After The Unicorn Carnage, Does Digital Disruption Take A Holiday?

Ted Schadler

We are seeing significant devaluation for startups and maturing unicorns (startups that soared above $1B in valuation). Valuation deflation was not just inevitable; the correction was overdue.

Evidently, not everybody needs a shiny new GoPro. Not every brand is ready to advertise on Snapchat. Not every regulator is ready to give Uber or Zenify a free ride. Not every company is ready to move its file system to Box.

Consumers and businesses do not have insatiable appetites for everything. That slice of reality was left out of entrepreneurs’ pitch decks and investors’ funding decisions. In a classic herd mentality driven by the fear of missing out, venture capitalists, private equity investors, even mature money managers funded 152 digital startups at valuations more than $1 billion (according to CB Insights as of February 16, 2016). That’s up from 39 unicorns in November 2013. Do the math: There are almost four times as many billion-dollar startups today than two years ago.

The desire to replicate the results of the best companies drove these giddy investments. But when investors start valuing startups based on the best imaginable metrics -- Facebook-quality price-earnings ratios, smartphone-level adoption of every new gadget, or Salesforce or Amazon levels of SaaS valuations -- the valuations en masse soar beyond credibility.

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Apple Did The Right Thing To Defend Customer Privacy, But It Will Make Security And Risk Management More Difficult For You

Chris McClean

Apple's refusal to follow a court order to support the FBI's San Bernardino shooter investigation was the right move for the company and for its customers, as my colleagues and I cover in Fatemeh Khatibloo's blog post here, and in our full, detailed report, here. As we discuss, there are many constituents with a large stake in the outcome of this case, but I will focus on security and risk management decision makers in this post.

There are four key implications to consider:

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Forrester Quick Take: SAP Acquires Roambi, Opens New Chapter In Mobile BI

Martha Bennett

Major conferences are often the occasion for key vendor announcements, and SAP didn’t disappoint. At the 2016 SAP Insider event on BI/Hana in Las Vegas, SAP announced the acquisition of independent mobile BI specialist Roambi’s solution portfolio and key assets. With this acquisition, SAP underlines its commitment not only to mobile and cloud but also to getting the right data into the hands of the right people at the right time. With this acquisition, SAP underlines its commitment not only to mobile and cloud but also to getting the right data into the hands of the right people at the right time. The Roambi acquisition adds the following to SAP’s mobile BI portfolio:

  • An attractive set of prebuilt visualizations for fast creation of mobile dashboards.
  • A cloud-based back end that can connect to a variety of data and BI sources.
  • The capability to create data-rich, interactive, eBook-like publications.

There are both tactical and strategic aspects to SAP’s acquisition of Roambi, which:

  • Adds attractive capabilities to SAP’s mobile BI portfolio, even for customers who may already be using BusinessObjects Mobile.
  • Provides an instant cloud option for mobile BI to customers running on-premises BI environments, but who can’t, or don’t want to, support a mobile BI solution.
  • Can be leveraged as an important building block for the mobile capabilities of SAP Cloud for Analytics.
  • Brings more than software to the SAP stable. In one fell swoop, SAP gains a team of professionals who’ve been living and breathing mobile BI for a long time.
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Do Not Confuse Data Governance With Data Management

Henry Peyret

Last week, I participated in a roundtable during a conference in Paris organized by the French branch of DAMA, the data management international organization. During the question/answer part of the conference, it became clear that most of the audience was confusing data management with data governance (DG). This is a challenge my Forrester colleague Michele Goetz identified early in the DG tooling space. Because data quality and master data management embed governance features, many view them as data governance tooling. But the reality is that they remain data management tooling — their goal is to improve data quality by executing rules. This tooling confusion is only a consequence of how much the word governance is misused and misunderstood, and that leads to struggling data governance efforts.

So what is “governance”? Governance is the collaboration, organization, and metrics facilitating a decision path between at least two conflicting objectives. Governance is finding the acceptable balance between the interests of two parties. For example, IT governance is needed when you would like to support all possible business projects but you have limited budget, skills, or resources available. Governance is needed when objectives are different for different stakeholders, and the outcome of governance is that they do not get the same priority. If everyone has the same objective, then this is data management.

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Does More Spam Marketing Mean Slower Growth Ahead?

Ted Schadler

Febuary 16, 2016

I don't know about you, but I'm getting way too many unwelcome solicitations from LinkedIn. I love this website when I need to look up someone I'm meeting on the phone. But I don't pay for it despite LinkedIn's repeated pitches on premium this and high-value that. Doubt I ever would. After all, I can just ask the person and usually do.

But LinkedIn's solicitations have begun to reach fever pitch, roughly one every other day coming into my inbox. And then I realized in the last three months, LinkedIn's stock has dropped 59% down to $103 today from $254 in November. The headlines stress slowing growth.

A lightbulb went off.  Does marketing get its spam marching orders when the CEO is anxious about growth? Is that how it works? Does more spam mean slower growth?

I started thinking about other frenetic pitches I've been getting lately. AT&T, Verizon, Flipboard, Strava, even Facebook have been loading up my inbox with screed I didn't ask for and don't need. Are their growth plans suspect, too?

Can't say this is analysis, but it's a hypothesis worth researching.

What Qualifies A BI Vendor As A Native Hadoop BI Platform?

