Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

The Jobscience of Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 30, 2012 1:42:30 PM

New human capital management solutions are entering the market, aiming to simplify recruiting, hiring, onboarding and managing employees. Many such applications focus on talent management for use after employees are hired, but vendors also need to streamline tasks for recruiters, HR administrators and hiring managers. Jobscience provides software that simplifies the processes of getting the talent you want to hire ready to work as quickly as possible.

Read More

Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Sustainability, Human Capital Management, human resources, learning management systems, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, succession, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, HRMS, Jobscience, Rypple, Salesforce, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Research Uncovers Keys to Using Predictive Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 27, 2012 11:55:55 AM

As a technology, predictive analytics has existed for years, but adoption has not been widespread among businesses. In our recent benchmark research on business analytics among more than 2,600 organizations, predictive analytics ranked only 10th among technologies they use to gene­rate analytics, and only one in eight of those companies use it. Predictive analytics has been costly to acquire, and while enterprises in a few vertical industries and specific lines of business have been willing to invest large sums in it, they constitute only a fraction of the organizations that could benefit from them. Ventana Research has just completed a benchmark re­search project to learn about how the organizations that have adopted predictive analytics are using it and to ac­quire real-world information about their levels of maturity, trends and best practices. In this post I want to share some of the key findings from our research.

Read More

Topics: Data Scientist, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Customer & Contact Center, Workforce Performance

SAS Advances Big Data and Cloud Computing

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 26, 2012 11:07:22 AM

I want to share my observations from the recent annual SAS analyst briefing. SAS is a huge software company with a unique culture and a history of success. Being privately held SAS is  not required to make the same financial disclosures as publicly held organizations, it released enough information to suggest another successful year, with more than $2.7 billion in revenue and 10 percent growth in its core analytics and data management businesses. Smaller segments showed even higher growth rates. With only selective information disclosed, it’s hard to dissect the numbers to spot specific areas of weakness, but the top-line figures suggest SAS is in good health.

Read More

Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, SAS, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Hadoop

Saba Expands the Concept of Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 24, 2012 10:54:55 AM

Saba this week announced its acquisition of Human Concepts, which provides applications and tools for understanding and interacting with employees through visualizations based on the organizational chart. Human Concepts had expanded its portfolio beyond tools to support planning and change processes critical for organizational succession and transition. The company has more than 500 customers worldwide, including partners like Infor, Oracle and SAP.

Read More

Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Sustainability, Human Capital Management, Human Concepts, human resources, learning management systems, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, succession, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, HRMS, Saba, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

IBM Launches Smarter Analytics: Ready to Get Smart?

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 23, 2012 9:29:54 AM

IBM this week launched a business initiative called Smarter Analytics to showcase the value of its technology and professional services in this area. The event, led by Steve Mills, head of IBM’s software and systems business, highlighted the company’s ability to solve analytic challenges at all levels of complexity. At the event IBM highlighted Watson, the learning and expert systems technology that in 2011 beat human champions on Jeopardy. IBM also introduced a collection of case studies exemplifying its customers’ success. 

Read More

Topics: IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Business Technology, Chief Information Officer, Cloud Computing, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Technology, Operational Intelligence

Data Plays a Key Role in the Close-to-Report Cycle

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 22, 2012 9:08:56 AM

Ventana Research recently completed an update to our last benchmark research on the financial closing process. It shows that many companies are taking longer to close today than they did five years ago. Whereas nearly half (47%) were able to close their quarter or half-year period within six business days five years ago, just 38 percent are able to do so in our latest benchmark. Similarly, five years ago 70 percent of companies were able to complete their monthly close in six days; today only half can. The research confirms that most companies (83%) view closing their books quickly as important or very important. Participants acknowledge that they can do better, saying on average that their company can cut at least two days from both the monthly and quarterly closes. Moreover, the longer it takes their company to close, the more time participants think they could save.

