Despite an increasingly crowded market of cloud applications, salesforce.com is still very much the “darling” of the SaaS world. Some evidence of the provider’s continued fast-paced growth?
1) Strong stock market performance. On June 12, 2013, when salesforce.com announced the completion of its acquisition of ExactTarget, salesforce.com stock (CRM) was trading at $37.58. On February 19, 2014, it closed at just over $63, a gain of 67.7% over that period (for reference the NASDAQ Composite did roughly 25% over the same period).
2) External accolades for its ability to innovate. In August, salesforce.com was names by Forbes as the world’s most innovative company for the third year running.
3) Steady flow of new products and editions. In November, salesforce.com announced its new Salesforce1 Service Cloud – a platform to be used for cloud-based application development. This product represents a significant improvement in the mobile salesforce.com experience which will ideally aid them in meeting their aggressive financial predictions. Not long before that, salesforce.com had announced Social.com, in April 2013.
4) Revenue growth. Salesforce.com’s recent fiscal results (Q3 2013) conservatively project revenue growth of more than $1 billion for both this year and next ($4.05 billion for FY 2014 and $5.15 billion for FY 2015, compared to $3.05 billion in FY 2103).
So, it is no surprise then (in light of salesforce.com’s massive scale and continued expansion) that we continue to receive a heavy volume of Inquiries into Forrester about how to negotiate with salesforce.com.
IBM is making a big push into the SaaS space – boasting 100+ SaaS offerings and $1 billion plus in targeted investments. The good news for buyers is that the strategy is broad, flexible, and open. But, the downside is that the current landscape is fragmented and inconsistent across its different offerings; buyers do not today have a simple “cloud store” where they can go and download all of these different solutions with instant provisioning and pre-built integration. So, what should buyers expect?
salesforce.com’s 100,000+ customers now have a new option for streamlining SaaS sourcing across the enterprise: Private AppExchange. And, the price is right at $0. Free? Yes, free(!) but, don't assume this won't impact your costs.
Last week at salesforce.com's massive Dreamforce event, Forrester had the opportunity to learn more about some of salesforce.com's recent announcements -- including the Private AppExchange. This free add-on feature for salesforce.com users lets companies set up an AppStore that is private, personalized, and custom populated for their own company. The Private AppExchange lets organizations “distribute any app, to any user on any device through a central, secure store, using Salesforce Identity to grant employees instant access to the apps they need. Organizations can customize the store with own categories and branding.”
The Private AppExchange could help sourcing executives address goals for enabling SaaS sourcing that we frequently hear about, such as:
Lets users quickly discover and deploy solutions that meet their business needs
Supports collaboration and idea-sharing across all users at all levels of the company
Adheres to corporate standards (integration, data rules, security, contracting, and more)
Ensures favorable pricing based on overall corporate relationships and usage
Showcases the specific SaaS solutions already in use within the company
At a recent SAP customer event on Business Transformation, Alexander Budzier from the Said Business School at the University of Oxford presented findings on IT project outcomes and their correlations with various project factors. When determining project success rates, the researchers considered business benefits, adherence to budget, and on-time delivery.
Interesting findings from this research include:
Project success does not correlate (or very minimally correlates) with size or length of project, or with public versus private sector.
Focusing on one goal too much can have a negative effect on other metrics. Consider the extreme example of the Olympics, which had a 100% on-time result (over 10 Games analyzed) but the highest cost overruns, at an average of 207%!
Agile deployments (versus big bang) had greater success in some metrics, particularly schedule adherence, but not all.
The single biggest factor in determining project adherence to budget and timelines was benefits management. (In this research fewer than half of the projects they studied had actually tracked benefits.) Those who focused on measuring benefits significantly reduced BOTH project cost and schedule risk. Project cost overruns averages decreased from 36% to 6% when focusing on business benefits; schedule overruns decreased from 119% to 51%.
So, what can we take away from this? Project leaders should:
Focus on benefits – throughout the project lifecycle. Benchmarking can help leaders to identify what benefits / metrics to track.
Recognize warning signs / risks early -- and address them before they result in disaster. These risks include unknowns in design, organizational resistance, and shifting project requirements.
Leading-edge executives at organizations drive growth, innovate, and disrupt industries through emerging technologies: social, mobile, cloud, analytics, sensors, GIS and others. 85% of executives in a recent survey shared that “the need to drive innovation and growth” would have a moderate or high impact on IT services spending. But, today’s technology buyers face a fragmented, fast-moving landscape of niche technology and services providers in newer spaces (social, mobile, cloud) as well as new offerings from their largest global partners.
Often the leading- and bleeding-edge disruption comes from business stakeholders, rather than IT or sourcing executives; sourcing executives struggle to keep up with the fast pace of change that business demands. Our research shows that this fragmented, divisional, silo approach to buying (often under the radar screen) can create risk and go against enterprise IT strategy decisions.
To help their organizations navigate through these emerging options, we have identified three key principles of IT sourcing strategy:
Change the rules for working with vendors and partners. To thrive in the world of digital disruption and to enable sourcing of emerging technologies and services that drive digital disruption, sourcing strategists must create new rules for working with technology partners. They must increase the emphasis on innovation and differentiation and treat partners who excel in these dimensions differently from other tiered suppliers.
