Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

Digital Technology Agenda for Business in 2016

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 10, 2016 9:57:10 AM

Technology innovation is accelerating faster than companies can keep up with. Many feel pressure to adopt new strategies that technology makes possible and find the resources required for necessary investments. In 2015 our research and analysis revealed many organizations upgrading key business applications to operate in the cloud and some enabling access to information for employees through mobile devices. Despite these steps, we find significant levels of digital disruption impacting every line of business. In our series of research agendas for 2016 we outline the areas of technology that organizations need to understand if they hope to optimize their business processes and empower their employees to handle tasks and make decisions effectively. Every industry, line of business and IT department will need to be aware of how new technology can provide opportunities to get ahead of, or at least keep up with, their competitors and focus on achieving the most effective outcomes.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Governance, Mobile Technology, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Customer Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Uncategorized, Workforce Performance, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Optimization, Sales Performance Management (SPM)

Integrated Business Planning Is More Effective

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 24, 2015 8:02:12 PM

Ventana Research recently released the results of our Next-Generation Business Planning benchmark research. Business planning encompasses all of the forward-looking activities in which companies routinely engage. The research examined 11 of the most common types of enterprise planning: capital, demand, marketing, project, sales and operations, strategic, supply chain and workforce planning, as well as sales forecasting and corporate and IT budgeting. We also aggregated the results to draw general conclusions.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Human Capital Management, Marketing, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, Controller, Customer Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, CFO, Supply Chain, capital spending, demand management, Financial Performance Management, financial reporting, FPM, Integrated Business Planning, S&OP

The Establishment of Data Preparation

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 21, 2015 12:44:18 AM

Data is an essential ingredient for every aspect of business, and those that use it well are likely to gain advantages over competitors that do not. Our benchmark research on information optimization reveals a variety of drivers for deploying information, most commonly analytics, information access, decision-making, process improvements and customer experience and satisfaction. To accomplish any of these purposes requires that data be prepared through a sequence of steps: accessing, searching, aggregating, enriching, transforming and cleaning data from different sources to cre­ate a single uniform data set. To prepare data properly, businesses need flex­ible tools that enable them to en­rich the context of data drawn from multiple sources, collaborate on its preparation to serve business needs and govern the process of preparation to ensure security and consistency. Users of these tools range from analysts to operations professionals in the lines of business.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Customer Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Data Preparation, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Information Optimization

Research Agenda: Technology Innovation for Business in 2015

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 2, 2015 7:09:32 AM

This year presents much opportunity for organizations to use a new generation of technology to compete better, be more efficient in their business operations and engage their workforces to their full potential. We have identified and begun to track the following next-generation technologies: analytics, big data, collaboration, cloud computing, mobile technology and social media, and in 2014 we added wearable computing to the list. In 2015 we will intensify our focus on all of them specifically in our research agenda and as part of our line of business research agendas.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Governance, Mobile Technology, Wearable Computing, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Technology Innovation

Beqom Simplifies Compensation in Sophisticated Ways

Posted by Ventana Research on Jan 15, 2015 10:00:23 AM

It is more important than ever for businesses to attract and retain the best talent, and managing compensation effectively is an essential tool for doing so. Obviously companies must pay well to compete, but managing salary, merit pay, variable pay and incentives for employees, tracking their hiring anniversaries and conducting accurate performance appraisals make total compensation management a complex process. All of this must be managed within budget and policy guidelines. As organizations grow and require more employees, the challenges multiply and the difficulty increases. Our benchmark research finds that inconsistent execution is the top impediment to effective compensation management for nearly half (47%) of organizations. Software designed for this purpose can help.

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Topics: HCM, Human Capital Management, Sales Compensation, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, Compensation, finance, HR, Talent Management, TCM

Profisee Simplifies Master Data Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Jan 8, 2015 8:03:25 AM

Organizations today create and collect data at ever faster rates, and this introduces challenges in ensuring that data is not just managed but used in a consistent manner for a range of operational and analytic tasks. This is made more difficult by new data sources whose definitions vary from standard and widely used formats. Making all information available and consistent is essential to support business processes and decision-making. A key technology tool for this effort is master data management (MDM). Every business area needs MDM, whether it deals with customers, products, employees, finance or others individually or collectively in what is called multidomain MDM. It is an essential tool for data governance across an organization, which has become a focal point for improvement as many organizations spend significant time in data-related tasks. Our benchmark research on information optimization shows that preparing data for analysis (47%) and reviewing data for quality and consistency issues (45%) are the two information tasks that consume the most time. Properly used MDM enables data stewards and other IT professionals to improve the consistency and quality of departmental and enterprise data.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Quality, Master Data Management, Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Golden Records., MDM, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Management, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance

Deciding When to Replace ERP Is Complicated

Posted by Ventana Research on Dec 19, 2014 9:09:25 AM

A company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is one of the pillars of its record-keeping and process management architecture and is central to many of its critical functions. It is the heart of its accounting and financial record-keeping processes. In manufacturing and distribution, ERP manages inventory and some elements of logistics. Companies also may use it to handle core human resources record-keeping and to store product and customer master data. Often, companies bolt other functionality onto the core ERP system or extensively modify it to address limitations in the system. Because of the breadth of its functionality, those unfamiliar with the details of information technology may perceive ERP as a black box that controls just about everything. So it’s not surprising that when a company’s information technology becomes more of an issue than a solution, many assume that the ERP system needs replacing. This may or may not be true, so it’s important for a company to assess its existing ERP system in the context of its business requirements (as they are now and will be in the immediate future) and evaluate options for it.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, Office of Finance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Performance, CIO, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, Data, HR

New Technology to Recruit, Engage and Retain Employees

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 4, 2014 8:12:30 AM

Most HR technology practitioners and vendors attend the annual HR Technology Conference and Exposition. One of the largest industry gatherings, it provides an indicator of their levels of investment and the hottest trends. This year’s event revealed new technologies and approaches to two key human resources processes – recruitment and retention. They included predictive analytics and big data as well mobile delivery to allow employees easier access to applications. Regarding the first two, these technologies can help managers make better informed and more intelligent decisions from their masses of HR data. It seems that investment in recruiting applications has increased with the growth of the economy. Earlier this year I described how many vendors are investing in recruiting applications. At HR Tech I saw this trend continuing, hearing from vendors that are focused on evolving their recruiting software. Among the new products in recruiting is HireVue Insights, which uses predictive logic and big data to analyze the desirability of candidates. HireVue recently won our 2014 Ventana Research Technology Innovation award for this offering. In addition, talent management vendor Cornerstone OnDemand announced an agreement to acquire Evolv, whose primary product also uses big data and predictive models to match candidates to positions. Our benchmark research on human capital analytics shows that many organizations are considering investments in big data for human capital analytics in almost half of organizations, so these and other products appear to be in step with market demand.

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Topics: Social Media, Kronos, Peoplefluent, Recruiting, Wearable Computing, Fuel50, Operational Performance, Smart Watches, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, IBM, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Ceridian, HireVue, Saba, HR Tech, HR Technology Conference, Qualtrics, Tanner Labs

Infor Advances Business Computing

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 29, 2014 6:14:26 AM

Infor recently held its annual Inforum user group meeting, along with a series of sessions with analysts. The $2 billion business software company has products in the major categories of ERP (including enterprise financial management), human capital management, customer relationship management and performance management among others.

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Topics: Microsoft, Mobile, SaaS, Sales, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, HCM, Human Capital, Office of Finance, Dynamics AX, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV Dynamics SL, Kenandy, PSA, Sage Software, Unit4, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, FinancialForce, HR, Infor, Workday, HANA, Plex, Professional Services Automation

ADP Bets Future on HCM

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 29, 2014 5:28:03 AM

ADP recently held its annual analyst day in the company’s new innovation center in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The location emphasized what ADP wanted to get across to the analyst community at the event: that it intends to become a significant vendor of human capital management (HCM) software based in the cloud. ADP hopes to broaden its business from being largely an outsourcing vendor of payroll and related services (such as for auto dealers) to one that provides software for a range of HCM activities.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Social Media, HCM, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Predictive, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Mobility, Workforce Performance, compliance, HR, HRMS, Healthcare Compliance

What’s Next?: The Interplay of Software and Hardware with Business and Consumers

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 11, 2014 9:49:04 AM

“What’s next?” is the perennially insistent question in information technology. One common observation about the industry holds that cycles of innovation alternate between hardware and software. New types and forms of hardware enable innovations in software that utilize the power of that hardware. These innovations create new markets, alter consumer behavior and change how work is performed. This, in turn, sets the stage for new types and forms of hardware that complement these emerging product and service markets as well as the new ways of performing work, creating products and fashioning services that they engender. For example, the emerging collection of wearable computing devices seems likely to generate a new wave of software/hardware innovation, as my colleague Mark Smith has noted. This said, I think that the idea of alternating cycles no longer applies. It would be convenient if we could assign discrete time periods to hardware dominance and software dominance, but like echoes as they fade, the reverberations are no longer as neatly synchronized as they once were. Moreover, adoption and adaptation of technology by consumers reflected in the design of work, products and services always lags – and lags in different ways, further blurring the timing of cycles.

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Topics: Mobile, Performance Management, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, Office of Finance, Reporting, Wearable Computing, Management, close, closing, computing, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, finance, FPM

New Generation of Data and Analytics in Cloud

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 3, 2014 8:57:34 PM

It’s widely agreed that cloud computing is a major technology innovation. Many companies use cloud-based systems for specific business functions such as customer service, sales, marketing, finance and human resources. More generally, however, analytics and business intelligence (BI) have not migrated to the cloud as quickly. But now cloud-based data and analytics products are becoming more common. This trend is most popular among technology companies, small and midsize businesses, and departments in larger ones, but there are examples of large companies moving their entire BI environments to the cloud. Our research into big data analytics shows that more than one-fourth of analytics initiatives for companies of all sizes are cloud-based.

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Topics: Big Data, SaaS, Sales Performance, Social Media, Governance, Statistics, cloud analytics, IT Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Integration, Financial Performance, Internet of Things, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), cloud business intelligence

Next Generation of Human Resources Technologies Elevates Potential of Employees

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 3, 2014 8:44:02 PM

The human resources management system (HRMS) have been a central part of human resources departments for decades. Though useful to HR, these systems have also been static. Speaking generally, their functionality has not advanced greatly while other technologies have made great strides, and the information in them has been restricted to mostly use by HR professionals. However, along with growth in distinct and integrated talent management systems and in workforce management systems, this has begun to change as the HRMS is being integrated with these newer systems. The changes make it possible for HRMSs to become more strategic as HR professionals use them in new ways. To that end, Ventana Research will conduct a benchmark research project to evaluate the evolution of these systems and processes to determine where they are becoming more strategic applications for HR.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Social Media, HCM, TM, WFM, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Management, HR Management, HRIS

Ventana Research Rates Total Compensation Management Software in 2014 Value Index

Posted by Ventana Research on Aug 22, 2014 9:14:20 AM

Now available from Ventana Research is our Value Index on Total Compensation Management for 2014.  Total compensation management directly addresses one of an organization’s largest investments – employee pay. As such it is a critical activity for supporting other human capital management and talent management processes.

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Topics: SAP, Human Capital Management, Kenexa, Peoplefluent, SuccessFactors, Decusoft, Towers Watson, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, IBM, Mobility, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Compensation, SumTotal Systems, TCM, Value Index, beqom, Pay for Performance

Workday Bolsters Human Capital Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Aug 14, 2014 8:46:39 AM

In the past year Workday has been making efforts to improve its human capital management (HCM) suite focused directly on the core human resources management systems and talent management software. In my previous analyst perspective about Workday I looked at its mobile capabilities for HCM. These additions, in concert with the enhancements discussed here, offer useful improvements. I have also noticed changes in the HCM market that impact all large competitors in it, including Workday. Before discussing these changes, it might help to summarize the company’s past three major releases.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Social Media, HCM, Recruiting, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Workforce Performance, Workday, HR/Payroll

Businesses Must Make Self-Service Reporting a Priority

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 3, 2014 9:12:23 AM

One of the charitable causes to which I devote time puts on an annual vintage car show. The Concours d’Élegance dates back to 17th century France, when wealthy aristocrats gathered with judges on a field to determine who had the best carriages and the most beautiful horsepower. Our event serves as the centerpiece of a broader mission to raise money for several charitable organizations. One of my roles is to keep track of the cars entered in the show, and in that capacity I designed an online registration system. I’ve been struck by how my experiences with a simple IT system have been a microcosm of the issues that people encounter in designing, administering and using far more sophisticated  ones. My most important take-away from this year’s event is the importance of self-service reporting. I suspect that most senior corporate executives – especially those in Finance – fail to appreciate the value of self-service reporting. It frees up the considerable resources organizations collectively waste on unproductive work, and it increases responsiveness and agility of the company as a whole.

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Topics: Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, Self-service, Budgeting, dashboard, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, Data, Financial Performance Management, Microsoft Excel, Spreadsheets

The Next Generation of Predictive Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Aug 3, 2014 8:52:46 AM

Our benchmark research consistently shows that business analytics is the most significant technology trend in business today and acquiring effective predictive analytics is organizations’ top priority for analytics. It enables them to look forward rather than backward and, participate organizations reported, leads to competitive advantage and operational efficiencies.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Statistics, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Integration, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance

NetSuite Rides Wave of Cloud ERP Adoption

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 3, 2014 8:19:04 AM

Like other vendors of cloud-based ERP software, NetSuite offers the key benefits of software as a service (SaaS): a smaller upfront investment, faster time to value and potentially lower operating costs. Beyond that NetSuite’s essential point of competitive differentiation from is broad functionality beyond financial management, including capabilities for customer relationship management (CRM), professional services automation (PSA) and human capital management (HCM). These components make it easier for businesses to manage processes from end to end (such as quote- or order-to-cash) as well as to have transactions and business data available in a single system in consistent forms and synchronized. This in turn facilitates real-time reporting, dashboards and the use of analytics that integrate a wider set of functional data. Midsize companies are most likely to benefit from this integration because typically they have smaller, less sophisticated IT staffs than larger ones. A side benefit of having a single, integrated data source is improvement of situational awareness and visibility for executives and managers. It also enables organizations to reduce their use of spreadsheets for stitching together processes, doing routine analyses and reporting. These sorts of activities waste valuable time and reduce an organization’s agility.

