SAP Buys SuccessFactors, Accelerates Cloud Strategy with Addition of Leading HCM Cloud App

Liz Herbert

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.

Are You Ready For China's Outsourcing Market?

Gene Cao

Dear Forrester Community,

I would like to take couple of minutes to introduce myself and the research topics I’m working on. I came to Forrester through the acquisition of Springboard Research and specialize in helping Vendor Strategy Professionals understand trends in IT services and outsourcing in Greater China.

With my latest research paper, “Driving Outsourcing Success In China,” I want to help vendors raise awareness on the Chinese outsourcing market, which will grow at 17% CAGR over the next five years. Nonetheless, entering this lucrative market will pose several challenges for international newcomers. In my research, vendor strategists will find insights about:

  • Growth opportunities.
  • Introduction to the market dynamics with drivers and inhibitors.
  • Possible go-to-market approaches for outside vendors entering into China's IT services market.

I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to share your own experiences and ideas with me. Are there other questions that you would like me to address in my upcoming research?

Yours,

Gene Cao, Senior Analyst

Key Areas To Consider In SaaS Contract Negotiation

Liz Herbert

With the Sourcing and Vendor Management Forums coming up next week in Miami and at the end of the month in London, our team is busy finalizing content and rehearsing sessions. Personally the hottest question I have continued to get since the keynote I did last year on SaaS sourcing is the question of SaaS pricing and contract negotiation. So, what can you expect in the track session “Negotiating Cloud Pricing and Contracts” for those of you who can join us?

New data from the Q3 2011 services survey showing:

  1. SaaS is disrupting spend on traditional services. Nearly half of the firms we surveyed say that “as-a-service” spending has reduced spending on traditional on-premises IT spend. And, these firms also say that it will have a noticeable disruptive impact. Out of the firms who say “as-a-service” spending will reduce spending on traditional spend, 30% say this disruption will be 6% or more.   
  2. SaaS adoption has expanded into IT applications and industry-specific applications. Firms are now using SaaS for an increasingly wide range of solutions: horizontal applications like CRM and HR and collaboration applications like email still dominate the trend but now 13% of firms use SaaS for IT software such as asset management and 10% of firms use SaaS for industry-specific solutions such as insurance claims management.
  3. Firms are centralizing their approach to SaaS sourcing and vendor management. The recently gathered data shows a strong trend towards centralized SaaS strategy and formal multi-year plans around SaaS. Not surprisingly, this data also shows that firms expect to see a decrease in unsanctioned, business-led buying.  
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Sourcing & Vendor Management: A Key Driver In The Customer Experience Ecosystem

Christopher Andrews

This is a guest post from Kerry Bodine, a Forrester vice president and principal analyst serving Customer Experience Professionals. Kerry will deliver a keynote on the critical role Sourcing & Vendor Management Professionals play in customer experience at Forrester's Sourcing & Vendor Management Forum on Nov. 7-8 in Miami and Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in London.

Many customer experience initiatives don't meet their full potential — or worse, fail completely — because companies don’t have a complete picture of the dynamics that go into creating it. In order to break from their tunnel vision, companies need to understand their customer experience ecosystem: the complex set of relationships among a company’s employees, partners, and customers that determines the quality of all customer interactions.

In their quest to seek out the root causes of customer experience issues, companies often overlook the impact of sourcing and vendor management (SVM) professionals — often referred to as “procurement” by the rest of the organization. That’s too bad, because these decision-makers influence the customer experience in two key ways.

They influence which technologies and tools will be purchased. Some of these technologies are used internally. One example is: customer relationship management software, which enables employees across the organization to better understand customers and their ongoing relationships with the company. Other tools — like content management systems — directly affect the information that customers can access through digital touchpoints like the Web and mobile devices.

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Supplier Risk And Performance Management Takes Center Stage At Emptoris’s Customer Event

Duncan Jones

Having attended Oracle’s customer event a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it to Emptoris’s Empower event this year, but I'm glad I was able to attend. The quality of the external speakers, the access to Emptoris execs, the content mix (high-level procurement trends and implementation best practices), the plentiful opportunities to chat with customers, partners, and employees — all these made it an extremely valuable couple of days.

A key event theme was the urgent need for procurement leaders to improve their risk monitoring and mitigation processes. For instance, according to Deloitte Consulting’s 2011 CPO survey, nearly 60% of respondents believe their risk exposure is higher than a year ago. Emptoris’s President & CEO Patrick Quirk explained his company’s response, with an ambitious roadmap to convert the acquired Xcitec product (now called Emptoris Supplier Lifecycle Management)  into a comprehensive supplier risk and performance management suite (SRPM), in line with our description of this category: FAQs About Supplier Risk And Performance Management Software.

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What Do You Mean When You Call A Supplier A “Strategic Partner”?

Duncan Jones

I handle many inquiry calls from clients asking for help negotiating with large suppliers, and often they claim the supplier is a strategic partner. I’ve noticed that many clients use that term, but when I ask them what it actually means in practice, I get varying responses. So Forrester recently surveyed over 150 sourcing and vendor management (SVM) professionals to ask them what they expect to get from strategic partners, and what they offer in return. I was bit disappointed with the results. For instance, while 68% said they would always expect partners to give them the best possible discount, only 6% said they would always make the partner their sole source for specific technology categories.

