Just over a week after SAP published its intention to buy Success Factors, IBM announced yesterday that it will acquire Emptoris, one of the leading ePurchasing suite vendors. My colleague Andrew Bartels has described in his blog some of the implications for other vendors in the ePurchasing market:
My interest is in what the acquisition means for sourcing professionals, not just the CPOs who might be Emptoris customers, but the IT sourcing professionals setting strategies for dealing with major suppliers such as IBM and SAP.
· Emptoris customers should give IBM the benefit of the doubt, for now. Craig Hayman, General Manager of IBM’s Industry Solutions division, assured me that he would take great care not to damage Emptoris’s strengths, the ones that attracted him to the company, as they did you, its customers. Emptoris consistently does well in Forrester Wave™ evaluations, not only for its functionality but also its focus on sourcing and procurement, its emphasis on ensuring customer success, and its consistent record of innovation. The good news is that Hayman doesn’t underestimate the challenges of integrating Emptoris into IBM, but is confident he can overcome them. It will take a couple of years before we can judge his success.
Anecdotal evidence from several dozen Forrester IT client inquiries and consulting engagements during the past two years suggests that large MNCs are almost always multisourcing their international WANs and other global telecom services. We estimate that more than nine in ten large user companies (firms with 1,000 or more employees in overseas offices) buy international WAN, Internet access, and fixed voice services from three or more network operators or specialists. The larger the firm, the more likely they are to use one and sometimes two top-tier global telecoms providers (like AT&T, Verizon, BT, Orange) for multiregional international telecoms, and additional — often smaller players or VPN specialists (e.g., Level 3/Global Crossing, Azzurri, Virtela, Masergy) — for important international markets, or regional providers such as in Europe (e.g., BT Global Services, Orange Business Services, T-Systems) and Asia-Pacific (e.g., NTT, SingTel, Telstra). Global firms also increasingly are interested in buying some services from emerging market players like Tata Communications and Reliance Globalcom.
Global enterprises’ rationale for multisourcing falls into two broad categories:
1) Global telecoms — networks and comms apps running over them — are considered “too strategic” to entrust to just one service provider.
2) As we keep hearing over and over, “There’s not actually a truly global network operator — they all rely on others, sometimes many others.”
IBM today announced that it will acquire Emptoris, a leading vendor of ePurchasing software products, with strengths in eSourcing, spend analysis, contract lifecycle management, services procurement, and supplier risk and performance management (see December 15, 2011, “IBM Acquisition of Emptoris Bolsters Smarter Commerce Initiative, Helps Reduce Procurement Costs and Risks”). That IBM made an acquisition of this kind was not a surprise to me, given that the heads of IBM's Smarter Commerce software team at the IBM Software Analyst Connect 2011 event on November 30 had laid out a vision of providing solutions for the buying activities of commerce as well as the sales, marketing, and services activities. Indeed, in the breakout session in which Craig Hayman, general manager of industry solutions at IBM, laid out the Smarter Commerce software strategy and showed the vendors that IBM had acquired in the sales, marketing, and services arenas, he said in response to my comment about the obvious gaps that IBM had in the buying area that we should expect to see IBM acquisitions in that area.
What was a surprise to me was that IBM acquired Emptoris. My prediction would have been that IBM would buy Ariba, because of the long relationship that has existed between these companies. In contrast, Emptoris has generally worked more with Accenture, and not as much with IBM.
Firstly, let me explain: I am not really a fan of Dolly Parton but I heard this song last night and this got me thinking further about my I&O FLB exclusive report on ‘Tomorrow’s I&O Leaders Require An Equal Blend Of Technology And Business Acumen,’ which addresses changing skills and recruitment practices. Specifically I asked myself:
“Do current I&O contracts of employment really support agile, customer centric IT operations?”
Now I know the majority of I&O professionals have never lived Dolly’s dream of ‘working 9 Till 5’ anyway but with the fast pace of technology innovation and demands by the business, will we see a time when I&O leaders ring the bell on current formal contracts of employment?
I also take into consideration that a signed employment contract is a legal requirement for a number of reasons but can I&O executives continue to state a set number of working hours, e.g., “you will work x hours per week” as a requirement? I am not advocating flexi-time contracts here but with I&O moving to customer-centric deliverables does this mean that I&O leadersneed to align contracts of employment to specific customer I&O services/deliverables and take into account the social lives of their employees?
