SAP Restocks Its Cloud-Zoo With Ariba

Holger Kisker

SAP Turns To Acquisitions For Cloud Innovations

Just three months after SAP acquired SuccessFactors, a cloud leader for human capital management solutions, for $3.4 billion, it has now announced the acquisition of Ariba, a cloud leader for eProcurement solutions, for another $4.3 billion. Now, $7.7 billion is a lot of money to spend in a short amount of time on two companies that hardly make any profit. But it’s all for the cloud, which means it’s for the future business opportunity in cloud computing services. So far, so good; SAP has invested and acquired quite a number of cloud companies over the past years: Frictionless, Clear Standards, Crossgate, etc. The difference in this most recent acquisition is the big overlap with existing solutions and internal R&D.

Following the first wave of cloud acquisitions, SAP was sitting amid a zoo of cloud solutions, all based on different platforms: ePurchasing, CRM-OnDemand, BI-OnDemand, Carbon Impact, ByDesign, Streamwork . . . They all used very different technology, resulting in big integration and scale challenges behind the scenes. The market welcomed with open arms SAP’s announcement 1.5 years ago that it would consolidate its cloud strategy on the new NetWeaver platform for both ABAP- and Java-based cloud solutions.

Read more

Big Data Tragedy

Digital Customer Experiences: The Next Frontier For AD&D Pros

John R. Rymer

 

Forrester analysts Stephen Powers, Ron Rogowski, and I collaborated on this research.

Digital customer experience has become a key business differentiator, and application development and delivery (AD&D) leaders of front-office, web, mobile, and digital development must step up to support their firm's initiatives. A broad focus on digital customer experiences carries great risks for your firm: too much experimentation for not enough return; too much duplication and waste; and too little use of data to drive and measure business results. To overcome these risks, marketing, eBusiness, and AD&D pros must collaborate on a comprehensive strategy. Today, AD&D pros rarely help lead their firms' digital experience efforts; interactive marketing pros call the shots. Worse, interactive marketing pros see AD&D pros as obstacles to great results. To partner with marketing and business leaders in digital customer experience strategy, AD&D pros must transform their organizations, platforms, and processes. This research describes this opportunity for AD&D — and how to create an AD&D digital customer experience strategy that supports marketing and business counterparts, from vision to implementation to ongoing optimization.

Most firms still don't treat the design, creation, and execution of digital customer experiences as strategic but rather as a special category of marketing-led projects. Digital customer experience practices require a set of competencies that take tactical projects to the next level — requiring leaders of software development, web development and architecture, solution architecture, front-office applications, and project management offices (PMOs) to take on new obligations.

Even leading-edge consumer-brand companies struggle to get the full measure of benefits that a focus on the quality of digital experiences can provide:

Read more

Application Development In The Cloud: Let’s Go Deep

John R. Rymer

 

Developers are driving cloud computing in new directions and toward deeper enterprise adoption. We see a new pragmatism in our research: Developers favoring collections of cloud-based application services rather than the comprehensive platforms labeled “PaaS.” Growing use of development services attached to SaaS offerings to speed delivery. And developers using cloud environments to respond to the opportunity of mobile apps.

We also see contradictions in our research. Why, for instance, do so many developers demand control of thread and memory management when cloud platforms can shield them from those details?

If we understand where developers are taking cloud computing, we’ll be able to plot better strategies to use cloud for the flexible and efficient application delivery business leaders expect. We talk with many hundreds of developers working in cloud computing environments every year, and so we’ve got a great view of the market. But it is time for us all to gain an even deeper understanding because things are changing.

So we’re reaching out to developers for the industry’s most comprehensive survey on cloud application development. We’ve put together a set of questions that will yield a clear picture of application development in the cloud today – the good, the bad, the ugly, the elegant. Which cloud environments developers use, and why. What kinds of applications they are delivering using cloud, and why. Which languages and application services they prefer, and why. How much code and which kinds of data they host in clouds, and why.

Read more

Evaluating Cisco's Collaboration Strategy

Michael Barnes

Through a combination of analyst briefings and customer events, Cisco has ramped up outbound communication and marketing of its collaboration strategy in Asia Pacific over the past several months. The foundation remains video (TelePresence), webconferencing (WebEx), and IP telephony, areas where Cisco is a leader. But Cisco understands that to drive growth and expand its customer footprint within enterprise accounts, it must move further up the stack and increasingly compete with both traditional collaboration vendors like Microsoft and IBM and cloud-based alternatives like Google and salesforce.com.

While the strategy still plays to the company’s core networking strength, I question whether Cisco can position itself as a “go-to” vendor in the traditional collaboration space. As our research shows, senior IT and business decision-makers in Asia Pacific don’t currently equate Cisco with collaboration.

