Adaptive Insights and the CPM Value Shift

In preparation for this week’s Adaptive Live event, Saugatuck’s Bill McNee and Bruce Guptill were briefed by company execs on Adaptive Insights’ business plans, go-to-market strategy, and latest developments.

Our net takeaway: The advent of the Boundary-free Enterprise™ is changing what we think of as CPM and BI, and even FP&A, which in turn is changing the role, value, involvement, and strategies of the typical Finance organization, which itself changes the roles, business, and go-to-market approaches of providers like Adaptive Insights (1475MKT, Revisiting the Critical Changes of “Boundary-free” Business, 21Nov2014).

Adaptive Insights is a privately-held Cloud business solutions company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, founded in 2003 as Adaptive Planning. As a SaaS provider of business intelligence and corporate performance management solutions, Adaptive historically targeted smaller and mid-sized enterprises, and – as have other early-gen Cloud / SaaS providers – has more recently shifted its focus more strongly toward mid-sized and larger enterprises.

The company has also shifted from a traditional BI / CPM / FP&A add-on / ”sidecar” focus (see 51-page research report Cloud Financials – The Third Wave Emerges, 1492SSR, 17Dec2014. Non-clients can purchase download and purchase the report here) to more of an integrative Finance management suite / platform approach, which includes and extends the company’s presence – and the influence and involvement of the typical Finance organization – into other key enterprise groups including Sales and HR. Look for a range of formal announcements made earlier Continue reading

CFO / CIO Alignment – Critical for Cloud Financials Success

Saugatuck Technology expects the Cloud migration of core financials to take several years through at least 2020. However, this process can be eased somewhat by consciously targeting the CFO and CIO with appropriate information messaging designed to ease fears and provide solutions to meet the important challenges arising from the Cloud migration. Unless there is good alignment between CFOs and CIO on meeting the challenges of Cloud migration, core financials in the Cloud may be delayed unnecessarily.

The migration of core financials to the Cloud, while under consideration currently in most organizations and underway at more than a few early adopters, still faces challenges that matter to both CFOs and CIOs. It is clear that to move core financials to the Cloud is a truly significant undertaking that would require the close partnership of the CFO and CIO to accomplish.

Given the way in which core financials are, on the one hand, mission critical from an informational and a regulatory viewpoint and, on the other, closely intertwined with other enterprise systems, alignment of the CFO and CIO with respect to a projected Cloud migration would be essential. But how well aligned are CFOs and CIO in regard to moving Core Financials to the Cloud?

How CFO and CIO See Key Cloud Inhibitors

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Source: Saugatuck Technology, CFO/CIO Study (Dec 2014), n = 317 Continue reading

The Internet of Things (IoT): New Research Report Findings

What is Happening?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a diverse and expanding set of technologies, providers, and consumers. IoT is a litany of independent, dispersed, self-contained, proprietary, and loosely connected devices. Connections among the providers and consumers of IoT are as loose as those among the devices. It’s exciting and innovative. Yet IoT also has unrelenting concerns of security, connectivity, data processing, analysis, and manageability.

In the IoT, devices, applications, and services connect with intelligence to create insights. While the global IoT uses the Internet, private IoT could use other network infrastructures. Saugatuck’s recent Infrastructure Survey shows that only 21 percent have yet to implement IoT management, and by 2017 all but 10 percent plan IoT infrastructure upgrades (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Infrastructure Upgrade Plans

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These are some of the key findings found in a new 17-page Saugatuck Strategic Report (SSR) published earlier today entitled “Making Sense of the Internet of Things (IoT): What’s a Leader to Do?” (1564SSR). The research summarizes our insight and recommendations regarding:

  • What is the IoT opportunity for businesses and providers?
  • How can IoT products and services complement existing provider portfolios?
  • What are the challenges and barriers to entry?
  • Why are there so many IoT groups, and which ones are most important?
  • What should providers do to improve their, and their clients, chances of success?
  • What does Saugatuck think will happen to the IoT in the future?

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Gorillas in Our Midst: Mobile App Security Issues

From a security perspective, mobile apps are much more than they seem. They may appear as harmless and benevolent creatures, yet their potential for security issues resembles something more like King Kong. Mobile apps can wreak havoc with security because they are easily introduced, easily developed, and easily deployed. Their usefulness leads to complacency. Yet they increasingly gain access to critical information and important corporate applications through APIs in the cloud. Mobile apps also have access to a wide variety of personal data, such as location information, social information, contacts, photos and videos, and anything else that a user may care to contribute to social streams. If this weren’t enough cause for concern, they contain codes, passwords, and information that would be critical for gaining access to corporate data directly, or through social engineering techniques.

