Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

KXEN Provides Good Enough Modeling for Predicting Business Outcomes

Posted by Ventana Research on Jun 28, 2013 9:07:55 AM

Predictive analytics in an inherently difficult task and often takes specialized skills. While not easy, the business results of predictive analytics can be significant. 68% of companies say they use predictive analytics to create competitive advantage while 55% say that they increase revenue. KXEN is a software company that specializes in making predictive analytics easier to use by automating predictive analytic processes and some data preparation tasks. Like other predictive analytics companies, KXEN targets uses cases in risk and fraud prevention, operations and customer service, but given its end-user focus, it is natural that the company seems to be finding a niche on the customer-facing side of business in areas such as sales operations and marketing.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Information Applications, KXEN, Operational Intelligence, commodity models

Cornerstone Doubles Down on Talent Management

Posted by stephanmillard on Jun 27, 2013 8:10:42 AM

Cornerstone OnDemand is a vendor of cloud-based systems for talent management. In February I covered the launch of its Cornerstone for Salesforce application and its announcement of annual earnings. Cornerstone has approximately 1,300 clients and 11 million users in companies with on average 9,000 employees. The company released its financial results for the first quarter of 2013 in May, showing year-over-year revenue growth of 57 percent, to $37.7million. This is an all-time quarterly high for the company.

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Topics: Social Media, HCM, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Workforce Performance, Cornerstone OnDemand, Talent Management, Project Management

Cisco to Foster Smarter Network of Data by Acquiring Composite Software

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 23, 2013 1:04:54 AM

Cisco Systems has announced its intent to acquire Composite Software, which provides data virtualization to help IT departments interconnect data and systems; the purchase is scheduled to complete in early August. Cisco of course is known for its ability to interconnect just about anything with its networking technology; this acquisition will help it connect data better across networks. Over the last decade Composite had been refining the science of virtualizing data but had reached the peak of what it could do by itself, struggling to grow enough to meet the expectations of its investors, board of directors, employees, the market and visionary CEO Jim Green, who is well-known for his long commitment to improving data and technology architectures. According to press reports on the Internet, Cisco paid $180 million for Composite, which if true would be a good reward for people who have worked at Composite for some time and who were substantive shareholders.

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Topics: Big Data, Networking, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Data Management, Hadoop, Information Applications, Information Management, Cisco, Composite Software, Data Centers, Data Virtualization, Information Optimization, Internet of Everything

Big Data Will Make Elephants Dance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 23, 2013 12:41:08 AM

IBM’s Big Data and Analytics Analyst Insights conference started me thinking about the longer-term potential impact of big data and related technologies on business management. I covered some of the near-term uses of big data and analytics in an earlier perspective. There are numerous uses of big data that can provide incremental improvements to existing processes and practices. Some of these will have a significant impact on changing business models, enabling new classes of products and services and improving performance. As well, the technology will have more profound, longer lasting effects. The ability to analyze large quantities of business-related data rapidly has the potential to set in motion fundamental changes in how executives and managers run their business. Properly deployed, it will enable a more forward-looking and agile management style even in very large enterprises. It will allow more flexible forms of business organization. None of these changes will be universal, and the old school will be with us for some time. Technology, however, will give executives and their boards of directors a powerful tool for strategic differentiation to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Management, Budgeting, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, IBM, Information Management, decision, FPM, Watson

A Year Makes a Big Difference for Big Data Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Jun 23, 2013 12:10:00 AM

Users of big data analytics are finally going public. At the Hadoop Summit last June, many vendors were still speaking of a large retailer or a big bank as users but could not publically disclose their partnerships. Companies experimenting with big data analytics felt that their proof of concept was so innovative that once it moved into production, it would yield a competitive advantage to the early mover. Now many companies are speaking openly about what they have been up to in their business laboratories. I look forward to attending the 2013 Hadoop Summit in San Jose to see how much things have changed in just a single year for Hadoop centered big data analytics.

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Topics: Big Data, Datameer, Sales Performance, SAS, Supply Chain Performance, Teradata, alteryx, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Hadoop, IBM, Information Applications, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance

Datawatch Acquires Panopticon for Big Data Discovery and Visualization across Business Processes

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 20, 2013 9:29:38 AM

Business analytics can help organizations use data to find insights that lead to new opportunities and address issues unrecognized before. One player in this market is Datawatch, known for its tools for information optimization and harvesting value from big data including content and documents. I assessed the company earlier this year, and recently our firm recognized its customers’ achievements with 2013 Ventana Research Leadership Awards for Information Optimization with Phelps County Regional Medical Center and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) with The Fauquier Bank.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, SAP, Supply Chain Performance, GRC, Panopticon, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, CEP, Datawatch, Discovery, Information Optimization, risk management, SAP HANA, visual discovery

SAS Aligns Marketing and Customer Intelligence

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 16, 2013 10:11:46 PM

I recently attended SAS’s European analyst event, where I went to focus on new developments around customer intelligence, an application of big data that SAS includes in its high-performance analytics and visual analytics. SAS offers an amazing number and range of products that is hard to keep track of, so I was glad to get a sense that now it is focusing more on business solutions built with data visualization and discovery, big data, data management, cloud computing, marketing analytics (which appears to be the new branding for customer intelligence) and enterprise decision management. It appears that the European event followed closely the lines of the U.S. event my colleague Mark Smith attended; he offers an analysis of the company’s wider messages.

