Category Archives: Lens360

News from Notables at Internet of Things World

The second annual Internet of Things World 2015 conference was held last week in San Francisco. The conference hosted 4,000 attendees, 250 speakers, and 150 exhibitors. The focus for 2015 was on creating Internet of Things (IoT) partnerships and developing ecosystems to monetize the IoT service vision. Two notable providers made significant announcements touting their IoT offerings, successes, and strategiesSamsung introduced ARTIK, a new chip technology for IoT devices. The ARTIK features security, small form factor, advanced software, and low power use, said the company. ARTIK includes an IoT software stack and tools for product development. ARTIK is also compatible with Arduino, the open source electronics platform. Samsung thinks its manufacturing capabilities combined with its IoT ecosystem means product developers can quickly get their ARTIK-based solutions to market.

Samsung also announced SmartThings Open Cloud, a new open software and data exchange cloud. Open Cloud is powered by SAMI, Samsung’s platform for open exchange of diverse data from any source. Open Cloud supports digital appliances and consumer electronics products. Samsung ships about 660 million devices each year, including electronics and appliances. The company wants to connect 90% of those devices to the Internet by 2017.

Qualcomm, via its wireless-focused subsidiary Qualcomm Atheros, bowed new and smarter Wi- Fi chip solutions to connect IoT devices and applications. The new products are compatible with the AllJoyn software framework from the AllSeen Alliance. The company also announced six new integrations affecting the IoT. The integrations address security, performance management, cloud connect services, code generation, and analytics.

Qualcomm sees the IoT as a critical growth market; its research shows that 5 billion connected devices that are not smartphones will ship by 2018. Its chips are already in 20 million automobiles and more than 120 million home devices. Qualcomm also supports several smart city projects. And the company claims more than $1 billion in revenue from chips for IoT devices in its last fiscal year that ended in September 2014.

The Samsung and Qualcomm IoT announcements reinforce the opinion that Saugatuck expects IoT ecosystems and interoperability to be central to provider strategies (see 1564SSR, Making Sense of the Internet of Things: What’s a Leader to Do?, 23Apr2015). The growth of the IoT will depend on such strategies. Improved interoperability will hopefully follow the implementations of the new products and integrations from these two providers as well as others.

NOTE: this Lens360 blog post was originally published online by Saugatuck at http:// blog.saugatucktechnology.com.

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ISPs Act to Block Title II Reclassification in Net Neutrality Rules

On May 1, AT&T, CenturyLink, as well as U.S. telecom and cable industry groups petitioned the FCC to block parts of new Net Neutrality rules. They cited “crushing” compliance costs and threats to investment. The FCC ruling will go into effect June 12, 2015 unless the FCC or a court grants the motion to stay (or delay) the ruling.

The request objects to subjecting the broadband carriers to common carrier duties under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. While the Title II changes are part of the new Net Neutrality rules from the FCC, the request from ISPs specifically targeted Title II reclassification. Petitioners did not seek a stay of the other key Net Neutrality rules: no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization. This reveals an important element of their legal strategy. The Internet providers see the new FCC rules as a house of cards with Title II classification as its foundation.

As we shared earlier this year (see Net Neutrality – Enjoy the Media Circus, Hurry Up and Wait for Real Change, 20Feb2015, 1530RA – see Lens360 blog post version), the consequences of the FCC reclassify broadband under Title II are unclear. The agency would need to use forbearance and waive certain processes that don’t apply for the Internet. Opponents assert that the change would slow innovation on the Internet. The result would be a regulated “innovation by permission” situation. Providers assert that Title II carries a lot of baggage as a regulatory option, with a risk of forcing other forms of transmission to also fall under its classification. In essence, opponents say, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Continue reading

Amazon Business Disrupts and Confirms the Business Network Paradigm

During AribaLIVE 2015, one of more widely retweeted thoughts was “The network is the business.” As the world shifts farther and faster toward Digital Business, the statement rings truer every day. Every system, every relationship, every interaction, is more and more part of multiple networked systems running across multiple platforms between an ever-growing range of business types. And as Ariba made clear at its event, there’s massive profit for providers and users alike in organizing, managing, and optimizing how these interactions occur, including in the development and expansion of B2B marketplaces which can combine complex sourcing, ecommerce, collaboration, payment, cataloguing, inventory management, and other business and Finance management operations and apps into unified services platforms.

So, here comes Amazon, both confirming the “business network” paradigm and likely disrupting the heck out of others’ business plans.

Amazon has announced Amazon Business, a new B2B e-marketplace featuring hundreds of millions of products, bulk discounts, and free two-day shipping on orders worth more than $49. The new marketplace replaces (and vastly improves upon) the company’s established AmazonSupply marketplace for industrial products and office supplies.

