Another Successful HR Technology Show

Zach Thomas By Zach Thomas

HR Technology (not “tech” according to show chairman Bill Kutik) was again a success despite economic woes constricting travel budgets — or maybe it was highly attended because arrangements to get to the windy city were made a few months back. In any case, here are some key take aways:

11th Annual Analyst Panel: I was invited to participate in the highest attended analyst panel session (1,268 people to be exact) alongside other leading analysts and consultants. View the results. The topics varied from Web 2.0 to the impact this economy will have on product sales. Bill Kutik (moderator) asked the audience a series of questions with electronic voting. One interesting tidbit is that two-thirds of user companies did not expect their HR technology spend to get cut. We will have the exact numbers later this week — can’t wait to see the raw numbers.

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Recap from Forrester’s Business Technology Leadership Forum

Zach Thomas By Zach Thomas

Forrester concluded its Business & Technology Leadership Forum yesterday in Orlando, FL. The theme: “Embrace Technology Chaos. Deliver Business Results"


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Monster Acquires Trovix

Monster today announced their acquisition of Mountain View, Calif. based Trovix for $73 million in an all cash deal. Trovix was known as an applicant tracking system (ATS) vendor and have amassed over 40 customers during their short tenure, but that was not their passion. Instead, they were fully focused on perfecting and innovating search technologies. Their goal was to bridge the gap between jobs and candidates and find the perfect match for both. So what does Monster get and what are they going to do with Trovix?

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Notes From SAS Technology’s Annual Analyst Summit

George Lawrie

I’ve recently returned from SAS Institute’s Annual Analyst Event held June 23-24, 2008 in Monte Carlo. At this event, SAS leadership revealed a roadmap to amplify, with the most effective decision science yet developed, the judgment of professionals in a wide range of industries including retail and consumer goods. Forrester noted specific new science based processes, deployable without restrictions about legacy transaction applications for:

  • Merchandise planning. The most critical decision in any consumer goods value chain is which merchandise to stock. But this decision, although ultimately driven in retail by the buyer’s judgment, must draw on data and analytics that evaluate, based on historic demand) the relative likely revenue and margin resulting from different merchandise portfolios, and test the feasibility of the portfolios against constraints such as store space or labor availability or the firm’s available working capital.
  • Size optimization. For retailers selling footwear or apparel a statistical understanding of the distribution of sales by size by store is vital in order to meet consumers’ needs and avoid mark downs and stock outs. It’s well known that consumers’ sizes vary from one region or country to another, with Norwegians for example in general being taller for example than Greeks but retailers need powerful sparse data analytics to plan for the differences in populations that visit urban and out of town stores.
  • Space optimization. Retailers provide space in stores in proportion to their expect sales and margin for each merchandise item. But the complex tradeoffs between affinity items, with different margins and attracting different promotional funds simply demand an enterprise analytic approach rather than single user planning tools.
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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: Notes From IBM’s Global Services 2008 Annual Analyst Summit

I’ve recently returned from IBM Global Services Annual Analyst Event held May 1-2, 2008 in New York City. At this event, IBM leadership revealed an extensive study titled “The Enterprise of The Future”. IBM conducted detailed interviews with over 1,100 CEOs, general managers, and senior public sector and business leaders, across 40 countries and 32 industries. Their discussions revealed a clear correlation between organizations’ ability to execute within constant change and their financial performance. The study also identified five key elements in the corporate DNA of companies who successfully navigating the constant sea of business change:

Hungry for change. Firms not only survive it, but accept it as a constant, seek it out and thrive on it.

Innovative beyond customer imagination. Firms constantly delight their customers and constantly raise their own bar, and thus their customers (and thus outpace their competition).

Globally integrated*. Firms actively work their global network, establishing and leveraging global Centers of Excellence and applying their resources seamlessly across their value chain.

Disruptive by nature. Firms constantly reinvent themselves and position their business and process models to quickly shift (and anticipate) market demands.

Genuine, not just generous. Firms engage stakeholders—NGOs, customers, their own employees—to “do well by doing good”.

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SAP Sets Management Succession Plan In Motion

Paul Hamerman

April 2, 2008

Today’s announcement of the promotion of Leo Apotheker to co-CEO of SAP AG signals an orderly transition of command as current CEO Henning Kagermann’s contract expires in May, 2009. Mr. Apotheker has clearly been heir apparent since Shai Agassi’s departure a year ago. Although SAP put a positive spin on his sudden departure, evidently Mr. Agassi was not next in line for the job.

Mr. Apotheker, a 20 year veteran with SAP, has served as head of worldwide sales and most recently as Deputy CEO. While the practice of co-CEOs could be problematic in some environments, SAP has done this before as Dr. Kagermann ascended the throne and succeeded Hasso Plattner, now Chairman of SAP’s Supervisory Board. The transition should be orderly and Apotheker is well-suited for the job.

