SIIA in Boston – Deciphering Data and Analytics for ISV Business

What is Happening?

ISVs can, should, and do profit from the use of advanced data analytics – not only by integrating them within software and services offerings, but more importantly, by integrating an increasing range and scope of data (including Big Data) and analytics into their own business operations and decision making. Data regarding user behavior, operational efficiencies, and relationship management can and should be analyzed to help determine and take advantage of customer / buyer desires and needs, as well as competitive abilities, solution improvements, development strategy, upsell / cross-sell opportunities, pricing, business models, and hiring / retaining the most useful employees.

These were among the lessons reported by Saugatuck Research Fellow Bruce Guptill, who had the pleasure of attending and participating in this week’s “Deciphering the Data Storm” event, presented in Boston by the Software & Services division of the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA).

Key lessons learned and reported by ISVs regarding the analysis and application of a wide range of business data (including Big Data) include the following:

  • Data needs “gravity” in order to be useful; i.e., data needs varying combinations of human business context, situational relevance, and environmental semantics (i.e., “the voice of the author”) in order to be qualified, let alone be useful in analysis.
  • Don’t always focus on reducing / limiting the “bigness” of data. Adding to / augmenting data with similar, complementary, and relevant data can provide and improve the “gravity” of that data. The key information sought may not be found completely in your own data. That being said, don’t be afraid to apply a variety of filters to screen Big Data; just be willing to accept failure and move on quickly when the filtering doesn’t work as expected.
  • Share data in common to improve collaboration. “Success” is defined differently everywhere, even within small ISVs. Utilizing common sets of data has more beneficial impact, and enables more and better business collaboration, than trying to develop and focus on a “single version of the truth.” Different groups will always have different perspectives, and use data in different ways; ensuring that the data used is common rather than simply absolute will enable better understanding, and foster more (and more useful) interaction.
  • Know what the next step is. In other words, set realistic business goals beyond simply analyzing data. Once deeply into the analysis, it’s easy to lose sight of business reasons behind the analysis. And as more data becomes more readily available from more sources, it becomes more and more easy to become overwhelmed.

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UPDATED: FinancialForce.com – Prospering in the Salesforce Ecosystem

As part of our ongoing “Finance in the Cloud” Series, Saugatuck recently conferenced with executives from FinancialForce.com to learn more about the FinancialForce Cloud ERP / Finance solutions, their market reception, future plans for enhancement and how FinancialForce views “Finance in the Cloud.”

NOTE: This Lens360 blog post was originally published on December 16, 2014. See March 26, 2015 Business Update in the Postscript section below.

Launched in 2009 as a joint venture between UNIT4, a Dutch enterprise software company, and salesforce.com, FinancialForce was founded to enable real-time financial management built on salesforce.com’s technology platform, Force.com. The following year FinancialForce added Professional Services Automation, based on a solution acquired from Appirio. Eighteen months ago, FinancialForce made two more key acquisitions, Less Software (supply chain management) and Vana Workforce (human capital management). In early 2014, it announced its FinancialForce ERP – further repositioning itself as a unified back-office suite provider.

It has been quite a journey for FinancialForce. According to Continue reading

The Business of Digital Identity

In the old days in each village, access to personally identifiable information was in your face: it occurred when the other villagers looked into your eyes. The days of the village and up-close eye contact have been replaced by vast amounts of digital data representing identity. The modern digital equivalent of identity information is stored in repositories in digital networks throughout the world. Continue reading

On The Road With Finance

What is Happening?

Over the past two weeks, Saugatuck has been on the road participating in a range of roadshow briefings and online webinars with CFOs, as well as in the opening keynote panel at a major finance-focused conference called FINANCE2015. Sponsored by SAP, and held at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas, the conference brought together 2,000+ finance and IT execs, to learn about the future of finance systems.

While SAP announced a number of new products at the conference, based on conversations with prospects and clients, the big takeaway was the growing momentum it seems to be getting for its Simple Finance offering (announced in mid-2014 – see Lens360 blog post “Large-Enterprise Financials – A Less Scary Path to the Future,” 15Oct2014), which is the first instantiation of its new S4/HANA architecture. This Research Alert highlights some key takeaways from the events, along with some of the research that Saugatuck shared during the recent roadshow and at the conference, and a recent webinar for another client.

Why is it Happening?

In December 2014, Saugatuck published the results of a web survey it conducted with more than 300 senior Finance and IT executives. While readers can learn more about the broader research program results by going to a Research Alert published in mid-December (see “Financials in the Cloud – New Survey Insights” (1493RA, 18Dec2014) – we wanted to highlight one of the questions here that focused on impending demand across a range of finance functions over the short and mid-term.

Figure 1: Finance in the Cloud – Pace of Adoption by Sub-Function

1547RA - chart1

Source: Saugatuck Technology. Cloud in Finance survey, (CFO-only responses), N=162, North America (Dec. 2014)

There is little doubt that the Third Wave of Cloud Business Solution demand has begun, with more than 50 percent of Finance and IT execs indicating that they are either currently evaluating, or planning to replace their current Financial Systems within the next 24 months. But the sandbox called “Financial Systems” is indeed very wide and very Continue reading

Software Defined Networking (SDN): Core to the Future of the Data Center?

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is emerging as a new architecture for infrastructure flexibility in enterprises and in providers of Cloud infrastructure offerings. SDN is based upon separating the control layer from the data transport layer in a communications network. A key advantage is the use of a virtualized architecture that enables the use of commodity servers rather than custom-designed network controllers.

