All posts by Bill McNee

Bill McNee

About Bill McNee

Mr. McNee is the President and CEO of Saugatuck Technology, a subscription research and advisory firm he founded in 2000. In addition to leading the company, Mr. McNee helps spearhead the firm's research into evolving business models as a result of the shift to the Cloud. This includes the trend toward Digital Business, which has broad implications not only for the CIO but the CFO and CMO as well. Sustainable success demands critical new thinking around business strategies / models, what is core to brand value, how and what digitally-centric products and services to create / launch, how best to exploit the new forms of customer engagement, and what are the best ways of managing operations. Prior to Saugatuck, Mr. McNee spent twelve years with Gartner, most recently as Group Vice President and Research Fellow, responsible for guiding the firm's overall research strategy. A recognized expert in business software, Mr. McNee spent five years leading Gartner's Business / IT Management practice as its Director of Research, focusing on CIO governance issues, and another two as head of Product Strategy, where he conceptualized and launched several new research products. Prior to these roles, he was a lead analyst focusing on enterprise business applications, database tools and asset management strategies. Prior to Gartner, Mr. McNee held strategic planning, financial management and marketing positions at CBS, HBO, Comshare and the Institute for Social Research. Mr. McNee is a University of Michigan alumnus, and has completed graduate work in economics at New York University. Follow Mr. McNee on Twitter at @billmcnee.

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

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

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

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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

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

CFO/CIO Panel – Framing Digital Business Success (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 CFO / CIO panel entitled “Framing Digital Business Success,” Saugatuck’s Founder and CEO Bill McNee spoke with four senior Finance and IT leaders – all from diverse organizations – including Vinay Mehra, CFO at WGBH, Pat Milano, CFO at McGraw Hill Education, Harpreet Grewal, CFO at Constant Contact, Scott Henry, EVP and CTO at Madison Square Garden.

The panel focused on how today’s Finance leaders are accelerating their adoption of Cloud-based accounting solutions as well as advanced “big data” analytics. But Finance is also at the center of a rethinking of business, technology and operating models brought Continue reading

CIO-CTO Panel – Technology, Vision and Leadership: The Digital Business Era (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 CIO / CTO panel entitled “Technology, Vision and Leadership: The Digital Business Era,” Saugatuck Research Fellow Mike West spoke with several senior IT from diverse organizations – Malcolm Frank, EVP and Chief Strategy Officer at Cognizant Technology Solutions, Rich Roseman, former CIO at 21st Century Fox, Daniel Widera, CIO at Veolia – who were asked to consider the following contextual issues:

  • How can IT leaders optimize traditional and emerging resources, internally and externally?
  • How should IT leaders rethink getting work done and delivering operational excellence?
  • What changes must be made to realize the enormous potential of Digital Business?

The panelists were posed the following Continue reading

Featured Presentation with Kit Beall, VP Cloud at Cisco (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 this Featured Presentation, Kit Beall, VP Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco discusses Continue reading

Featured Presentation with Teesee Murray, RVP CloudSuite at Infor (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 this Featured Presentation, Teesee Murray, RVP CloudSuite at Infor discusses Continue reading