What’s The Price Of Software Tomorrow?

Holger Kisker

Traditional Software Licensing Comes To An End 

Cloud computing, on-demand solutions, subscription fees… software licensing is undergoing significant changes. Enforced by the current economic crises with tight IT budgets, companies don’t have the money to pay upfront licenses and are reluctant to take financial risks over many years when purchasing software. A key factor of the current growth of cloud computing is its financial benefits: no capital expenditures, no upfront financial risk, no depreciation and nothing on the balance sheet! But pay-by-use licensing models are not necessarily limited to cloud deployment models and can be applied to more traditional implementations as well.

Traditional software licensing with upfront payments has served vendors well over the last 40 years. However, over time vendors had to face significant disadvantages as well. The pressure to successfully close quarter by quarter and the fiscal year has led to a common practice by customers to push decisions until year end for a special deal. Discounts up to 80% became not uncommon in the software business. Another problem is the revenue volatility in difficult economic times. In 2009 many software companies had to face a decline in new license revenues of 10 to 25%. Without the constant stream of maintenance revenues many software companies would be facing severe financial problems today.

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SAP Is Skydiving Into The Clouds

Holger Kisker

A brief reflection from the SAP Influencer Summit on SAP’s On-Demand strategy

 

At the SAP Influencer Summit in Boston Dec 8/9, SAP put a lot of emphasis on its new roadmap into cloud computing and how serious the company is taking the topic for its future success. Well, to be true SAP actually avoided the term ‘cloud’ almost entirely and talked about ‘on-demand’ solutions instead. Maybe the company stayed away from the term ‘cloud’ because there is still a lot of confusion in the market (or inside SAP?) what cloud computing actually is, or to simply differentiate from the masses that currently go ‘crazy in the cloud’. Anyways, to offer pay-by-use software applications via self-service over the web indeed is pure cloud computing and SAP has declared it to be a future focus area for the company when Jim Snabe said “… significant [SAP] investment into on-demand will disrupt the market and SAP will regain leadership in this space”.

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Forrester BI Maturity Survey Results Are In

Boris Evelson

Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

Our latest BI maturity survey results are in. We used exactly the same questions from our online BI maturity self assessment tool to survey over 200 Forrester clients. Now you can compare your own BI maturity level against your peers by using data from the survey.

In the self assessment tool and in the survey we ask over 30 questions in the following 6 categories

  • Governance
  • Organization
  • Processes
  • Data and technology
  • Measurement
  • Innovation

Our clients rated themselves on the scale of 1 to 5 (5, if they strongly agree with our statement or 1, if they strongly disagree). Here are the overall results. Keep in mind that these results do not evaluate BI maturity accross ALL business, but rather in businesses that are already pretty far ahead in their BI implementations (they are Forrester clients, they read our research reports, they talk to our research analysts):

  • Governance 3.00
  • Organization 2.74
  • Processes 2.47
  • Data and technology 2.73
  • Measurement 2.11
  • Innovation 2.00
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Not All Mobile BI Applications Are Created Equal

Boris Evelson

Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

I get many questions about the usage, pervasiveness, and adaption of mobile BI applications. What's a mobile BI application? Beyond a simple delivery of alerts, URLs, or actual reports via email - functionality that has existed for years - here are a few newer approaches to deliver BI on a mobile device:

  1. The no brainer. In theory any mobile device equipped with a browser can access web based, thin client, HTML only BI applications. Yes, these BI apps will be mostly static, not interactive reports and dashboards. Navigation (scrolling, zooming, etc) will be quite awkward. But, this approach indeed requires no additional effort to deploy.
  2. Customization. The next step up is to render each (or all) reports and dashboards to a format suitable to any mobile device in terms of screen size, usage of screen real estate, and mobile device specific navigation instrumentation. A variation of this approach is to create device specific navigation controls (thumb wheel or thumb button for Blackberries, up/down/left/right arrows for Palms, gestural manipulation for iPhone, etc). This obviously requires more development effort, but still no additional software.
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What Makes BI SaaS Architecture Multitenant?

Boris Evelson

Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

I'd like to drill into some more details on my BI SaaS blog from September 2009. A key critical point to "what differentiates one BI SaaS vendor from another" discussion is what really constitutes multi-tenant architecture. Here are some initiall thoughts to stimulate the discussion:

  • DBMS. There's got to be back end, DBMS architecture that allows for one of the following:
    • Automatically generate a separate DBMS instance for each client  
    • Use same DBMS instance for multiple clients, but automatically generate a set of unique tables for each client  
    • Use same DBMS instance and tables for multiple clients, but automatically assign unique keys to to each client so that they can only update and retrieve their own rows  
  • Application. Similar functionality has to exist in the application tier:
    • Automatically connect to the appropriate, client specific DBMS instance, or 
    • Automatically use views that only point to client specific tables, or
    • Append "where" clause to each SQL statement to only retrieve client specific rows  
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How To Differentiate Advanced Data Visualisation Solutions

Boris Evelson

Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

I get many inquiries from clients on how to select a data visualization vendor / solution. The criteria that my clients often site are

  • Thick and thin client
  • Dynamic visualizations, not just static charts 
  • Ability to pull data from multiple sources
  • OLAP-like functionality
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Next Gen BI Is Here Today

Ten Strong Hints Your Enterprise May Not Have A BI Strategy

Boris Evelson

Boris Evelson By Boris Evelson

You know that you don't have an enterprise BI strategy if:

 

Want more hints and best practices? Take our BI maturity self assessment test. Then if you actually want to compare your BI strategy and BI maturity against other Forrester clients, take our BI maturity survey. Good luck!

  1. Your end users keep pointing to IT as the source of most BI problems

  2. Your business executives view BI as another cost center
  3. IT staff keep asking end users for report requirements
  4. Your BI is supported by IT help desk
  5. You can’t tell the difference between BI and Performance Management
  6. You can’t measure your BI usage
  7. You can’t measure your BI ROI
  8. You think your BI strategy is the same as your DW strategy
  9. You don’t have a plan to develop, hire, retain and grow BI staff
  10. (My personal favorite) You actually don’t know if your enterprise has a BI strategy!

    Policy-based SOA Will Enable Increased Business Value And Agility

    Randy Heffner

    One of my favorite Forrester survey statistics to quote about SOA is the proportion of service-oriented architecture (SOA) users that see how important SOA can be for changing their business. In our Enterprise And SMB Software Survey, North America And Europe, Q4 2008 (taken after the start of the current economic crisis), 38% of Global 2000 SOA adopters said they are using SOA for strategic business transformation. This is a very high level of business impact — and far more value than was ever credited to object-oriented or component-based development. Why is this important to note? Many think of SOA first as a technology for reuse, like objects and components, and miss the reality that SOA is much more about business design and flexibility. By missing the business perspective on SOA, they miss the fact that SOA is the foundation for a much broader shift in application architecture and its relationship to the design, monitoring, and optimization of business processes.

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    Is COBOL The Root Of All (Technical) Evil?

    Phil Murphy

    OK, so I used a tongue-in-cheek title to attract your attention, forgive me. A recent blog about the Boomer retirement phenomenon provoked some comments by a colleague with strong opinions about COBOL's useful life. I felt that his comments raised a topic that is substantial enough to warrant its own place in the blogosphere. The comments read, in part:

    " I am a boomer myself ... But as a software architect who has to look ahead and figure out what customers and users want I can't wait for the 3270 green screen boomer generation to retire.  It will allow for the acceptance of a new application paradigm. Those stepping up to the plate will not hesite to dump the COBOL garbage and use modern tools to create modern mobile apps that will finally end the drama of IT as today's business disabler. ..."

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