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Topics: Microsoft, Mobile, SaaS, Sales, Social Media, Customer Experience, ERP, HCM, Human Capital, Office of Finance, communications, Dynamics AX, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV Dynamics SL, PSA, Sage Software, UI, Unit4, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, CRM, FinancialForce, HR, Infor, Social, Financial Performance Management, FPM, Plex, Professional Services Automation, Workday Collaboration

Cornerstone Improves Employee Engagement through Talent Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Jul 2, 2014 10:09:30 AM

Cornerstone OnDemand is a large pure-play vendor of talent management software, with more than 1,700 clients, more than 14.5 million users and more than 60 percent growth in revenue over the past 12 months. At the company’s annual customer conference this year, CEO Adam Miller talked about a trend in the market of talent management applications going beyond automating a series of processes to help engage employees within organizations. I agree with this analysis and would extend the trend to cover the full range of human capital management (HCM) applications.

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Topics: Social Media, Human Capital Analytics, Human Capital Management, LMS, Employee Engagement, Employee Onboarding, Usability, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Workforce Performance, Cornerstone OnDemand

Teradata Takes Bigger Approach to Big Data

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 17, 2014 9:17:43 AM

Teradata continues to expand its information management and analytics technology for big data to meet growing demand. My analysis last year discussed Teradata’s approach to big data in the context of its distributed computing and data architecture. I recently got an update on the company’s strategy and products at the annual Teradata analyst summit. Our big data analytics research finds that a broad approach to big data is wise: Three-quarters of organizations want analytics to access data from all sources and not just one specific to big data. This inclusive approach is what Teradata as designed its architectural and technological approach in managing the access, storage and use of data and analytics.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Teradata, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, NoSQL, Workforce Performance, JSON, UDA

Payroll Management Needs Integration with Human Capital Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Jun 6, 2014 9:58:08 AM

Our recently released benchmark research on optimizing payroll management assesses how organizations use payroll information, processes and technology. It finds that most of them still need to improve. Our analysis compared the forces motivating investment in payroll management systems to broader strategic drivers for human capital management (HCM) that I previously outlined and found substantial agreement. Three of the five leading factors – demand for higher employee productivity (48%), limited alignment between pay and performance (36%), and inconsistent execution of performance goals (24%) – are part of a broader HCM agenda as seen in previous research projects and discussions with clients. But apart from that the research found a disconnect between what motivates companies and what they actually are doing.

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Topics: Big Data, HCM, Office of Finance, Employee Productivity, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, HR, Talent Management, Workforce Management, benchmark, Pay for Performance, Payroll Management

Informatica Unveils New Platform and Tools for Information Optimization

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 3, 2014 9:09:23 AM

At the Informatica World 2014 conference, the company known for its data integration software unveiled the Intelligent Data Platform. In the last three years Informatica has expanded beyond data integration and now has a broad software portfolio that facilitates information management within the enterprise and through cloud computing. The Intelligent Data Platform forms a framework for its portfolio. This expression of broad potential is important for Informatica, which has been slow to position its products as capable of more than data integration. A large part of the value it provides lies in what its products can do to help organizations strengthen their enterprise architectures for managing applications and data. We see Informatica’s sweet spot in facilitating efficient use of data for business and IT purposes; we call this information optimization.

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Topics: Big Data, Master Data Management, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Integration, Data Management, Financial Performance, Informatica, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Information Optimization, Product Information Management, application

Epicor Faces a Challenging Future

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 2, 2014 9:46:51 AM

Epicor used its recent user group conference to explain its strategic direction and product roadmap. The company is the result of multiple mergers of business software corporations over the past 15 years; its target customers are midsize companies and midsize divisions of larger organizations. Its most significant products are Epicor (ERP software aimed mainly at manufacturing and distribution companies) and Activant Solutions (software for small and midsize retailers, including a point-of-sale system). The company also has software that manages CRM, HR and human capital and supply chains,  and provides financial performance management (FPM) and governance, risk and compliance (GRC) capabilities. These components of the software suites are adequate for the needs of many of the company’s target customers and are not intended as stand-alone applications.

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Topics: Microsoft, Mobile, SaaS, Sales, Supply Chain Performance, Customer Experience, ERP, HCM, Human Capital, Office of Finance, communications, Dynamics AX, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV Dynamics SL, Epicor, Sage Software, UI, Unit4, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, FinancialForce, HR, Infor, Workday, Social, Financial Performance Management, FPM, Plex

Ultimate Software Modernizes and Expands Human Capital Management Suite

Posted by Ventana Research on May 28, 2014 9:48:54 AM

Ultimate Software is one of the larger players in the market for human capital management (HCM) software, with roots in providing human resources and payroll management products. Recently I attended its annual Connections conference. Last year the company focused attention on expansion of its global capabilities, which I analyzed, while this year it highlighted broadening and modernizing of the product suite.

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Topics: Mobile, HCM, Office of Finance, Recruiting, Ultimate Software, Business Collaboration, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HRMS, Talent Management, HR Management

Infor at the End of the Beginning

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 3, 2014 10:54:52 PM

From my perspective, Infor’s strategy to accelerate revenue growth is to offer companies more innovation and a lower and more predictable cost of ownership than its rivals in the business software market; its products include the major categories of ERP, human resources and financial performance management. It aims to innovate by focusing on improving the user experience and to lower costs by redesigning its software architecture. The innovation stems from a fresh approach to designing interactions between users and business software: simplifying it and providing a more modern user experience that people have grown accustomed to in their personal software. The better cost-effectiveness rests on designing its software to reduce the expense of integrating and customizing it. One element of this is creating richer functionality for narrowly segmented micro-verticals. Another is offering cloud-based versions built on less expensive open source infrastructure and third-party commodity services. The software markets that Infor serves are mature and offer limited growth. So to be successful the company must increase both its market share and its share of a company’s IT spend (capturing internal IT spending and outlays to third-party consultants and systems integrators). To prove that the company’s strategy is working will require sustained organic growth (excluding new acquisitions) in revenues.

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Topics: Microsoft, Mobile, SaaS, Sales, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Customer Experience, ERP, HCM, Human Capital, Office of Finance, Dynamics AX, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV Dynamics SL, Sage Software, UI, Unit4, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Management, Workforce Performance, CFO, FinancialForce, HR, Infor, Workday, Financial Performance Management, FPM, Plex

New Generation of Learning Management Systems

Posted by Ventana Research on Apr 22, 2014 10:07:02 AM

Learning is an integral component of human capital management, and a new generation of learning management systems advances learning in organizations around the world. These systems have evolved over the years from a classroom scheduling tool that facilitated instructor-led and classroom training into an array of enterprise applications that deliver and track various types of training. Recently new technologies, such as business analytics, cloud computing, social collaboration, and mobile technology have become part of the learning management process. To assess the impacts of this ongoing shift, Ventana Research is conducting benchmark research on how organizations are implementing and using this new generation of systems.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Social Media, HCM, LMS, Learning Management, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Workforce Performance, HR, Training, benchmark, HR research

Big Data Analytics Require Best Practices in Using Technology

Posted by Ventana Research on Apr 18, 2014 8:22:28 AM

Organizations should consider multiple aspects of deploying big data analytics. These include the type of analytics to be deployed, how the analytics will be deployed technologically and who must be involved both internally and externally to enable success. Our recent big data analytics benchmark research assesses each of these areas. How an organization views these deployment considerations may depend on the expected benefits of the big data analytics program and the particular business case to be made, which I discussed recently.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Strata+Hadoop

Equifax Delivers Insightful Analytics for Compliance with Affordable Care Act

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 9, 2014 2:56:14 AM

Pressure to comply with requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a looming challenge for most organizations today. Many go through numerous manual iterations such as running reports and compiling data into spreadsheets from benefits, payroll and HR systems to calculate whether their employees are eligible. As my colleague Stephan Millard explains in “Is Your Organization Technology Ready for the Affordable Care Act?”, the ACA applies to organizations with 50 or more full-time employees who work more than 30 hours a week; individuals not covered by an employer can get insurance through the government. There are a great many details for employers to address in the ACA, and most HR departments lack a smooth process and effective technology to generate the information to determine compliance.

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Topics: Equifax, Human Capital Analytics, Office of Finance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance

Anaplan Springs Forward with Winter Release

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 4, 2014 8:36:21 AM

Anaplan, a provider of cloud-based business planning software for sales, operations, and finance and administration departments, recently implemented its new Winter ’14 Release for customers. This release builds on my colleagues analysis on their innovation in business modeling and planning in 2013. Anaplan’s primary objective is to give companies a workable alternative to spreadsheets for business planning. It is a field in which opportunity exists. Our benchmark research on this topic finds that a majority of companies continue to use spreadsheets for their planning activities. Almost all (83%) operations departments use spreadsheets for their plans, as do 60 percent of sales and marketing units. Yet the same research shows that satisfaction with spreadsheets as a planning tool is considerably lower than satisfaction with dedicated planning applications. But despite general agreement in companies that the planning process is broken and spreadsheets are a problem, companies seem reluctant to break the bad habit of using spreadsheets. This conclusion suggests that either switching to dedicated software hasn’t been easy enough or that the results of doing it have not been compelling enough to motivate change. Anaplan intends to address both of these issues.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Marketing, Office of Finance, Operations, Reporting, Budgeting, Controller, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, CFO, Sales Planning, Financial Performance Management, financial reporting, FPM, Integrated Business Planning

Kronos Innovates and Leads Workforce Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Apr 4, 2014 2:28:37 AM

In the past year Kronos announced a major release of its Workforce Central suite and more recently, made an announcement regarding a major investment that should help keep the company well capitalized. Kronos is one of the largest vendors of workforce management systems, providing time and attendance, labor scheduling, absence management, HR management, payroll and recruiting applications. In 2013 the company grew to almost US$1 billion in revenue, selling to companies around the globe and having users in more than 100 countries. Kronos offers two product lines based on the sizes of companies. Workforce Ready serves small and some midsize companies, and Workforce Central serves companies from the upper midsize through the very large. A while ago my colleague Mark Smith discussed several major enhancements to Kronos’ products, and there have been notable events since then.

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Topics: Mobile, Social Media, Governance, HCM, Kronos, Office of Finance, Technology Innovation Award, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Workforce Performance, compliance, HR, HRMS, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Value Index, Workforce Management, Social

Cloud Computing is More Than Multitenancy

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 2, 2014 9:22:04 AM

There’s a growing realization that the multitenant approach to the cloud isn’t the only option that companies should weigh in deciding between deploying software on-premises and in the cloud. That some people describe the multitenancy approach as “the real cloud” reflects the contentious nature of some technical debates, especially those that occur early in the evolution of a new technology. Multitenancy does have advantages that confer cost savings, and these have been important in the first stages of cloud adoption. However, we predict that single-tenant structures will rapidly gain in importance as corporations mature in their use of cloud computing, especially with respect to how they manage their ERP systems, as I have written. Corporations are increasingly adopting Web-based applications and moving their computing environments to a hybrid model that combines a combination of on-premises and cloud deployment options (private, community and public; single- and multitenant; or managed cloud). The right choice depends on the needs of the company and the ability of vendors to provide services that match their requirements.

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Topics: Microsoft, Mobile, SaaS, Sales, Salesforce.com, ERP, HCM, Human Capital, Office of Finance, Planview, Concur, Dynamics AX, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV Dynamics SL, PSA, Sage Software, Unit4, Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, FinancialForce, HR, Infor, Tagetik, Workday, Plex

Ceridian Expands Workforce Management to Human Capital Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 29, 2014 9:33:13 AM

At its recent 2014 analyst day Ceridian showed the progress it has made on its Ceridian and Dayforce human capital management (HCM) platform since last year’s launch of its broader HCM portfolio. Ceridian’s overall HCM business, which the company says had revenue of $950 million in 2013 and now has more than 100,000 customers, consists largely of payroll-related products and services such as tax filing and payroll cards, but also benefits, human resources and workforce management products.

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Topics: Mobile, SaaS, Social Media, HCM, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Workforce Performance, Ceridian, Document Management, HR, Talent Management

Big Data Analytics Research Reveals Benefits of Investment

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 29, 2014 8:17:32 AM

We recently released our benchmark research on big data analytics, and it sheds light on many of the most important discussions occurring in business technology today. The study’s structure was based on the big data analytics framework that I laid out last year as well as the framework that my colleague Mark Smith put forth on the four types of discovery technology available. These frameworks view big data and analytics as part of a major change that includes a movement from designed data to organic data, the bringing together of analytics and data in a single system, and a corresponding move away from the technology-oriented three Vs of big data to the business-oriented three Ws of data. Our big data analytics research confirms these trends but also reveals some important subtleties and new findings with respect to this important emerging market. I want to share three of the most interesting and even surprising results and their implications for the big data analytics market.

