SAP 3rd Party Maintenance: An alternative for me? - Part Two

Hi, I'd like to share part two of a recent discussion that I had with Martin Schindler, Editor of Silicon.de. See part one here in case you missed it.

Martin Schindler: You indicated earlier that interest in third-party maintenance has increased since SAP wanted to make its Enterprise Support basically mandatory. Is this just excitement or real demand?

Stefan Ried: Yes, interest has increased. We're also seeing that from the vendor side. In addition to Rimini Street, which already offers maintenance for SAP systems, there is also Aptech, netCustomer, the Spinnaker Management Group, and Versytec, which are today limited to PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and Siebel. The vendor space has developed further, and the list of SAP-supporting vendors will soon become longer. Finally, it makes sense to ask the larger systems integrators, such as Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, IBM Global Services, and Siemens (SIS), which are also the largest SAP integrators, to quote for offering SAP third-party maintenance.

Martin Schindler: This is interesting. We've read little about such offers.

Stefan Ried: These integrators naturally don't make a lot of noise about these things, as they also have a partner relationship with SAP, of course. At the end of the day, the demand will be balanced with the supply — and if more customers request SAP maintenance from their systems integrator, they will start to offer it.

Martin Schindler: Is this profitable for integrators?

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Really end to end management: Gomez and Compuware

The marriage of Gomez and Compuware is starting to bear fruits. One of the key aspects of web application performance management is end user experience. This is approached largely from the data center standpoint, within the firewall. But the best solution to understand the real customer experience is to have an agent sitting on the customer side of the application, without the firewall, a possibility that is clearly out of bounds for most public facing applications. The Gomez-Compuware alliance is the first time that these two sides are brought together within the same management application, Compuware Vantage. What Vantage brings to the equation is the Application Performance Management (APM) view of IT Operations: response time collected from the network and correlated with infrastructure and application monitoring in the data center. But, it’s not the customer view. What Gomez brings with its recent version, the “Gomez Winter 2010 Platform Release” is a number of features that let IT understand what goes beyond the firewall: not only how the application content was delivered, but how the additional content from external providers was delivered and what was the actual performance at the end user level: the outside-in view of the application is now combined with the inside-out view of IT Operations provided by Vantage APM. And this is now spreading outside the pure desktop/laptop user group to reach out the increasing mobile and smart phone crowd. IT used to be able to answer the question of “is it the application or the infrastructure?” with Vantage. IT can now answer a broader set of questions: “is it the application, the internet service provider, the web services providers?’ for an increasingly broader range of use-case scenarios.

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Vendors: Position Your Products To Address The Needs Of Mobile Information Workers

We have all heard a lot about the growing segment of information workers including senior executives, managers, legal professionals, and financial service executives who use their smartphones for work. About 45% of all employees in the US are information workers, and Forrester survey results show that nearly 15% of these workers use smartphones for work. In addition, nearly 33% of information workers are issued smartphones by their company, and about 25% select and purchase a smartphone that may, or may not be supported by the company. We expect the info worker segment to grow significantly as more employees work away from their desk or telecommute.

 

Vendor marketing and strategy professionals across the mobile value chain must understand how information workers use smartphones and applications, so they can successfully develop products to address the needs of these workers. Information workers are going beyond plain vanilla email, calendar and PIM applications. Many are trying out instant messaging, productivity apps to access Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, and location-based services. To tap the fast-growing slice of information workers relying on their smartphones, business application categories must be clearly identified on mobile operator portals and mobile app store sites. Device manufacturers and mobile operators must also ensure smartphone features and functionality address both personal and professional user needs. Are there other strategies vendors are using to address the needs of the mobile information worker segment?

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If you don't go to P-Camp Silicon Valley 2010, slap yourself

Rich Mironov, organizer for the Silicon Valley Product Camp 2010, says that the pre-registration is closed at 960 people. Zounds!

The event is still open for any and all product managers and product marketers to attend. In fact, because 960 people have already registered, you definitely should attend. Last year's P-Camp was jam-packed with useful information, and it provided an unparalleled opportunity for PMs to compare notes. Attendance last year was a fraction of this year's pre-registration number, and the value of the P-Camp only increases with numbers.

