HCL AXON Expands Vertical, Geographic Footprint With UCS Group Deal

Building on the 2008 acquisition of Axon, HCL Technologies announced Thursday a strategic partnership with UCS Group, and a deal of up to USD 18.5 million to take over its SAP practice. The acquisition adds to HCL AXON's strength in implementation areas related to SAP and process consulting in the retail and wholesale industry. HCL AXON presently boasts process consulting expertise in industries including public sector, aerospace & defense, oil & gas, and transportation.

This acquisition also expands HCL Axon’s global footprint. While the acquisition of UK-based Axon boosted its European market presence, HCL AXON's business is predominantly in North America and Asia Pacific. UCS Group will give HCL AXON a strong presence in South Africa.

Look out for Forrester's latest SAP Implementation Providers Wave, which evaluates 19 vendors across 60+ criteria including vertical expertise, global presence, and ability to provide best-in-class services for all portions of an implementation and each of the service areas. The Wave is set to publish in August.

Which Customer Managment Technologies Deliver The Most Value?

William Band By William Band

To make the savvy investment decisions, BP&A professionals need to know which CRM applications have the strongest track record for delivering results. I just surveyed 286 companies to understand their opinion of 19 categories solutions that comprise the Extended CRM Application Ecosystem.

Here’s a sneak peek of my findings:

  • Sales, order management, and service are the keys to your revenue engine. The business and IT executives that we surveyed feel that “core” business processes like selling, order taking, and customer service are the most critical to their success. For, example over half report that order management, customer service & support, and contract center infrastructure applications are critical solutions. Forty-eight percent say that salesforce automation is a critical app, and 42% say this is the case for eCommerce solutions.
  • Customer data management and intelligence are keystones for success. The Holy Grail for CRM professionals has long been to achieve a “360-degree” view of customers. Consequently, 44% of the companies I surveyed report that customer business intelligence and customer data management are critical solutions for their businesses.

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Notes From The Field - Literally.

KenAndEllenWedding01_cropped My wife and I attended an outdoor wedding yesterday at the Blue Horse Farm in the beautiful Catskills mountains of upstate New York.

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Who Should Lead the Customer Social Media Interaction?

Natalie L. Petouhoff, Ph.D. By Dr. Natalie Petouhoff

I've had a number of interesting debates on who should lead the customer social media interaction in the last few weeks. In part, this question comes up because a great deal of social media was initiated in the Marketing department via listening or brand sentiment programs. What we do know is that all departments benefit- marketing, sales, service, product dev, engineering from the voice of the customer information that results from deploying social media.

And while I know that not everyone will agree, after studying all the various departments that could lead social media, I'm still convinced customer service should lead the customer social media interaction.

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HP Acquires Cluster File Storage Software Vendor IBRIX

Andrew Reichman
Today, HP announced that they will be acquiring the startup cluster file storage software firm IBRIX in a deal with few disclosed details. Congrats to HP for making another interesting acquisition in the clustered storage space, following their Feb. 2007 acquisition of Polyserve and their October 2008 acquisition of Lefthand. IBRIX makes software that allows users to cluster many nodes of storage (either industry standard servers or iSCSI/FC SAN arrays) for use in high performance global namespace file storage.  IBRIX’s customer base includes some 175 firms, generally in the high performance compute (HPC), video rendering/animation, and oil and gas exploration spaces.

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Cisco’s Smart Connected Communities – Are They Securely Connected As Well?

I attended a Cisco Systems briefing early this week about its Smart Connected Communities initiative. Once again Cisco demonstrated its forward thinking by bringing together various government initiatives under the umbrella of what they call Smart Connected Communities.  A Smart Connected Community is built on IP-based infrastructure. This means that all of the critical components of a city infrastructure like utility, transportation, healthcare, commercial buildings, and emergency response systems connect via an IP-based network.

Overall, it was a good update briefing. But I was surprised to hear just how confident Cisco is that securing this networked infrastructure is a no brainier. When I asked the presenter: “Given that network infrastructure is not nearly as robust and secure in some emerging geographies, how are you planning to ramp up the backbone and make the network secure enough end-to-end to run smart services?”

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Cybersecurity Czar – Where art Thou?

Khalid Kark

Bill Brenner at CSO recently wrote an interesting piece highlighting the urgency of having a cybersecurity leader. Although I do not agree with him that the simple DDOS attacks on government Websites could have been prevented by having a Cybersecurity Czar, I do agree with him that we need a cybersecurity leader – now!  

We all rejoiced when President Obama ordered a 60 day cybersecurity review shortly after taking office. We were all excited when, on May 29th, a report summarizing the findings of the cybersecurity review was released and the president declared cybersecurity as a national security priority for his administration, and a personal goal for him.

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All Grown Up: Goofus And Gallant Are Developers

Mike_Gualtieri_LampYou are not going to believe this. Goofus and Gallant grew up and they both became application development professionals. Inseparable as they are, they both landed jobs at a global medical supply company in Parsippany, NJ where they develop enterprise supply chain web applications. Gallant has a bit less hair than he used to and Goofus is sporting a "Comdex" tattoo. But, these guys are basically the same as they ever were. (Remember Goofus and Gallant from Highlights Magazine For Children)

We Can Still Learn A Lot From Them

Goofus forgets to check-in his code before going a week-long vacation to Martha's Vineyard.

Gallant always checks-in his code and makes thoughtful revision comments on the changes each night before he goes home.

Microsoft Office 2010: The Odyssey Continues

Hard Times Are Not Over Yet, But There Is Hope

by Sharyn Leaver

Sharyn-Leaver Forrester has made a series of downward revisions to its IT market forecasts in 2008 and early 2009. And according to my colleague Andy Bartels’ latest analysis - "US And Global IT Market Outlook: Q2 2009" -there is more weakness ahead. Due largely to the breakdown of the financial system and the resulting credit crunch, steep drops in the purchases of equipment, software, and IT services during Q4 2008, Q1 2009, and probably Q2 2009 mean that purchase levels are close to hitting bottom. Forrester predicts that the latter part of 2009 will see: 

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