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Topics: Big Data, Pentaho, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Datawatch

Oracle Has Sunny Forecast for Cloud Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 20, 2014 9:35:10 AM

At Oracle’s recent cloud computing analyst summit in sunny Palm Springs, the company’s executive team insisted that it sees clear skies for its efforts in cloud computing. The summit was led by senior executive Thomas Kurian, who runs the entire product organization and reports directly to CEO Larry Ellison. He affirmed that Oracle intends to offer the full range of cloud computing – public, private and hybrid models – to its customers and partners. As one of the world’s largest software suppliers Oracle has much at stake to make its database and all tools and applications available in these cloud environments, including managed cloud services. Our business technology innovation research shows this is a smart bet. Cloud computing is important or very important to 57 percent of organizations, and more than half (55%) of cloud users have been using it for more than a year. I noted in 2013 that simplifying IT and innovating in business are key to its software strategy, and Oracle’s efforts since then have executed on this outline.

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Topics: Big Data, Database, Microsoft, SaaS, Sales Performance, Social Media, Software as a Service, Supply Chain Performance, Middleware, Oracle Cloud, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, IBM, Information Applications, Information Management, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Database as a Service, Verizon

IBM Delivers New Talent Management Suite

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 13, 2014 1:11:02 AM

At its recent Connect 2014 event IBM announced IBM Kenexa Talent Suite, an integrated talent management suite. The release strengthens its Smarter Workforce initiative by combining IBM and Kenexa products and services in one human capital management (HCM) offering. IBM Kenexa Talent Suite also addresses increasing efforts by human resources organizations to optimize their activities through more effective use of technology, a topic covered in our 2014 HCM research agenda. Specifically, the release integrates talent management process automation capabilities with collaboration and also can be complemented with its workforce analytics to help organizations be more efficient and productive; our benchmark research shows these are the leading benefits of using human capital analytics systems.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, SAP, Social Media, HCM, Kenexa, Recruiting, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, IBM, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Cognitive Computing, HR, IBM Watson, Social

Location Analytics Delivers Geographic Insights

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 3, 2014 8:54:44 PM

Adding geographic and location context to business information enables organizations to develop fuller understanding and optimize the activities of people that use the information. We call this location intelligence, and to achieve it requires location analytics, which focus on that context where the processing and presentation of geography and spatial aspects of data are utilized. Analysis of geographic information can provide business insights that help organizations make better business decisions. I have written about this new generation of location analytics previously and noted that it can provide fresh analytic perspectives on information collected and integrated from in-house applications and across the Internet.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Customer Analytics, GIS, Location Analytics, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance

Building a Better Business Case for Buying Software

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 27, 2014 8:59:51 AM

When it comes to making a business case for software investments, many people fail to recognize that the case itself is just one part of what amounts to an internal sales and marketing effort that they must perform well to be successful. Focusing only on the numbers and assumptions in a spreadsheet is not enough. Making a successful business case requires an understanding of the audience’s perspective and motivations. Since the individuals who will review the business case may not be sufficiently aware of the issues that are behind it and their seriousness, it may be necessary to begin an awareness-building program before presenting the business case. And because the benefits of software investments can be difficult to quantify, executive sponsors are useful in achieving acceptance of these calculations. Unfortunately, many business cases founder because proponents do not realize the importance of taking a sales and marketing approach.

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Topics: Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, Office of Finance, Research, budgeting and planning, ROI, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, CRM, business plan, capital spending, Financial Performance Management, FPM, SCM, Software

Human Capital Analytics Delivers Benefits for Business

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 26, 2014 10:26:28 AM

The market for human capital analytics is in flux, as companies begin to evaluate and adopt more capable tools and processes for this area of human capital management. A look at the tools organizations are using and plan to use for human capital analytics provides an example of this change. Our recently published benchmark research on human capital analytics shows that nearly nine in 10 (87%) organizations are still using spreadsheets for human capital analytics while fewer than two in five (37%) presently use a dedicated human capital analytics tool. However, it also shows the market’s greatest growth yet, as more than two in five (43%) organizations said they will implement dedicated tools in the future. And organizations are recognizing the imperative of making such an investment: Two-thirds of those in our research consider human capital analytics important or very important.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Predictive Analytics, Social Media, HCM, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Financial Performance, Information Management, Workforce Performance

FinancialForce Broadens Its Reach with ERP and More

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 26, 2014 8:13:32 AM

FinancialForce recently introduced FinancialForce ERP, a family of cloud-based software designed to support a variety of customer-centric businesses such as professional services organizations or companies that specialize in business and industrial distribution. Many of these types of businesses are midsize or small (having 50 to 1,000 employees) and can benefit from the integration of FinancialForce’s accounting, professional services automation, human capital management (HCM) and supply chain management (SCM) software. The company added the last two capabilities at the end of 2013 with the acquisitions of Vana Workforce and Less Software, respectively, which I commented  on. Like FinancialForce’s, their software runs on the Salesforce1 platform, which means that integration of these elements was straightforward. It also enables companies that use or are planning to use salesforce.com for sales and customer service to simplify integration of those with the operational and back-office software, by enabling single sign-on, end-to-end process management and a single data source for reporting and analysis. This integration can significantly reduce or even eliminate the need to re-enter information into systems or to use spreadsheets, documents and email to manage processes. With all of the data available in a single system, creating reports and automating their distribution becomes easier. All of this, in turn, should cut the amount of time and effort spent on administrative and clerical functions and enhance the productivity of the organization.

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Topics: SaaS, Sales, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, HCM, Human Capital, Office of Finance, Consulting, distribution, PSA, Unit4, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, FinancialForce, HR, Professional Services Automation, SCM

Wearable Computing is in Fashion and Ready for Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 26, 2014 7:28:40 AM

In the near future, technology will be something we wear or attach comfortably to our bodies. Wearable computers have been evolving for some time, and while that might seem futuristic to the uninformed, in the technology industry it is rapidly becoming real. This trend is important for businesses to note, as our business technology innovation research shows that it is very important to more than half (56%) of organizations to find methods to use technology innovation to support both business processes and their people. Mobile technology is the third-most important innovative technology, after analytics and collaboration, and innovators will use all three together. Many organizations focus on acquiring and retaining the best possible workforce, which after all is their most valuable asset.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, HCM, Human Capital Management, Wearable Computing, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Information Applications, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Talent Management

Oracle Modernizes HR with Mobile and Wearable Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 22, 2014 6:43:00 AM

At Oracle’s first-ever HCM World conference, the technology company demonstrated its commitment to human resources customers, explaining its strategy for Modern HR in the Cloud, which is focused on meeting the needs of employees in a large, dispersed workforce. The conference was insightful both intellectually and practically in its discussions of how workforces are changing. Oracle also showed its commitment by having both President Mark Hurd and CEO Larry Ellison present keynotes. This was the first time both have addressed a conference other than the flagship Oracle OpenWorld. It is worth watching the replays of their talks, which reveal the company’s motivation and investment in human capital management (HCM). In developing its HCM products Oracle has in mind multigenerational workforces that require software that is adaptable to people, competencies and new technologies such as mobile devices and social collaboration and recognizes the imperative to access workforce information and analytics immediately. The rebranded Oracle HCM Cloud Service has gained significant momentum, as my colleague Stephan Millard pointed out in his recent analysis of Oracle’s HCM portfolio. Taking a global approach it supports users in 196 countries, 34 languages and multiple currencies and operates entirely in a cloud environment.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Human Capital Analytics, Human Capital Management, Recruiting, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Oracle, Workforce Performance, HR, Talent Management, Workforce Management

Economic Recovery Spurs Growth in Recruiting Software

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 18, 2014 5:07:02 AM

One strong sign of the economic recovery as manifested in the human capital management market is the recent spate of announcements of new recruiting applications from software companies that are not always considered for recruiting. Here are some of them. Ultimate Software announced the launch of UltiPro Recruiting. Saba Recently announced the release of Recruiting@Work. Workday announced the upcoming release of Workday Recruiting. And Ceridian announced release a recruiting application on its Dayforce platform scheduled for the first quarter of this year, which I covered. These recent investments by vendors in recruiting applications, as well as others I discussed after the most recent HR Technology Conference, demonstrate the increased emphasis on recruiting to support talent and workforce management processes in human capital management (HCM).

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Topics: Mobile, Social Media, HCM, Recruiting, Operational Performance, Ultimate, Business Collaboration, Collaboration, Workforce Performance, Ceridian, Saba, Workday

Mobile Business Intelligence – Who is Hot in 2014

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 17, 2014 10:27:39 AM

Ventana Research recently completed the most comprehensive evaluation of mobile business intelligence products and vendors available anywhere today. The evaluation includes 16 technology vendors’ offerings on smartphones and tablets and use across Apple, Google Android, Microsoft Surface and RIM BlackBerry that were assessed in seven key categories: usability, manageability, reliability, capability, adaptability, vendor validation and TCO and ROI. The result is our Value Index for Mobile Business Intelligence in 2014. The analysis shows that the top supplier is MicroStrategy, which qualifies as a Hot vendor and is followed by 10 other Hot vendors: IBM, SAP, QlikTech, Information Builders, Yellowfin, Tableau Software, Roambi, SAS, Oracle and arcplan.

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Topics: Big Data, MicroStrategy, Mobile, Mobile Business Intelligence, Pentaho, Sales Performance, SAP, SAS, Tableau, Jaspersoft, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, IBM, Information Builders, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Yellowfin, Roambi, Value Index, arcplan, Logi Analytics, Qlik

The Human Capital Management Technology Revolution in 2014

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 5, 2014 8:37:43 AM

Human capital will continue to be an organization’s largest investment in 2014 and if productive will be one of its most valuable assets and differentiators. It also continues to rank as top priority by CEOs across the industry. We anticipate that businesses that take advantage of the innovative technology now available for human capital management (HCM) will gain a competitive advantage. Ventana Research will track these technological advances and how they are put to use by organizations that deploy them.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Governance, HCM, Human Capital Management, Recruiting, CHRO, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Talent Management

Big Data Offers Business Opportunity for Information Optimization in 2014

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 27, 2014 9:09:29 AM

Businesses are always looking for ways to grow and to streamline their operations. These two goals can come into conflict because as organizations become larger it becomes more complicated to be agile and efficient. To help them understand and modify their processes, businesses can derive insights from analytics applied to their data. Today that data is available not only in the enterprise and cloud computing environments but also from the Internet. To collect, process and analyze it all is a challenge, one that an increasing number of organizations are meeting through the use of big data technologies. The resulting insights can help them make strategic business decisions such as where to focus efforts and how to engage with customers. At Ventana Research we have been working hard to understand the advancing technology that supports big data and its value through information optimization and bring clarity to the industry through our research and analysis of trends and products. There are many opinions about big data and fixation on the attributes of it through the V’s (volume, variety and velocity) and how to use it, often biased toward one technology or vendor; our research and analysis of the entire market cuts through the noise to provide not just facts but insights on best practices and methods to apply this technology to business problems.

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

The Value Index of Workforce Management Software for 2014

Posted by Ventana Research on Jan 23, 2014 9:06:13 AM

Ventana Research recently released our Value Index on Workforce Management for 2014. We define workforce management as the set of processes by which organizations manage their hourly and salaried employees to maximize productivity. It involves not only tracking time worked and providing compensation for it but also aligning that work to the objectives of the organization and to the individual employee’s needs. Our Value Indexes are informed by more than a decade of analysis of how well technology suppliers and their products satisfy specific business and IT needs. For each we perform a detailed evaluation of product functionality and suitability to task in five categories as well as of the effectiveness of vendor support for the buying process and customer assurance. In this case the resulting index gauges the value offered by each vendor and its products in supporting workforce management, which is necessary for running an organization efficiently and effectively.

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Topics: Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Human Capital Management, Kronos, Empower, Operational Performance, WFM, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Mobility, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Ceridian, Infor, SumTotal Systems, Value Index, Workforce Management, Workplace

SuccessFactors Integrates More with SAP for Human Capital Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Jan 16, 2014 9:51:58 AM

Much has happened for SuccessFactors in the past year as it became more a part of SAP, which acquired it in 2012.  One of the most notable changes was the departure of its founder, Lars Delgaard, who set the culture of the company, and the selection of Shawn Price as president. The changes in leadership have come as SuccessFactors shifts away from its position in “business execution” software toward a HR and talent management suite, which aligns it more with what SAP has. (For background, see my colleague Mark Smith’s report shortly after the acquisition.) Since then, SuccessFactors and SAP have worked at strengthening several parts of their human capital management product by connecting it with its new payroll software and more recently its HANA in-memory processing platform. The products, however, remain separate. These advances should be well received by both existing customers and those considering either its new payroll system or SuccessFactors’ HR management and talent management systems.

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Topics: SAP, Social Media, HCM, Kronos, Social Collaboration, SuccessFactors, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, HR Analytics, HR Management

Boardwalktech Addresses Spreadsheet Woes in Business

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 15, 2014 10:17:39 AM

Our benchmark research on enterprise spreadsheets explores the pitfalls that await companies that use desktop spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel in repetitive, collaborative enterprise-wide processes. Because people are so familiar with Excel and therefore are able to quickly transform their finance or business expertise into a workable spreadsheet for modeling, analysis and reporting, desktop spreadsheets became the default choice. Individuals and organizations resist giving up their spreadsheets, so software vendors have come up with adaptations that embrace and extend their use. I’ve long advocated finding user-friendly spreadsheet alternatives.

