Infor Challenges ERP Duopoly

George Lawrie

Some of my readers know that I worked in my career before Forrester in product management and business development at MSA, SSA, and Mapics, all now part of Infor. When people ask if I “follow Infor,” I’m inclined to reply that Infor follows me. I attended an “Infor on the road” event last week to listen to the briefing from CEO Charles Phillips and President Duncan Angove. I learned that Infor’s strategy for disrupting the SAP Oracle duopoly depends on choices that Infor has made about:

1) Architecture: Infor’s clients have a wide choice of application portfolio elements and choices about when to upgrade each element thanks to its loose coupling strategy and its maturing of the ION platform that I described here:

http://www.forrester.com/The+Digital+Drop+IT+Opportunities+In+The+Oil+And+Gas+Industry/quickscan/-/E-RES56698#/Its+Time+To+Tame+The+ERP+Integration+Beast/fulltext/-/E-RES56797

This is attractive to firms that can no longer force all their functions and divisions to upgrade simultaneously to a lowest common denominator set of functionality.

Message-based interoperability also enables Infor’s apps to Tweet to interested users about changes in status of accounts, documents, people, or objects as previously described by my colleague China Martens here:

http://www.forrester.com/home#/Emerging+Trends+Social+Collaboration+Is+Poised+To+Accelerate+ERP+Business+Processes/quickscan/-/E-RES60626

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Craft Your Future State BI Reference Architecture

Boris Evelson

In the face of rising data volume and complexity and increased need for self-service, enterprises need an effective business intelligence (BI) reference architecture to utilize BI as a key corporate asset for competitive differentiation. BI stakeholders — such as project managers, developers, data architects, enterprise architects, database administrators, and data quality specialists — may find the myriad choices and constant influx of new business requirements overwhelming. Forrester's BI reference architecture provides a framework with architectural patterns and building blocks to guide these BI stakeholders in managing BI strategy and architecture.

Enterprise information management (EIM) is complex — from a technical, organizational, and operational standpoint. But to business users, all that complexity is behind the scenes. What they need is BI, an interface to enterprise data — whether it's structured, semistructured, or unstructured. Our June 2011 Global Technology Trends Online Survey showed that BI topped even mobility — the frontrunner in recent years — as the technology most likely to provide business value over the next three years.

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TechnoPolitics Podcast: Big Data Has Big Place In IT Ops

Mike Gualtieri

Forrester TechnoPoliticsA key role of IT operations is to keep a complex portfolio of applications running and performing. "Traditional monitoring dashboards generate lots of pretty charts and graphs but don't really tell IT operations professionals a whole lot," says Forrester Principal Analyst Glenn O'Donnell. Big data analytics will change that because sophisticated algorithms can "look for the little tremors that tell us something big is about to happen."

High Availability And Performance Are Top Goals For IT Ops
Asked what 5 nines (99.999%) of availability means, Glenn replies immediately, "5 nines of availability is 26 seconds of downtime per month." He adds "If you want to capture just one 26 second event, you have to be polling every 13 seconds." Glenn knows his stuff. Listen to find out from Glenn how big data has a big place in the future of IT operations.
 
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BI Adoption In Asia Pacific: Four Factors To Consider

Michael Barnes

As John Brand and I recently wrote, business intelligence (BI) adoption drivers, technology understanding, and organizational process maturity continue to vary widely across Asia Pacific (AP). But there is one constant in this market: the regularity with which BI appears at or near the top of CIOs’ priority lists.

While the gap between global best practices and regional implementations is closing, social, cultural, economic, and underlying technology trends will continue to affect BI adoption in the region for the foreseeable future:

  • Social. The adoption of social computing is expanding rapidly across all AP markets, but is particularly strong in growth markets like China, Indonesia, and the Philippines. As in North America and Western Europe, this adoption is already having profound effects on how organizations identify, understand, and engage with customers and other market influencers. But the lack of significant BI investments means that organizations in these growth markets are far more likely to consider issues like sentiment analysis, predictive analytics, and near real-time data access when sourcing initial BI projects.
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Big Data: The Worst Category Name Ever

John R. Rymer

Grant me a "crabby old guy" rant on big data. I continually hear people in our industry using the term big data as a product-category name -- and confusing everyone about the business value of big data solutions. Moreover, too many people now seem to think that Hadoop is big data, when Hadoop is just one of the several big-data solutions available -- and Hadoop isn't good for many big data scenarios.

Big data is a label for the trend toward processing dynamic (and therefore voluminous) data using in-memory architectures. This trend is being played out in 8 major scenarios that I can find. In each case, enterprises are struggling to understand how the various big data solutions will help generate revenue and profits, manage expenses, and service customers and citizens.

I posted a slide deck from a recent discussion of the big data trend on Slideshare. Here is the link: http://www.slideshare.net/johnrrymer/the-worst-category-name-ever. In that slide deck, you'll see this diagram listing the 8 big data scenarios we've seen in our work with clients here at Forrester Research.