Attack Vectors for Mobile Apps

Attack Vectors for Mobile Apps — Source: Saugatuck Technology

Despite these issues and their valuable content, mobile apps are notoriously insecure. Relatively little attention has been paid to them due to their relative recent introduction and the fact that their development coincides with general changes in software development. Apps create security concerns going well beyond what has previously been considered with their desktop cousins. They may be vulnerable in every area from development to deployment and, afterwards, maintenance and security updates. On top of this, there are special concerns that are particular to mobile devices.

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Cloud Security Services – On the Move

Is the security profile of your organization partly cloudy with a chance of meatballs? Is the security budget not expanding fast enough to cover required projects or simply never enough? Can you easily explain the difference between managed security services, subscription security services, and Cloud infrastructure security including VM monitoring services, virtual machine, and hypervisor notification agents?

It may be time to climb out of the Cloud and look at alternatives to onsite security programs and controls. Security subscription services, managed security services, Identity services, Cloud infrastructure and data center services may be just the fixes for never enough money, staff turnovers, and the need to deliver more in less time.

Saugatuck recently published a five-page Strategic Perspective entitled The Rise of Cloud Security Services (1562STR, 17Apr2015 – see link at bottom of this blog post if you are a premium subscriber to Saugatuck’s CRS research service to access) that analyzes available Cloud security service alternatives across five key dimensions (see Figure 1). The piece includes identification of some of the leading vendors delivering Cloud security services in each of the five categories, what the different services are best suited for and why, and provides insight into the multiple apparitions of Cloud security.

Figure 1: Cloud Security Services

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Source: Saugatuck Technology, 2015

It seems that all security products and services are being labeled as “Cloud security” these days, and that every vendor in the business of delivering security is now a Cloud security vendor. There’s good reason why vendors are toeing the “Cloud” line as organizations transition from legacy systems and application workloads to virtualized Cloud data centers: the Cloud and in the transition to the Cloud is where the money is. Continue reading

Cloud Finance Answers Begin with Six Questions

Being the repository of the majority of company business data, Finance is becoming one of two de facto “data centers” for most companies in the 21st century (the other “data center” being Marketing). The use of Cloud-based systems by and for Finance will have – is having – the effect of making more business data available to more entities and will therefore engender more business change, and therefore cost, than has previously been expected or experienced. As they become more complex and costly, and as they affect more aspects of companies, Cloud-based solutions and services increasingly require solid business cases to support their acquisition. A new Strategic Perspective for subscribers of Saugatuck Technology’s Continuous Research Service offers six key questions that successful CFOs ask and answer as they begin to build bullet-proof Cloud acquisition business cases. Continue reading

Fear and Ignorance, Finance Leaders, and Cloud Hesitancy

What’s stopping the largest percentage of enterprise leaders, including Finance executives, from trusting even some of their systems and data to Cloud providers?

Ignorance-based fear.

December’s Saugatuck survey on Cloud and Finance, which has provided fodder for a terrific series of strategic reports, Strategic Perspectives, blog posts, and other insights published for and used by Saugatuck’s clients, included hundreds of open-ended responses regarding current and expected Finance IT systems and infrastructures. And while an encouraging plurality of survey participants indicated that they are moving, typically judiciously, toward using more and more Cloud for Finance, more than 20 percent of those writing in responses still expressed security-related concerns as their primary reasons for not even considering Cloud-based Finance systems.

The ones that stood out included the following:

  • “Every time our financial managers look at ‘the cloud,’ they only see that the information is outside our firewall and therefore perusable by anyone and everyone. Only completely public information will ever be stored off-site or outside of our company’s direct control.” – Controller, Healthcare, Upper-midsize company
  • “We are concerned about cloud security and competitors being able to access cloud information.” – Finance Director, Business / Professional Services, Midsize
  • “We have a fear of using the cloud based on possible hacking and fraud capabilities. Until it’s a proven technology we will keep everything in-house.” – VP Finance, Financial Services, Large
  • “Organizationally, we are evaluating the movement towards cloud-based computing, and are aware of the potential cost savings, but are tempered by the continuing risk of breaches.” – Director of IT, Healthcare, Upper-midsize company

First, let me vent in a blunt manner, then I’ll get to the more reasoned content.

Positions such as those expressed above border on willful ignorance. They are based almost entirely on perception, opinion, and Continue reading

Marketo Summit: Omnichannel Personalization Drives the Post-Campaign Era

What is Happening?

Earlier this week, Saugatuck attended the Marketo Marketing Nation SummitMarketo’s annual user conference. This year there were a total of 8500 total registrants, up 41 percent from last year’s event (Digital Marketing Leads Digital Business, 10 April 2014.).