Read More

Topics: close, Consolidation, Controller, process management, report, XBRL, Business Analytics, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Accounting, CFO, Data, Document Management, Financial Performance Management

Process Improvement Is Key to a Faster Close

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 21, 2012 11:43:36 AM

Ventana Research’s new financial close benchmark research reveals that many companies are taking longer to close today than they did five years ago. Whereas nearly half (47%) were able to close their quarter or half-year period within six business days five years ago, just 38 percent are able to do so in our latest benchmark. Similarly, five years ago 70 percent of companies were able to complete their monthly close in six days; today only half can. The research confirms that most companies (83%) view closing their books quickly as important or very important. Participants acknowledge that they can do better, saying on average that their company can cut at least two days from both the monthly and quarterly closes. And the longer it takes their company to close, the more time participants think they could save. Although there is some evidence that external factors such as economic and regulatory events have increased the workload in the close process, which in turn has extended some companies’ close period, I believe that organizations that take more than a business week to close their books have not made much effort to shorten the close, as I noted in a recent blog.

Read More

Topics: close, Consolidation, Controller, process management, report, XBRL, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Accounting, CFO

Slow Closers Aren’t Serious about Improving Financial Performance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 20, 2012 9:31:17 AM

The most intractable issues that face finance departments are those that “everyone” knows must be addressed but somehow never muster the collective urgency to do so. Many couch potatoes know they need to watch their diet and exercise regularly. If asked, they would say it’s important or even very important. Yet there they sit. Based on our newly completed benchmark research “Trends in Developing the Fast, Clean Close”, it appears that closing falls into this category. This is especially true for companies that are slow closers, by which we mean those that take more than five or six business days (essentially one business week) to complete their monthly, quarterly or, for those that publish their financial statements only twice yearly, semiannual close. Our research shows that in general there has been no progress in achieving fast closes – indeed, there’s been some backsliding – over the past five years and, indeed, since our initial research on this subject in 2004.

Read More

Topics: close, Consolidation, Controller, process management, report, XBRL, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Accounting, CFO

SAP Rolls Out Business Planning and Consolidation on HANA at SAPinsider

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 19, 2012 10:42:35 AM

For me, the most significant announcement to come out of the recent SAPinsider conference was the company’s formal release of Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) running on HANA, SAP’s in-memory computing appliance. For me, HANA is a potential “game changer” for planning, statutory consolidation and other analytics-supported financial processes because of the substantial reduction it enables in processing time from loading to reporting. In-memory systems provide a substantial edge in speed of processing large data sets or complex calculations, whereas the latency between thought and answer in complex scenario analyses on disk-based systems often prevents a collaborative dialogue around possible situations and their potential outcomes. Today, companies have to simplify the analysis, severely limit the amount of detail or find some combination of the two. More than likely, they wind up not having a potentially valuable collaborative dialogue in activities such as weekly or monthly review and revision of operating plans and their financial consequences, closing the books or assessing the impact of pricing changes on profitability. In the case of planning, I expect that in-memory systems will enable make it easier for companies to make changes to detailed plans (such as the budget or production plans), which is difficult today for many of them.

Read More

Topics: Big Data, Planning, Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, forecasting, GRC, Mobile Computing, Budgeting, IFRS, process, shared services, XBRL, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, Accounting, finance, Financial Performance Management, GAAP, HANA

Information Management Technology Revolution and Research Agenda for 2012

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 16, 2012 10:50:44 AM

In our definition, information management encompasses the acquisition, organization, dissemination and use of information by organizations to create and enhance business value. Effective information management ensures optimal access, relevance, timeliness, quality and security of this data with the aim to improve organizational performance. This goal is not easily met, especially as organizations acquire ever more data at an ever faster pace. In our business analytics benchmark research of more than 2,600 organizations, almost half (45%) have to integrate six or more types of data in their analyses. More than two-thirds reported that they spend more time preparing data than analyzing it. To assist in dealing with these sorts of issues and others, we’ve laid out an ambitious information management research agenda for 2012.