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Topics: Sales Performance, GRC, Office of Finance, Reporting, enterprise spreadsheet, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Risk, benchmark, Financial Performance Management

IBM Bets a Billion to Mobilize Watson Business Unit and Monetize Cognitive Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 13, 2014 8:04:28 AM

With much fanfare and a rarely seen introduction by CEO Ginni Rometty, IBM launched IBM Watson as a new business unit focused on cognitive computing technology and solutions, now being led by Senior Vice President Mike Rhodin. The announcement is summarized here:. Until now IBM Watson was important but had neither this stature in IBM’s organizational structure nor enough investment to support what the company proclaims is the third phase of computing. As IBM tells it, computing paradigms began with the century-old tabular computing, followed by the age of programmatic computing, in which IBM developed many products and advancements. The third phase is cognitive computing, an area in which the company has invested significantly to advance its technology. IBM has been on this journey for some time, long before the IBM Watson system beat humans on Jeopardy!. Its machine-learning efforts started with the IBM 704 and computer checkers in the 1950s, followed by decades of utilizing the computing power of the IBM 360 mainframe, the IBM AS/400, the IBM RS/6000 and even IBM XT computers in the 1980s. Now IBM Watson is focused on reaching the full potential of cognitive computing.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Cognitive Computing, Discovery, Exploration, IBM Watson

Research Agendas for 2014: Optimizing the Use of Technology for Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 10, 2014 8:37:34 AM

Greetings, everyone, and best wishes for a great start to 2014. In this new year, utilizing best practices and skills learned in 2013 will be critical for optimizing the use of efforts to support both business and IT. In 2013 many organizations made progress in balancing technology decisions across business and IT as the lines of business continued to take leading roles in investment and prioritization. Major investments were made in business applications using software as a service, business analytics and mobile computing applications. In some other areas of innovation, particularly big data and social collaboration, deployments are just beginning to happen and a significant amount of projects are in experimental and proof of concept than enterprise use.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Market Research, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, CFO, COO, Technology

FinancialForce.com Expands into Human Capital and Supply Chain Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 28, 2013 6:39:14 AM

FinancialForce.com, a provider of cloud-based financial applications, recently announced two pending acquisitions. One is Vana Workforce, which makes a human capital management (HCM) application aimed at small to midsize companies. The other is LessSoftware, a supplier of Web-based supply chain management (SCM) applications. The acquisitions are part of FinancialForce’s strategy to build a broad suite of applications that run on salesforce.com’s Force.com platform. The three companies already have joint customers, so they build on established use cases and relationships. FinancialForce.com itself is jointly owned by salesforce.com and Netherlands-based Unit 4.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance

Host Analytics Lifts Spreadsheets to Cloud for Finance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 27, 2013 9:48:54 AM

Host Analytics has introduced AirliftXL, a new feature of its cloud-based financial performance management (FPM) suite that enables its software to translate users’ spreadsheets into the Host Analytics format. I find it significant in three respects. First, it can substantially reduce the time and resources it takes for a company to go live in adopting the Host Analytics suite, lowering the cost of implementation and accelerating time to value. Second, it enables Host Analytics users who have the appropriate permissions to create and modify models and templates that they use in planning, budgeting, consolidation and reporting. This can enhance the value of the system by making it easier to maintain. Third, it can make it far easier to routinely collect and connect planning and analytical models used by all departments and business users as it has outlined in its planning cloud offering. Although it has limitations in its initial release, AirliftXL gives corporations a workable alternative to stand-alone spreadsheets and has the potential to substantially increase productivity and effectiveness of an organization in the full range of budgeting, planning, consolidation and reporting functions.

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Topics: Modeling, Office of Finance, Reporting, closing, Consolidation, Controller, Host Analytics, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

The Cloud Can Help You Get Smarter If You Let It

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 8, 2013 8:09:09 AM

One of the potential benefits of cloud computing to access business applications and data is its potential to improve the situational awareness of executives and managers. By this I mean their understanding of what’s going on outside their company in addition to what’s happening within it. Today people have access to a trove of information about their own company, which is the result of decades of investment in an expanding range of enterprise transaction systems (ERP, CRM and supply chain management, for example) and convenient data stores that make accessing data easier than ever. But although people have access to internal information, most have big gaps in their knowledge about what’s going on in the outside world. Take, for example, market trends, information about a competitor’s, supplier’s or customer’s financials or industry-specific demand forecasts. Our benchmark research shows that while two-thirds of companies are satisfied with their ability to integrate information from standard internal sources, only 39 percent feel that way about reference or competitive data from external sources and 36 percent about text data from social media.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Data Integration, Data Management, Financial Performance, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Data, finance, FPM

Mobility and Social Interaction Are the New Trends in Human Capital Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 7, 2013 8:32:30 AM

2013 was a big year for the annual HR Technology conference, as its well-known co-founder and leader for the past 16 years, Bill Kutik, stepped down, passing leadership of the event to Steve Boese, another familiar name in the community. Beyond the change in leadership, at this year’s show were a large number of vendors that have invested in new technology to advance human capital management (HCM). Overall I noted several interesting trends, some that were similar to those I written about earlier in the year and others that reflect the evolution of innovations seen at last year’s show, specifically expanding the use of mobile access within applications and further extending business collaboration into HCM platforms. In addition, there were other advances driven by market factors such as growth in new recruiting technologies.

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Topics: Mobile, Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Peoplefluent, Recruiting, Social Collaboration, SuccessFactors, Jibe, Operational Performance, Ultimate Software, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Location Intelligence, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Cornerstone OnDemand, Infor, Talemetry, TribeHR, Workday, HR technology, Hunite, SumTotal, Zao

Infor Aims to Reinvent Business Applications

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 6, 2013 8:18:55 AM

Infor is a vendor I haven’t covered much in the past, but after attending the recent Infor on the Road day in the U.K. that is about to change. I viewed Infor as basically a CRM vendor, and I don’t believe such systems have much impact on customer engagement and the customer experience. Indeed if you view Infor website’s product page, it features several product categories focused on internal processes: CRM, Asset Management, Financial Management, Resource Planning, Human Capital Management and Product Management. (By the way, my colleague Robert Kugel wrote about some of these after his visit to Inforum.) If like me you are not technically minded, you might skip the technology section, which is where Infor showcases innovation in business applications.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Speech Analytics, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics

Informatica and Exterro Partner for More Effective E-discovery

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 1, 2013 7:07:45 AM

Informatica and Exterro have announced a partnership in the market for discovery of electronic data and documents (known as e-discovery). Exterro has made its reputation in e-discovery workflow and legal holds management while Informatica is a leader in data integration that our Value Index finds as the top and Hot rated provider. The partnership is designed to provide users of Exterro’s Fusion E-Discovery software with a single point of control for organizing and managing legal and preservation holds (that is, preventing electronic data from alteration or deletion) of unstructured and structured data that are held in Informatica’s Data Archive. Informatica specializes in the efficient management of information assets, which our benchmark research shows is not easy for most organizations to do because they have data spread across multiple applications and systems: Two-thirds of organizations said that this makes it difficult to manage information. By consolidating in a single repository the storage of information that is likely to be the subject of discovery, companies can simplify and cut the cost of the search process as well as reduce risk. Orchestrating legal and preservation holds can be complex since multiple people or groups within a company may be legally involved with the same data over an extended period of time. Moreover, it’s important to ensure that once the holds are no longer needed, all data that can be eliminated is eliminated.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Office of Finance, eDiscovery, Exterro, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Data Governance, Data Management, Financial Performance, Informatica, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, compliance, Data, Information, Risk

Tidemark Unifies New Generation of Business Planning Software

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 1, 2013 6:56:27 AM

Tidemark announced the release of the Fall 2013 version of its eponymous cloud-based application that my colleague assessed earlier in 2013. This new release adds capabilities for labor planning and expense management as well profitability modeling and analysis. These two areas of planning and analysis are common to all businesses. The new release adds features that enhance the software’s ability to do sales forecasting, initiative planning and IT department planning. The company continues to refine its modeling capabilities to make it easier for people engaged in the planning process to translate their expectations and concerns into a quantified view of the future. For example, users now can build models using natural-language modeling. The objective is to eliminate the need for help from business analysts or experts trained in the use of a tool and immersed the details of the IT plumbing, such as the metadata used for specific general ledger accounts or operational data.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, Controller, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, CFO, Tidemark, Financial Performance Management, financial reporting, FPM, Integrated Business Planning

IBM Social Business Bets on Key Application and Technologies

Posted by Ventana Research on Oct 24, 2013 8:25:24 AM

I recently attended an IBM event about its new social business products and services. I was skeptical at first: I have seen another vendor’s “social enterprise” come and go, and although companies need to address customer use of social media, I don’t think “social” is the path businesses should take; it is more to do with collaboration. However, I quickly learned that IBM sees things rather differently. Its starting point is the need for companies to make their workforces smarter – something I agree with. Employees are the heart of a company; for example, according to my research into customer service and the agent desktop, not only do happy, empowered employees twice as often deliver superior customer experiences, but they also meet customer-related targets more often, and deliver or retain more satisfied and more loyal customers who spend more.

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Topics: Big Data, Customer Analytics, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Speech Analytics, Self-service, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Customer Service, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Text Analytics

CEOs and Executives Need Business Planning Software

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 22, 2013 10:19:24 AM

Business planning is a new software category. These applications enable senior executives to integrate all the plans of business units into a single, integrated view, which helps them have more accurate plans, do more insightful what-if planning, achieve greater agility in reacting to changing business and economic conditions, and execute plans in a more coordinated fashion than was possible. Business planning software is intended for CEOs and COOs, who are not well served by current capabilities. Business planning software enables executives and managers to understand both the operational and the financial consequences of their actions, but it emphasizes the things that the various parts of the business focus on: units sold, sales calls made, the number and types of employees required, customers serviced and so on. Lines of business already do this but in a fragmented fashion using desktop spreadsheets circulated within silos via email. Business planning software provides a platform to support modeling in individual business units, individual planning processes and visualization of the impacts of changes in what-if scenarios. It offers a central data repository for all plans; our benchmark research shows the advantage of this approach: Companies that directly link individual business unit data to an integrated plan get more accurate results. To be specific, 22 percent of those with such links have very accurate budgets compared to just a handful with less direct links and none that employ summarized data.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, Controller, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, CFO, Financial Performance Management, financial reporting, FPM, Integrated Business Planning

Oracle Demonstrates Innovation in Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 15, 2013 6:24:27 AM

The 2013 Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco was unique in several ways. Against the background of the America’s Cup yacht races on the bay, which Team Oracle won in an amazing comeback, this was the first year in which OpenWorld dedicated a separate track to the full aspects of human capital management (HCM). This emphasis helped to demonstrate Oracle’s increased commitment to HCM. That and several important innovations in the company’s Oracle HCM Cloud product suite led us to select Oracle as winner of this year’s Ventana Research Technology Innovation Award for HCM. (For some background, see my colleague Mark Smith’s assessment of Oracle at its analyst day last spring.)

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Gamifiacation, HCM, OpenWorld, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Oracle, Workforce Performance

It’s Past Time for the Next Generation of Business Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 11, 2013 12:17:50 PM

Business planning as practiced today is a relic, a process hemmed in by obsolete conceptions of what it should be. I use the term “business planning” to encompass all of the forward-looking activities in which companies routinely engage, including, for example, sales, production and head-count planning as well as budgeting. Companies need to take a fresh view of all these, adopting a new approach to business planning that while preserving continuity makes a substantial departure from what most companies do now. Currently, in most organizations the budget is the only companywide business plan. However, while necessary for financial management and control, budgets are not especially useful for running an organization.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, Controller, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, CFO, Financial Performance Management, financial reporting, FPM, Integrated Business Planning

Gamification Must Drive Software Ergonomics

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 2, 2013 8:43:28 AM

In business, the first rule of gamification is don’t call it gamification.

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Topics: Sales, Social Media, HCM, Social Collaboration, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance

Ventana Research Technology Innovation Awards Are More Than Cool

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 31, 2013 1:34:18 AM

In the realm of technology that matters for business and IT, our firm as part of our responsibility continually assesses the latest technology and how it can impact organizations’ efficiency and effectiveness. Our benchmark research in technology innovation found that 87% of participants indicated the importance of increasing the organization’s value through technology innovation. Every year we take our knowledge from research and technology briefings to focus on our Technology Innovation Awards and determine the vendors and products that have the potential to drive change in the market, the competitiveness of an organization’s business and sometimes just how efficiently a company operates. Our firm believes that Innovation can come from any size technology vendor from the smallest to the largest that are measured on a spectrum of attributes that contribute to the specific impact of the technology.

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Topics: Big Data, Datameer, Mobile, Sales, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Sustainability, Customer, ESRI, Globoforce, GRC, HCM, Kronos, Kyriba, Location Analytics, Marketing, NetBase, Office of Finance, Overall Operational Leadership, Peoplefluent, Planview, SQLstream, VMWare, VPI, IT Analytics & Performance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Hortonworks, IBM, Informatica, Information Applications, Information Builders, Information Management, Information Technology, KXEN, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Contact Center, Datawatch, Financial Management, Information Optimization, Johnson Controls Panoptix, Roambi, Service & Supply Chain, Upstream Works, Vertex, Xactly

The Personas that Matter the Most in Business Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Aug 30, 2013 10:30:56 AM

As a new generation of business professionals embraces a new generation of technology, the line between people and their tools begins to blur. This shift comes as organizations become flatter and leaner and roles, context and responsibilities become intertwined. These changes have introduced faster and easier ways to bring information to users, in a context that makes it quicker to collaborate, assess and act. Today we see this in the prominent buying patterns for business intelligence and analytics software and an increased focus on the user experience. Almost two-thirds (63%) of participants in our benchmark research on next-generation business intelligence say that usability is the top purchase consideration for business intelligence software. In fact, usability is the driving factor in evaluating and selecting technology across all application and technology areas, according to our benchmark research.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Scientist, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Customer & Contact Center, Data Management, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Data

Big Data Brewing Value in Human Capital Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Aug 28, 2013 9:15:37 AM

In recent months I have been asked a straightforward question by several clients: How do you define big data in the context of human capital management? More specifically, the question isn’t so much about the classic definition of big data – which includes the storage and use of high volume of data, high velocity of data and high variety of data, commonly known as the 3Vs – but really has two parts: What are the key differentiators between analytics applications and big data applications, and to what degree must an application include external data to be considered big data? Ventana Research has been covering big data for some time, and my colleague Tony Cosentino wrote about big data and workforce Analytics last September. But both human capital management and big data have evolved since then, so I think it’s worth writing about again.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Social Media, HCM, analytical discovery, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Workforce Performance

Eliminating the Strategy/Execution Disconnect

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 19, 2013 8:24:11 AM

This is the beginning of the season when companies that are on a calendar year begin their strategic and long-term planning. Ventana Research performed an extensive investigation in this area with our long-range planning benchmark research. Strategic and long-range planning is a process and discipline that companies use to determine the best strategy for succeeding in the markets they serve and then ensure they have the capabilities and resources needed to support their strategic objectives.

