SAP Buys Ariba – Huh?

Andrew Bartels

The big news in the ePurchasing software market yesterday was SAP’s acquisition of Ariba. This blockbuster deal will extend SAP’s position as the largest software vendor in the ePurchasing market. It also brings into the SAP fold one of the most innovative companies in this market – a company that has a fair claim to having begun the whole market in the late 1990s.

Still, as my title suggests, I’m not convinced that this acquisition makes strategic sense. I think there’s a real risk that this turns out to be a deal where one plus one equals 1.75, not two, let alone a multiple of two. Reason one: the tremendous duplication of products between the two firms, and thus the problems of product rationalization and internal competition. Reason two: the Ariba Network, which is the main rationale for the acquisition, is based on an idiosyncratic pricing model that in my view is unsustainable at current rates and thus will not generate the kinds of revenues that SAP is expecting.

Let me first state the case for why this could be a good deal:

  • SAP has a goal of significantly increasing the portion of its revenues that come from SaaS subscriptions, so adding a projected $342 million in subscriptions revenues in 2012 (on an annual basis – SAP’s share for the year will be about half that) helps SAP reach its target of $2 billion in SaaS revenues.
  • Ariba has correctly recognized the economic value in operating a supplier network that stands between corporate buyers and suppliers and facilitates their transactions. SAP’s acquisition of Ariba now gives it control of and revenues from the largest of these supplier networks.
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SingTel Lands Big Government Cloud Win In Singapore

Manish Bahl

On May 15, 2012, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore announced that it would award its much-awaited externally hosted g-cloud infrastructure five-year tender to SingTel. My colleague Jennifer Belissent and I published a report on g-cloud opportunities in Asia Pacific late last year that highlighted Singapore as one of the governments leading the way toward g-cloud adoption in the region.

Some key highlights from the Singapore g-cloud contract:

  • SingTel will be responsible for all of the capex- and opex-related costs needed to build and manage the central infrastructure from its own data center in Singapore.
  • Singtel will provide a central “G-Cloud Service Portal” to all government organizations and departments to access central g-cloud services (computing, storage, database, archiving, networking, and other basic resources) and derive revenue based on a subscription model.
  • The Singapore government has not committed to any particular minimum g-cloud usage level.
  • SingTel will provide the required training to government departments on g-cloud functioning.
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SAP Gets Serious About The Large Enterprise Application Cloud

Stefan Ried

 

SAP Gets Serious About The Large Enterprise Application Cloud: 

Its Long-Term Strategy Should Involve A Triple Platform Play For The Cloud

Until now, it looked like SAP was still trying to balance its existing on-premises licensed business with the cloud alternative. But following its acquisition of Success Factors and the arrival of that company’s outstanding CEO, Lars Dalgaard, SAP has become really serious about applications in the cloud, placing Mr. Dalgaard at the head of a 5,000-person development team.

SAP’s new cloud strategy is all about business applications in large enterprises. SAP today announced its People, Money, Customers, Suppliers strategy — a significant move to offer business applications for large enterprises, rather than just SMBs and a few niche cases. It’s really targeting its core business users. Today’s announcements show SAP combining its core strength of large enterprise applications with a ready-to-use cloud strategy for the first time.

What is really mission-critical in this transformation of SAP and its global customer base?

1. Cloud-generation business applications.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications are not just rehosted traditional applications. SAP is still on a learning curve, and the infusion of Success Factors will definitely help. The upcoming generations of enterprise users expect their applications to be simple, collaborative, mobile, and very different from what they (and their moms and dads) have used in the past. SAP key’s challenge is to keep their existing, conservative customer base happy while meeting the requirements of (and signing deals with) this new generation.