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Topics: SAS, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience Management, Customer Feedback Management, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Mobile apps, Self-service, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, 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 Force Optimization

Informatica Has New Vibe for Information Optimization

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 14, 2013 12:20:30 PM

Information management is important to every line of business that seeks to improve its business processes and decision-making. In response to pressure from those departments, CIOs and IT organizations must examine whether they have focused enough on the I for information and not just the T for technology, and if they have not, commit to taking this responsibility more seriously than in the past. Informatica is one vendor that realizes the potential of its information beyond just data integration, and this is reflected in its expanded product portfolio and position in the market over the last several years. Our firm has taken note of companies gaining value from using Informatica; we awarded our 2013 CIO Leadership Award to George Brenckle of UMass Memorial Health Care for his work to maximize the value of information assets through managing data innovatively. Informatica itself has enhanced its position by introducing its new brand and a new CMO and demonstrating commitment to change from its executive leadership team at the company’s recent 2013 user conference. The focus of the brand now is on helping business and IT find the full value of their information.

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Topics: Data Quality, Master Data Management, PowerCenter, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Data Integration, Information Applications, Information Management, Information Optimization, Vibe

Information Builders Advances Integration and Analytics for Business Intelligence

Posted by Ventana Research on Jun 14, 2013 11:50:35 AM

Information Builders  (IBI) was highest ranked vendor in Ventana Research’s Business Intelligence Value Index for 2012. The combination of data integration, business analytics, visual and data discovery and performance management software in a single framework allows the company to address a range of both IT and business user needs and gives it a measure of advantage in an intensely competitive market. At the same time, emerging trends are disrupting the BI category, which seemed mature not long ago. The 2013 IBI user conference in Orlando showed how the company is addressing these industry trends. (For analysis of last year’s event, see my colleague Mark Smith’s comments).

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Topics: Big Data, Social Media, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Builders, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence

IBM Showcases Big Data and Analytics for Business

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 14, 2013 11:26:04 AM

IBM hosted the Big Data and Analytics Analyst Insights conference in Toronto recently to emphasize the strategic importance of this topic to the company and to highlight recent and forthcoming advancements in its big data and analytics software. Our firm followed the presentations with interest. My colleagues Mark Smith and Tony Cosentino have commented on IBM’s execution of its big data strategy and its approach to analytics. As well, Ventana Research has conducted benchmark research on challenges in big data.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Bank, MRO, telematics, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, IBM, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, FPM, Maximo, profitability management, TM1, Watson

Planview Improves Potential of Long-Range Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 11, 2013 11:35:13 AM

Planview recently announced general availability of Planview Enterprise 11. The new release enhances the user experience through a comprehensive redesign of the interface to promote ease of use. The changes are intended to facilitate an integrated approach to long-range planning of capital projects and major corporate initiatives across departments. There’s an important difference between strategic and long-range planning, and this difference is the reason why long-range planning benefits from software specifically designed to support that process. Strategic planning involves the formal conceptualization of a corporation’s strategy and its individual supporting elements such as product, sales, pricing and financial strategy. The strategic planning process is aimed at solidifying ideas and concepts into words to ensure understanding and agreement by the senior leadership team. Strategic planning naturally is done at the highest echelons of an organization. For that reason, it involves a relatively small group of senior executives and deals more in concepts and less in specific numbers. Long-range planning is the next step. It’s the formal quantification of the strategic plan and how that strategy is expected to play out. Translating the company’s strategic plan into numbers should be an iterative process of dialogue between those who set the strategy and those responsible for carrying it out. Being able to get quick answers to these what-if questions makes for a more productive, accurate and fact-based dialog.

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Topics: Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, forecasting, Planview, Reporting, FEI, FERF CEO, long-range planning, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Financial Performance, CFO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

Barriers to Omnichannel Customer Communications

Posted by Richard Snow on Jun 11, 2013 10:52:38 AM

In never ceases to amaze me, the number of new terms and acronyms the contact center market generates. Just as everyone is getting used to the fact that customers interact with companies through multiple communication channels (multichannel for short), someone invents the term omnichannel and we all have to get our heads around what this means. My research into the contact center in the cloud shows that companies now support on average nearly five communication channels, and although the traditional channels are still the most common, as the chart shows, there are signs that new channels such as chat (used by 37%), social media (29%), text messaging (22%) and video (5%) are on the increase.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Customer Experience Management, Social CRM, Voice of the Customer, Echopass, Enghouse interactive, Five9, LiveOps, Mobile apps, NewVoicemedia, Operational Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, 360-degree view of the Customer, Call Center, Contact Center, CRM, Interactive Intelligence, Unified Communications

IBM’s 2013 Vision Bodes Well for Finance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 3, 2013 9:55:49 AM

I recently attended Vision 2013, IBM’s annual conference for users of its financial governance, risk management and sales performance management software. These three groups have little in common operationally, but they share software infrastructure needs and basic supporting software components such as reporting and analytics. Moreover, while some other major vendors’ user group meetings concentrate on IT departments, Vision focuses on business users and their needs, which is a welcome difference. For me, there were three noteworthy features related to the finance portion of the program. First, IBM continues to advance its financial performance management (FPM) suite and emphasizes its Cognos TM1 platform to support a range of finance department tasks. Second, the user-led sessions illustrated improvements that finance departments can make to their core processes today, ones that improve the quality of these processes and go a long way toward enabling Finance to play a more strategic role in the company it serves. Third, the Cognos Disclosure Management product has better performance and useful new features to support the management of a full range of internal and external disclosure documents, including the extended close, which I have discussed.

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Topics: Planning, Reporting, Budgeting, closing, tagging, XBRL, Analytics, Business Performance, Data Management, Financial Performance, IBM, CFO, Financial Performance Management, FPM, SEC, TM1