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Topics: Big Data, Master Data Management, Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, dashboard, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, Data, CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

Spreadsheets Consume More Time Than It Seems

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 7, 2013 10:47:02 AM

The spreadsheet is one of the five most important advances in business management over the last 50 years. It has changed all aspects of running an organization. It was the original “killer app” that made people go out and buy personal computers. So you see I’m enthusiastic about spreadsheets, but I realize they have limits that must be respected to work efficiently. One of the more important findings from our benchmark research Spreadsheets for Today’s Enterprise was about the time spent in maintaining spreadsheets. We asked participants how much time they spend per month in updating, revising, consolidating, modifying and correcting the spreadsheet used in the most important process associated with their job. The answers varied depending on the intensity with which people work with spreadsheets. On average, the heaviest users – those whose work requires them to spend all or almost all of their time using them – spend 18.1 hours per month on maintenance – the equivalent of more than two days per month! Even those who spend more than half their time in this fashion use up nearly two days (15.7 hours). For a tool designed to enhance personal productivity, these results should be sobering to executives and managers.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, enterprise spreadsheet, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Visualization, Workforce Performance, Risk, benchmark, Financial Performance Management

Mercer Unifies Talent Management Practice and Announces Product Suite

Posted by Ventana Research on Jul 30, 2013 10:18:09 AM

Mercer is a global consulting company that has more than 19,000 employees in more than 40 countries. One of the company’s major consulting practices is talent management. My colleague Mark Smith assessed Mercer’s survey delivery product WIN for compensation management in September 2011. Mercer recently held an analyst day in Boston where speakers discussed the launch of a new internal group focused on talent management and a new talent management suite sold as part of its consulting services.

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Topics: MicroStrategy, Mercer, Towers Watson Talent Management, Analytics, Business Analytics, Workforce Performance, Compensation

Peoplefluent Innovates with Video and Collaboration and also Unifies Recruiting

Posted by Ventana Research on Jul 4, 2013 2:25:10 AM

To strengthen its position in both core talent management and the social form of it, Peoplefluent has purchased a video collaboration platform and enhanced its existing recruiting products. My colleague Mark Smith wrote about Peoplefluent’s evolution toward a social talent management platform with its acquisition of Socialtext. In addition, our firm selected Peoplefluent’s customer Citrix for the 2013 Technology Innovation Award; it provides a practical example of how to use mobile technologies to create a succession planning solution for senior managers who are often traveling and need to work on processes like this wherever they may be. This case also is an instance of customers partnering with their vendors to achieve mutual goals.

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Topics: Social Media, Customer Experience, HCM, Peoplefluent, Recruiting, Business Collaboration, Collaboration, Workforce Performance

Cornerstone Doubles Down on Talent Management

Posted by Ventana Research 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

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), IBM, Information Applications, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Strata+Hadoop

Anaplan Innovates Business Modeling and Planning

Posted by Mark Smith on May 29, 2013 11:05:03 AM

Anaplan’s software is designed to help organizations across finance, sales and operations improve accuracy, timeliness and collaboration in their business analytics and planning. I recently attended the company’s first user conference, Hub 2013, in San Francisco, which featured customer success stories and latest on product information. Anaplan has built its business on the subtleties of modeling and planning that are shared between sales, operations and finance departments, and it enables them to apply analytics to projections in revenue, sales, forecasting, territory planning, commissions, quotas and profitability – areas that are intertwined through many business processes. Anaplan’s team has more than decades of experience in the analytics and planning software markets that has led to its devised cloud-based, in-memory computing software.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, FP&A, Modeling, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, finance, Sales Planning

Workday 19 Expands Mobility and Strengthens HCM Platform

Posted by Ventana Research on May 24, 2013 11:42:41 AM

In April Workday released version 19 of its suite of applications for human capital management (HCM), financial management and other areas. Workday’s strategy is to differentiate itself in the ERP market, specifically in competing with Oracle and SAP, by being a pure-play cloud vendor. The strategy touts specific value propositions in the system’s cost effectiveness, flexibility, and ease of use and management through its cloud computing and HR to accounting software approach. Much of the job of executing on these promises is realized in the content of the quarterly releases, which is becoming a more common release model among both ERP vendors and cloud-only vendors such as Workday.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Workforce Performance, HR, Talent Management

SAP HANA is Technology Platform of Choice for SAP

Posted by Mark Smith on May 21, 2013 10:05:29 AM

At this year’s annual SAP user conference, SAPPHIRE, the technology giant showed advances in its cloud and in-memory computing efforts. It has completed the migration of its conventional application suite and portfolio of tools to operate on SAP HANA, its in-memory computing platform, and made improvements in its cloud computing environment, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. The last time I analyzed SAP HANA was when it won our firm’s 2012 Overall IT Technology Innovation Award. Now HANA has been transitioned from just a database technology into a broad platform. SAP wisely consolidated its efforts previously known as SAP NetWeaver into SAP HANA. This resolves some confusion regarding HANA and NetWeaver in the cloud, which I assessed. The recently announced SAP HANA Platform now provides the enterprise class of HANA implementation in the cloud. It comes with a trial edition of the data and visual discovery technology now called SAP Lumira, whose price has been reduced to encourage adoption (and which I discuss more below). The use of in-memory databases for big data is accelerating: According to our technology innovation research, 22 percent of organizations are planning to use this technology over the next two years, and through 2015 it will have a higher growth rate than other approaches.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Teradata, Mobile Technology, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), HP, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, CFO, CMO, SAP EPM, SAP HANA, SAP Lumira, SAPPHIRE, Tagetik

SumTotal’s elixHR Platform Can Ease HR’s Pain

Posted by Ventana Research on May 20, 2013 11:06:51 AM

One of the most important ongoing challenges in human capital management is to do master data management (MDM) of core human resources information more effectively. This challenge is often most complex for large organizations that have operations spread around the globe and HR management systems in each country or each operating division. To address this issue, SumTotal Systems recently announced the release of elixHR Platform at its TotalConnection user conference. This is the latest evolution of SumTotal’s core HR management system and is targeting this challenge of MDM for HR data. ElixHR system is one of SumTotal’s larger offering of human capital management products; others include talent management, workforce management and payroll management as well. SumTotal also has mobile and social products for HCM, which my colleague Mark Smith assessed on their release last October.

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Topics: Master Data Management, Social Media, HCM, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Workforce Analytics, HR Management(HRMS), SumTotal

Social Collaboration Is in Finance’s Future

Posted by Robert Kugel on May 10, 2013 11:00:37 AM

Finance departments don’t immediately come to mind in conversations about social collaboration technology. Most of the software used for social collaboration that I’ve seen demonstrated focuses on the sales process or for broader employee engagement. The Facebook-style interface may cause finance department managers and executives to roll their eyes, especially if they’re over 40 years old. Yet business and social collaboration is an important set of capabilities that has been taking hold in business. Our benchmark research shows it ranking second behind analytics as a technology innovation priority. It will gain adoption over the next several years as software transitions from the rigid constructs established in the client/server days, which force users to adapt to the limitations of the software, to fluid and dynamic designs that mold themselves around the needs of the user. Perhaps because most of the attention so far on the benefits of collaboration has focused on front-office roles, there’s less awareness of the potential in back-office and administrative functions. Indeed, the same research reveals that those in front-office roles five times more often than those in accounting and finance roles (21% vs. a mere 4%) said that business and social collaboration are very important to their organization. However, I assert it’s just a matter of time before the finance group understands that social collaboration has substantial potential to improve its performance.

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Topics: Customer Experience, ERP, communications, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CRM, Social, FPM

Four Types of Discovery Technology For Using Big Data Intelligently

Posted by Mark Smith on May 7, 2013 9:41:19 AM

Information technology for business is changing rapidly as organizations demand innovation to help them discover insights and facts. Our research into business technology innovation found analytics to be the top priority in 39 percent of organizations. Businesses feel pressure to be better, faster and smarter in operating processes, and understanding their various types of information is a key to success. Businesses are looking to capture value from all types of information both within the enterprise and on the Internet. In this context technology providers are now using the term “discovery” to capture potential buyers’ attention; it became an area for technology spending in 2012 and likely will be for years to come. In fact my colleague Tony Cosentino has identified discovery as one of the four pillars of big data analytics.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Event discovery, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Visualization, Workforce Performance, Data, Data Discovery, Information Discovery

Oracle Aims To Simplify IT and Innovate Your Business

Posted by Mark Smith on May 2, 2013 10:21:23 AM

I was recently at Oracle Analyst World which is the vendor’s annual gathering of technology industry analysts. Its executives and others in the products organization deliver the latest news on where the titan is focusing efforts to expand its technology and markets. This year, against the background of the consumer and business markets embracing mobile and cloud computing, Oracle is working to sound like a more friendly supplier that can help remove legacy issues and inefficiencies that plague CIOs and data centers. Oracle also used this forum to attract IT departments to the technology advances it has made across its deep and broad portfolio of products. Oracle has more than 3,900 software products and more than 3,000 software patents that indicate its significant investment in R&D. Now the company is beginning to release improved products more frequently, which most customers now expect from technology vendors.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Social Collaboration, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Workforce Performance, CFO, COO

Oracle Brings Enhancements to Business Intelligence

Posted by Ventana Research on May 1, 2013 8:58:59 AM

Responding to the trend that businesses now ask less sophisticated users to perform analysis and rely on software to help them, Oracle recently announced a new release  of its flagship Oracle BI Foundational Suite (OBIFS 11.1.1.7) as well as updates to Endeca, the discovery platform that Oracle bought in 2011. Endeca is part of a new class of tools that bring new capabilities in information discovery, self-service access and interactivity. Such approaches represent an important part of the evolution of business intelligence to business analytics as I have noted in my agenda for 2013.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, endeca, IT Performance, OBIEE, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Exalytics, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Oracle, Workforce Performance

Infor Demonstrates Steady Stream of Advances to Customers

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 26, 2013 11:00:13 AM

At this year’s Inforum user group conference, Infor representatives showed the progress the organization has made since last year in transforming itself from a ragbag of mostly small, often obsolete software companies to a competitive vendor of a modern enterprise management software suite. Infor was created by private equity investors employing a “rollup” strategy, aimed at combining smaller companies within an industry to form a single larger company that could achieve economies of scale and greater market presence. Others have tried this in the software industry in the past and encountered difficulty in making it work for two primary reasons. One is the technical challenge of achieving economies of scale in enterprise applications by turning a set of similar but separately developed software pieces into a single offering. Computer Associates achieved economies of scale through acquisition in the 1990s in the IT infrastructure software segment. But it did this largely by forcing customers of the various acquired companies to migrate to its single offering in the specific category. This is not a practical approach for business and finance enterprise applications because customers are willing to go off maintenance and eventually look for another vendor. The second difficulty is that newer or larger competitors can focus on innovation and overtake the rollup company while its attention and resources are focused on stitching the pieces together.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Planning, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, GRC, Office of Finance, Budgeting, closing, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Management, Workforce Performance, CFO, Infor, Risk, FPM, SEC

Investigate User-Friendly Spreadsheet Alternatives

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 18, 2013 10:11:08 AM

I’ve been using spreadsheets for more than 30 years. I consider this technology tool among the five most important advances in business management of the 20th century. Spreadsheets have revolutionized many aspects of running an organization. Yet as enthusiastic as I am about them, I know the limits of desktop spreadsheets and the price we pay if we fail to respect those limits. The essential problem arises when people use desktop spreadsheets for purposes beyond what they were originally designed to do. Desktop spreadsheets were designed to be a personal productivity tool, and they are good for prototyping models and creating analytics used in processes, performing one-off analyses using simple models and storing small amounts of data. They were not designed built to be used to manage or support repetitive, collaborative enterprise-wide processes. As a rule of thumb, when a spreadsheet is used by more than six people six or more times, it’s time to look for an alternative. Otherwise, errors and inconsistencies easily creep in and undermine the accuracy and value of important data.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, enterprise spreadsheet, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Visualization, Workforce Performance, Risk, benchmark, Financial Performance Management

Equifax Anticipates Need for Better Technology in Healthcare Compliance

Posted by Ventana Research on Apr 17, 2013 9:55:43 AM

As most employers are aware, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or Affordable Care Act) goes into effect in January 2014 which I recently assessed the need to be technology ready. The new law was signed into law on March 23rd 2010 and with the Supreme Court decision in June of 2012 which upheld the law and the re-election of President Obama in November, the law complex regulatory requirements that businesses need to understand before then. Those that don’t prepare may incur substantial expenses, such as fines known as Employer Shared Responsibility – payments of roughly $2,000 for every employee after the first 30. Many companies already worry about such issues. Our benchmark research on governance, risk and compliance found that the top two reasons organizations fail to deal with issues of governance, risk and compliance are high costs and lack of resources. In the case of the Affordable Care Act, the costs of inaction are likely to be greater than the cost of planning ahead.

