On July 27, 2010, Parallax Capital Partners announced that it was acquiring Daptiv, a SaaS PPM vendor. Forrester customers who are current Daptiv customers or are considering Daptiv as a PPM vendor should not be deterred. As a $20 million vendor, Daptiv provided a strong work group for project portfolio management, performing well at the departmental or divisional level, but had limited capabilities in areas that were attractive to enterprisewide implementations, including functionality (i.e., resource management and financial project management) and ability to scale development or support - a typical problem for smaller vendors. Prior to the acquisition, the company had started down the path toward enterprise viability, but the vendor was still seen as best suited to small to medium-sized standalone implementations.
Acquisition by capital investment firms can mean prepping a company for sale, but with Parallax operating Daptiv as a wholly owned subsidiary, Daptiv’s future looks much more positive. Having Parallax’s backing, the vendor will now be able to:
Increase R&D funding to further develop the connectors for ERP integration as well as extend connectors to other demand management or portfolio management tools.
Provide resource management functionality that supports forecasting and capacity management.
Increase support capabilities for larger, more complex implementations in order to compete at the enterprise level.
Extend its Daptiv platform to encompass more work-related data and reporting.
Provide increased financial modeling at the portfolio level and project actual capture for financial reporting.
Yesterday Oracle announced that both HP and Dell would certify Solaris on their respective lines of x86 servers, and that Oracle would offer support for Solaris on these systems.
Except for IBM, who was conspicuously missing from the announcement, it's hard to find any losers in this arrangement. HP and Dell customers get the assurance of enterprise support for an OS that they have a long track record with on x86 servers from two of the leading server vendors. Oracle gets a huge potential increase in potential Solaris footprint as Solaris is now available and supported on the leading server platforms, with accompanying opportunities for support revenue and cross-selling of other Oracle products.
All in all, an expected but still welcome development in the Oracle/Sun saga, and one that should make a lot of people happy.
Predictive analytics is not just about forecasting what’s coming down the pike. It’s also about keeping the bad alternative futures from happening. If you can see the nasty things that might happen far enough in advance, you have a better chance of neutralizing or squelching them entirely.
In fact, many real-world applications of predictive analytics are “interdictive,” a term often used in military and law enforcement contexts to refer to tactics that delay, disrupt, or shut down an adversary’s forces or supply routes before they can do damage. Anti-fraud is one of the principal interdictive applications of predictive analytics technology. Companies everywhere rely on data mining to determine who’s been engaging, alone or in groups, in stealing money, supplies, finished goods, cellular airtime, and other valuables — and also where they’re likely to strike next. Likewise, anti-terrorism efforts rely on predictive models to sift through massive collections of historical and real-time intelligence in a Jack Bauer-like race against time and imminent disaster. You best believe that social network analysis is a key weapon in your arsenal for predicting and interdicting these sorts of malignant social patterns.
I just returned from a business visit to India, and on the long way back, I had the time to sort out some observations and ideas on the future of the banking backbone that I had discussed with bankers as well as banking platform vendor execs over the past few weeks. But let me start from the beginning.
Whether you are a CEO, CIO, IT employee, or working outside of IT, you have some level of understanding of your organization’s strategy. At least that’s what I believe. But how much do you understand? To find out we’re conducting research across the enterprise to see how well employees understand business strategy and whether they have any idea about the IT strategy or even the IT architecture strategy.
As a reader of this blog, I know you are an innovative thinker and business-savvy — I’m hoping you will please take five minutes now or later today to help out our research by taking part in this survey, no matter where you work or what your role is. Even if you cannot take the survey, you can still help by sharing a link to this post with friends, colleagues, and associates who you think may be interested in the results.
The survey examines a number of aspects of business and IT strategy, such as:
How well defined and understood is the business & IT strategy?
How well understood are the measures of strategy success?
What time horizons are most common for strategic planning?
Frequency of planning updates
The perception of IT (from inside IT and from outside IT)
One of my current research projects is to define how EA teams capture and express business strategy. Early in the process I am finding a lot of variation in how organizations articulate strategy. In my preliminary interviews I have heard three basic definitions of strategy:
Superior customer service is an ethos that pervades the best companies. Everybody who comes into contact with the customer must go that extra mile to make sure customers’ needs come first. Likewise, everyone in the back office must stand ready to swing into action to fulfill orders, resolve technical issues, correct billing anomalies, and generally ensure an all-around great customer experience.
