Although millions of people remain out of work, the economy has clearly thawed and organizations are returning to investing customer-facing business process with a vengeance. Client inquiries and advisory work on CRM topics is going through the roof here at Forrester. Our most recent forecast for global IT purchases of business software anticipates a healthy 9.7% increase in 2010, after brutal decline of 8.0% in 2009. And, Social CRM is all the rage in the blogosphere.
If you are watching the Olympics, you know that the figure skaters spend years practicing to hone their fundamental skills before trying advanced patterns. And, they never stop practicing their elementary figures. My latest report on the key trends driving CRM technology adoption spotlights flawless execution will continue to separate successful CRM initiatives from losers.
We surveyed 58 business and IT professionals to identify the best practices for getting more value from CRM technology projects. These five fundamentals were the keys to success before the economic meltdown — and they remain so today:
When a user of a BI application complains about the application not being useful - something that I hear way too often - what does that really mean? I can count at least 11 possible meanings, and potential reasons:
1. The data is not there, because
It's not in any operational sources, in which case the organization needs to implement a new app, a new process or get that data from an outside source
It is in an operational source, but not accessible via the BI application.
The data is there, but
2. It's not usable as is, because
There are no common definitions, common metadata
The data is of poor quality
The data model is wrong, or out of date
3. I can't find it, because I
Can't find the right report
Can't find the right metadata
Can't find the data
I don't have access rights to the data I am looking for
4. I don't know how to use my application, because I
Was not trained
Was trained, but the application is not intuitive, user friendly enough
5. I can't/don'thave time do it myself - because I just need to run my business, not do BI !!! - and
A common inquiry request to Forrester is asking for benchmarks for quality. Testing groups are struggling to figure out how well they’re doing and if the processes they’re fighting for are making a difference.
When business processes finally become intelligent
Over the past several months I have done a lot of research on the BI market, the trends and the vendor landscape. There is a clear indication that BI solutions are becoming more sophisticated, more intelligent and – more integrated into other applications to enhance the performance of the application supported business processes.
Very recently now, in discussions with BPM vendors like IDS Scheer, HandySoft and many others it became very eminent that from the other side, BPM solutions are moving steadily into the field of Business Intelligence too. The world of BPM and BI solutions are converging to bring intelligent business processes to the market – eventually. However, today we are still some steps away from this picture and the convergence of BPM and BI will likely proceed in smaller steps are outlined in the below BI-BPM convergence model.
Today several BPM vendors have actively integrated business intelligence capabilities into their solutions. Larger ones like IDS Scheer have developed their own analytics while smaller vendors like HandySoft are using OpenSorce components offered by JasperSoft and other OpenSource BI vendors. The integration offers users new and consistent insights along the whole business process. A user in this context means both:
a) Business users that are part of the business process get access to relevant information and reports that increase the efficiency of the process, and
b) Business process owners get an insightful analytics of the process metadata to be able to further enhance and streamline the process.
EMC announced this morning that it has acquired a stake in Web content management vendor FatWire, one of the remaining standalone major WCM players in the market. With this announcement, EMC has finally admitted what’s been obvious for some time: that its current Documentum Web Publisher product simply doesn’t have the ability to become a marketing tool for ebusiness and marketing teams to achieve business goals in the online channel.
What’s interesting about this announcement is what didn’t happen – the expected sale of FatWire to EMC, which many have speculated about for the past year or so. Now, EMC won’t fully own its prescribed WCM product, and will instead rely on FatWire for that component of its content management suite. FatWire, a leader in Forrester’s last WCM Wave evaluation, has strong customer engagement functionality, better than the Documentum Web Publisher offering. With this deal, FatWire gets an improved distribution platform for its WCM, and opportunities for further integration with EMC products such as its digital asset management offering (which it will also resell).
What’s also interesting is that this marks an end to EMC’s dream of a unified repository for all enterprise content, since FatWire products have their own repository. Many of Forrester’s clients have known for a while that this dream simply wasn’t reality, due to organizational issues as well as technological ones.
EMC will likely make an announcement about sunsetting its current Documentum Web Publisher later this year, though support will certainly continue for several years through current maintenance agreements and an extended paid support period. Right now, if you are a current Web Publisher customer, you’ll have to decide:
I talk commonly to architects that are under pressure to create a cloud strategy. Or an SOA strategy. Or a BPM strategy. Or an XYZ strategy. Many will add up a few of these point strategies and call it an overall technology strategy. It’s good to know where we’re going, but is this the right way to do it? No. The problem is that this is technology-focused tech strategy. You can see it in the way we describe applications according to their dominant technology. We call them event-driven apps, or RFID apps, or whatever. Instead, to have a business-focused tech strategy, the starting point should be an understanding of what drives business outcomes. What would that look like?
Business architecture — an important and maturing domain of enterprise architecture — is changing the conversation between business people and technologists. Rather than centering on individual siloed applications, business architecture, at its best, centers conversation on the design of business outcomes and what it takes to achieve them. Within the realm of business architecture, models like business capability maps provide strong mechanisms for understanding and designing a business.
My colleague, Holger Kisker, just posted a very insightful blog on the convergence of BI and BPM technologies. Yes, Holger, BPM vendors definitely have some BI capabilities. And so do some search vendors like Attivio, Endeca and Microsoft FAST Search. And so do some middleware vendors like TIBCO, Vitria and Software AG. And so do rules vendors like FairIsaac, PegaSystems. Should I go on? I have a list of hundreds of vendors that "say" they are a BI vendor.
But it’s not that simple. First of all, let’s define BI. In the last BI Wave we defined BI as “a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making”. To provide all these capabilities a vendor should have most of the necessary components such as data integration, data quality, master data management, metadata management, data warehousing, OLAP, reporting, querying, dashboarding, portal, and many, many others. In this broader sense only full BI stack vendors such as IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, SAS, TIBCO and Information Builders qualify.
Even if we define BI more narrowly as the reporting and analytics layer of the broader BI stack, we still want to include capabilities such as 11 ones we use to rate BI vendors in the BI Waves:
I am a developer at heart. Even while doing other jobs, I still describe my vocation as a software engineer. Sometimes being a software engineer makes you feel like the odd one out. Meetings concerning business intelligence (BI) used to make me feel that way. The people in the room were talking about data, reports, feeds, and data stores — all things that we do in software development, but their focus was different enough to make me feel like a fish out of water. But that is changing and the gap between BI and software development seems to be closing. Let me highlight a few data points:
Forrester had heard rumors of restructuring at SAP before the announcement on February 7th that SAP’s CEO Leo Apotheker has resigned with immediate effect.
The return to joint CEOs with Jim Haggemann-Snabe running product and Bill McDermott running sales is likely to help in focusing on improvements in the field to restore SAP's sales fortunes in a tough market.
As an analyst at Forrester I always look forward to December - not because it's the end of the year or that I have the balance of my vacation days to use up (best laid plans...); December is when we usually get a fresh batch of data from Forrester's annual Enterprise And SMB Software Survey. Each year our team gets to place a few questions into this comprehensive questionnaire, and IT decision makers who have organizational responsibility for custom software development give us some insight into what their shops are doing.