Over the weekend I took my daughter to see "Alice in Wonderland" and couldn't resist comparing Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter character to Pega's recent move to acquire Chordiant. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, it's not as weird as the usual Tim Burton movie; but the Mad Hatter character is a little disturbing, with his rhymes and riddles that keep you guessing at his true meaning.
For many process professionals, Pega's recent move was just as confusing as having a conversation with the Mad Hatter. What exactly is he trying to say anyway?
We have a lot of discussions about the role of business process management (BPM) in enterprise management these days. I believe that BPM has no meaning without a variety of tools, such as process models, rules engines, activity monitors and business analytics. But I also think that BPM initiatives cannot succeed without deliberate governance. Formal governance ensures that BPM focuses on the sustainability of enterprise processes rather than application of individual technologies.
Visual management is of particular interest in this context, as the following example shows. You certainly remember Forrester’s Lean Business Technology maturity for BPM governance matrix. Transformed into as a multi-choice questionnaire the matrix becomes a powerful governance tool. Business process executives can use this tool to identify the constraints that hamper BPM in the enterprise and determine where to improve next and why. The following Figure illustrates the results of a real business assessment, where we used the matrix.
A number of clients ask me "how many people do you think use BI". Not an easy question to answer, will not be an exact science, and will have many caveats. But here we go:
First, let's assume that we are only talking about what we all consider "traditional BI" apps. Let's exclude home grown apps built using spreadsheets and desktop databases. Let's also exclude operational reporting apps that are embedded in ERP, CRM and other applications.
Then, let's cut out everyone who only gets the results of a BI report/analysis in a static form, such as a hardcopy or a non interactive PDF file. So if you're not creating, modifying, viewing via a portal, sorting, filtering, ranking, drilling, etc, you probably do not require a BI product license and I am not counting you.
I'll just attempt to do this for the US for now. If the approach works, we'll try it for other major regions and countries.
Number of businesses with over 100 employees (a reasonable cut off for a business size that would consider using what we define as traditional BI) in the US in 2004 was 107,119
US Dept of Labor provides ranges as in "firms with 500-749 employees". For each range I take a middle number. For the last range "firms with over 10,000" I use an average of 15,000 employees.
This gives us 66 million (66,595,553) workers employed by US firms who could potentially use BI
Next we take the data from our latest BDS numbers on BI which tell us that 54% of the firms are using BI which gives us 35 million (35,961,598) workers employed by US firms that use BI
Inside the BPA Group at Forrester, we conducted a little experiment. I suggested that we should collaborate on a piece about the Pega acquisition of Chordiant. What followed was a large number of email exchanges. I drew the short straw in bringing all these thoughts together into a coherent whole. I prepared a document for Forrester clients to explore the acquisition in detail (probably getting through the editing process next week some time), and this blog post is culled from that document. So while the blog post bears my name, it reflects the collective opinions of Connie Moore, Bill Band, Natalie Petouhoff, John Rymer, Clay Richardson, Craig Le Claire and James Kobielus. Of course, I have put my own interpretation on it too.
Pega definitely wants to be in the customer experience/customer service business, and they want to get there by having a very strong BPM offering. It is not that they are moving away from BPM in favor of Customer Experience – they’re just strengthening their hand in CRM (or CPM as they would call it), more forcefully making the connection. We already knew this, but the Chordiant deal just reinforced that point (see related research doc from Bill Band in 2005 !!). This is not a new direction or change in direction for Pega, it is a strong move that takes them faster in the direction they were already going.
From a product point of view, Pega are adding/strengthening their hand – Choridant’s marketing automation and predictive analytics seem to be of greatest interest. Of course, Pega also values the engineering talent that Chordiant has, and will redirect those people over time to work on integrating these capabilities into the BPM offering. They were also interested in the vertical industry and functional expertise that Chordiant had to offer.
What’s the perfect database management system (DBMS) architecture, where analytics is concerned? It seems as if everybody in business intelligence (BI), data warehousing (DW), and related areas has their own opinion on this topic. In fact, it’s more than just opinions. In the database wars, we have huge communities of vendors and users with substantial investments in one or more approaches—from traditional relational DBMSs to column-oriented, in-memory, dimensional, inverted indexing, and other approaches.
In the analytic database wars, new architectures are springing up everywhere, each with its own devotees and differentiators, and each with a go-to-market message that takes potshots at established approaches. The “No SQL” movement is just the latest coalition to emerge in this titanic struggle, and is essentially a loose coalition of diverse approaches rallying around a common theme: that traditional RDBMSs and their SQL-based access languages are unfit, or at least, maladapted to the new world of cloud, social networking, and Web-oriented analytics applications.
DW industry analysts such as myself are of course embedded in these wars—we’re the neutral observers often caught in the crossfire. Of course, this is not a new battle. The columnar database industry has been around for many years and positioned itself as the chief high-performance, low-footprint analytics contender to traditional row-based RDBMSs. And columnar has steadily encroached on relational’s turf, not only through established columnar-based DW vendors such as Sybase, Vertica, and ParAccel, but also through recent adoption (albeit in limited fashion) by the likes of Oracle, SAP, and others into their analytics architectures.