If you’ve been paying attention to business management gurus these past 30 years, you’ve had the foregoing philosophy drummed into your heads. Chances are good that you’ve bought their books, attended their courses, and paid them big bucks to give pep talks at your corporate retreats. Leading management consultants have also brought you up to speed on what exemplar corporate case studies have done to become 100% customer-focused.
In other words, you’re in the choir and would greatly appreciate it if you weren’t being preached at quite so often. If you’re managing a company of any size, what you really want to know is how you can transform your organization into one of these customer-centric juggernauts without the secular equivalent of a religious conversion. Do you really need to subscribe to any particular consultant’s holy writ — or can you simply identify your more customer-focused employees, hold them up as shining examples, and encourage them to share their best practices with colleagues? Can you nurture superior customer service practices that spring organically from your current operations, while at the same time supporting these efforts by encouraging operational personnel to apply the latest information technologies (IT) in new and creative ways?
I have received a number of inquiries on the future of SPARC and Solaris. Sun’s installed base was already getting somewhat nervous as Sun continued to self-destruct with a series of bad calls by management, marginal financial performance, and the cancellation of its much-touted “Rock” CPU architecture. Coming on top of this long series of negative events, the acquisition by Oracle had much the same effect as throwing a cat into the middle of the Westminster dog show, and Oracle’s public responses were vague enough that they apparently increased rather than decreased customer angst (to be fair, Oracle does not agree with this assessment of customer reaction, and has provided a public list of customers who endorsed the acquisition at http://www.oracle.com/us/sun/030019.htm).
Fast forward to last week at Oracle’s first analyst meeting focused on integrated systems. While much of the content was focused on integrating the software stack and discussions of the new organization, there were some significant nuggets for existing and prospective Solaris and SPARC customers:
Adobe has gotten into the content management business, with its announcement earlier today of its intent to acquire Day software for $240 million. Day —with its WCM, DAM, and collaboration offerings — has had a good deal of buzz over the last year or so. Why? Mostly due to a renewed marketing push, demo-friendly products, and occasional uncertainty around competitors due to acquisitions (Interwoven, Vignette) . Day was one of the few remaining independent WCM vendors with enterprise credentials and was ripe for the picking, particularly given the strength of its WCM product. Adobe, of course, brings its document, creative authoring, and rich Internet application development tools to the table.
With the Day deal and last year’s Omniture acquisition, Adobe continues to assemble components of the online customer engagement ecosystem that we wrote about earlier this year. What’s interesting is which vendors are approaching this ecosystem — from the standpoint of ECM (IBM, Oracle/Stellent, Open Text/Vignette), marketing software (Alterian/MediaSurface), enterprise search (Autonomy/Interwoven), and now creativity software/interactive Web applications (Adobe).
So, what does this deal mean for content and collaboration pros?
Short term, there shouldn’t be a whole lot to worry about for either set of customers. Adobe and Day’s offerings generally don’t have much overlap , but rather are complementary. So there should be no worries about certain products being discontinued in favor of others.
Day and Adobe customers will have the opportunity to source more components of the online customer engagement ecosystem from a single vendor and potentially take advantage of possible integrations to come down the road.
This project manager was strong, motivated, and driven to succeed. She was certified, the PMBOK was her friend, and she could create the most amazing Gantt charts ever seen.
One day, she took on a new project.
This project was large and complex. It involved new technologies and many stakeholders. And the project team was — let’s just say — “challenging.”
But this didn’t scare our heroine. She created a fabulous Gantt chart, established milestones, and documented roles and responsibilities. She set up her cost management, time management, and quality management plans. And she doled out assignments to the project team with a confident smile.
The project went off track quickly.
Team members argued, stakeholders failed to participate, and serious roadblocks emerged. The project manager requested status updates, set up meetings, and reported to the steering team — all things that “good” project managers do. But eventually, she lost the gig.
Why? She either didn’t have — or didn’t use — critical soft skills that today’s strong, next-generation project manager absolutely must not only have — but also exercise.
Like this project manager (any resemblance to actual events or characters is purely coincidental), I come from a very “traditional” project management background. I’m a PMI member and a certified project management professional. The PMBOK is my friend too. Managing the triple constraints of time, cost, and scope motivated me for years. And while my traditional project management skills helped me lead most (but not all) of my projects to successful outcomes, they would have meant nothing without the ability to serve and enable the team, adapt to complexity, and flex appropriately.