Boris Evelson

With the incredible popularity of big data and Hadoop every Business Intelligence (BI) vendor wants to also be known as a "BI on Hadoop" vendor. But what they really can do is limited to a) querying HDFS data organized in HIVE tables using HiveQL or b) ingest any flat file into memory and analyze the data there. Basically, to most of the BI vendors Hadoop is just another data source. Let's now see what qualifies a BI vendor as a "Native Hadoop BI Platform". If we assume that all BI platforms have to have data extraction/integration, persistence, analytics and visualization layers, then "Native Hadoop/Spark BI Platforms" should be able to (ok, yes, I just had to add Spark)

 

  • Use Hadoop/Spark as the primary processing platform for MOST of the aforementioned functionality. The only exception is visualization layer which is not what Hadoop/Spark do.
  • Use distributed processing frameworks natively, such as
    • Generation of MapReduce and/or Spark jobs
    • Management of distributed processing framework jobs by YARN, etc
    • Note, generating Hive or SparkSQL queries does not qualify
  • Do declarative work in the product’s main user interface interpreted and executed on Hadoop/Spark directly. Not via a "pass through" mode.
  • Natively support Apache Sentry and Apache Ranger security
 
Did I miss anything?

What are the typical Text Analytics jobs and responsibilities?

Boris Evelson

Hi

I am kicking off a research stream which will result in the "Text Analytics Roles & Responsibilities" doc. Before I finalize an RFI to our clients to see who/how/when/where they employ for these projects and applications, I'd like to explore what the actual roles and responsibilities are. So far we've come up with the following roles and their respective responsibilities
  • Business owner. The ultimate recipient of text analytics process results. So far I have
    • Brand manager
    • Customer intelligence analyst
    • Customer service/call center analyst
    • Risk manager
    • Competitive intelligence analyst
    • Product R&D analyst
    • Anyone else?
  • Linguist/Data Scientist. Builds language and statistical rules for text mining (or modifies these from an off-the-shelf-product). Works with business owners to
    • Create "golden copies" of documents/content which will be used as base for text analytics
    • Works with data stewards and business ownes to define corporate taxonomies and lexicon
  • Data Steward. Owns corporate lexicon and taxonomies
  • Architect. Owns big data strategy and architecture (include data hubs, data warehouses, BI, etc) where unstructured data is one of the components
  • Developer/integrator. Develops custom built text analytics apps or embeds text analytics functionality into other applications (ERP, CRM, BI, etc)
  • Others?
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Thank You, Steve Mills. I'll Take Your Second Call.

Ted Schadler

Steve Mills is the most important software executive you never heard of. He's so important that I've sometimes wondered whether I should write a book about him. Steve Mills retired in December 2015 as the executive vice president of IBM Software & Systems after 43 years. He invented IBM Software. You can read Fortune's story here.

In 1995, Steve saw something important: Software was becoming more important than hardware. He convinced Lou Gerstner, CEO of IBM, to launch a Software business. That might sound obvious now, but at the time it was radical. Hardware companies had tons of software (still do). But they didn't sell software; they gave it away to sell hardware.

Steve's the guy that convinced a business machines company it could still dance even as software was eating the world. To do it had to wrestle lots of code and control away from the hardware and independent businesses and get it marching in lockstep. He was the right guy for the job.

Steve was also a unique personality. He was as Big Blue as any IBMer I've ever met, and he fiercely protected IBM's interests. But he did it using software. Here are some Steve-isms that shine light on the things he believed in most about software:

  1. Software is a high-growth, high-margin business. That's why Steve left his cozy sales job to convince the firm that Software should be its own busniness. When I first met him in 1998, he astounded me by marching a room of hard-boiled industry analysts through a three-hour tour de force of his entire software portfolio. He knew all the facts, numbers, and code releases. I think even his leadership team sat in awe. It was impressive, especially for the only history major in a room full of engineers.
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Chipotle Used Video To Address Its Entire Workforce. Could You?

Nick Barber

What happens when your business is food and it sickens 500 people? If you’re Chipotle you close your stores and produce an all-hands video address with your executives.

The company closed its 1,971 US stores on Monday for four hours so that employees could attend a company meeting hosted by its co-CEOs Monty Moran and Steve Ells.

The setup was elaborate with studio lights, multiple cameras and a teleprompter. Chipotle took this seriously and while the content of the address was for employees the pomp and circumstance was for the public.

 

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Placing Your Bets On Oracle’s Cloud Fusion Solutions?

Joe Galuszka

Oracle's co-CEOs Safra Catz and Mark Hurd had very positive remarks regarding Oracle's Q2 performance: total revenues of $9 billion exceeded guidance, SaaS and PaaS bookings growth of 75% with revenue of $487 million up 38%. Meanwhile on-premise software revenues (software license, updates, and support) were flat at $6.4 billion.

Currently Oracle's sales professionals are working feverishly in the final weeks of closing Q3 on February 29 to keep this momentum moving in the right revenue direction to meet Q3 and Q4 guidance expectations. Then comes the fourth quarter and EOY revenue execution where we expect 40% of Oracle's full year revenue to be booked. Here's what we're seeing in the marketplace and from our client interactions and consulting projects.

  1. Cloud Fusion momentum fueled by spirited sales. We are absolutely seeing the SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS revenue and client momentum being reported in Oracle's Q2 earnings release. We are also experiencing the sales tactics being employed to drive this aggressive growth – based on lucrative sales commission incentives and selling cloud products “credits” to reduce on-premise cost and support fees. We're seeing the same highly competitive sales game from Salesforce and Workday, among others.
  2. Play Oracle's sales game — or don't. Oracle's account teams are infamous for their siloed divide-and-conquer approach to selling applications, database, and hardware. We advise our clients to effectively manage Oracle's sales teams by executive escalation and staying focused on business issues to receive the value they are paying for.
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