While last year was primarily a platform for Marketo to prove their commitment to the large enterprise, this year it was clear that they have successfully navigated that transition, with many large enterprises in attendance. According to Marketo, many customers sent more than 20 employees to the event for training – another clear sign that Marketo is successfully penetrating these large accounts, and building a wider audience within organizations than a year ago.

As always, they announced several new capabilities during the morning keynote, interspersed with celebrity keynotes from Arianna Huffington and soul artist John Legend, which included new ways to track and interact with users through mobile applications and a robust set of integrations with ad platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google. While their offerings have traditionally focused on B2B communications through emails, their new platform is certainly transitioning to provide improved B2C capabilities as well. This is an adaption to stay ahead of the trend where people’s work / life balance is increasingly mixed.

Marketo Mobile Engagement is a Software Development Kit (SDK) that provides Marketo customers with a toolkit to instrument their mobile apps. Capabilities now include robust mobile app usage tracking and capabilities to market directly into the Mobile application through push notifications and content updates. This functionality helps ensure that Marketo is ahead of the game in supporting increased demand for Omnichannel marketing communication.

Marketo AdBridge is a set of integrations with major ad platforms. While the Google and Facebook integrations had been announced previously, Marketo announced a new relationship with LinkedIn on Monday. AdBridge aims to bring mass-personalization to ad campaigns by tying the ad buying process with preexisting Marketo profiles, and then tying the data generated in the ad profiles back into the Marketo database. While some very savvy users have been doing this already in order to inform their sales attribution metrics, AdBridge helps put that process in reach of less technical users by providing a product to do the heavy lifting. Continue reading

Microservices on the Horizon

In Saugatuck’s recent Cloud Infrastructure survey, we asked IT leaders to identify what the top 3 technology trends that would have significant impact on their businesses would be through 2017. Unsurprisingly, the current wave of infrastructure modernization led the way, with the highest percentages of respondents placing NFV, SDN, and Private Cloud chief in their sights.

Figure 1: Most Important Technology Trends through 2017

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Source: Saugatuck Technology, Cloud Infrastructure Survey, April 2015, n=327 (global)

Notably, Microservices remained farther down the list – with only 19% of users saying that it would have a top 3 impact on their infrastructure. However, when we look at this chart more closely, it has some broader implications on what all of the investment in network, storage and private cloud will ultimately by used for. Continue reading

AWS Summit 2015: Public Cloud and Microservices

What is Happening?

Yesterday, Saugatuck attended the AWS Summit 2015 in San Francisco, where Amazon gave an update on their business, and released several new products to the nearly 10,000 attendees at the Moscone Center and the 7,000 who watched the livestream. Andy Jassy, SVP of Web Services at Amazon kicked off the keynote by highlighting some key statistics about the business: from 4Q13 to 4Q14 they experienced 103 percent year-over-year growth in the amount of Data transferred into and out of S3 (Simple Storage Service) and 93 percent growth in the use of their compute service EC2. They now have over 1 million active users who have used the service in the last month.

Jassy brought several companies out to discuss the value of the AWS Cloud infrastructure. Jason Kilar, the founding CEO of Hulu, and now CEO of Vessel, a startup focused on video sharing and consumption, highlighted the ability to keep his team small, and focus on the business without having to build infrastructure. Wilf Russel, VP of Digital Technology Development at Nike described how the Cloud has fundamentally changed their application architecture and described their shift toward DevOps and Microservices. Valentini Volonghi, CTO at AdRoll discussed how the Cloud gave their business the reach to reduce latency by distributing their app around the globe. And Colin Bodell, CTO & EVP at Time Inc. who is migrating all of Time’s datacenters to AWS, citing that in the UK, they took their datacenter monthly run rate from $70,000 to $17,000.

Finally, Jassy used the opportunity to make several product announcements:

  1. Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) – a fully managed filesystem that can span multiple EC2 instances to enable multiple concurrent and scalable connections to a single file directory.
  2. Amazon Machine Learning Service – A one-size-fits all service that enables non-experts to implement Machine Learning algorithms on their data sets, or within their applications. This offers a simple API for training and modeling calculations which can then be called to perform specific machine learning tasks.
  3. Amazon Workspaces and AWS Marketplace for Desktop Apps – an Amazon VDI product to enable companies to create virtual desktops, as well as purchase, manage and provision the software for those desktop applications.
  4. The GA release of the Amazon EC2 Container Service – The Amazon tool for deploying, managing, updating, and running Docker clusters.
  5. The GA release of AWS Lambda – a Service designed to perform trigger / event driven compute in small doses. Provides a way to perform small, scripted tasks in real-time when triggers are initiated. Amazon highlighted its use in sending notifications, indexing, IoT, and as a serverless mobile backend. At present, Lambda only supports Node.js, but is adding support for Java in the coming weeks.

Continue reading