TCO14 – Coders Compete to Make You Competitive

What is Happening?

On Monday, November 17, Saugatuck attended Appirio’s 2014 TopCoder Open conference at Pier 48 in San Francisco. It was clear from the venue alone that it was going to be different from most conferences. Notably lacking were a lot of polished keynotes, with only a few customer examples via panels. Instead, Appirio, best known for its primary role as a Salesforce and Workday SI, opted to avoid a keynote at the beginning of the event – and instead, Dave Messinger, Chief Community Officer at Appirio, took the role of MC. TopCoder may be an Appirio property, but it appears that they understand how to let Crowd take center stage.

The event kicked off with Cathy Lewis, the CMO at 3D Systems – the company that pioneered 3D printing 32 years ago. Cathy highlighted the progress coming from 3D printing, and how it would democratize production, as well as shorten supply chains. She then explained how 3D printing wasn’t enough – it lets you take digital products and produce physical ones – but there was another piece of the puzzle: haptic technology to allow physical interaction with the digital world. That was a perfect place for the Crowd to develop new and innovative ways of solving problems using an existing technology platform. 3D Systems would supply the hardware, but was counting on the Crowd to create some innovative software use cases.

Following on that discussion was a presentation from Anthony Stevens, Solutions Architect for the IBM Watson Ecosystem who discussed the rise of Cognitive Computing. He highlighted how IBM has specifically enabled access to their Watson engine through its Bluemix PaaS, in order to help make it accessible to developers. Implicit in this was the fact that IBM doesn’t have all the answers in how Cognitive Computing will solve every problem. Giving the Crowd access to Watson would be the first step. Continue reading

APIs in the Wild

The rapidly developing API Economy is made up of many parts that are infrequently examined. APIs provide access to software services on a network, and they have existed since the early days of computing. Now they are garnering new attention as Mobility and Cloud make them more important and more accessible. Releasing APIs has become an important marketing strategy for many companies, and their usage is encouraging integration of innumerable services through mashups on the Web. Yet we seldom look at specifics of what is being released. As APIs become more important, they signal directions that development is likely to take, and herald new opportunities from bringing together previously unavailable services. They also demonstrate the increasing importance of Mobility in driving software development. Continue reading

Public Cloud Benefits vs. Exposures

Public Cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google, promote their offerings as the best choices for most IT situations. Given the broad and sometimes contradictory messages ranging across the spectrum of Cloud offerings from Private to Public to Hybrid, it is not surprising that selection can be challenging. In a recently published Strategic Perspective, Saugatuck offers guidance to any Enterprise IT organization considering a Public Cloud offering.

Saugatuck characterizes Public Cloud benefits in the following areas: Continue reading

Dell Marketplace Opens for Business Beta-style

Dell hosted its Dell World 2014 conference in early November at the Austin Convention Center. And while in previous years Dell rolled out the high-tech star power – Elon Musk and Steve Ballmer delivered past keynotes – this year’s model was all business. Michael Dell hosted and made multiple appearances, and the opening panel featured McKinsey Global Institute’s Michael Chiu, Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly and Palantir Technologies’ President Shyam Sankar.

One reason why things are different this year is the leveraged buyout.

A little over a year ago, Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners completed a nearly $25 billion buyout of Dell shareholders and took Dell private. The stated reason for going private was to enable Dell, formerly publicly traded for 25 years, to accomplish its shift beyond personal computers to the diversification, synergy and higher profit margins provided by software, services and other networking tools – without the scrutiny or interference of Wall Street.

The underlying themes haven’t changed though. Dell still trumpets the mantra of Transform, Connect, Inform, Protect and still links its products and services directly to that powerful messaging.

One of the most impactful announcements at Dell World 2014 was made by Nnamdi Orakwue, vice president, Software Strategy, Operations and Cloud: Dell Marketplace has opened its public beta phase. Orakwue hopes that Continue reading

Trip Report: Key Highlights from 2014 Cloud Business Summit

What is Happening?          

Earlier this week, Saugatuck hosted its fourth annual Cloud Business Summit, an intimate gathering of 100+ large-enterprise CIOs/CTOs, CMOs, and CFOs at the Yale Club of New York City. As with previous Summits, the event explored how these leaders are realizing the most from the Cloud today. However, the key focus this year was the significant impact that Cloud is having in shaping core business strategy, as we evolve into the era of Digital Business.

Throughout the day, it was very clear that the “Cloud Experiment” is over for all but the most laggard IT shops. Up and down the Cloud technology stack and across the new master architecture (that includes mobile, social, and advanced analytics) we are moving toward mainstream adoption. Even the Finance organization is coming around, as our soon to be released CFO / CIO research will demonstrate. Given this, a key issue for business and IT leaders is how best to exploit the new frontier to build profitable and sustainable Digital Enterprises, which has now become a top-tier CXO agenda item.

Why is it Happening?

Saugatuck founder and CEO Bill McNee kicked off this year’s Summit by unveiling the results of its just completed CXO survey on Digital Business engagement, success, and key challenges. The research, conducted with 102 SVP+ IT, Finance, and Marketing leaders in McNee’s LinkedIn network – illustrates just how rapidly the shift to Digital Business is occurring.

While Saugatuck will soon be publishing more in-depth results of the research, find below some key highlights. It should be noted that the research is biased toward very large North American enterprises, as 50% of the respondents work for companies with greater than 10K employees. The insights are also reflective of very senior business and IT leaders, with nearly 60% maintaining a C-level title, with another 20% SVP+.