Some enterprises have taken steps to adopt software defined networking in their data centers, where it provides cost advantages and more flexibility in network configuration, and thus can accelerate implementation of new applications through DevOps techniques. For example, using DevOps, an application can be readily tested by temporarily accessing cloud resources to run the application at scale.

While enterprises have learned that a key attraction of virtualization is that it provides a means to make changes to an infrastructure easily and quickly – SDN presents a dilemma for vendors of traditional networking controllers. SDN enables the use of commodity-priced servers rather than conventional proprietary controllers in network infrastructures. This is quite attractive to enterprises due to the potential for significant cost savings (see Figure 1), and due to the greater flexibility in equipment and vendor selection. Continue reading

iPaaS, MDM, and API Management Solidify Dell Boomi Platform

Dell has just announced an expansion of its Boomi line which broadens its platform from its integration (iPaaS) and Master Data Management (MDM) center, out to include a complete API creation and management suite. The new suite enables both developers and savvy business users the ability to create, modify, publish, and monitor both SOAP and REST APIs.

While Dell is not the first to bring integration and API Management together, they are the first to bring MDM into the mix – and this combination is likely to prove very powerful, as shifts in IT overall are pushing more and more toward loosely-coupled data as well as services.  As we wrote in July 2014 in our Lens360 post, Master Data Management and the Internet of Things:

As the Internet of Things grows, and the complexity of systems dependent on sensor data continues to increase, we see major opportunity for IT to add new value through Master Data Management (MDM) programs. While recently the focus of MDM has often been in maintaining a single view of the customer across multiple cloud and on premises systems (such as CRM, order management, ecommerce, mobile, etc), we expect that the challenges in maintaining context around sensor data to be a primary driver of new MDM initiatives going forward.

It is clear now that the opportunity for MDM is beyond any one category of data, whether it be sales, HR, sensor, IoT, or Mobile, to name a few. With the combination of MDM and data integration, Boomi was already well positioned to help connect existing applications. By adding in API Management, they can now become an invaluable tool for application and service modernization. Developers will be able to create new services and APIs while managing data governance, even as these services become increasingly distributed. Continue reading

IoT Beyond the Consumer: The Industrial Internet and Smart Cities

The Internet of Things (IoT) comprises the concept of many connected objects. Much of the media discussion focuses on connected objects in homes and worn by consumers. Yet, business applications of IoT abound. New IoT technologies help enable enterprise services that can improve business and government operations.  Continue reading

Evolving Infrastructure Profiles – The Shift to the Cloud Accelerates

What is Happening?           

Saugatuck just closed a significant global web survey of senior IT leaders, focusing on the evolution of IT infrastructures, and the pace of transition from conventional (in-house) infrastructures to Cloud infrastructures over the next few years. This Research Alert provides a glimpse at some of the findings, as we highlight top-line results from one of the questions that shows how traditional on-premises deployment models (leveraging virtualization – either limited or significant) will rapidly decline from greater than 70 percent of IT shops globally in 2015, to 18 percent in 2019 – as multiple flavors of Private Cloud take hold, along with adoption of Hybrid models (On-premises + Public Cloud) and pure Public Cloud approaches.

Why is it Happening?

In early February 2015, Saugatuck kicked off its 2015 Cloud Infrastructure research program. It will include not only our just completed global survey of 327 senior IT execs, but briefings with more than a dozen IT infrastructure (and related software) providers, and more than 10 deep-dive interviews with senior IT leaders from upper-mid and large enterprises. The output of this research program will spill out in more than two dozen deliverables that will be published over the next few months through our CRS research service and our Lens 360 blog – as we look not only at the pace of transition for core compute resources, but also at IT functions such as backup / recovery, deployment of new business workloads and the pace of migration of existing business workloads (and where). Our research will also look at trends in the use of new technologies such as containers and software defined networking, and the key drivers and inhibitors shaping IT infrastructure decisions.

Figure 1: IT Infrastructure Profiles, 2015 – 2019

Cloud Infrastructure Adoption

As Figure 1 illustrates, the research shows definitive trends in the adoption of Private and Public Cloud infrastructures and the replacement and / or deprecation of legacy infrastructure. Continue reading

Scaled Agile with DevOps Is Rocket Science

Scaled Agile with DevOps is rocket science, yet despite the very real challenges of implementing it, this platform has proved the means by which Web-scale development organizations are deploying hundreds, if not thousands, of software releases per day. Amazon has become famous for its high-velocity deployment of more than 2500 software releases per day across its various Cloud solution offerings. And there are similar storied successes at eBay, Etsy, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Twitter and others where Scaled Agile and DevOps enable here-to-fore unthinkable rates of development and deployment. Continue reading

CMO/CIO Panel – Winning in a Data Rich World (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. 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.

In a featured CMO / CIO panel entitled “Winning in a Data Rich World, Saugatuck’s Founder and CEO Bill McNee spoke with three senior Marketing and IT leaders – all from diverse organizations – including Steve Mann, CMO at LexisNexis Research Solutions, Reuben Hendell, then Managing Partner at Barrytown Group (now CEO of BrandShop Digital Commerce), Joe Fuller, CIO at Dominion Enterprises.

The panel focused on how Cloud-based data is at the center of today’s digital marketing revolution, and at the core of the powerful rise of predictive analytics supporting it. But with ever exploding volumes of data, from Continue reading