Additional changes within SAP’s Executive Board were also announced in the same press release. Jim Haggeman Snabe, Bill McDermott and Erwin Gunst were promoted to the Executive Board. Snabe will manage product development for both the SAP Business Suite and Netweaver. McDermott will take over responsibility for worldwide sales. Gunst, the current head of EMEA operations, will become the company’s first Chief Operating Officer. The need for a COO signals the growing complexity of the business in maintaining controls over acquired businesses (e.g., Business Objects) and new products and business models (e.g., Business ByDesign). Snabe and McDermott represent new blood on the Executive Board as well, rising stars that have done well in their respective areas.

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Notes From IDS Scheer's ProcessWorld Conference

I’ve recently returned from IDS Scheer’s ProcessWorld Conference held February 13-15, 2008 in Orlando, FL. Although I missed the closing day, it was a brief but information-packed day and a half that afforded me the opportunity to meet with the firm’s leadership and share perspectives with their clients during the afternoon of the pre-conference user day and day one.

In his keynote, Thomas Volk, IDS Scheer’s CEO and President, proclaimed 2008 the year of the “rise of the operational CEO” who, in order to return shareholder value, increase market valuation, grow the top line, and mitigate risks:

• sets objectives prescriptively
• manages accountability objectively
• monitors execution constantly
• sees potential problems early
• makes adjustments regularly

To accomplish the above tasks, Volk described ARIS as the platform to provide “corner office command-and-control of the operational strategy”. While this could stir up visions of a corporate “Big Brother”, I prefer to see it as useful advice for today’s executives to keep an eagle’s eye view of their organization’s process performance at a high level.

Yet at the same time, this strategic view must be complemented at the operational and tactical levels. This theme of transparency at all levels is reflected in the ARIS Business Performance Edition for 2008. Dr. Helge Heß, a Director for the Process Intelligence/Performance Manager solution and Dr. Wolfram Jost of IDS Scheer’s Executive Board and IDS Scheer’s executive product steward, shared some product highlights ahead of the Q2 official release:

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Introducing Success Imperatives

Sharyn Leaver

Welcome back from an end of year respite and into the New Year. As you change gears from the goals of 2007 and reassess where to focus your efforts as Business Process & Applications professionals in 2008, our analysts are poised to provide the most relavant research and analyses to address the core competencies of your role.

In 2008, expect our analysts to weave the importance and impact of five key trends on Business Process & Applications professionals throughout our research and commentary. While numerous trends will affect how BP&A professionals approach their roles, these will center on next-generation applications and architectures and becoming a more business-process-oriented organization. These trends are: Dynamic Business Applications; Web 2.0 and tech populism; software-as-a-service (SaaS); business process centers of excellence (COEs); and the evolving business analyst role.

Additionally, Forrester will tailor all of our research not only to your role, but to your role's most important objectives -- what Forrester calls Success Imperatives (SIs). On January 12th, Success Imperatives will transform the site experience. While all of Forrester's research will remain accessible, you will be able to tailor your primary site experience to the SI most critical to your success at any given time. The result? The most finely attuned offering of pertinent and up to date research, tools, teleconferences, and videos accessible all in one place.

Without further ado BP&A professionals' SIs:

1. Become a more business-process-oriented organization

2. Define a strategy and framework for governing all enterprise app decisions

3. Prepare for next-generation packaged applications and architectures

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SAP To Acquire Business Objects: A Complicated Merger

Paul Hamerman

SAP made a major departure from its "tuck-in" strategy with the October 7 announcement of its agreement to acquire Business Object for 4.8 billion (Euro). On the surface, the deal makes sense from the standpoint of marrying business intelligence (BI) technology with ERP applications. The deal is surprising in the sense that SAP has long insisted that its growth strategy is organic and that it would not make major acquisitions to gain market share. The Business Objects deal is by far the largest SAP acquisition to date, comparable in scope to Oracle’s acquisitions of PeopleSoft, Siebel and Hyperion.

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SAP Launches Business ByDesign

Paul Hamerman

SAP's official announcement of Business ByDesign, formerly known as A1S, targets midsize companies looking for relief from complicated ERP implementations and support. Some key points regarding the Business ByDesign (BBD) announcement:

• The solution will be provided as a hosted, subscription service

• A dedicated website enables a try-before-you-buy sales approach, where customers can rapidly configure a demo system that reflects their needs

• Pricing is set at $149 per user, per month, with an nominal charge for self-service users

• The scope of the offering is comprehensive, spanning finance, HR, supply chain, supplier relationship management, CRM, project management and compliance management.

• SAP has 20 live early adopters and another 20 that are actively engaged in rolling the solution out. The initial emphasis is on US and Germany, with expansion to more markets in 2008 and 2009.

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