To address this challenge, Cisco is pursuing multiple initiatives/approaches:

  • Leveraging its core strengths. Cisco is focused on expanding from existing unified communications (UC) initiatives within customer accounts by leveraging the combination of networking and video to drive value. Cisco is pushing “control” via intelligent networking capabilities (e.g., security, identity management, authentication, access), all delivered through Cisco networking hardware. Simultaneously, Cisco is pushing “flexibility” via device- and platform-independent collaboration capabilities like content, video, instant messaging, and social computing.
Read more

Contextual Personal Data: Mobile Changes Another Landscape

Michael Facemire

Mobile computing and the apps that run on our smartphones and tablets are changing our lives every day. This goes without saying. What excites me is the pace at which this continues and the fact that we're just starting to scratch the surface of what's to come. For application development and delivery professionals, the challenge is how to remain relevant and compelling in this ever-changing landscape. An area that will immediately provide game-changing value-add is what I term Contextual Personal Data (CPD).

What Is Contextual Personal Data?

To level-set, we are all familiar with personal data. This is the information that drives advertising and marketing today, such as email/calendar/contacts, browsing and online purchase history, and everything that you divulge to social networks and allow them to harvest. CPD is the next evolution of this, enabled by mobile computing. Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices can now generate a new meta layer of information about an individual that is far more valuable because it is contextually relevant and dynamic. This is data such as "what time do I generally leave the house for work?" and "when I have coffee on the way to work, how much more productive am I that morning?” The next generation of compelling and successful mobile apps driven by CPD will interact with my life without requiring me to interact with them directly. This is the new landscape of contextual mobile computing.

Next Generation Success Stories

Read more

What's Your Big Data Score?

Mike Gualtieri

If you think the term "Big Data" is wishy washy waste, then you are not alone. Many struggle to find a definition of Big Data that is anything more than awe-inspiring hugeness. But Big Data is real if you have an actionable definition that you can use to answer the question: "Does my organization have Big Data?" Proposed is a definition that takes into account both the measure of data and the activities performed with the data. Be sure to scroll down to calculate your Big Data Score.

Big Data Can Be Measured

Big Data exhibits extremity across one or many of these three alliterate measures:

Read more

BI Adoption Trends In Asia Pacific: High Priority, Poor Execution

Michael Barnes

Demand for business intelligence (BI) tools, technologies, and approaches is increasing across Asia Pacific (AP). Competitive pressures are driving investments in reporting and decision support to improve operational insights and efficiency. Widespread adoption of mobile technology and social computing has driven interest in visualization capabilities and real-time analytics. Finally, rapidly changing data privacy laws and regulations have forced organizations to implement more stringent information governance capabilities and processes.

Despite growing demand, BI strategies and execution remain immature — poorly implemented and poorly managed — across most of AP. This extends well beyond BI projects to include broader analytics-related investments in areas like information management, data warehousing (DW), and decision support. But while the ROI of BI is consistently underwhelming and the technology often delivers less value to the business than expected, BI-related spending is still set to increase across the region.

 Specific BI drivers vary by country, vertical, and organization size in AP, but some drivers are consistent across the region. Users are increasingly demanding the ability to make informed decisions, and there’s a growing understanding across AP that companies need to measure and value assets, processes, and decisions analytically and infuse business processes with added insight, often in real time. With clear, consistent demand, why do most organizations still struggle to deliver value from BI-related investments?

Read more

Open Source: An Emerging Driver For "Mobile First" Strategy

Jeffrey Hammond

Yesterday the folks from Black Duck published some interesting information on the use and growth of open source projects in the mobile space. Their data confirms that open source mobile projects are alive and well, even in the age of the Splinternet/App Internet. In fact, there are now over 10,000 open source projects focused on popular mobile platforms (see Figure 1). What’s more interesting is the rate of growth – the number of new mobile projects with open source licenses has doubled in each of the past three years. It’s hard to believe that this rate of growth will continue into 2012, but betting against hyper-growth in the mobile space seems to be a good way for analysts to end up eating crow.

Figure 1: There Are More Than 10,000 Mobile OSS Projects

Here's why you need to care about open source as part of your "Mobile First" strategy:

Read more

Customer Service Agent Collaboration Helps Move The Needle On FCR and Customer Satisfaction

Kate Leggett

In customer service organizations, collaboration should take place around cases and content, and should involve not only collaboration between customers and customer service agents, but internal collaboration within the enterprise. Internal collaboration has quantifiable benefits as measured by increased organizational productivity and efficiency. For cases, collaboration helps increase first contact resolution, decrease handle times and increase customer satisfaction. For content, collaboration helps evolve content to be more relevant, accurate, complete, and in line with customer demand. Some of the technologies that help foster collaboration around cases and content include:

For cases:

  • Presence indicators, instant messaging, and video chat. These allow customer service agents to connect in real time with subject-matter experts, supervisors, managers, or other agents having the necessary skills to help resolve a question.
  • Collaborative workspaces. These allow agents and subject-matter experts to share documents and logs about the customer issue, the troubleshooting process, and the results in real time.
  • Activity streams. These allow agents and subject-matter experts to subscribe to a case and receive notifications of all changes and additions to a case.
  •  Remote support. This allows customer service agents to invite subject-matter experts and specialty agents to troubleshoot software or hardware with a customer.
Read more