customer, Agent Performance Management, Call Center, CFO, CMO, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics, Sales Performance Management, SFA, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management

Contingency Planning and the Euro’s Collapse

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 5, 2011 12:44:33 PM

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.

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Modeling, Budgeting, contingency planning, crisis, driver-based, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Applications, best pracices, business value, cash flow, challenge, financial planning, spreadsheet

SAP Spends Big on SuccessFactors for Cloud Computing and Talent Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 5, 2011 12:20:59 PM

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 salesmarketing and other people-related application areas nor provide a platform and tools supporting collaboration and mobility.

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Topics: SAP, Human Capital Management, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Financial Performance, Mobility, Oracle, Workforce Performance, HRMS, Infor, SumTotal Systems, Talent Management, Taleo, Workday, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Management