What’s the Value of Your IT Organization?

Adoption of Cloud-based solutions is enabling and catalysing IT organizations to transform to new modes of operation with associated higher value propositions. In a recently published Strategic Perspective, Saugatuck defines four primary IT Organization Profiles:

  • Supportive: These organizations collect, document, and analyze IT-oriented performance metrics and strive to react in a timely manner to new requirements from the business units.
  • Proactive: These ensure delivery of services and strive to adopt new technologies.
  • Collaborative: These collaborate with business units (BUs) to support new business processes in a timely fashion by facilitating use of new technologies.
  • Innovative: These work in close partnership with BUs to innovate new business processes, products, and services.

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A Day at the Circus: Microsoft’s Re-invention is No Act

Thousands of analyses and commentaries on this week’s big Microsoft #Windows10 event can be found in any web search. The focus and tone of almost every analysis and commentary that I’ve seen has been on the technology and the “stuff,” and what Microsoft has done or promises to do with it – what’s included, what’s missing, what they got right or wrong, and so on.

That’s understandable, as watching the event (and the Twitter stream that couldn’t keep up) was like watching a 3-ring circus – there was just one cool act after another, with lights, music, magic, and even 3-D experiences with lots of “ooohs” and “ahhhs.” When you talk about the circus, you want to talk about what you saw.

Even so, focusing on the circus of nerdy-cool stuff that played out yesterday is like critiquing the acrobats, the dancing bears, and the clown car, and not noticing that the big ol’ tent has been replaced by a new domed stadium with a new foundation and 21st-century facilities and capabilities.

Almost everyone except us (and the Wall Street Journal) missed the real eye-opener yesterday: how Microsoft has fundamentally changed, and is changing, itself and its business. Little to none of what MSFT demo’d, rolled out, or Continue reading

Four Keys to Competing in Digital Business

What is Happening?          

Cloud and Boundary-free Enterprises are just beginning to understand the full implications of managing Digital Business transformation. And, despite the natural inclination of many to bolt-on a new face and call it “Digital,” competing to succeed in Digital Business does require a real transformation. As Figure 1 highlights, less than half of all business and IT leaders recently surveyed believe that they are “very” or “extremely” successful in their Digital Business pursuits (1390SSR, 2014 Enterprise Intelligence Survey: Digital Business & Hybrid Cloud, 20June2014). Another fifty percent believe they are at least “somewhat” successful.

Figure 1: Enterprises Report Digital Business “Success”


Source: Saugatuck Technology Inc., 2014

We are still early on in this disruptive transformation, but we already know several important things:

  • Customer Experience has become a foundational element of Digital Business
  • Digital Businesses must position themselves to engage successfully with customers and manage their experience
  • Digital Businesses must understand the strategic importance of new and emerging business models and the various options for monetization, including mobile payments
  • Digital Businesses must thoughtfully manage the tradeoffs between renovating and modernizing and productivity and control in evolving their operational platforms
  • Existing Legacy Businesses must bring their back office into the Digital Age by a variety of phased tactics, including re-architecting or upgrading technology platforms
  • To compete successfully, Legacy businesses must reframe Application Development, enabling Mobile and Cloud platforms for the Digital Economy
  • Finance Systems can become competitive weapons and help CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs navigate their strategies in the Digital Age.

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Fireside Chat with Bethann Cregg, IBM on Cloud Data and Watson (CBS14)

On November 12th, 2014, Saugatuck Technology held its 4th annual Cloud Business Summit at the Yale Club of New York City. As with prior Summits, our event brought together more than 100 large-enterprise CIOs, CTOs and senior business, marketing and finance leaders – to explore how they can and are realizing value from the Cloud.

Saugatuck Research Fellow Mike West hosted a Fireside Chat with Bethann Cregg, Vice President, Information and Analytics Group Cloud at IBM. The discussion’s theme was “Turbo-Charging Digital Business with a Cloud-First Strategy.”

The first video clip is an excerpt of their discussion about the way in which the Cloud and Cloud platforms such as BlueMix are changing how enterprises of all sizes Continue reading

Panel: Cloud Business Solutions – New Synergies (CBS14)

On November 12th, 2014, Saugatuck Technology held its 4th annual Cloud Business Summit at the Yale Club of New York City. As with prior Summits, our event brought together more than 100 large-enterprise CIOs, CTOs and senior business, marketing and finance leaders – to explore how they can and are realizing value from the Cloud.