At SAP SAPPHIRE (SAP’s biggest user conference, May 14–16), SAP announced that it has deployed more than 1,400 instances of Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDS) at more than 1,000 unique customers. These solutions help customers deploy SAP modules in as short as a few weeks at a reduced price point by productizing typical configurations. SAP boasts cost savings typically in the 20% to 40% range versus similar deployments that do not utilize RDS.
SAP has more than 70 of these solutions currently available. Additional solutions are available through partners like Accenture and TCS. RDS solutions are available in a wide range of areas like CRM, Sourcing, Financials, and even SAP HANA.
SAP positions these solutions as “lego-like,” meaning that customers can build one on top of the other and can customize and extend as much or as little as they want.
Our take? These RDS solutions are a great way for companies to quickly realize value out of SAP, an issue which has long plagued the SAP community. Even clients who need to go far beyond what an RDS offers and create a much more customized deployment might be able to jump-start their project with an RDS. However, these offerings are not available in all horizontal or vertical areas. SAP customers who want a complete solution heavily tailored for their industry-specific needs will likely need to turn to SAP’s ecosystem of pre-built solutions, rather than lighter-weight RDS offerings.
Innovation is again the hot topic for clients, as it was before the economic downturn. Clients have a renewed interest in innovation and business growth, and they seek services partners who can help. But what is innovation in this context?
In this context, clients seek business innovation. They want a provider who delivers new ideas and insights that will change business processes to drive revenue or improve business processes (for example, through product innovation, customer process innovation, supply chain innovation). They do not mean delivery innovation or continuous improvement, where the provider improves service delivery efficiency to drive lower IT cost and/or higher quality of IT service to clients (for example, through improved delivery processes, shared services, reusable assets). (Of course, they usually do want this as well — but this will not necessarily drive business innovation such as new products and processes.)
What do leading firms do to drive ongoing business innovation from services providers?
1) Put process around innovation. Organizations who successfully get innovation from their services providers put processes in place, from idea discovery to incubation to implementation to measurement. They also select services providers who have codified the innovation process. Ongoing innovation cannot happen by accident.
2) Use social media to collaborate at fast paces with customers, partners, and employees. Tools such as social networking sites, microblogs, and collaboration sites let firms gather ideas, evolve ideas, and rank ideas with a wide audience.
Deloitte continues to ramp up its software-as-a-service (SaaS) consulting practice, both through organic growth as well as acquisition. Today, Deloitte announced plans to acquire Workday implementation specialist Aggressor. Aggressor has been one of a very small set of Workday integrators (along with Deloitte), which means Deloitte now further boosts its already-impressive Workday practice.
This move furthers Deloitte’s Workday practice, as well as Deloitte’s overall practice in SaaS implementation and integration work. Deloitte also has strategic partnerships with other leading SaaS vendors, most notably salesforce.com.
For buyers, this means a stronger and deeper bench of consultants at Deloitte. But, on the downside, it removes a boutique/specialist option from the market, which appealed to some because of its laser focus, smaller size, and (perceived or real) ability to be more nimble, flexible, and price competitive.
Are you an Aggressor or Deloitte client or prospect? We would love to hear your thoughts!
At IBM's Smarter Analytics event this week, clients and partners presented success stories about how organizations are driving business value out of big data, analytics, and IBM Watson technology.
- City of Dublin, Ireland using thousands of data points from local transportation and traffic signals to optimize public transit and deliver information to riders.
- Seton Healthcare mining through vast amounts of unstructured data captured in notes and dictation to get a more complete view of patients. Seton currently uses this information to construct programs that target treatments to the right patients with a goal of minimizing hospitalizations in the way that most efficiently optimizes costs with benefits. The ability to mine unstructured data gives a much more complete view of patients, including factors such as their support system, their ability to have transportation to and from appointments, and whether or not they have a primary care physician.
- WellPoint using Watson technology to improve real-time decision-making by mining through millions of pages of medical information while doctors and nurses are face-to-face with patients.
But, clients warned that as much as the technology is advancing, the biggest hurdles remained the internal ones. Clients stressed that they face a critical challenge in introducing, driving, and changing the organizational mindset to work in a new way that can take advantage of these great advances in technology. What did they suggest?
1) Executive sponsorship from the top (C-level)
2) Hiring or retraining for new roles like data scientists (schools like Syracuse are introducing and promoting new programs out of their iSchool, which can help with reskilling experienced talent from other areas)
Today, SAP announced plans to acquire SuccessFactors, a leading human capital management (HCM) cloud platform with more than 15 million subscribers. This greatly accelerates SAP’s move into the cloud and makes it a provider of one of the world’s leading cloud solutions. SAP plans to operate SuccessFactors as a separate company.
For SuccessFactors customers, this will create more integration opportunities between their best-of-breed cloud HCM solution with SAP’s suite of enterprise applications products, in-memory computing platform HANA, and mobile computing platform Sybase.
For SAP customers, this creates an immediate opportunity to buy an innovative, proven, fast-growing cloud solution from their strategic enterprise software partner. Today, there is only a small overlap between SAP customers and SuccessFactors customers — meaning most SAP customers do not currently use SuccessFactors (and vice versa).
While there are great opportunities and synergies with this acquisition, it also runs the risk of potential downsides for customers: pricing and contract terms are likely to change and the pace and direction of innovation could slow down as the provider moves from a nimble, niche supplier to a new parent company with many competing initiatives.