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Topics: Equifax, eThority, HCM, Office of Finance, Obamacare, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Management, Workforce Performance, TALX, Healthcare Reform

The Importance of Managing Details in Long-Range Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Apr 15, 2013 11:02:18 AM

Ventana Research recently completed an in-depth benchmark research project on long-range planning. As I define it, long-range planning is the formal quantification of the more conceptual strategic plan. It makes specific assumptions and expresses in numbers how a company expects its strategy will play out over time. Almost all (95%) of those participating in the research see a need to make improvements to their long-range planning process. The research shows that one useful improvement is integrating long-range planning with the budgeting process. Today, many corporations confine their long-range planning to a high-level, less detailed extension of their current budget. Our research shows that companies that incorporate individual capital projects and major business initiatives as discrete elements of the long-range plan get better results. Marrying the high-level business outlook with the more significant bottom-up investment details produces better results.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

Tidemark Leads New Wave of Innovation in Planning and Performance Excellence

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 29, 2013 11:36:46 AM

Organizations succeed through continuous planning to achieve high levels of performance. For most organizations planning is not an easy process to conduct. Planning software is typically designed for only a few people in the process, such as analysts, or organizations might use spreadsheets, which are not designed for business planning across an organization. Most technologies only allow you to examine the past and not plan for the future. For decades organizations have tried to focus planning on driving better results through higher participation, but they have usually failed, as technology has not advanced enough to support this business need.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Mobile Technology, Operations, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Cloudera, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Workforce Performance, Business Planning, CFO, finance, Tidemark, Workday

Business Leads the Way to Cloud Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 27, 2013 8:54:01 AM

Cloud computing has given business a new way to improve the effectiveness of business processes and ultimately the outcomes of their efforts. In the last five years, business across marketing, customer service, sales, human resources, finance and other areas have embraced the practice of renting access to the applications and technology they need when they need them. Organizations’ use of operational expense budgets helps them get what they need and avoid IT politics or standards that impeded their agility.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Mobile Technology, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Business Applications

Ultimate Software Takes HCM Global

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 22, 2013 11:27:53 AM

Ultimate Software held its annual global customer conference and analyst day  recently in Las Vegas, where more than 1,300 attendees got to hear about the company’s plans for 2013.  Ultimate, founded in 1990, is a human capital management (HCM) vendor that provides human resources management systems (HRMS), payroll management, talent management and workforce management products to organizations primarily in the United States and Canadian markets – though it is announcing an international expansion.  The majority of Ultimate’s customer base is in the HRMS and payroll management space – areas in which Ultimate offers strong products – and it has many customers who have been using these products for many years, both on premises and in the cloud, including Adobe Systems, Major League Baseball, The New York Yankees Baseball Team, Pep Boys and Texas Roadhouse.

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Topics: Celergo HCM, Ultimate, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Informatica, Workforce Performance, Compensation, HR

Saba Doubles Down on Dedication to Empower People and Collaboration in 2013

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 14, 2013 10:54:26 AM

Saba held its annual People 2013 customer and analyst conference recently in San Francisco, with approximately 700 customers in attendance.  At the conference the company provided analysts a perspective on its progress over the last year and its product roadmap.  My colleague Mark Smith wrote about Saba’s acquisition of Human Concepts last year; today Saba says it has 31 million users and 2,100 customers, including names such as Yum Brands, ADP, Proctor & Gamble,  Intel and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The analyst event featured speakers from NetApp and Kaspersky Labs, who discussed how their use of Saba products helps their companies achieve their development and business objectives.

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Topics: Social Media, LMS, Social Collaboration, Learning Management, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, Saba, Talent Management, People Cloud

A Profile of Strategic and Long-Range Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 8, 2013 9:43:15 AM

Ventana Research recently completed an in-depth benchmark research project on long-range planning. As part of the research we had discussions with CFOs and those involved in financial planning and analysis about their company’s strategic and long-range planning processes, which pointed to the need for clarity in using the terms “strategic planning” and “long-range planning.”

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, CFO, CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

OrcaEyes Delivers a Whale of Workforce Analytics and Planning

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 5, 2013 11:43:39 AM

Human capital analytics used to be simple. It focused on compliance reporting, showed basic information and was an afterthought in most applications.  Today analytics is the centerpiece of many human capital management applications and involves many sophisticated tools, because it delivers the some of the greatest value of any process in all HCM.  Our next-generation workforce management benchmark research found that 61 percent of companies surveyed are planning to invest in improving their workforce analytics capabilities.

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Topics: HCM, OrcaEyes, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, Workforce Planning, Talent Managment

Spreadsheet Denial is a Big Issue

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 1, 2013 9:16:59 AM

Our recent benchmark research project, Spreadsheet Use in Today’s Enterprise, demonstrated that some companies have made modest progress in addressing spreadsheet issues, but there’s still much left to be done. Desktop spreadsheets can be an important source of productivity but, as I’ve noted, you need to understand their limitations and understand the practical alternatives. Users underestimate the impact of spreadsheet problems on their productivity because they tend to overlook the myriad little issues that constantly crop up. Being human, they overlook the ill effects that occur when spreadsheets are misused, and may be spurred to look for alternatives only when disaster strikes (as it did for one major bank).

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, enterprise spreadsheet, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Visualization, Workforce Performance, Risk, benchmark, Financial Performance Management

Cornerstone Making Talent Management Simpler to Use

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 26, 2013 8:27:55 AM

Improving how employees and managers can improve talent management activities through changes in process, technology and better access to information is both a theme of my research agenda this year. It is also what the key technology vendors in this space have been focused on developing products to do.  Cornerstone OnDemand is one of those vendors that has been in the talent management space since 1999, when it launched its original CyberU learning management product, and now offers a broad range of talent management applications. It is growing at a strong rate relative to many of the other companies in the market. Cornerstone’s products now span learning management, learning extended enterprise (learning extended to partners and customers), performance management, compensation management, succession management and recruiting management. Cornerstone has always sold its products in a cloud-deployment-only model, a decision that has served it well. Today Cornerstone enjoys a strong customer base for a standalone talent management company, with a reported 1,237 customers and 10.5 million users across 189 countries.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Social Media, HCM, Learning, Performance, Recruiting, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Workforce Performance, Cornerstone OnDemand, HR

Use – Don’t Abuse – Spreadsheets

Posted by Robert Kugel on Feb 21, 2013 9:45:41 AM

I’ve been using electronic spreadsheets for more than 30 years. I consider this technology among the 20th century’s top five most important advances in business management. Spreadsheets have revolutionized every aspect of running any organization. A spreadsheet (specifically, VisiCalc) was the original “killer app” that made business people feel the necessity to buy a personal computer.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, enterprise spreadsheet, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Visualization, Workforce Performance, Risk, benchmark, Financial Performance Management

Why Business Intelligence Software is Failing Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 15, 2013 4:11:24 PM

Business intelligence software is supposed to help businesses access and analyze data and communicate analytics and metrics. I have witnessed improvements to BI software over the years, from mobile and collaboration to interactive discovery and visualization, and our Value Index for Business Intelligence finds a mature set of technology vendors and products. But even as these products mature in capabilities, the majority lack features that would make them easy to use.  Our recent research on next-generation business intelligence found that usability is the most important evaluation criteria for BI technology, outpacing functionality (49%) and even manageability (47%). The pathetic state of dashboards and the stupidity of KPI illustrate some of the obvious ways the software needs to improve for businesses to gain the most value from it. We need smarter business intelligence, and that means not just more advanced sets of capabilities that are designed for the analysts, but software designed for those who need to use BI information.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Mobile Technology, Natural Language, Business Technology Innovation, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Discovery

The Evolution of Social Learning for Human Capital Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 14, 2013 10:13:37 AM

Learning management software (LMS) has evolved over the past 25-plus years from a classroom scheduling tool that helped streamline instructor-led and classroom training to a rich, integrated enterprise application that delivers and tracks training across an entire organization. These applications are effective at enabling organizations to share knowledge and track the knowledge-sharing process. Typically they use a top-down model involving classic instructor-led training and online courseware. This model works well for uses such as compliance tracking for a wide variety of industries, training related to employee performance gaps, sales training for product knowledge and training external dealer networks on products and services, to name a couple.  In these as well as other areas, classic learning management systems have grown to be a crucial human capital business process, and one that that provides demonstrable business and economic value to many organizations around the globe.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, HCM, LMS, Social Collaboration, Learning Management, Operational Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Information Management, Workforce Performance, HR, Talent Management

Turning a Spotlight on Human Capital Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 5, 2013 8:40:25 AM

Human capital analytics is an area increasingly under discussion in businesses today as the linkages between employee performance and company success become increasingly clear, as do the roles analytics can play in maximizing that success. This intensified interest in analytics coincides with major changes in the processes of hiring, engaging, retaining and optimizing talent in the enterprise. It also reflects the impact of technology innovations such as cloud computing, the business use of mobile devices, social media and location-based information that offer new options for interacting with human capital and deploying relevant analytics.

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Topics: HCM, Human Capital Management, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Information Management, Workforce Performance, HR

IBM Provokes Social Collaboration and Smarter Workforce Revolution

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 1, 2013 7:19:36 AM

IBM held its 20th annual IBM Connect conference (previously known as Lotusphere) as part of its IBM Social Business efforts at the end of January. The conference focuses on business and social collaboration technology, which our business technology innovation research found to be the second-ranked priority for business innovation. At the conference IBM made a series of significant announcements, including a new version of its social collaboration suite, IBM Connections, and the ability to use the software on a cloud computing platform.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Human Capital Management, Kenexa, Learning, Performance, Recruiting, Smarter Analytics, Smarter Workforce, Social Business, Social Collaboration, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, IBM, Workforce Performance, Compensation

Making Payroll Management a Strategic Part of Human Capital Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Jan 30, 2013 10:23:55 AM

Managing payroll has long been viewed as an administrative task, time-consuming and focused on ensuring that everyone is paid correctly and on time. In fact, in the American Payroll Association’s most recent annual study, the main metrics tracked for payroll performance are payroll cost per employee, payroll processing accuracy rate and dollar value of overpayments – all of which focus only on cost or accuracy. So payroll management is rarely viewed as having any strategic value to the business and typically is assigned a low priority in finance, HR and payroll departments. The payroll process is elevated in importance only when errors are made that result in people being paid or taxes being withheld incorrectly.

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Topics: HCM, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, IT Research, Cloud Computing, Information Applications, Workforce Performance, TCM

Technology Innovation in 2013 is a Business and IT Priority

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 29, 2013 10:35:07 AM

The proper use of technology enables businesses to be more efficient. Our recent research into technology for business innovation found that 56 percent indicate innovative technology is very important, yet only 9 percent are very satisfied with theirs, showing plenty of room for improvement. As we enter 2013, businesses have more choices than ever for technology to improve business and IT. Our firm has identified six key technologies that give organizations significant competitive advantages: big data, business analytics, business and social collaboration, cloud computing, mobile technology and social media. Our research agenda for 2013 is designed to help organizations assess and analyze these technologies and make the best possible decisions.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Mobile Technology, Social Collaboration, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, CMO, COO, CTO

SAP Business Analytics Strategy Built on SAP HANA and Delivers Better Business Intelligence

Posted by Ventana Research on Jan 22, 2013 7:25:41 AM

SAP just released strong preliminary quarterly and annual revenue growth, which in many ways can be attributed to a strong strategic vision around the HANA in-memory platform and strong execution throughout the organization. Akin to flying an airplane while simultaneously fixing it, SAP’s bold move to HANA may at some point see the company continuing to fly when other companies are forced to ground parts of their fleets.

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Topics: Sales, Sales Performance, SAP, Supply Chain Performance, Business Objects, Business Objects predictive analytics, Crystal reports, Operational Performance, Visi, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, IBM, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, cognos insight, SAP predictive analytics, Sybase IQ

The Rationale and Agenda for Why Human Capital Management in 2013

Posted by Ventana Research on Jan 18, 2013 12:10:49 AM

Human capital is most organizations’ largest investment and one of their largest differentiators against the competition. So it follows that those that take advantage of the compelling, game-changing technology now available in human capital management (HCM) will place themselves at a competitive advantage.

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Topics: Big Data, Social Media, HCM, Human Capital Management, Learning, Office of Finance, Social Collaboration, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, CFO, Compensation, finance, HR, Talent Management, Workforce Management

The Big Deal is in the 2013 Business Analytics Research Agenda

Posted by Ventana Research on Jan 16, 2013 4:53:04 AM

Did you catch all the big data analogies people used in 2012? There were many, like the refinement of oil analogy, or the spinning straw into gold analogy, and less useful but more entertaining ones, like big data is like a box of chocolates, or big data is like The Matrix (because “there’s no way Keanu Reeves learns Kung Fu in five seconds without using big data”).  I tend to like the water analogy, which I’ll use here to have a little fun and to briefly describe how I see the business analytics market in 2013.

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

Joining Ventana Research to Inspire Human Capital Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Jan 16, 2013 4:24:24 AM

Hi; pleased to meet you!  I’m tremendously excited to be joining the team here at Ventana Research, and I’m looking forward to adding my experience, observations and opinions to this team of very talented industry analysts!  Let me start by telling you a little about my background, and then why a chose to come to work here and what I will be covering at Ventana Research.