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2012 Huawei Global Analyst Summit: ramping up the game

Dan Bieler

Dan Bieler; Bryan Wang; Henry Dewing; Katyayan Gupta; Tirthankar Sen

Huawei hosted about 160 industry and financial analysts at its annual analyst summit in Shenzhen, China in April 2012. The main take-aways from the event are:

  1. Huawei continues its drive for more financial openness and transparency. Huawei provided detailed information about its financial and operational performance. In 2011 Huawei grew revenues by 12% to reach US$32.4bn and EBIT by 9% to US$3bn. The main regional growth was registered in Latin America, up 40%. Although due to higher capex cash from operating activities declined, the cash margin stood at 9%. Huawei is easily able to fund its expansion and innovation activities. In 2011, Huawei hired 30,000 new staff, bringing the total to 140,000 globally. For 2012 Huawei targets between 15-20% sales growth.
  2. Huawei places main growth emphasis on enterprise services and consumer devices. These market segments represent a potential target market with a combined value of about US$1.7 trillion, compared with the carrier equipment market value of about US$150 billion. Huawei repeatedly pointed out the early-stage nature of its activities in these areas. It even felt as if Huawei consciously played down its ambitions in order to downplay expectations.
  3. Huawei must strengthen its go-to-market strategy for its enterprise business. With more than 40% of Huawei’s current business coming from China, Huawei has to continue to fine tune its go-to-market model and penetrate markets other than China in a swift manner. Huawei also has to push for stronger relationship with their partners and increase their share in the total revenue.
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Deloitte Meets “Mad Men”

John McCarthy

Earlier this morning, the consulting firm launched “Deloitte Digital.” Part offering and part organizational change, the initiative brings together a mix of business, technology, and creative expertise to address a perfect storm of technology change. The firm will bring together five key capabilities — strategy, mobile, social, web content, and digital ERP. Deloitte Digital will focus on mobile and social, while the traditional technology services and consulting groups will handle the strategy, web content, and digital ERP elements. The tag line for Deloitte Digital is “business led, tech enabled and creative infused.” From an organizational view point, the firm has taken a page from its 2011 acquisition of Übermind and created 11 digital studios around the globe. Approximately 50% of the staff in the studios will come from a creative, graphic design, or user experience background. The rest will be a mix of engineers focused on emerging technologies and resources coming from the traditional consulting or technology services side of Deloitte. To showcase their newfound creative chops, the Deloitte Digital Team presented the pre-announcement to the analysts using paper “pitch books” straight out of the new reality advertising TV show “The Pitch.”

Forrester believes that the Deloitte announcement highlights the hybrid skill model that the new mobile apps and systems of engagement will require. Deloitte Digital is an innovative approach for multidisciplinary new skills required for success. However, it is still not apparent how the firm would tackle the other key side of the mobile equation, building the broad ecosystem of software and as-a-service partners in order to quickly roll out solutions for clients.

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Colt Revamps The Way It Develops Agile Solutions For Its Customers

Dan Bieler
The other day I visited Colt’s London HQ and saw how the telco is revamping its approach to developing more customer-centric and Agile solutions (Colt consciously avoids the “cloud” terminology). By now, most telcos managed to jump onto the cloud bandwagon by launching cloud-based services. The challenge, from an end user perspective, is that these solutions all seem very similar. Customers can get storage, server capacity, unified communications, etc., from most telcos. All telcos underline the value-added nature of end-to-end network QoS and security that they can ensure (check out our report, "Telcos As Cloud Rainmakers"). Indeed, telcos have some right to feel that they have achieved some progress regarding their cloud offerings — although it took Amazon to show them the opportunity.

But most telco cloud offerings suffer from the fact that telcos develop cloud solutions in the traditional sense through their traditional product factories. This approach tends to follow rather than slow product innovation cycles. Moreover, it produces products that, once developed, are pushed to the customer as a standard offering. All customisation costs extra.

The reality of cloud demand is that each customer is different. Most customers want some form of customisation. Most customers want some form of hybrid cloud, a private part for core apps, as well as access to the open Internet to, for instance, exchange views and information with end customers via Twitter or for crowd sourcing with suppliers. Similarly, most customers want a mix of fixed and virtual assets and a blend of self-service and managed service solutions as the chart indicates.

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Q1 2012 Data Shows Economic And Tech Market Softness At Start Of The Year

Andrew Bartels

While I am still relatively bullish on the 2012 tech market outlook for the US (see our April 2, 2012, "US Tech Market Outlook For 2012 To 2013" report), I have to say that the data we got on the US economy and on the US tech market was a bit softer than I expected. US real GDP growth came in at 2.2%, a bit lower than my expectation of 2.5%. On the positive side, consumer spending rose by 2.9% in real terms, and residential construction continued to improve. On the negative side, business investment in structures was weak, and government spending fell at both the federal and state and local levels.  More to the point, business investment in computer equipment and communications equipment fell from Q4 2011 levels, though computer equipment investment still was almost 8% higher than levels a year ago. Software investment, though, was up strongly — by 8.2% at an annualized rate from Q4 2011 and by 8.4% from Q1 2011. 

