SAP and S4HANA

George Lawrie

Many of your peers with heavy enterprise investment in SAP, are thinking about the business case for HANA.  In this research we looked at different HANA use cases and at early efforts to learn how to run an enterprise by predicting, in real time, the direction of a stream of granular observations, rather than by waiting for period end and then explaining variances from plan :   https://www.forrester.com/SAP+Hana+Is+The+Answer+Whats+The+Question/fulltext/-/E-RES117654

But now some firms are migrating to Suite on HANA or more correctly SAP Business Suite Powered By HANA in search of digital transformation opportunities such as the ability to manufacture a batch of one or to target a segment of one. More firms are planning to investigate S4HANA to simplify and streamline their data and processes to get in shape for the more intense competition of a more transparent and digitally empowered economy. We looked here at the stages in planning the transitions the skills and help you will need : https://www.forrester.com/Brief+Plan+The+Next+Phase+Of+Your+SAP+Journey/fulltext/-/E-res122841

Look out for the next in the series in which we investigate HANA scalability.

B2B eCommerce Sites Must Look Beyond "Rogue" Buyers

Duncan Jones

If you’re trying to use e-commerce in a B2B context, it is no longer safe to ignore the procurement role within your customers’ organization. At the moment you may be able to market and sell successfully direct to end-user customers, but not for long. The growing imperative for chief procurement officers (CPOs) to guarantee compliance with various external laws and internal policies is driving a much tougher stance on so-called rogue buying.

I’ve been studying the customer’s side of B2B e-commerce for a number of years. The clients I speak with work in procurement, finance, and the part of I.T. that supports those two functions. One of their most common questions is: “how can I prevent employees buying stuff directly from sell-side websites?” This used to be purely due to concerns about cost—they assumed that their e-procurement application would direct employees to approved suppliers who would, they believed, be the cheapest. Now, however, the bigger issue is supplier risk. Issues such as corporate social responsibility, conflict minerals, corrupt practices, data security, and so on, are forcing CPOs to be much tougher in preventing purchases from unapproved suppliers.

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BI and data integration professionals face a multitude of overlapping data preparation options

Boris Evelson

Ah, the good old days. The world used to be simple. ETL vendors provided data integration functionality, DBMS vendors data warehouse platforms and BI vendors concentrated on reporting, analysis and data visualization. And they all lived happily ever after without stepping on each others’ toes and benefiting from lucrative partnerships. Alas, the modern world of BI and data integration is infinitely more complex with multiple, often overlapping offerings from data integration and BI vendors. I see the following three major segments in the market of preparing data for BI:

  1. Fully functional and highly scalable ETL platforms that are used for integrating analytical data as well as moving, synchronizing and replicating operational, transactional data. This is still the realm of tech professionals who use ETL products from Informatica, AbInitio, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and others.
  2. An emerging market of data preparation technologies that specialize mostly in integrating data for BI use cases and mostly run by business users. Notable vendors in the space include Alteryx, Paxata, Trifecta, Datawatch, Birst, and a few others.
  3. Data preparation features built right into BI platforms. Most leading BI vendors today provide such capabilities to a varying degree.
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The Breathtaking Future of Software Development -- It's Already Here!

Michael Facemire

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" -- William Gibson

I recently drove a Tesla for the first time. As a kid that grew up in a car dealership (my father and grandfather both owned one) I grew up with a love of cars, speed, and pushing limits. Driving that Tesla changed everything; as a developer I'm starting to feel a experience a similar set of feelings. Developers love change -- and technology provides a constant stream of bright shiny objects for us to chase. Fortunately we're being blessed by many of these objects to chase lately -- to the point that the current velocity of change _around everything we do_ is starting to take my breath away! I equate it to driving a Tesla at the edge of ludicrous mode; incredibly exciting with the knowledge that one false step means sure peril. The areas that are currently exciting me are:
 
The Web plumbing is changing. Earlier this year the Internet Archive put out a call to help building the new distributed web. They point to a number of challenges around the current web -- it's fragile, not reliable, not private, and needs a way to keep track of changes over time. Fortunately some early options are appearing about that I'm digging into, particularly Ethereum, IPFS, Blockchain, and HTTP/2. Each of these brings significant change to how we build, deploy, and scale applications.
 
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The Predictive Modeling Process Using Machine Learning

Mike Gualtieri

Predictive analytics uses statistical and machine learning algorithms to find aptterns in data that might predict similar outcomes in the future. Check out this less than 3 minute, fun and fruity video to understand the six steps of predictive modeling.  For tools that use machine learning to build predictive models, Forrester clients can read The Forrester Wave: Big Data Predictive Analytics Solutions, Q2 2015 and A Machine Learning Primer For BT Professionals.