  • A quarter (26%) of the enterprise leaders stated that their firms were already “Fully Engaged” or “Established” in Digital business, with 74% either having “No Digital Footprint” (4%), in an “Experimental / Learning” mode (32%), or “Committed / In Process” (38%) today, although not yet generating meaningful revenue.
  • However, by 2018, more than half of these execs believe their firms will be fully “Established” Digital Businesses (57%), with another 33% fully “Engaged” – with Digital Business central to business organization, management and brand, including engagement with customers, partners, and suppliers.

Continue reading

Saugatuck Technology Announces 2014 Beacon Business IT Award Winners

On Wednesday, November 12th, Saugatuck Technology announced the 2014 winners of Saugatuck’s annual Beacon Awards for business and IT innovation. The winners were presented with their awards during Saugatuck’s annual Cloud Business Summit, held that day at The Yale Club of New York City.

This year, Saugatuck recognizes three pioneering enterprises whose innovative applications of Cloud and related IT not only improved their business, but also created new abilities to build, and compete in, Digital Business arenas. Those firms are as follows:

  • Johnson & Johnson, for its “sandbox”-driven, “skunkworks”-style comprehensive development and business improvement operations that enabled new opportunities, new business, reduced costs, and an improved ability to innovate in everything from product development to sales to customer support.
  •, which has utilized Cloud and related technologies to improve and expand global service availability and improve regulatory compliance, including ITAR and SOC 2 compliance, while reducing operating costs by as much as 30 percent, and cutting down internal resources dedicated to compliance and security by half.
  • Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, for its innovative use of hybridized, two-tier business management software to enable measurable, global standardization and improvement of business management, from interfaces, apps, and data, to reporting, localized compliance, resource management, and customer support, from headquarters down through the smallest, resource-constrained remote offices.

Continue reading

Workday Rising 2014: Insight Apps Steal the Show

What is Happening?           

Earlier this week, Saugatuck attended day one of Workday Rising 2014 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Having attended the conference for several years now, the conference has grown dramatically in size – a direct reflection of their success in the market. While the event clearly showcased the continued evolution of its HCM and Financial Management offerings, Workday provided a compelling roadmap for its Workday Student product line, as well as introducing a new user interface.

But the biggest takeaway by far was the new portfolio of Insights Applications – which takes Workday well beyond providing a raw Big Data analytics set of capabilities, and toward a potentially differentiating entry point into the executive suite.

Why is it Happening?

Workday is growing at a staggering pace. As we wrote just two months ago:

It is clear that the company remains on a tear, as it reported second quarter revenues of $186.8 million, up 74 percent from a year ago. . . . Total derived billings for the year are anticipated “to be approximately $940 million to $960 million.” That is right – nearly $1 billion! – ( 08Sept2014). Continue reading

Six Frequently Asked Questions (6FAQ) About Digital Business

1. How would you define a Digital Business?

  • A Digital Business or Enterprise is built upon digital technologies to create value for customers via innovative business strategies and interactive experiences that leverage an easy-to-use-and-access platform on demand.
  • Internally, Digital Business empowers knowledge workers through data and collaboration, 1) enabling analytics-based insights and behaviors and 2) the ongoing enhancement of digital offerings.
  • The foundation of Digital Business is the Boundary-free Enterprise, which is made possible by an array of time- and location-independent computing capabilities – Cloud, Mobile, Social and Data Analytics plus Sensors and APIs — with Integration as the glue to enable synergy and leverage business value.
  • Digital Business should not be thought of in isolation, but rather as an ecosystem of the enterprise from 1) suppliers to buyers, embracing 2) business partners and technology partners and empowering 3) employees to serve their 4) customers and address their markets more effectively.

2. Why does having a digital business strategy matter for staying competitive?

  • There is always a faster gun, a sweeter smile, a more convenient offer. Continuous enhancement of digital offerings is essential.

3. What are the main drivers requiring businesses to adapt by developing digital strategies?

  • Better, faster, cheaper is just table stakes. We are talking about more innovative, more effective solutions that engage and retain customers. For two disruptive examples from the travel industry, consider Uber and airbnb. Uber, for example is a location-aware and pre-paid. The nearest car finds you, and the fare and tip are already paid automatically. An airport trip I took in Tampa was cheaper than the bus. airbnb is personal and intimate, but discreet and a bit of an adventure. Not too much, of course, because there are reviews, but it’s definitely not a manufactured hotel/motel experience.

Continue reading

Mobility and IT Evolution

Mobility is having a large and diverse impact upon the growth of Digital Business. In a previous Perspective we looked at the Mobile/Cloud impact on Innovation (Enabling Innovation with Cloud Mobility, 1455STR, 10Oct2014). But the impact goes farther than that. Mobility is changing the way we think about IT and immediately enabling a wide variety of new possibilities – including entirely new concepts based on mobile sensors and their deployment. In the fast-moving environment of app development, evolution occurs swiftly in a continuous battle for survival of the fittest. Device desktop space is limited, and there are hundreds of apps performing similar functions; apps are quickly developed and deployed, and they can include powerful integration with Cloud-based services. And they are easily repurposed and moved to a new arena. Continue reading

Reframing AppDev for Digital

The question frequently arises as to whether productivity or control is more important in creating solutions for Digital Business, and we have discussed this issue at some length before (See 1326MKT, Cloud Development PaaS: Is the Real Payback Control or Productivity? Part 1, 13 February 2014 and 1338MKT, Cloud Development PaaS: Is the Real Payback Control or Productivity? Part 2, 28 February 2014). The answer is both are important in today’s AppDev environment. Speed-to-market without quality is like a chicken with its head cut off. It’ll make a quick meal, but it won’t be producing any more eggs (or chickens, for that matter). You will need both speed-to-market and quality in the Digital age and, to accomplish that, your AppDev function must deliver productivity and enable control. Continue reading