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Topics: Social Media, Human Capital Management, Market Research, Office of Finance, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Information Management, Workforce Performance, HR, Talent Management, Workforce Management

SAP Announces Business Suite on HANA

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 11, 2013 11:32:34 AM

For the past couple of years I’ve been pointing to the importance of in-memory computing to the future of business applications. It’s an integral part of Ventana Research’s business and finance research agenda for 2013, and it’s one of the core technologies that senior executives should have an appreciation for because it can transform all core business processes, especially those that are analytic in nature.

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Topics: Mobile, Predictive Analytics, Real-time, Sales Performance, SAP, Supply Chain Performance, ERP, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, CRM, finance, Social, Business Suite, Financial Performance Management, HANA

Office of Finance Research Agenda for 2013

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 10, 2013 9:02:32 AM

Businesses always see a lag between when technology makes some advance possible and when a majority of companies actually adopt it. There’s even a longer lag between the emergence of an advance in a business process or technique and the time it takes to become mainstream. When we write our research agendas at the top of each year, we have to strike a balance between focusing on the new and different, which is still many years away from general acceptance, and the mainstream, which has been anticipated for so long that it almost seems passé. Our research agenda for office of finance to support business for 2013, which I just finalized, is once again an attempt to balance the leading edge and the mainstream with an eye to practical solutions.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Predictive Analytics, Sales Performance, Governance, GRC, Office of Finance, Budgeting, close, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), In-memory, Workforce Performance, CFO, Risk, CEO, Financial Performance Management, FPM

Happy New Year: Build on Foundation of Lessons Learned in 2012

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 5, 2013 10:01:34 AM

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers. I hope everyone has gotten some rest and is ready for a great 2013. 2012 was a busy year in which we saw a critical inflection point, where an elevated focus on new methods and innovative technological approaches such as big data, business analytics, business and social collaboration, cloud computing, mobile technology and social media become part of the mainstream business and IT dialogue. These technologies are beginning to be part of or embedded into enterprise software that will be available in 2013. This is a critical step forward that will help organizations become more efficient in their operations and use technology to its fullest. As we start the new year, I thought a reflection back on the some of the highlights from 2012 was in order.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Market Research, Mobile Technology, Social Collaboration, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Technology

California Blue Shield Foundation Uses FinancialForce to Improve Finance Effectiveness

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 2, 2013 11:23:02 AM

As I’ve noted before, it’s common for CFOs of companies that are transitioning from being a small to a midsize business (that is, when they grow past about 100 employees) to find that the entry-level accounting package that they have been using no longer fits their needs. This software may be inexpensive to purchase and easy to use but it lacks many of the customization and business process management capabilities that become increasingly important as organizations grow. The transition from such an application is especially difficult when it involves an on-premises system, because the up-front and ongoing costs of implementing and using these can be daunting. Usually, the shortcomings start off as minor annoyances for companies that have between 100 and 500 employees and grow over time, and usually the pain increases with the number of employees and the volume and complexity of the underlying business. Yet because of the cost, finance executives usually don’t want to migrate to a new system until their old software threatens the orderly management of the business or becomes an overwhelming burden on finance operations. For that reason, increasingly we are finding companies choosing to migrate to a cloud-based ERP system sooner in their evolution because it is usually a more affordable and easier transition than using on-premises software.

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Topics: Planning, Salesforce.com, ERP, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Reporting, close, closing, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Financial Performance Management, FinancialForce.com

Why Maturity is Important for More Effective Planning and Budgeting

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 28, 2012 9:10:02 AM

Ventana Research does benchmark research that assesses the maturity of organizations across four dimensions: people, process, information and technology. We examine business issues along those dimensions because we recognize the interconnected relationships among them. Especially in larger companies, data issues such as accuracy and accessibility are often a root cause of poor performance of a core function. It may be a factor in such areas as poor customer service, sales execution or operations planning, to name just three.  Addressing only the people-related issues of some challenge a company faces (such as communications, training or management style) may produce positive results in the short run, but these gains are likely to fall short of their potential or prove to be transitory unless companies tackle related process, technology and information problems at the same time. Our comprehensive approach is the foundation for our research, and what makes our benchmark research different and relevant to executives and managers.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

Quantrix Unveils Release 5

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 21, 2012 11:18:25 AM

Quantrix recently unveiled Quantrix 5, an updated version of its financial modeling software designed to fill the gap between spreadsheets and business intelligence (BI) systems. Quantrix provides users with many of the capabilities of an enterprise system and addresses shortcomings of desktop spreadsheet software without requiring extensive training.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Sales, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, FP&A, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, Quantrix, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Information Management, Workforce Performance, FPM

The Dynamic Culture and Swedish History Behind QlikView

Posted by Ventana Research on Dec 20, 2012 10:57:07 AM

I recently returned from Sweden, where QlikTech International hosted its annual analyst “unsummit.” Much of the information I was exposed to was under NDA, so I cannot talk about it here. What I can discuss, and what in many ways may be more interesting and more important, is the company’s focus on culture and philosophy.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Visualization, QlikView, Tableau, Google, discovery analytics, exploratory analytics, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Information Applications, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Impala, big query, Qliktech

Adaptive Planning Helps the University of Central Florida Plan Faster and More Accurately

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 18, 2012 11:25:39 AM

When they were first introduced three decades ago, electronic spreadsheets provided a major advance in corporate planning compared to the paper spreadsheet-and-adding-machine systems they replaced. However, time passes and, as our research shows, desktop spreadsheets often hamper productivity because they were designed for personal productivity, not for managing repetitive, collaborative, enterprise-wide processes such as financial planning. The finance organization at the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine was grappling with this reality.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

Making Back Office Apps Fun

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 17, 2012 11:14:11 AM

Business software is beginning to undergo a design revolution comparable to the seismic shift from the green screen to the graphical user interface (GUI) that began in the mid-1980s. Three forces are at work. One is the retirement of large numbers of members of the baby-boom generation and the rise of a generation that grew up with computers and computer games from a young age. Also, software and technology vendors have been recognizing the need to “consumerize” business applications as mobile device interactions, gestures and other newer user interface (UI) conventions, and are incorporating these innovations in their stodgy products. I commented on this in my assessment of Tidemark early this year. A third factor, “gamification” is all the rage in business consulting circles. The idea is to engage younger employees more completely by transforming dull, routine chores into more entertaining pursuits. I join with those skeptical of just how fun one can make clerical tasks. But software can – and should – be made less tedious (and therefore more productive), especially for a new generation of users.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Supply Chain Performance, OpenWorld, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Oracle, Workforce Performance, Dreamforce, finance, Tidemark, Business, design, development, GUI

Equifax Workforce Solutions for Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 14, 2012 11:59:58 AM

Businesses need to simplify HR and compliance processes to save time and reduce risk. Talx, which helps employers address concerns in hiring, pay and compliance, has now assumed the name of its parent company and become Equifax Workforce Solutions [PDF]. HR and finance professionals should recognize the parent company’s brand from its work in the consumer credit industry. The company hopes these professionals will see that Equifax Workforce Solutions offers a better approach to governance, risk and compliance. According to our research, 79 percent of organizations want a better method to identify and manage risks faster.

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Topics: Equifax, eThority, GRC, I9, Office of Finance, Operational Performance, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Workforce Performance, CFO, Compensation, compliance, finance, Hiring, HR, TALX, Workforce Solutions

Longview Helps 3M Shape Its Future in Business Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 14, 2012 11:47:16 AM

Effective planning has always been a challenge for companies, and it’s all the more so today. Even when companies deploy dedicated planning applications, they often do not or cannot use them to full advantage. I had a chance to learn more about 3M Corp. use of business planning in our recent 2012 Leadership Awards, who is the diversified global manufacturer of consumer and industrial products, several years ago acquired a dedicated planning application, but because the system could not scale to handle all of its planning contributors, it was forced to collect data from its worldwide business units using Excel templates. Desktop spreadsheets impose severe constraints in the planning process and do not readily handle the complexities of a large multinational firm, such as intracompany allocations, multiple currencies and changes in organizational structure. Modeling both product and financial elements is difficult and, for a company of 3M’s size, the processes do not scale well. The planning process was therefore prolonged, complex and could not readily adapt to change.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Human Capital Management, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

The Brave New World of Business Intelligence

Posted by Ventana Research on Dec 12, 2012 11:24:48 AM

We recently completed our benchmark research on next-generation business intelligence. Ventana Research looks as next-generation BI as a function of traditional BI that is converging with new technologies such as mobility, collaboration and cloud computing. Just a few years ago business intelligence might have been considered a mature category with incremental growth, but now it’s growing in new directions and it’s difficult today to call business intelligence mature.

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Topics: Mobile, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance

IBM Watson Advances a New Category of Cognitive Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 11, 2012 10:42:31 AM

IBM Watson blends existing and innovative technology into a new approach called cognitive computing. At the simplest operational level it is technology for asking natural language-based questions, getting answers and support appropriate action to be taken or provide information to make more informed decisions. The technology relies on massive processing power to yield probabilistic responses to user questions using sophisticated analytical algorithms. A cognitive system like Watson accesses structured and unstructured information within an associated knowledge base to return responses that are not simply data but contextualized information that can inform users’ actions and guide their decisions. This is a gigantic leap beyond human decision-making using experience based on random sources from the industry and internal sets of reports and data.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Machine Learning, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, IBM, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Cognitive Computing, Expert Systems, IBM Watson

Top Priorities for the Next Generation of Workforce Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 30, 2012 11:22:13 AM

Since the early ’80s, when I personally experienced the transition from written time cards to cards for swiping on a time clock at a grocery retailer I worked at, I have been interested in the software and technology of workforce management. That gives me a perspective not many analysts can match when it comes to transitioning to new technology to help organizations manage and engage workforces. Ventana Research recently completed benchmark research on next-generation workforce management, covering technologies for worker and manager environments and operations. While the research found only 10 percent of organizations at the highest level of overall maturity, which we call Innovative, we did find organizations beginning to deploy and use new workforce management technologies. While we did not distinguish in our research between hourly and salaried employees, the majority of organizations were time-clock-based organizations using technology to manage the nuances of scheduling and working with hourly-based workforces.

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Topics: Mobile Technology, Social Collaboration, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Workforce Performance, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Management

What Every CEO Needs to Know About Key Supporting Technologies

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 30, 2012 11:00:28 AM

I recently started a series of blog posts on what CEOs (and for that matter, all senior corporate executives) need to know about IT. The first covered the high-level issues. As I noted there, it’s not necessary for a CEO of a company to be able to write Java code or master the intricacies of an ERP or sales compensation application. However, CEOs must grasp the basics of IT just as they must understand basic corporate finance, the production process and – at least at a high level – the technologies that support that process. This installment is about four supporting technologies that will be drive considerable change in business computing over the next five years. Each of these subjects is worthy of a chapter-length discussion or even a book; what follows is the “elevator pitch” version.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, SaaS, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Customer, ERP, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Complex Event Processing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, In-memory, Information Management, Workforce Performance, CFO, CEO, PaaS

The Right Software is Crucial for Effective Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 27, 2012 9:39:43 AM

I’ve been examining how corporations plan and budget for more than decade. One clear pattern that has emerged is the difficulty that using desktop spreadsheets imposes on the process. Ventana Research recently published findings from our trends in business planning benchmark research, and the research once again confirms this observation. It shows that companies that use dedicated applications are consistently more satisfied (and much less dissatisfied) with the software they use than users of spreadsheets. Twice as many said their third-party planning application performs very well in financial and cash-flow forecasting. While one-third (32%) said their dedicated application performs the complex task of compensation planning very well, just 7 percent of spreadsheet users say so. Dedicated applications also have capabilities that spreadsheets lack; those include easily integrating data from multiple systems, drilling down on demand to understand the underlying causes of variances in reviews and performing extensive what-if planning. All of these enable more accurate planning.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

Quill Brings a Narrative of Insights to Business Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 20, 2012 11:32:34 AM

Business analytics has become the highest ranked technology innovation, according to our benchmark research on business technology innovation, but a lack of trained resources and inefficient technology have hampered the best of organizations when they attempt to roll out analytics. Our benchmark research on business analytics in 2012 found that the majority of analysts in organizations spend more of their time on data-related activities than on analytic tasks, and our 2013 research on business technology innovation finds little improvement. At the same time, organizations are dissatisfied with trying to gain insight from dashboards of charts; see “The Pathetic State of Dashboards”. The worst thing wrong with business analytics today is that we are not able to read them quickly to determine what is relevant and what insights might demand action.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Narrative Science, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Expert Systems, Digital Technology

Social Media Stupidity in the Technology Industry

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 18, 2012 6:24:20 AM

If you follow my writing, you’ve seen blog posts with titles such as Industry Exposé: Technology Vendors Skew Analysts and Influencers and Industry Analyst Art or Fiction: Questionable Technology Predictions, so it should be no surprise I can’t resist an opportunity to talk about a little bit of insanity on the part of technology suppliers and industry analysts about social media.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Twitter, Workforce Performance, CMO, COO, Industry Analyst, Technology Vendors

A Decade of Research at Ventana Research

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 18, 2012 6:16:32 AM

I’m happy to say that Ventana Research celebrated its tenth anniversary at our recent Business Technology Innovation Summit in San Jose at the Tech Museum. This location was fitting, since at the event we introduced and presented our first-ever Technology Innovation Awards and seventh annual Leadership Awards. If you did not get a chance to attend, we have the live webstream available for replay at no cost; thanks to Splunk for sponsoring this to let everyone enjoy the sessions.