The Tug Of War Over Front-End Development Ownership

Dominique Whittaker

Front-end developers are getting the short end of the stick: they're either considered not technical enough to be a developer or too technical to be considered a designer/engineer. This conflict resonates further into the organization and stakeholders aren't in agreement on where front-end developers should sit---with the BT organization or within the business. Both sides make compelling arguments as to why front-end devs should sit within their respective parts of the organization. Our recent developer survey tells us that 47% of developers sit within a single centralized BT organization.

 

The main reasons BT organization argues three reasons front-end developers should sit within BT:

  • To make sure that development standards are consistent.
  • It ensures that they work in sync with the back-end team.
  • Front-end devs work with code and BT should have ownership of anything related to code.

On the other hand, marketing argues that front-end developers (also referred to as designers/web developers) are better suited for marketing since:

  • They don't really code, mainly working in HTML, CSS, and Javascript.
  • Front-end devs can create rapid prototypes for customers to see their ideas conceptualized, but it’s not intended to be production-ready at all.  
  • BT organization moves too slowly and is unable to deliver the changes needed to enhance the customer journey at the speed it requires.
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Improving Mobile App Quality Testing

John Wargo

In 2014, Michael Facemire and Rowan Curran published a report entitled A Benchmark To Drive Mobile Test Quality. The report covered how organizations had to adjust mobile app testing in a world with an overabundance of mobile devices and applications in constant enhancement mode (very frequent updates). As the new guy, I was asked to do an update to the report, so I reviewed what already existed and proceeded to do some research to see what had changed in the market since the original report was published. Well, my update to the report is called Improving Mobile App Quality Testing and it was just published today.

Later this month, I will be completing reports on HTTP/2 as well as an update to Building High-Performance Mobile Experiences, a report by Jeffrey Hammond and Michael Facemire. 

Find Premium Digital Development Talent With The 3 C's

Anjali Yakkundi

This a guest post by Danielle Geoffroy, a Research Associate on the Application Development & Delivery (AD&D) team.

You have a people and organization problem. In our 2015 survey, we asked what the biggest barriers to success are when it comes to delivering customer-facing mobile and web experiences. The answer didn’t surprise us – the top three challenges were all talent-related. Digital experience delivery is the new black, and in order to incorporate it into your strategy and brand, you need to hire a new breed of development and delivery talent: technologists that are creative, understand business goals, and are up to date on new technology and languages (think WCM, not just ERP, and Javascript, not just Python).

In order to hire this premium talent, you must think like the talent. These designers, developers, creators didn’t grow up in the suit and tie corporate world, and will need competitive salaries and benefits plus much more: meaningful, fast-paced work cultures that foster development.

In order hire this talent that has new priorities, we identified three C’s to build your perfect match digital experience team:

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The Fragmenting SFA Ecosystem

Kate Leggett

Sales organizations, for the last couple of decades, have used sales automation (SFA) to manage account and contact data, sales pipelines, territories and more – all inside-out capabilities that help optimize their productivity, The problem is that today, customers control the conversation that they have with companies. Customers increasingly demand effortless sales interactions that increasingly trend toward self-service. They demand interactions tailored to their particular industry, pain point, and profile. They want streamlined interactions that value their time, such as a simple, efficient quote-to-order process or a contract renewal process.

Today sales organizations struggle to provide sales experiences in-line with customer expectations. They cant:

  • Support buyers on their terms. Buyers increasingly leverage mobile touchpoints, self-service, and digital channels to interact with companies which sales organizations cannot support.
  • Get sales representatives to follow consistent processes. Sales managers have sales reps of different calibers, and they must up-level a team’s performance. Also, without a consistent sales process that clearly articulates conditions for the different stages, managers can’t accurately qualify their pipeline. This affects forecasts, valuation, and profitability.
  • Personalize conversations with stakeholders. Sales reps don’t have near real-time information about their prospect’s company or industry or about a particular stakeholder to make conversations more relevant. They may not understand relationships between stakeholders that are involved in a purchase. They often lack insight about the effectiveness of sales collateral for different stages of the sales journey.
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The New Customer Service Mandate - It’s No Longer Socially Acceptable To Not Be Social

Ian Jacobs

This a guest post by Danielle Geoffroy, a Research Associate on the Application Development & Delivery (AD&D) team.

Customer service teams are facing a dilemma that may bring back high school nostalgia – if you want to be one of the cool kids, you need to be social. But simply being present in the social scene doesn’t automatically make you hip to the digital customer. You need to talk the talk and have the latest gadgets.

In our recent report, we discuss the new reality of social customer service, and outline tools you should adopt for social workforce optimization.  Companies have all felt social flip the table – it affects their core business model because newly empowered customers have a giant bullhorn to make their feelings known. As a result, companies must incorporate social into all realms of their business, especially customer service teams.

Customers turning to social channels for service support have high expectations (I know I do). Those expectations mean you’ll need to:

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