Read More

Topics: Data Quality, Master Data Management, Social Media, IT Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Complex Event Processing, Data Governance, Data Integration, Information Applications, Information Life Cycle Management, Information Management, Operational Intelligence

Business Intelligence Revolution and Research Agenda for 2012

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 15, 2012 11:43:32 AM

For most people involved with business intelligence (BI), these are exciting times. Using BI to improve business processes continues to motivate organizations to invest in BI. The focus on BI also empowers business analytics and can be rented in the cloud computing model of accessing software. New technologies are adding dimensions to BI and creating both excitement and confusion for enterprises implementing them. We offer a variety of accomplished research that can help organizations overcome the hype and understand how to use these technologies to improve business decision-making, and we’re planning new research in 2012 on these topics.

Read More

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

Don’t Treat Real Estate as a Fixed Cost

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 15, 2012 11:28:08 AM

Financial analysts typically classify real estate as a fixed cost. Strictly speaking, that’s correct, but looking at it this way leads many organizations to overlook and miss opportunities to more carefully manage their real estate and other occupancy expenses. In industries where occupancy or ownership costs account for more than 20 percent of total business expense, taking a more active approach to managing real estate and occupancy can improve a company’s profitability. But in most cases achieving a higher return from money spent on corporate facilities requires some organizational and process changes.

Read More

Topics: Performance Management, lease, real estate, shared services, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, CFO, Financial Performance Management

Expo Shows Maturity of Unified Communications

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 14, 2012 11:55:38 AM

Like many other observers with a business perspective, I have been skeptical of unified communications, but a day I spent at the recent Unified Communications Expo 2012 went a long way to convincing me that unified communications has entered the mainstream. At this point I think organizations should consider it as a viable option to improve the efficiency of their communications systems, the ability to collaborate internally and with customers, and the effectiveness of their multimedia contact centers. 

Read More

Topics: Microsoft, Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Aastra, AT&T, Avaya, Dell, NEC, Operational Performance, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, IBM, Workforce Performance, 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, Alcatel-Lucent, Aspect, Nokia, Vocalcom and Zeacom

Informatica Expands Data Footprint for Business and IT

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 14, 2012 10:06:21 AM

My colleague Mark Smith and I recently attended data integration vendor Informatica’s annual industry analyst event. The company offered some impressive numbers regarding growth and profitability over the years, with 30 consecutive quarters of growth even during the recent recession. Through acquisition and its own research and development activities Informatica now has a broad portfolio of products. It includes data integration and supporting migration, replication and synchronization needs, master data management, complex event processing and other elements of the information management spectrum. As at last year’s event, the company retains a sharp focus on the data integration related portfolio, and its product roadmap addresses four key themes impacting that market: big data, cloud computing, social media and mobile technology. We also see these themes as significant technology trends, and our approach is outlined in our 2012 research agendas for information management and in the larger business technology innovation agenda. Thus it was interesting to hear Informatica’s take on them.

Read More

Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud, Customer & Contact Center, Data Integration, Financial Performance, Informatica, Information Management, Workforce Performance

Research Reveals Challenge of Building Customer Relationships

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 13, 2012 2:51:22 AM

Businesses have long struggled to build ongoing, profitable relationships with their customers.  Our new benchmark research into customer relationship maturity shows that this is not getting easier. 

Read More

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, Workforce Performance, 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

Ceridian’s Ambitious Agenda in Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 9, 2012 11:15:20 AM

I attended the Ceridian analyst summit (Twitter #CENAday) in Boston to see how the company  is expanding its business in HR-related software and services into human capital management (HCM). Ceridian derives $1.5 billion in revenue from more than 130,000 customers with 25 million employees at organizations ranging from small and midsize business to two-thirds of the Fortune 500. CEO Stuart Harvey has been expanding the company’s management team, with key additions in heads of marketing and finance and promotions of internal management, all of whom were front and center for the analyst summit. Ceridian’s focus on human capital management meshes with our 2012 research agenda in this field as it tries to exploit the potential value of an entire workforce to meet the needs of the business.