What’s wrong with this picture? Well, to quote Godfather 2, when explaining Hyman Roth’s longevity, Johnnie Ola says, “He always made money for his partners.” That concept doesn’t seem to apply in the technology world. On the one hand, buyers complain about vendors’ unfair policies (see my recent report Buyers Should Reject Unfair Licensing Rules) and transactional sales approach. Yet OTOH they want to squeeze their partners’ margins while still expecting them to sell their wares site-by-site and product-by-product around their enterprise. As one senior software executive told me the other day, “Sure, I’ll waive my usual policies for partners, but only if they let me off the huge cost of supporting individual, small product buying decisions.”

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Will Oracle Listen To The External Keynoters At Oracle Openworld And Help Customers Cut Their Maintenance Costs?

Duncan Jones

I’ve just returned home from San Francisco where I was attending the Oracle Openworld 2011 (#OOW11) event. Overall it's a good event, although, as usual, a bit frustrating. Instead of examples of how customers are using its products to transform their businesses, the Oracle keynotes always descend into technical detail, with too little vision and too many unimpressive product demonstrations and ‘paid programming’ infomercials (if I had wanted to listen to Cisco, Dell, and EMC plugging their products, I’d have gone to their events).

When, a month ago, I accepted Oracle’s invitation to attend #OOW11, I thought I’d be able to escape the oncoming British autumn for some California sunshine and watch some Redsox playoffs games on TV. Well not only did the Sox’s form plummet in September like a stock market index, but Northern California turned out to be 20° colder than London. But despite that, and the all-day Sunday trip to get to the event, one can’t help being impressed by the attendee buzz and by the logistical achievement, with over 45,000 attendees accommodated around the Bay Area and bussed in and out every day to the conference location. Luckily, Oracle looks after its analyst guests very well, so we were within walking distance at the excellent Intercontinental Hotel.

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Will The Bring-Your-Own-Device Phenomenon Help Propel Desktop Virtualization?

Bill Martorelli

I recently appeared on CIO Talk Radio to discuss the growing challenge brought by increased diversity of computing devices in the workplace and the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. There is no question that customers are increasingly embracing their own technology in the workplace, and in many cases believe the technology they themselves own is superior to that provided by their employers. The tablet computer is certainly one big part of this, and the ultimate impact may be as disruptive as that brought by the original PC.

IT executives like Steve Phillips, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Office of Avnet, my co-panelist on the CIO Radio broadcast, are beginning to see that desktop virtualization provides a potentially useful means to separate the realm of the corporate environment from the private world of the device user in this increasingly diverse environment. Outsourcing suppliers are definitely seeing this trend. They are gearing up for the potentially significant opportunity by running pilots and helping customers implement desktop scenarios, although with some differences from the past: For one thing, a focus on a more selective tiered approach to desktop virtualization as opposed to a one-size-fits-all. That tendency, along with the accompanying high cost for bandwidth, were a stumbling point in the past, as well as several other factors described by my colleague Steven Johnson.

But what do you think? And if considering desktop virtualization, do you envision a role for service partners or will you go it alone?

Can You Use Microsoft IE 8 Via VMware ThinApp? It Depends On Who You Ask.

Duncan Jones

As soon as you think you understand software companies’ policies on virtualization, a new problem appears that makes you tear your hair out and scratch your now-bald head. This month’s conundrum is whether or not VMware’s ThinApp product breaches your Microsoft Windows license agreement:

  • VMware promotes this product with the headline “Extend the Life of Legacy Applications, Including IE 6 Applications, with Windows 7 Support.” http://www.vmware.com/products/thinapp/overview.html
  • However, Microsoft, via its knowledge base, claims that “Running multiple versions of Windows Internet Explorer, or portions of Windows Internet Explorer, on a single instance of Windows is an unlicensed and unsupported solution.” http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2020599/en-us#top
  • VMware doesn’t warn customers that ThinApp could cause them Microsoft licensing problems, but neither does it claim that it is legal. It merely advises customers to check with Microsoft.
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SAP’s Acquisition Of Crossgate Fills A Significant Gap In Its ePurchasing Portfolio

Duncan Jones

Yesterday, SAP announced its intention to acquire business-to-business (B2B) integration provider Crossgate http://www.sap.com/index.epx#/news-reader/?articleID=17515. This was no great surprise, as SAP was already a part-owner and worked closely with the company in product development and marketing and sales activities. SAP will be able to offer a much better ePurchasing solution to customers when it has integrated Crossgate into its business, because supplier connectivity is currently a significant weakness. As I’ve written before (So Where Were The Best Run Businesses Then?), many SRM implementations rely on suppliers manually downloading PO from supplier portals or manually extracting them from emails and rekeying the data into their own systems. Not only does this cost the suppliers lots of money, it creates delays and errors that discourage users from adopting SRM.

SAP doesn’t intend to use Crossgate only for transactional processes; it also wants to develop support for wider collaboration between its customers and their supply chain partners, both upstream and downstream. That’s a sound objective, although not an easy one for SAP to achieve, because its core competence is in rigidly structured internal processes and it hasn’t done a good job to date with unstructured processes, nor with ones that go outside the enterprise’s four walls. Buyers who think they can force suppliers to comply with their edicts, just like employees do, soon end up wondering why no-one is using their ePurchasing solution.

What does the acquisition mean for sourcing professionals who are wondering where Crossgate or its competitors fit into their application strategy? My take:

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