Is Amazon Business the same thing as the Ariba Business Network, Emptoris, Perfect Commerce, Procurify, or any other similar type of Finance-focused, Continue reading

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

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

AribaLIVE 2015 – The Complex Reality of Networked Business Commerce

This year’s AribaLIVE event opened Wednesday with a performance by Ariba client Cirque du Soleil, complete with steampunk-style animated sky-sailing ships, stage smoke, haunting music, dramatic narration, and acrobatics. As I tweeted from the event:

#VoyageofDiscovery theme w/Cirque du Soleil opening #AribaLIVE. Smoke, acrobatics, complexity, fog. Perfect allegory for #Finance today

Anchored by Ariba SVP and CMO Tim Minahan, Wednesday’s opening session – and the second-day opener as well – was replete with stories of real-world business improvement through innovative applications of spend-management solutions. Experiences ranged from AIG finding the potential to save $70M simply by formalizing procurement to utilizing supply-chain sourcing management to reduce and hopefully end modern slavery. In sum, Ariba did more than one would think possible to make some of the most mundane aspects of Finance management – e.g., procurement, spending, sourcing, invoicing, payment – compelling.

What was most compelling for me was first, the increasingly interactive, and increasingly complex, networked nature of these routine-yet-critical aspects of Finance and commerce; and second, Ariba’s grasp of the need to both enable and leverage that increasing complexity to improve business for its clients and for itself via the Ariba Business Network concept and model.

For Ariba, to paraphrase both Scott McNealy and Bob Metcalfe, “The network is the business.” And everything about AribaLIVE 2015 themes, sessions, and discussions was built around The Network: how to use it, link with it, take Continue reading

CFOs and Cloud Caution – What is the Reality?

Saugatuck recently concluded a series of conversations with CFOs from all types and sizes of firms in the U.S., Western Europe, the Pacific Rim countries, and mainland Asia. Some of what was discussed tests the positions developed from our 2014 Cloud Finance study; more of the discussions drilled deeper into the changing roles of Finance and the CFO. An in-depth report that integrates our previous research with the shifting and evolving roles and needs of CFOs and Finance organizations will be published for Saugatuck clients later in April or May 2015.

A new Strategic Perspective published for Saugatuck research clients examines a core issue regarding CFOs and Cloud adoption: namely, is Finance adoption and use of Cloud-based systems lagging behind most other areas of the enterprise because CFOs are too cautious?

First, we need to establish whether Finance really is “behind” other areas of enterprise business in overall Cloud adoption and use.

Figure 1: Finance and Cloud – Not Applying Themselves?

1555MKT_figure1

Source: Saugatuck Technology Inc. Continue reading

API with Analytics Yet?

The importance of the API economy has been apparent for several years, and API availability and use is growing exponentially. To date, this growth has been fueled by mobility, with APIs providing a mechanism for enabling tiny apps on mobile devices to perform important tasks by invoking the capability of hosted applications. At the same time, Big Data and Advanced Analytics have been developing steadily and moving toward direct real-time integration with business processes. Analytics APIs, particularly the new machine-learning driven Predictive APIs (PAPIs), can provide the glue to bring Analytics and processes together.

Analytics APIs offer the possibility of real time access to analytics inserted directly into composite applications. This offers great possibilities for enhancement of business processes, but it also opens the possibility of combining multiple simultaneous streams of analysis on an ad-hoc basis, creating a variable and scalable artificial intelligence.

Predictive APIs are already here and are being provided by major vendors and startups alike. This includes Microsoft, which provides Azure machine learning, and Google, which provides its Prediction API currently in a beta. Emerging providers taking revolutionary steps in this area include BigML, Swift API, Datagami, GraphLab, Apigee Insights, Openscoring.io, Intuitics, Zementis, Predixion, PredictionIO, H2O, Yottamine, Lattice, Futurelytics, and Lumiata. As with many other technologies in the IT sector, a lot of the innovation is happening with startups. In this case, however, startups greatly expand their capabilities of the underlying technology by opening up a wider range of APIs for assembly to handle an ever-increasing range of data and outcomes. Continue reading

Time to Rethink the “Data Center” Concept – and the Role of “IT?”

On the one hand, the IT function and organization for most firms has never been more about “data.” Big Data, data mining, advanced analytics, predictive analytics, real-time analytics, and so on rule media reports, analyst insights, event titles, the blogosphere, and provider announcements. The growth of Digital Business both feeds, and feed off of, data and more data. What used to be primarily a focus on software and infrastructure, many firms now see data and content providing their greatest growth.

On the other hand, data and its processing are every day less and less centered. It’s easy to see the proliferation of Cloud-based function-, application-, and group-specific analytics that accompany the parallel proliferation of Cloud-based applications and attendant data stores. And meanwhile, CIOs all over the globe are already telling us that because they can leverage Cloud capabilities, they want to never build another data center.

This has engendered some interesting discussions with the Saugatuck team and with our clients as well. If we as business and IT leaders are more and more about “data” every day, while we actively pursue non-centered uses, locations, and processing for that data, what do we do with the concept of the “data center?”

The data center concept grew because of traditional, centralized IT organizations, infrastructures, and policies that insisted that data was a valuable resource that therefore must be centrally held, controlled, processed, and secured. This version of reality became moot after the onslaught of desktop and portable computing, and has become even less meaningful to many in a Cloud-first IT and 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