Daptiv Acquired By Parallax Capital Partners = Faster Maturation Of PPM SaaS, But Does It Signal The Next Wave Of Consolidation?

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.

 

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The Banking Backbone Is Dead. Long Live The Banking Backbone

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.

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Adobe Seizes The Day

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.
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Are Project Managers' Soft Skills Evolving?

Once upon a time, there was a project manager.

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.

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Eight Tips For Negotiating The Best Contract With A CRM “Cloud” Vendor

As a consequence of the ever-rising popularity of CRM solutions deployed through the software-as-service model (SaaS), I get a lot of inquiries about pricing and contracting with vendors like Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, NetSuite, RightNow Technologies, and salesforce.com. Sage CRM products (Sage CRM and Sage SalesLogix) are now offered through “the cloud”, and specialty CRM players in the life sciences sector, such as Cegedim Dendrite, StayinFront, and Veeva Systems, also offer this deployment option.

The individuals responsible for choosing to deploy a CRM SaaS solution are often business users, not IT people or solutions sourcing professionals — the director of sales and marketing, vice president of sales, and director of customer service, for example. These business executives are often unfamiliar with the more technical and commercial aspects involved in choosing a SaaS application. Obviously getting a good price is important, but there are additional considerations to keep in mind. Here are some guidelines to help you to negotiate a sound agreement:

  1. Strive for a price lock-in at renewal time. Firms are often able to negotiate substantial discounts when signing initial contracts with SaaS vendors. But these companies don't always consider what happens at the end of the initial contract term. A discount of more than 50% might be offered, but once the contract is up for renewal, you may be in for a surprise if the discount is no longer available. Make sure to have renewal pricing rules stipulated in your contract.
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Decision Management, Possibly The Last Frontier In BI

Just read an excellent article on the subject by Tom Davenport. We at Forrester Research indeed see the same trend, where more advanced enterprises are starting to venture into combining reporting and analytics with decision management.  In my point of view, this breaks down into at least two categories:

  • Automated (machine) vs. non automated (human) decisions, and
  • Decisions that involve structured (rules and workflows) and unstructured (collaboration) processes
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Why I Don't Want To Research BI Market Size

I know, I know, this is what analysts do. But I personally would never want to get involved in doing a BI market size – it’s open game for serious critique. Here are some of the reasons, but the main one is a good old “garbage in garbage out.” I am not aware of any BI market size study that took into account the following questions:

  • What portion of the DBMS market (DW, DBMS OLAP) do you attribute to BI?
  • What portion of the BPM market (BAM, process dashboards, etc.) do you attribute to BI?
  • What portion of the ERP market (with built-in BI apps, such as Lawson, Infor, etc.) do you attribute to BI?
  • What portion of the portal market (SharePoint is the best example) do you attribute to BI?
  • What portion of the search market (Endeca, Google Analytics, etc.) do you attribute to BI?
  • What is the market size of custom developed BI applications?
  • What is the market size of self built BI apps using Excel, Access, etc?
  • On the other side, what is the % of licenses sold that are shelfware and should not be counted?

Plus many more unknowns. But, if someone indeed did do such a rough estimate, my bet is that the actual BI market size is probably 3x to 4x larger than any current estimate.

IBM's zEnterprise Is A Game Changer For Application-Platform Choice

A quick note on a big announcement today by IBM that is being rolled out as I write this. No, I don't have a crystal ball - my colleague Brad Day and I spent a day in Poughkeepsie in late June for the full scoop - provided under NDA. The announcement is massive, so I'll just lay out the high points and a few of my thoughts on what it means to apps folks. I'll leave the deeper I&O/technical details to Brad and others in subsequent posts and research. My goal here is to get a conversation going here on what it may mean to apps people in your IT shops.

What's in the zEnterprise announcement?

  • It's a new computing environment that unifies Linux, AIX, and z/OS on a new server complex that includes mainframe servers, x86, and Power7 blades under a single set of management software: the zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager (URM).
  • A 10 Gb private data network joins the new z server (z196) and zBX - an ensemble that houses racks of x86 and Power7 blades. It also includes an intra-ensemble network that is physically isolated from all networks, switches, and routers - permitting removal of blade firewalls.
    • One client claims a 12-to-1 reduction in network hops by eliminating blade firewalls.
  • The z196 permits up to 96 Quad-core 5.02 ghz processors, 80 available for customer use, and 112 blades.

What is the impact on applications people and application-platform choice?

zEnterprise is a monster announcement that heralds a long laundry list of improvements - it would be impossible to cover all of the ramifications in a single blog post; however, a brief glimpse of some of the most notable improvements that affect applications folks include (zEnterprise as compared to z10):

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Use A Four-Step Approach To Select The Right BI Services Provider

BI projects are never short, and, alas, many of them don't end since a fast-paced business environment often introduces new requirements, enhancements, and updates before you're even done with your first implementation. Therefore, we typically recommend doing sufficient due diligence upfront when selecting a BI services provider — as you may be stuck with them for a long time. We recommend the following key steps in your selection process:

  1. Map BI project requirements to potential providers. Firms should use Forrester's "BI Services Provider Short-Listing Tool" to create a shortlist of potential providers. With the tool you can input details about your geographic scope, technology needs, and the type of third-party support you need (i.e., consulting versus implementation versus hosting/outsourcing).  The tool then outputs a list of potential providers that meet the criteria. For each potential fit, the tool also generates a provider profile summary that offers key details around practice size, characteristics, and areas of expertise.
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Join Me For A BI Strategy Workshop In Cambridge, Mass., On October 19, 2010

Business intelligence (BI) continues to be front and center on the agendas of businesses of all sizes and in all industries and geographies. Ever-increasing data volumes, complexity of global operations, and demanding regulatory reporting requirements are just some of the reasons. But also, more and more businesses realize that BI is not just a tool but rather a key corporate asset that they can use to survive, compete, and succeed in an otherwise increasingly commoditized global economy.

However, we consistently find that many BI initiatives fail and even more are less than successful. Well, maybe we can help. Even if just a little bit. Come to our interactive one-day BI Strategy Workshop to learn the fundamentals and best practices for building effective and efficient BI platforms and applications. The Workshop will also include hands-on exercises with tangible deliverables that you can take back to your teams to help you jump-start or adjust the course of your BI initiatives.

Why attend? Because hundreds of organizations have already benefited from reading Forrester research and working with Forrester analysts on the topics covered in this Workshop. I plan to present Forrester’s most recent research on:

  • Why are BI initiatives at the top of everyone's agenda, while many of them still fail?
  • What are some of the best practices necessary to achieve successful BI implementations?
  • What are some of the next-generation BI technologies and trends that you can't overlook, such as Agile BI and self-service BI?
  • How do you assess your BI maturity so that you can get a solid starting point on the way to your BI vision and target BI state?
  • How do you assess whether your organization has a solid BI strategy?
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