Saugatuck Research Fellow Mike West hosted a panel of experts from the world of Cloud Business applications – Vikram Nair, VP & Head of IT Strategy at Carnival Corp, Louis Nauges, CIO Advisor & Blogger at DHASEL Innovation, Daniel Couture, SVP & CIO at Zoetis, Mark Nittler, VP at Workday – all of whom were asked to consider Continue reading

Infor – A Focus on Verticals

As part of Saugatuck’s “Finance in the Cloud” research program, we conferenced with executives from Infor several weeks ago to learn more about the Infor solutions, their market reception, future plans for enhancement and how Infor views “Finance in the Cloud.” Formerly known as a legacy vendor of many acquired ERP and related finance solutions with an on-premises footprint, Infor began a complete remake of its portfolio in 2008 with an eye to the Cloud. In October 2010, Charles Phillips, ex-Oracle co-president, was introduced as Infor’s CEO, beginning a new era of innovation and investment, with a focus on vertical industry solutions. In 2011, the firm relocated its headquarters to New York City.

Infor can now claim 73,000 customers in over 200 geographies, and can cite many customer examples of its vertical industry support (e.g., 19 of the top 20 aerospace co.’s; 10 of the top 10 high tech co.’s; 10 of the top 10 pharmaceutical co.’s; 20 of the top 20 automotive suppliers; 16 of the 20 top global retailers). Infor’s strategy targets a focus on a dozen key industries and claims an advantage to the buyer because of vertical functionality tailored for industry business processes, eliminating the need for Continue reading

Where Are Apps Headed Now?

Saugatuck’s research has identified two major influences on the nature of apps, applications and Cloud solutions in the rapidly evolving world of Digital business: RESTful APIs and Containers.

The first influence is the use of RESTful APIs that enable loosely-coupled architectures and build on powerful synergies across platforms (See 1488MKT “Endpoints and Connectors: iPaaS and the API Economy,” 12 December 2014.   Continue reading

The Future of the Mainframe is Cloudy

What is Happening?

This week, IBM announced the next generation of its z Systems mainframe line, the z13. The focus of the announcement centered on four aspects: Mobile, Analytics, Security, and Cloud. As with earlier generations, the new z13 includes specialized hardware for encryption as well as data compression. Both functions are increasingly important in today’s environment of state sponsored hacking and the rising flood of data from mobile commerce and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Saugatuck finds the announcement of the z13 particularly important in light of IBM’s recent divestiture of their x86 server business to Lenovo. Over the last year, IBM has continued to increase its efforts on software and professional services. As a result, the z System is one of three server families that IBM still manufactures and sells. (The other two are the System p and the PureSystems.) Additionally, the other remaining vendors of conventional “mainframe” architecture systems (HP and Unisys) have migrated their offerings to x86-based microprocessors.

Though the primary design of new applications increasingly favors distributed compute systems (well-suited for Cloud infrastructures), the mainframe architecture is a much better match for high-performance, monolithic design. With this announcement, IBM makes the case that it is worth questioning the prevailing wisdom of using the Cloud for any and all workloads, and points specifically to ways where mainframe systems should be used, such as to support mobile device transaction processing. Continue reading

How Digital Business Shifts and Expands Finance Management Priorities

With the continuing shift toward boundary-free business, and the attendant shift toward creating and including more digital business, how are the roles, the influence, and the value of the CFO to the enterprise changing? A new Strategic Perspective from Saugatuck Technology examines how the scope of CFO involvement, influence, and value is not only changing, but expanding radically, and relatively quickly, into new areas – typically without adequate management resources.  Continue reading

CES 2015 Keeps the Spotlight on Key Innovations for the Internet of Things

What is Happening?

At CES 2015 in Las Vegas, January 6-9, 150,000 attendees from 140 countries participated in a conference program with 250 sessions and viewed the exhibits of more than 3,000 manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, software, content and delivery systems. Because CES is owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), and represents the $208 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry, it attracts not only the merely curious, but also business leaders, buyers, distributors, and technology developers to a forum where innovation is top-of-mind. This year, in addition to consumer entertainment products, saw an explosion of offerings for the Internet-of-Things (IoT).

Why is it Happening?

This year’s CES Innovation follows the proliferation of platforms and dev kits released over the past few years. In 2014 gaming, smart watches, 4K, and curved screen and bendable screen TVs drove the excitement, while platforms and development kits lurked in the background. In this year’s show, in addition to personal, wearable and entertainment tech, the real innovation emerged, for the most part, from the Smart Home and Car Tech spaces, enabled by platforms and development kits from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others, building on Bluetooth, WIFI and Cloud standards.

Synergy drives innovation, and there was no lack of it at CES in Las Vegas. Cameras, locks, control devices, and gateways plus Bluetooth or WIFI linked to the Cloud gave rise to a plethora of Smart Home solutions. Sensors, plus Bluetooth- or WIFI-and-Cloud-enhanced drones with or without cameras – and cars with and without drivers. Continue reading