Deloitte’s Two Recent Acquisitions Highlight Broader Market Changes

Christopher Andrews

Deloitte recently made two acquisitions that may not make front-page headlines, but for sourcing professionals, they are noteworthy.  In February/March Deloitte announced the acquisition of 1) dcarbon8, a carbon and sustainability consulting company that specializes in supply-chain management and carbon benchmarking and 2) Simulstrat, a company that pioneers “wargaming” and a spinoff from the department of war studies at King’s College in London. The acquisitions are small, but they highlight some interesting trends in the technology marketplace:

  • Before the recession of 2008, high oil prices pushed interest in “going green” to a peak, but the economic recession cooled some of the green fever --  and many “clean tech” companies we track started repositioning themselves more as enablers of cost savings and efficiency.  The acquisition of a sustainability consultancy like dcarbon8 highlights the fact that the interest in green continues – and companies like Deloitte view the green focus as more than a passing fad.  
  • Simulstrat offers sophisticated risk mitigation consulting to companies – all posited at a simulation or “game-like” setting. In this case, Deloitte looked to the capabilities of an academic institution to bring an innovative risk services offering with its private sector clients.  While simulations have traditionally been applied in government settings (e.g., war games) the potential for businesses (who are increasingly interested in risk mediation strategies to deal with macro-economic shifts) is strong. 

 

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Delivering on SaaS' Promise of Flexible Subscriptions

Liz Herbert

SaaS has long promised the concept of usage-based pricing, elimination of shelfware, and long-term commitment to value and total cost of ownership  (TCO). But some clients have questioned how true this is in practice. With more and more clients signing longer deals of 3-5 years in length and sometimes struggling to get an exit clause, clients question whether they can truly pay for what they use – and eliminate or redeploy unused subscriptions.  

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The Superbowl's impact on Sourcing & Vendor Management professionals

Duncan Jones

As I live in UK, I tend to record major US sporting events and watch them the next day (the Superbowl doesnt start until nearly midnight).  That means I have to avoid the internet, twitter, conversations with US colleagues, etc, for the whole of the following day so I can enjoy the game without knowing the score. One client nearly spoiled it for me by talking about the game in an inquiry, but I managed to shut him up. (I think he understood why).

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Bad news for IT buyers: Oracle sues Rimini Street

Duncan Jones

January 26th, 2010 was a black day for the enterprise software business.Late yesterday, Oracle launched a lawsuit against independent support provider (ISP) Rimini Street, alleging 'massive theft' of its intellectual property. Industry analysts had been expecting something like this - Oracle is already suing Rimini Street's predecessor TomorrowNow and was clearly worried that a competitive market would force it to cut the price of its hugely profitable maintenance offering.

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SAP Brings Back 'Standard Support'

Duncan Jones

Along with its 2009 results, SAP today made another attempt to undo the damage of its clumsy attempt to hike its maintenance % up to Oracle-like levels, by announcing the reinstatement of Standard Support as an option for customers. “SAP’s new support model is a direct response to the many discussions we’ve had with our customer and user groups,” said Léo Apotheker, chief executive officer, SAP.

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Software Sales Proposal - Burn After Reading?

Duncan Jones

Software vendors like to claim that their sales proposals are highly confidential, For Your Eyes Only or even, if you prefer the Coen brothers to Bond, Burn After Reading. I help dozens of clients every year with software negotiations, but I cant do that unless they share with me the vendor’s proposal, including price details and contract terms. Many clients are reluctant to do this, worried that doing this might break confidentiality clauses in their agreement.

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When is enterprise mobility not really ENTERPRISE mobility? (hint - most of the time!)

Tim Sheedy

We often hear about how important enterprise mobility is to businesses. For years ICT events companies have been holding events about "enterprise mobility" and "the future of wireless" etc - and they have filled halls with attendees and sponsors/exhibitors.

But really - is mobility really that important to businesses? Weren't the people with "mobile" in their title the first to go when the global financial crisis hit? And point me to more than a handful of businesses whose business relies on their mobility capabilities.

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SAP's Enterprise Boldly Goes Where No Support Offering Has Gone Before

Duncan Jones

At yesterday's Influencer Summit, Dr. Uwe Hummel (EVP and Head of Active Global Support) explained to industry analysts why SAP believes so strongly in its Enterprise Support product. In fact, it is so convinced in proactive support and the positive impact on customers' SAP application management and operation costs that it decided to protect them from making the mistake of declining to buy it - by making it mandatory.

We all know how customers reacted to that idea, and how SAP has reconsidered its approach since the initial announcements. Yesterday's session focused on SAP's uniquely innovative program to track the actual benefits obtained by customers using Enterprise Support. SUGEN, the association of independent SAP user groups, agreed 11 application-management-related KPI that it would track at 56 member sites. The first results are now in, and though SAP isn't quite ready to publish them, from what we saw under NDA, there has been a clear and consistent improvement in measures such as 'failed system changes'.

However, even if these results enable SAP to make a convincing argument that enterprise support is beneficial for most customers, it hasn't yet answered the important questions that we've raised on behalf of sourcing and vendor managers:

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Looking To Save And To Protect Your Enterprise’s Future Interests In Your Negotiations With SAP?

Liz Herbert

SAP’s dominant negotiating position is often a challenge for sourcing and vendor management professionals looking to cut costs and avoid pitfalls in contracting.  A tough year for SAP with a 40% drop in license revenue in the first half of 2009 compared to last year presents new challenges in negotiating.  Has this drop made SAP more flexible in sales negotiations, or more determined to fight for every dollar it can get, hold firmly to standard discount levels and force through its maintenance price hike?

Forrester Research, led by Principal Analyst, Duncan Jones, Senior Analyst, Liz Herbert, and Research Associate, Elizabeth Rose, is preparing to tackle these problems and publish a report on pricing trends and best practices for negotiating with SAP and we need you. 

Our report will answer the following key questions:

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SAP is pushing multi-year deals - buyers should consider them carefully

Duncan Jones

Over the last few weeks, several Forrester IT sourcing clients have asked us to review and comment on special proposals from SAP that offer an attractive discount and contractual flexibility in return for a large, irrevocable, multi-year commitment. It appears that several SAP sales teams are trying to achieve their annual targets by enticing customers to place firm purchase orders (PO's) now for products and users that they won't need until 2011 or later. This could be a great opportunity for buyers to take advantage of SAP's tough year and get an exceptional deal on software they were going to buy anyway. However, there are risks from over-committing ahead of your roll-out plans, as I explained a couple of years ago in my report, Avoid The Hidden Costs Of Shelfware, which is still as valid today as it was when I wrote it.

The most obvious risk is that delays in the implementation process will mean the licenses you're forced to buy in years 2 and 3 will sit on the shelf for a while until you are ready to deploy them. Worse, you'll be paying maintenance on that shelfware, which could soon cost you more than the extra discount you got on the initial deal.

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