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2 Big Shifts Taking Us To More Resource-Efficient Computing

Chris Mines

In the last couple of weeks, I finally put a couple of pieces together . . . the tech industry is pushing hard, down two parallel tracks, toward much more resource-efficient computing architectures.

Track 1: Integrated systems. Computer suppliers are putting hardware components (including compute, network, and storage) together with middleware and application software in pre-integrated packages. The manufacturers will do assembly and testing of these systems in their factories, rather than on the customer's site. And they will tailor the system — to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the system — to the characteristics of the workload(s) it will be running.

The idea is to use general-purpose components (microprocessors, memory, network buses, and the like) to create special-purpose systems on a mass-customization basis. This trend has been evident for a while in the Oracle Exadata and Cisco UCS systems; IBM's Pure systems introductions push it even further into pre-configured applications and systems management.

Track 2. Modular data centers. Now, zoom out from individual computing systems to aggregations of those systems into data centers. And again, assemble as much of the componentry as possible in the factory rather than on-site. Vendors like Schneider, Emerson, and the systems shops like IBM and HP are creating a design approach and infrastructure systems that will allow data centers to be designed in modular fashion, with much of the equipment like air handling and power trucked to the customer's site, set up in the parking lot, and quickly turned on.

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Smart Computing, Cloud Computing, And Mobility Will Boost US IT Budget Spending In 2012

Andrew Bartels

A week from tomorrow, I will be presenting a keynote on Smart Computing at Forrester's EA Forum in Las Vegas and later the same day a presentation on US IT spending with my colleague Chris Mines to Forrester's CIO Forum. The common theme in both presentations is that new technologies like Smart Computing, cloud computing, and mobility will drive companies to increase their tech spending and investment in 2012 and 2013. 

The Smart Computing keynote presentation will draw on research from my report on "Smart Computing Connects CIOs With The Business," in which I discuss the ways in which sensors, RFID, M2M, advanced analytics, mobile devices, and collaboration platforms and applications are allowing CIOs to address previously unaddressed business problems, using various combinations of these technologies that will vary by industry. I will focus on specific industry examples in trucking, healthcare, and health insurance. 

The US Tech Market Outlook presentation will include Smart Computing along with cloud computing, mobility, and IT consumerization as technologies that will cause US tech budgets to rise by over 7% in both 2012 and 2013 — well above the 4% to 5% growth in nominal GDP that we expect. Most of the numbers we will share will be those from our most recent US tech market report: "US Tech Market Outlook For 2012 To 2013 -- Improving Economic Prospects Create Upside Potential." However, Chris and I will also provide the very latest tech market data from government and vendor reports. 

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Google Drive Could Be Huge

Rob Koplowitz

Today Google announced Google Drive as a solution to store, share and synchronize content across multiple devices. Big deal? Yes, this could be a very big deal. Why? Here's the deal: Up until now Google has addressed the enterprise by attempting to displace two of the most deeply entrenched applications, email and productivity. Let's face it, email is big, messy and expensive to move. Not to mention risky. Doesn't mean organizations don't do it, they just will do it on their own time and terms. And that's just email. Want to take Microsoft Office away from me? Pry it out of my cold dead hands. I'm happy to use Google Apps for certain stuff, but I need my Office. So basically, until Drive, Google was attempting to move some pretty tough stuff. Their addressable market was small firms (some of whom have and will grow large) and really forward-thinking organizations that were willing to make a pretty dramatic change. Large, risk-averse enterprises? Not so much. 

Then came Google Drive. Content storage is in the midst of a massive upheaval. Three indicators:

  • Users are becoming increasingly dependent on Dropbox for file synchronization, and IT is not always happy about it. Geez, I just want to have a file I start on my laptop at work available to peek at on my smartphone on the train home. Oh yeah, I also want it on my tablet while I'm at home watching Suburgatory. And, I may want to point a colleague to it. Sounds reasonable. IT, you don't want me to use Dropbox. Watcha got instead?
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