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.
Forrester recently surveyed 233 IT decision-makers who have plans to implement or upgrade to at least some part of MOSS 2007 and asked: "Which of the following best describes your organization's time line for implementing or upgrading to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server?". The results? 21% will upgrade immediately and 41% will do so within 6 months.
With this level of adoption the issue of scalability comes up more and more. In one sense you have architectural concerns with any solution that scales horizontally, uses banks of load-balanced Web servers, application servers, and clusters of SQL servers on the back end. Add high availability and you quickly get a complex environment. To Microsoft's credit there is quite a bit available on performance guidelines. But looking through these, and coping with notions of site collections, lists, file arrangements, performance of folder hierarchies versus flat files, and automatic versus manual partitioning, the bottom line seems to be that even on the new 64 bit architecture with 4 screaming Intel processors, and SQL 5 -- the upper limit of the content repository is 500GB.
The Virtual-Worlds Consortium for Innovation and Learning and SRI Consulting Business Intelligence today released the results of an online survey conducted early in March 2008 titled "Virtual Worlds and Collaborative Work: Survey Results." The organization surveyed 81 people who are active users of virtual worlds (e.g., Second Life) about the use of virtual worlds for collaborative work. Most survey respondents (about 85%) were in North America; the rest were in Europe and Asia. Fewer than 20% of respondents are using virtual worlds mostly for pleasure and fun; 58% have a strong interest in how these technologies can serve for work. Some of the key findings:
Now that I caught your attention with the title -- it's not what you think. It's not about freeing BI from the constraints and limitations of corporate politics, organizational silos, and lack of proper data governance -- although that's a very worthy topic to write about.
This morning, Google will unveil a beta version of its spreadsheet application with some new advanced features, such as Pivot Table. The Pivot Table is a product developed by Panorama, a small, but upcoming BI vendor (they are currently being evaluated in detail by Forrester BI Wave '08), who were, interestingly enough, the original inventors of Microsoft Analysis Services OLAP (Online Analytic Processing) engine. So now, part of Panorama code will be inside two of the biggest software companies in the world!
I spent some time out at MIX in early march getting up to speed with Microsoft's latest product releases for rich Internet application (RIA) development. I thought I'd offer a few thoughts on Ray Ozzie’s keynote.
Like last year, Ray kicked off the conference by sharing Microsoft's vision of SaaS - a slightly different version from the standard view. Given Microsoft’s investments in traditional platforms it makes sense that their vision of SaaS would be of "Software AND a service" as opposed to "software AS a service”. That said, Ray articulated three ideas that are driving Microsoft's vision for development forward. I'll recap as I interpreted them from my seat in the audience:
IBM acquired Encentuate for an undisclosed sum. This underscores the validity of Forrester's prediction that the enterprise single sign-on (E-SSO) market in identity and access management (IAM) will grow from E-SSO's $250 million in 2006 to $2 billion in 2014 - a CAGR of 28.5%. What are the likely implications of this acquisition in the E-SSO marketplace?
1. After CA and Novell, now IBM will have a fully integrated IAM suite in which E-SSO will be first acquired, but later an organically grown product offering - provided that IBM is successful with integrating not only technologies, but the Encentuate engineering, support, and sales resources. Past experience with similar acquisitions show that this often sounds easier than it actually is.
2. Other E-SSO vendors (ActivIdentity and especially Passlogix) will lose some of their market share and will need to ramp up investment in product development to be able to keep their leading edge in product functionality.
Overall, IBM's move signals that E-SSO has become a mature and viable technology which - in conjunction with user account provisioning - will continue to drive the IAM market growth.
Ping Identity announced that it acquired Sxip Access for an undisclosed sum. The rationale of the acquisition is to allow Ping Identity's products to meet enterprise-wide, typically SSO challenges. This is important to be able to further extend Ping's market share with software-as-a-service providers. Is it a breakthrough? Hardly. Questions still remain as to how major enterprises can integrate Ping Identity's new extended product line with an existing infrastructure in identity management and provisioning. Forrester increasingly sees broken ladder steps in the progression from the SMB market to the enterprise market for those identity and access management (IAM) vendors that have incomplete IAM product lines. Ping Identity still needs to make substantial investments to build an IAM suite, or forge strategic partnerships with pure-play provisioning and role vendors to successfully compete long-term in the IAM arena of large vendors.
I went to the AIIM conference in Boston last week.My first AIIM show was in 1993 — where the ratio of demos to production systems was about a billion to one. For the historians out there, the 1993 show in Chicago had over 33,000 attendees. New optical disk jukeboxes and digital scanners were the rage. So it was good to see how far the industry has come in providing mature and productive solutions. Yet — AIIM is still something of a chaotic, disorganized, vendor-feeding frenzy that seems to somehow work for most attendees.
It's probably the Boston convention center and not AIIMs fault, but is it really so hard to have something available to eat before 11AM in the morning? I gave a talk on ECM Strategy Tuesday morning and wrongly assumed some protein would be available. I was not looking for something as complicated as an egg sandwich, just perhaps a donut. The Dunkin Donut cart seemed to have more interest then any booth — an impossible line and very poor inventory.