Involve all functions in design. Involve and include all functional units, development and operations. Bringing people together in face-to-face meetings, workshops, forums, and simulations to stimulate discussion, engagement, involvement, and address resistance. Resistance is a fact; you will encounter it. Bringing people together helps to make it visible, helps to create buy-in, and empowers people to change their own ways of working.
In October, my colleague Brian Hopkins published Forrester’s extremely popular enterprise architecture (EA) trends research, the Top 10 Business Technology Trends EA Should Watch: 2012 to 2014. As in past iterations of this research, master data management (MDM), along with the data governance capabilities required to support it, remain among the top technology strategies that enterprise architects expect to deliver the most business value to their firms, as well as require the most change to their firm’s technology landscape over the next three years.
In 2009, the anticipated trend around MDM was that it was going to significantly mature both from a technology and architecture standpoint, but also in the skills, best practices, and methodologies used to effectively deliver MDM capabilities. I believe that the maturity of MDM practitioners has in fact increased significantly over the past two years. In August, I published a report titled Master Data Management: Customer Maturity Takes A Great Leap Forward, which analyzed about 175 MDM- and data governance-related client inquiries Forrester received between January 2010 and June 2011. The crux of that research was to demonstrate that our clients are asking much more practical and insightful questions about MDM architectures, best practices, strategies, governance, and vendor selection than in years past.
Brian’s EA trends report identifies two specific trends around data management and governance:
Awkward title, I know. But this blog is about two related points.
Forrester has long believed that business and technology have become inseparable. The Business Technology organization that embraces this reality is replacing the Information Technology organization that thought of itself as separate from business.
Enterprise architecture is also shifting — from a technology and application-centered function (“IT architecture”) where the business was simply a source of requirements to a business-focused, strategic, and pragmatic discipline broader than the team called EA. We see signs of this shift everywhere — just look at the winners of the 2011 InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards.
As part of this shift, business architecture has become the foundation of enterprise architecture — making possible strategy, planning, and change management of the fused business+technology reality of today’s enterprises. Forrester’s Enterprise Architecture research focus is to help our clients make this shift, providing them with best and next practices ranging from removing barriers between business and architecture, to creating frameworks and models that provide insight and drive decisions, to measuring and communicating benefits.
Which is where the second part of this post – and potentially you who are reading this – come in. We are expanding our business architecture research team to deepen depth, utility, and value to our clients.
Are “business first and center” in how you think,
Have your own ideas and want to refine them as part of a team to create a body of research more impactful than any single analyst can create,
Want to engage with clients both to advise them and to learn from them,
A specter is haunting the enterprise -- the specter of email. Where is the knowledge worker who has not felt the oppressive weight of email overload? Where is the business leader who has not complained bitterly of the wastefulness and productivity drain?
Two things result from this situation:
I. Email is depicted as a disease that must be eradicated, or a foe to be defeated.
II. Vendors and consultants offer fever reducers, defensive tactics, and visions of a utopian future free of email.
Last week the English language news sites were atwitter (in both senses) with the announcement by Atos CEO Thierry Breton that the French technology company intends to ban internal email usage among its 74,000 employees within 18 months. Perhaps thanks to my last blog post on email, The Independent called for an interview on "the death of email." The BBC did a radio debate, but obstinately refused to change their programming to accommodate my schedule.
Based on the very high interest in this blog and its cloud predictions we are planning to host a Forrester Teleconference entiteled "2012 — The Year The Cloud Matures: A Deeper Dive Into 10 Cloud Predictions For The Upcoming Year" on February 28th, 1-2pm EST/6-7pm UK time, where we will highlight and go through the 10 below predictions one by one. For more details and registration please follow the link to the: teleconference web page.
1. Multicloud becomes the norm
As companies quickly adopt a variety of cloud resources, they’ll increasingly have to address working with several different cloud solutions, often from different providers. By the end of 2012, cloud customers will already be using more than 10 different cloud apps on average. Cloud orchestration will become a big topic and an opportunity for service providers.
2. The Wild West of cloud procurement is over
While 2011 still witnessed different stakeholders within a company brokering (sometimes unsanctioned by IT) a lot of cloud deals, most companies will have established their formal cloud strategy by the end 2012, including the business models between IT and lines of business for their own, private cloud resources.