Read More

Topics: Human Capital Management, human resources, learning management systems, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, succession, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Ceridian, Compensation, dayforce, HR, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Customer Engagement Day Highlights Issues for Companies

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 9, 2012 10:45:13 AM

My namesake Jon Snow is chairman of the Directors Club (GB & NI), an association for professionals who focus on dealing with customers.Recently he organized the first of a series of customer engagement days designed to bring together senior representatives of U.K. companies to listen to a few presentations about hot issues in engaging with customers and more importantly to share experiences and concerns about key customer engagement issues in roundtable discussions, such as “the rise of the social enterprise,” “listening to the voice of the customer” and “mobile customers require a mobile strategy.” In addition to presenting a keynote on the state of social media in customer service, I chaired a discussion on “perfecting multichannel customer engagement in the contact center.”

Read More

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, Workforce Performance, 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

Human Capital Management Research and Educational Agenda for 2012

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 9, 2012 8:14:35 AM

Utilizing the talents of everyone in the workforce is a critical priority for businesses. Savvy executives understand and are anxious to avoid the cost and time incurred in replacing trained, experienced employees and the downturn in productivity while jobs are unfilled. Our benchmark research into recruiting found that more than half of organizations now use metrics of cost and time-to-hire, which indicates the maturing of human resources organizations in response to this challenge. 

Read More

Topics: Human Capital Management, human resources, learning management systems, LMS, Performance, Recruiting, Research, succession, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Mobility, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics

Cicero’s Desktop Helps Users Work Smarter

Posted by Richard Snow on Mar 8, 2012 9:54:44 AM

Cicero provides what I call a smart desktop product. The software allows users to hide multiple applications behind an easy-to-use interface and build rules to complete tasks more efficiently and effectively, for example, specifying  what field to complete next or the next question to ask a caller. It enhances customer experience management by enabling users to focus on the customers rather than on how to access the various systems, data and information needed to resolve interactions. 

Read More

Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Voice of the Customer, Cicero, Operational Performance, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Workforce Performance, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Desktop Analytics

The Business of Sales Research Agenda for 2012

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 6, 2012 10:28:24 PM

Investing wisely in sales-related people and processes is a key to business success. In 2012, helping sales staff perform at their highest levels should be a top priority for management. That may take some effort, according to our benchmark research, which indicates that only 14 percent of sales organizations operate at the highest level of innovation and competitiveness. In recent years, most organizations merely discussed moving beyond using only their sales force automation application and Microsoft Office for improving sales efficiency. Now sales organizations can move beyond systems that were designed decades ago, thanks to the availability of a broad range of applications to support sales activities and processes. In fact dozens of new types of sales applications are available to help sales focus on selling, which creates another issue. Where should sales organizations focus their limited resources and budgets?

Read More

Topics: Planning, Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, assets, forecasting, leads, Learning, Mobile Business, objectives, Performance, pipeline, Reporting, rewards, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, sales force automation and territory, social enterprise, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, channel, coaching, commission, CRM, incentives, pricing, promotion, proposal, quota, quoting, Sales Performance Management, SFA

Alteryx’s Business Analytics Empowers New Generation of Data Artisans

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 1, 2012 10:00:19 PM

I attended the Alteryx user conference called Inspire 2012 (Twitter: #Inspire12)  in Denver this week. This fairly new analytics software company has been gaining customers in a range of brand-name organizations such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Supervalu, U.S. Cellular and VF Corp. The company focuses on meeting the needs of analysts across the business analytic spectrum including a geographic and location context for simplifying the analytic tasks and processes for the needs of business at the strategic and operational level.

Read More

Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Predictive Analytics, R, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, alteryx, Strategic Analytics, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Management, Business Analysts, Data Artisans