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Why Pay Attention To Your Customer Service? Because It Will Impact Your Revenue

Kate Leggett

Enterprises must pay attention to the quality of customer service they offer because:

  • Good customer experiences boost repurchase probability and long-term loyalty. Customer loyalty has quantifiable economic benefits as measured over three dimensions: willingness to consider another purchase, likelihood to switch business to a competitor, and likelihood to recommend to a friend or colleague.
  • Poor customer service experiences lead to increased service costs. The cost of failing to meet these expectations is high: 75% of consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails, incurring costs.
  • Poor customer service experiences risk customer defection and revenue losses. Customers who have poor service experiences – estimated at 30% – are at risk of defecting, even if they do not complain – and the revenue impact of churn can be easily quantified.  
  • Poor customer experiences can quickly damage the reputation of your brand. Customers who are disappointed at the service they receive are quick to voice their disappointment, which is amplified over the social channels and can erode brand value. Forrester’s Social Technographics® ladder shows 68% of B2C consumers and 80% of B2B customers fall into the “spectator” category, which consists of people who read negative comments posted on social media sites.
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Goodbye Privacy. Conventional Security Measures Can Be Neutered By A Careless Programmer

Mike Gualtieri

More and more data is stored online by both consumers and businesses. The convenience of using services such as DropboxBoxGoogle DriveMicrosoft Live Skydrive, and SugarSync is indisputable. But, is it safe? All of the services certainly require a user password to access folders, and some of the services even encrypt the stored files. Dropbox reassures customers, "Other Dropbox users can't see your private files in Dropbox unless you deliberately invite them or put them in your Public folder."

The security measures employed by these file-synching and sharing services are all well and good, but they can be instantly, innocently neutered by a distracted programmer. Goodbye privacy. All your personal files, customer lists, business plans, and top-secret product designs become available for all the world to see. How can this happen even though these services are sophisticated authetication and encryption technologies? The answer: a careless bug introduced in the code.

Below is some Java code I wrote for a fictitious file-sharing service called CloudCabinet to demonstrate how this can happen. Imagine a distracted programmer texting her girlfriend on her iPhone while cutting and pasting Java code. Even non-Java programmers should be able to find the error in the code below.

 

 

Mike Gualtieri
 
 
 
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TechnoPolitics Podcast: The Power Of Social Business Technology

Mike Gualtieri

Forrester TechnoPoliticsForrester Senior Analyst TJ Keitt does not think small. "The free exchange of ideas changes the world," he starts when asked to define social business. He adds, "It can also change companies." Social business is about tightly woven networks of employees interacting with loosely woven networks of partners, suppliers, and, of course, customers. The goal is for firms to become more nimble, acquire more knowledge, and share it faster. This is not about Facebook. Social business platforms such as Jive, Salesforce Chatter, TIBCO Tibbr, Microsoft SharePoint, and others are designed specifically for the social business.

In his new report The Social CIO, TJ warns that haphazard social business strategies are doomed to fail. CIOs must design and implement a social business technology that will facilitate the frictionless exchange of knowledge and ideas rather than create social technology stovepipes.
 
In this episode of Forrester TechnoPolitics, TJ makes a passionate and decisive case why CIOs should make social business technology a priority.
 
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Dreamforce Musings (A Month Late)

Kate Leggett

I go to many industry events in my job, and as the fall event season passes its peak, there is one event that has stayed with me a month after it was hosted. It's Dreamforce – salesforce.com’s annual event, which was held on Sept 18-21 in San Francisco and which attracted more than 90,000 users (per salesforce.com's count). It wasn’t the size that made this event noteworthy, even though it was the biggest event that salesforce.com had ever hosted. It wasn’t the energy that permeated the venue, the numerous DJs, the MC Hammer performance before Marc Benioff's keynote, or even the theatre that surrounded every product keynote. It was the “positive-ness” that customers, both big and small, voiced at the event – positive-ness that made you believe in the “social enterprise” vision of the company, and that the company could deliver its ability to connect customers, partners, employees, and even products together.

Instead of focusing on features, functions, and product road maps, salesforce.com kept most messaging at the high level, hitting on the notes of “what do these applications do for me” and “why should I be interested?” Salesforce.com used customers and customer videos from the likes of Activision, Rossignol, GE, and Burberry, to name a few, to describe the real impact that salesforce.com has had on these companies. Some stories were down to earth – like Activision’s use of social channels to provide customer service to its customers. Some were more extreme – like GE’s using Chatter communities to monitor the health and performance of jet engines (engineers and products collaborating??).

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Digital Business Design Is The New Integration

Randy Heffner

If your organization is like nearly every other one I've talked to in the past 20+ years, you have a spaghetti chart of integration connections between all the siloed applications that run your business. Your customer is fractured across five applications. Your fulfillment process is broken across eight applications. Just try to pull together the data necessary to tell how profitable one of your products is. Or, as you implement mobile, external APIs, custom B2B connections, and more, how will you provide consistent, coherent access to your transactions and data?

Making sense of all the mess has been an important priority for years. The question is "how?" Forrester's latest research finds that it's time for a new kind of integration strategy. We call it "Digital Business Design":
A business-centered approach to solution architecture, implementation, and integration that brings business and technology design together by placing design priority on user roles, business transactions, processes, canonical information, events, and other business aspects that embody a complete definition of a business. 
 
Here's what we mean:
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