Look forward to seeing you there. (And you'll have my gratitude if you vote for my afternoon presentation on the strategic role of PM.)

How demographics matter in B2B tech adoption

In case you wanted to attend tonight's open house on the demographics of B2B technology adoption, here's a pertinent diagram from a recent publication on the subject. As you can see, when they look for information, two people in the same department—an application developer and an enterprise architect—go to very different sources.

  • Conclusion 1: Demographics matter. A lot.
  • Conclusion 2: If you say that your target customer is developers, you need to take a big product marketing time-out. Not all development professionals are the same. Now march up to your room and think about that.

As important as conclusion 1 may be, it's not exactly profound. Sure, we all know that people are different, but what are the significant differences? And how should these variations affect the way we market our technology to rank-and-file developers versus the fancy-pants enterprise architects?

Many efforts at persona development break down at the very beginning, with the question, How many different personas do I need? There's no obviously correct answer to that question, especially when you haven't seen the data that indicates which demographic differences are significant, and which aren't. (Leaving aside the practical question of how many personas you can actually produce.)

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I see you, you see me...

In an earlier post, I argued that product managers in social media companies need to start sharpening their understanding of privacy and security issues. Here's another reason why:

Until now, geolocation has been one of those quaint, semi-useful buzzwords: '... now with geolocation!!!' Twitter, Buzz and Foursquare -- the main exponents of exposing your location -- might not be small, but they pale in comparison to Facebook. With the announcement that Facebook will be enabling geolocation next month, Pandora's Box has been torn open; whether you like it or not, geolocation is about to become a huge part of your life.

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SAP 3rd Party Maintenance: An alternative for me?

I'd like to share a recent discussion that I had with Martin Schindler, Editor of Silicon.de

Martin Schindler: There are experts who talk of a non-existing market when it comes to SAP third party maintenance. Is that correct?

Stefan Ried: You could have the impression, especially for Germany, because companies remain very close to SAP and many have decided for a Single-Vendor-Strategy. But in other countries it is much less the case. However the price politics of SAP in the last year and now the slow innovation speed has raised the discussion of alternative maintenance model again.

Martin Schindler: Are there German users with real interest in obtaining maintenance for their SAP system through another company?

Stefan Ried: Yes, there is definitely interest.

We regularly make, and particularly in the last year, sample calculations for users (as well as for system integrators) if it is worth going for third-party maintenance. It depends on various factors, whether it is worth it.

Martin Schindler: What do these factors look like?

Stefan Ried: Companies must check, for example, how much "know-how" exists in-house. Third-party maintenance can work very well, if not everything from SAP-Maintenance is needed. This is for example the case, when parts of the SAP-System are regarded as frozen, small legal changes follow, or to repair a bug. With this technical problems, compatibility with operating system patches, performance problems within an established system can be addressed and the system can operate securely with very little change. So, third-party maintenance vendors can, especially for older SAP systems, work very well.

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Welcome to the new blog platform

Actually, I should say, welcome to the Forrester community. The revamped blogs are one facet of Forrester's investment in social media as the conduit for two-way conversation with clients and non-clients alike.

One obvious change: Browsing around, you can easily access an analyst's individual blog, or the role blog, or the client group's blog, or everyone's Forrester blog. As brilliant as I think my own posts are, my colleagues often have much smarter things to say than I do. Please take advantage of the new way to browse through the conversations happening across Forrester. (But come back here when you're done.)

Now, I really do need a better picture...

Welcome to the new Vendor Strategy blog!

Hello, fans of Vendor Strategy. Welcome to Forrester's new-look VS blog. We will be aggregating analyst posts across our entire Vendor Strategy research team here, so bookmark it and please come back often.

 

Here's how my colleague Cliff Condon summarized Forrester's move to a new blog platform:

 

Hey everyone.  Here it is – Forrester’s new blog network. We made some changes to improve the experience for readers and to encourage more analysts to blog. Feel free to poke around and let me know what you think.

There are a few things I’d like to point out to you:
 

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Busy, busy March

Several events of interest for product marketers and product managers involving Yours Truly:

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