CIO job tenure is now averaging 4.6 years, according to the Society for Information Management. That’s up – way up -- from the 2-3 year average that we saw just a few years ago. How do you explain the lengthening time in job? Is it just because CIOs are better at their jobs than CEOs or CFOs who have higher churn rates? Probably not.
My guess is that the post dot-com bust and post 9/11 recession triggered CIOs to hunker down and be a bit more risk-adverse. They stayed put for a few years, then facing the more recent economic slump, stayed put even longer. They stayed busy doing what they unfortunately are known for -- helping with enterprise cost cutting. More reactive, more cost conscious, and less innovative CIOs are less likely to take risks and less likely to be fired for risk-taking.
But I suspect the trend towards longer tenure is rapidly coming to an end. The CIOs I speak with are eagerly waking up to tackle innovation and new investments in 2010. And we’re seeing more and more ex-consultant hot shots and business execs from elsewhere in the company recently hired on to “fix IT” join the CIO ranks. More proactive, innovative, and impactful CIOs are more likely to follow ambitious career paths – or (if your a glass-half-empty kind of guy or girl) get fired for risk-taking.
Well, it's been a whirlwind two days at the Infrastructure & Operations Forum here in Dallas! I know that not everyone has the opportunity to attend these events, so for all of you stuck at home (and not in sunny Dallas), I've summarized some of the keynotes (with help from Christian Kane and Lauren Nelson) for you to check out. There is also a great conversation about the forum on twitter , so you should definitely check that out as well.
Rob Whiteley kicks off the day with a preview of the next two days and some AC/DC music (the theme of the event is "Back in Black"). First up is Glenn O'Donnell:
The New I&O Landscape: Aligning I&O With Post-Recession Business Imperatives Glenn O'Donnell, Senior Analyst, Forrester Ha, this presentation is based on the book "He's Just Not That Into You" and it is about the love story between I&O and the business.
I&O, how can you win the love of the business?
Microsoft announced on Friday that it will stop selling new Select licenses from 1 July, 2011. Customers with existing agreements can renew them for another 36 months, as per their agreements, but the replacement Select Plus program is likely to be a better option. Microsoft launched Select Plus on 1 July 2008, and I wrote at the time that it was an improvement on the basic Select structure: Microsoft Simplifies Its Volume Licensing.
However, Microsoft's pricing team struggled to persuade its LARs to promote Select Plus over the more familiar Select agreement, and customer adoption was disappointing. So the decision to drop the older program makes sense for Microsoft, because it will force its channel partners to embrace the new model. And its no bad thing for buyers - you've one less choice to make, and there's little negative impact.
The biggest advantage of Select Plus for sourcing managers is that they no longer need to submit a three-year spending forecast - this is extremely difficult for central teams buying on behalf of autonomous business units that won't havent planned Microsoft technology adoption that far out. Instead, pricing works like an airline loyalty program, on the current and previous years' actual transactions, as the figure below from my report illustrates. My report explains some more advantages, such as the flexibility to opt tactically for software assurance on individual purchases.
Hopefully you’ve all read SAP’s co-CEO’s open letter to you (http://ceos.blogs-sap.com), and also some of the great responses such as this one: http://bit.ly/b5foPD . With all these open letters flying around, I thought I’d write a slightly different one. Unlike most of my fellow commentators, I’m not going to tell SAP how to run its business. Instead, I’m going to give you, its customers, a suggestion on how you can cut the cost of your SAP environment. You ready? The answer is “buy less stuff from them”.
Actually, it is not as facile as it sounds. Many companies that I speak with automatically favour their incumbent vendors for new projects, while their IT vendor managers complain to me about their negotiation impotence. You won’t be able to get the contractual protection you need, such as limits on CPI maintenance increases, unless you make them a condition of future purchases. Large software companies such as IBM, Oracle and SAP focus predominantly on license sales. It wasn’t customers’ unhappiness, resulting from the Enterprise Support blunder, that caused SAP to fire its CEO and rethink its approach. It was the fact that you showed that unhappiness by voting with your purchase orders, delaying projects, going to competing vendors, and causing SAP’s license revenue to plummet. When Jim and Bill promise to “accelerate the pace of the innovation we deliver to you”, the d word is a euphemism for ‘sell’.
I'm continually reminded of the tremendous diversity of enterprise technology needs. As analysts, we tend to focus on the "latest and greatest" developments, but the reality is that many enterprises are not ready to digest the latest technology solutions. In fact, I would submit that premature attempts to implement leading edge technology can cause serious problems and should be avoided.
How do you know if a technology update is premature? Look to the business side of the house. Are there major business pain points that cannot be addressed by the current technology? If so, IT should be looking to implement new capabilities. However, lacking new drivers from the business side, maintaining the status quo might not be that bad of a strategy.
In the past six months I've spoken with several $1B+ enterprises (some greater than $5B) that are achieving good business results using batch-oriented technology with the most sophisticated software being ETL tools. Hardly leading edge, but the important point is that it works.
Think of the need for advanced technology as a continuum. At one end you have financial institutions using logarithmic trading and high-tech manufacturers relying on real-time supply chain operations. At the other end of the spectrum you have many retailers and others still living in a batch dominated world. In between you have players in many other sectors with highly variable needs that rely on both real-time and batch processing to meet their requirements.
Don't expect this diversity to disappear anytime soon.