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Topics: Sales Performance, SAP, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Peoplefluent, Planview, Research, Splunk, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, IBM, Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Ceridian, CFO, CMO, COO, Datawatch, Saba, Technology

What Every CEO Needs to Know About IT

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 18, 2012 5:49:25 AM

The business/IT divide is a barrier that prevents most companies from achieving their true performance potential. The divide has remained a constant impediment since the dawn of business computing six decades ago. It’s not necessary for a CEO of a company to be able to write Java code or master the intricacies of an ERP or sales compensation application. However, that CEO must master the basics of IT just as he must understand basic corporate finance, the production process and – at least at a high level – the technologies that support that process. Only a handful of business schools give prospective MBAs a good grounding in the practical elements of information technology or preach the necessity of mastering an understanding of IT as they would, say, the efficient market hypothesis.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Human Capital Management, competition, executive, Operational Performance, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, In-memory, Workforce Performance, CFO, IT, CEO, FPM

Can Business Trust Microsoft for Mobile Technology?

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 15, 2012 11:40:04 AM

Mobile technology continues to advance weekly, with new software releases and new versions of devices. Though it has been in the headlines frequently in recent weeks, can Microsoft really change the mobile technology dynamics in the business world?

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Topics: Microsoft, Sales Performance, Google, Microsoft Windows Phone, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Information Applications, Information Management, Workforce Performance, Digital Technology

What’s Wrong with Today’s Planning and Budgeting

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 15, 2012 11:12:24 AM

People have been complaining about the budgeting and planning processes in their organizations for decades. If you’re old enough, you may recall President Carter’s failed attempt to use something called zero-based budgeting to impose discipline in federal outlays. (In his first year in office the federal government reported a whopping $54 billion deficit.) Some complaining is almost inevitable, but some reflects the one-way nature of the process. People spend time on creating a budget and don’t feel they get enough back from their time spent.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

Building Your Workforce Into a Strong Tribe

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 15, 2012 10:36:07 AM

TribeHR has brought to market an HR application suite that uses social collaboration to empower workers and managers to perform tasks that might once have been done mostly by HR professionals, or not done at all. The software-as-a-service-based TribeHR application helps businesses with fewer than 500 employees with recruiting, applicant tracking, onboarding, performance and goal setting, and time and vacation management – but with a twist. By using social collaboration as a foundation for its functionality, TribeHR takes advantage of knowledge sharing, the most valuable approach our human capital management benchmark research found for engaging the workforce.

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Topics: Performance Management, Human Capital Management, Recruiting, Social Collaboration, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Workforce Performance, Hiring, HR, TribeHR

Business Planning Benchmark Shows No Improvement in How Companies Plan and Budget

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 13, 2012 10:42:39 AM

Organizations engage in a range of forward-looking activities. Sales organizations have pipelines to forecast sales. Manufacturing organizations set and reset demand plans and near-term production schedules, often in response to longer-term production plans that determine what they will make and where and how they will make it. Logistics people plan inbound and outbound shipments. Marketing departments plan advertising and promotion campaigns. HR departments project staffing requirements and associated salary and benefit costs. A lot of planning goes on in any business, but most of it is done in business silos and little of it is integrated, so companies spend a lot of time on planning but get less out of the effort than they should. We recently completed our integrated business planning benchmark research, which followed similar research we completed in 2008. The research shows that companies have done little to mature their planning processes over the past four years.

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Topics: Big Data, Planning, Sales Performance, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, Reporting, Budgeting, driver-based, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Financial Performance Management, Integrated Business Planning

Using Maturity Assessments to Improve Performance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 30, 2012 11:04:04 AM

The idea of devising and using maturity assessments to improve business performance has been a staple of management, functional and strategic consultants for decades. It’s based on two unassailable principles. One is the general assertion that companies differ in their ability to do anything along a range from nonexistent to advanced. The second is that at any time it’s possible for a knowledgeable individual to construct a scale of competence for some business function from least to most mature based on the important characteristics about how an organization designs and executes that function. Using maturity scales is a handy way for executives and managers to size up where they lie on a continuum of capabilities and an easy way to define the steps necessary for improvement. Maturity assessments have the advantage of being straightforward, but there’s the danger that they can be overly simplistic.

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Topics: Performance Management, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Customer Experience, Governance, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, benchmark, FPM

The Red Hot Business Intelligence Vendors for 2012 Revealed in Value Index

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 25, 2012 12:27:53 PM

Ventana Research has just released the 2012 Value Index for Business Intelligence, in which we evaluate the competency and maturity of vendors and products. Our firm has been researching this software category for almost a decade. Our latest benchmark research in business intelligence found that new technology advancements in business intelligence are critical to its future; more than two-thirds of organizations will use BI on mobile technology in the next year, and more than a fifth will do so with collaboration technology. Our benchmark research on organizations using this software not only uncovers best practices and trends, but also highlights what business expects from business intelligence and where IT can support business needs more effectively across a range of roles and processes. Moving beyond the model where IT delivers BI to business, this Value Index assesses what those in business need from business intelligence, from executives and management to analysts and managers.

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Topics: Microsoft, MicroStrategy, Pentaho, QlikView, Sales Performance, SAP, SAS, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, IT Performance, Jaspersoft, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, InetSoft, Information Applications, Information Builders, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Tibco, Workforce Performance, arcplan, LogiXML, Spago Solutions

SAP Takes Business and Finance Mobile Using SAP HANA

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 22, 2012 10:48:32 AM

SAP has inaugurated a new series of business applications it calls Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) OnDemand as a cloud-based subscription service. The applications are part of SAP’s EPM version 10 suite, which it introduced last year. It’s a first step in what is likely to be a portfolio of general-purpose, lightweight and relatively low-cost apps designed to be used on mobile devices. Using HANA on the back end, the applications can deliver high performance in accessing masses of business data and deliver actionable information to executives and managers. The three on-demand apps in EPM are for expense management, profit-and-loss (P&L) analysis and capital project management. They also just released its SAP Business Planning and Consolidation that has a mobile version on the Apple iPad that is part of its recently announced EPM UnWired. The move is another indication of SAP’s emphasis on cloud computing, which my colleague Mark Smith covered earlier this year.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Sales Performance, SAP, Supply Chain Performance, Office of Finance, expense, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Business Applications, FPM, HANA

Justifying Analytics for Agents and Better Customer Service

Posted by Ventana Research on Oct 18, 2012 11:50:03 AM

Our new world of multifaceted customer communications is driven by moments of interaction with the brand, often called moments of truth. Today’s call center analytics put companies in a position to manage these moments. Analytics that are specific to the call center include desktop analytics, event stream analytics, speech analytics, text analytics, cross-channel analytics and predictive modeling. These analytics, in turn, drive areas such as agent training and coaching, time and capacity optimization, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, customer life cycle, call center analytics, capacity utilization, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Customer & Contact Center, Workforce Performance, Call Center, Workforce Analytics, NPS

SumTotal Systems HCM Portfolio Advances in a Mobile and Social World

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 12, 2012 12:29:50 PM

During its annual industry analyst summit this week, human capital management software vendor SumTotal Systems introduced new heads of finance, marketing and sales, and talked about expanding operations in Europe and Asia-Pacific – all part of a business growth strategy that I am sure the company’s private equity owner is expecting. While I wrote about the company earlier this year, SumTotal now says it has signed up 85 new customers so far in 2012 for its human capital management suite, and its 3,500 customers include brand names such as McAfee, American Express, US Airways and EastWest Bank. Customers United Airlines, POET and McCain Foods made presentations at the summit that illustrated why SumTotal is a relevant and strategic HCM provider.

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Topics: Social Media, Human Capital Management, Mobile Technology, Recruiting, Social Collaboration, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Workforce Performance, Talent Management, Workforce Management

In HR Technology, Social and Mobile Are Hot and Becoming Business Necessity

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 10, 2012 12:23:01 PM

This week I’m at the 2012 HR Technology Conference (Twitter: #HRTechConf) where the scene is more than cool – it is hip. In the past several years technology for human resources – now more often called human capital management – has transformed from administrative software to applications anyone in the workforce can use to access information about their company, job, goals, performance, pay, benefits and even what they can do to advance in the organization. HR technology is embracing the six most important current technology trends, namely big data, business analytics, business collaboration, cloud computing, mobile technology and social media. At this year’s conference, the focus on business collaboration called social collaboration and mobile was front and center.

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Topics: Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Human Capital Management, Mobile Technology, Social Collaboration, Operational Performance, Business Collaboration, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, HR, Talent Management

Industry Exposé: Technology Vendors Skew Analysts and Influencers

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 5, 2012 12:05:58 PM

In my more than a decade of writing on the trends and direction of the technology industry, occasionally I have talked about the dark side of technology industry analysts. In that vein, I wrote about the diminishing science of research in technology analyst firms, which has impacted the quality of the analysis and advice given by analysts. It built on my previous post on Why Bad Research Could Jeopardize Your Business. Unfortunately, the ethics and morals in the technology analyst industry have not gotten a lot better since I wrote those pieces, especially when it comes to the objectivity and independence of the research. Now it is time to provide shed light on the financial bias of written research and blogs by industry analysts and the firms they represent and publish under in coverage and rating of technology vendors.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales Performance, Social Media, Supply Chain Performance, Market Research, Research, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Information Applications, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Workforce Performance, CMO, Industry Analyst, Influencers, Technology Vendors

Cloud Computing Challenges On-Premises for Software Preference

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 5, 2012 11:50:37 AM

Salesforce.com’s recent Dreamforce user conference got me wondering about how far the market for cloud-based software has come. To answer that question, I looked to our own research. For the past several years Ventana Research has routinely asked participants in its benchmark research what preference, if any, they have for deploying software they use to support the activity we are benchmarking. The choices we offer are on-premises, software as a service (SaaS – that is, in the cloud), hosted on a vendor’s servers) or no preference. I examined the responses from 1,110 participants in five benchmark research undetakings that cut across lines of business and IT areas to determine what, if any, patterns I could find in the responses.

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Topics: SaaS, Sales, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, Supply Chain Performance, Operational Performance, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance, Software

Oracle Fusion for CRM and HCM Ready with a Mobile Tap

Posted by Mark Smith on Oct 4, 2012 12:10:17 PM

I attended Oracle’s annual OpenWorld conference this week. The company claims it holds the world’s largest technology conference, with 50,000 attendees and a million people viewing sessions online. It was a great opportunity to get close to the Oracle Fusion Applications, which the company presented as proven and ready, with customers using them on-premises and in private and public cloud computing usage methods. In keynotes from executives Larry Ellison, Mark Hurd and Thomas Kurian and application-focused sessions with executives Steve Miranda and Chris Leone, Oracle repeated the message that Fusion Applications are not just for cloud computing and web services but are also accessible through mobile technology called Oracle Fusion Tap that operates natively on the Apple iPad. The company left no confusion about its applications’ readiness for cloud and mobile computing, and provided insight into future advancements.

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Topics: Sales, Sales Performance, Salesforce.com, SAP, Social Media, Mobile Technology, Social Collaboration, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Information Management, Oracle, Workforce Performance, CRM, SFA, Workday, Workforce Analytics

IBM’s SPSS Shows Chops in Predictive Analytics

Posted by Ventana Research on Oct 1, 2012 11:57:57 AM

IBM acquired SPSS in late 2009 and has been investing steadily in the business as a key component of its overall business analytics portfolio. Today, SPSS provides an integrated approach to predictive analytics through four software packages: SPSS Data Collection, SPSS Statistics, SPSS Modeler and SPSS Decision Management. SPSS is also integrated with Cognos Insight, IBM’s entry into the visual discovery arena.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Social Media, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Customer & Contact Center, IBM, Workforce Performance, SPSS

Workforce Analytics Does Not Require Big Data – Yet!

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 27, 2012 9:49:15 AM

Exactly what is the relationship between workforce analytics and big data? Most of the use cases for big data seem to revolve around marketing, social media and customer service initiatives where unstructured data sources reveal big value. Our research into big data analytics suggests a prime benefit of big data is in the ability to retain and analyze larger amounts of data and to increase the speed of analysis. However, workforce analytics does not suffer from an overwhelming amount of data, but rather from the inability to apply meaningful analytics to the data organizations already have.

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Topics: Big Data, Human Capital Management, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Financial Performance, Workforce Performance

Salesforce Dreamforce Keynote: Social is Changing Industry Power Structures

Posted by Ventana Research on Sep 21, 2012 11:54:48 AM

With more than 90,000 attendees registered and 100,000 more expected to watch via live stream on Facebook, Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce is the biggest technology event of this year. The conference kicked off yesterday morning with MC Hammer letting the packed house know that it was “Chatter time” and leaving little doubt about the theme of the Marc Benioff’s keynote speech: Social. Citing numbers from McKinsey and IBM, Benioff suggested that social adds $1.3 trillion to the economy and that CEOs see social media as the second most important communication channel of the 21st century, just after the direct sales force. Our own sales benchmark research here at Ventana Research shows similar trends, with 63 percent finding that collaboration is a key trend in sales organizations.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Sales Performance, Social Media, IT Performance, Operational Performance, Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Performance, Cloud Computing, Customer & Contact Center, Location Intelligence, Workforce Performance, Social

Are You Dreaming Social? Salesforce Is!

Posted by Mark Smith on Sep 18, 2012 10:46:36 AM

The annual Salesforce.com Dreamforce conference (Twitter: #DF12), just underway, may be the largest software conference ever, with attendance, physically and on the Internet, expected to be 90,000. Certainly, as one of the largest software events of 2012, this conference will be heavily covered via social media, while under the roof of the Moscone Center and surrounding hotels Salesforce will be demonstrating the