Category Archives: Lens360

Fireside Chat with Tim Minahan, CMO SAP Cloud (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 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 Fireside chat, Saugatuck Research Fellow Bruce Guptill sits down with Tim Minahan, CMO SAP Cloud. Minahan discusses the impact that Cloud has had, not just on the cost profile of IT, but also in how it has drastically reshaped the agility that businesses are capable of achieving. Guptill and Minahan go on to talk about how businesses are opening new doors by harvesting data at scale, and using this to help them move beyond traditional TCO models to look instead the opportunities Cloud can create for their businesses. Continue reading

Remain On-Premises? Consider ONUG, but also the CIO

As part of Saugatuck’s “Finance in the Cloud” Series, we have conferenced with executives from over a dozen providers of Financial Management Solutions to learn more about the their solutions, their market reception, their future plans for enhancement and how they view “Finance in the Cloud.” We have also conducted an in-depth survey of over 300 buyers of Cloud Finance solutions, both CFOs and CIOs at midsize to very large organizations (See 1492SSR, Cloud Financials – The Third Wave Emerges, 17 December 2014, also summarized in LENS360, Financials in the Cloud – New Survey Insights, 18 December 2014).

We have posed a number of scenarios to our survey respondents and analyzed their responses regarding how their organizations view “Finance in the Cloud (See Figure 1).”

Figure 1: Five Scenarios for Cloud Finance Migration


Source: Saugatuck Technology Inc.

One of the leading current preferences, Remain On-Premises, though it shrinks in our respondents plans and preferences over the next five years, still remains a significant option for those CFOs, especially very large enterprise CFOs, reluctant to trust their Finance solutions to the Cloud for any number of reasons. Continue reading

Sage Software – Protect the Base, Build to Cloud, Carry On

Saugatuck’s ongoing “Finance in the Cloud” software briefing series has included a wide range of both traditional and non-traditional Finance management software providers, including several that have been re-inventing and repositioning themselves in established and emergent marketplaces.

Sage Software is one of those that has been re-inventing itself as Cloud software development, adoption, and use grows and changes. Saugatuck has covered the evolution of Sage for our research clients since 2007. For an update on Sage’s Finance software portfolio, direction and strategy, Saugatuck’s Mike West, Bill McNee and Bruce Guptill recently met with Sage VP Product Development and Service Enablement John Manry.  Continue reading

Simple Finance: SAP, Finance, Cloud, and Improving Finance Value to the Enterprise

As part of our ongoing “Finance in the Cloud” series, Saugatuck’s Mike West, Bill McNee and Bruce Guptill recently sat around a virtual conference table with Henner Schliebs, head of Finance Audience Marketing for global business management software giant SAP. The session dug into SAP’s drive behind its newest Cloud-based, subscription-only Simple Finance offering, covering SAP’s goals and go-to-market strategy (announced June 3, 2014 @ SAPPHIRE NOW), as well as digging into what SAP sees as key factors moving Finance leaders to consider, and increasingly include, Cloud in core systems of record.

Simple Finance is the first of a wave of planned SAP “simplifications” of traditional ERP / enterprise business management software. At June’s SAPPHIRE NOW event, SAP leaders predicted that the company’s entire Business Suite will be “simplified” by the end of 2015.

SAP’s vision for Finance as an entity, and especially for how Finance will use its software, builds on the goal of positioning the enterprise Finance group and operations as a “competitive weapon.” This requires unifying not only Finance systems, workflows, and data, but all key business management systems, workflows, and data throughout the enterprise, using a core and simplified user interface to enable ease of use and encourage widespread adoption. Continue reading – Prospering in the Salesforce Ecosystem

As part of Saugatuck’s ongoing “Finance in the Cloud” Series, Mike West and Bill McNee recently conferenced with executives from 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.”

Launched in 2009 as a joint venture between UNIT4, a Dutch enterprise software company, and, FinancialForce was founded to enable real-time financial management built on’s technology platform, The following year FinancialForce added Professional Services Automation, based on a solution acquired from Appirio. Thirteen 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 the Unit4 annual report total revenue grew 85% last year, “with the annual run rate in December 2013 (including services) reaching $30.6 million.” With continued strong growth in 2014, Saugatuck Continue reading

Epicor – Making Clouds in Manufacturing ERP / Finance

Epicor – Making Clouds in Manufacturing ERP / Finance

As part of Saugatuck’s ongoing “Finance in the Cloud” Series, Mike West and Bill McNee recently conferenced with executives from Epicor to learn more about the Epicor Cloud Manufacturing ERP / Finance solutions, their market reception, future plans for enhancement and how Epicor views “Finance in the Cloud.”

Founded in 1972, Epicor recently went through a significant re-architecting of their mid-market core offerings that provide customers significant choice in how they want to deploy their solutions – whether ERP, Retail or HCM (among others) – in the Cloud, on-premises or in some hybrid configuration. Few legacy providers have successfully invested in creating a common code base that can be deployed across multiple platforms. No doubt, the ability to transition a customer from on-premises to the Cloud (or the reverse) is a great selling benefit.

Prior to the call we had assumed that Epicor’s core manufacturing customer base would be more conservative in their adoption of its Cloud offerings; however, we were surprised to hear that demand is accelerating faster than we anticipated, with 15-20 percent of new ERP deal activity during 2014 Cloud-based.

Epicor’s Cloud Finance solutions are Continue reading

Twitter’s Fabric, Digital Business, Marketing, and CIO Challenges

As we close out every year, especially in periods of rapid and accelerating change, looking back to interesting and compelling events becomes a de rigueur part of blogging and analysis.

One of the more digital business interesting developments affecting enterprise CIOs in recent weeks was Twitter’s late October announcement of its “Fabric” software development platform for mobile apps. Fabric enables Twitter to create its own new digital business, while enabling enterprises and IT services providers to do the same. Since the announcement, I’ve researched it in more detail, spoken with a handful of experienced developers, and played a bit with the thing myself.

Here’s a year-end update on what Fabric is, how it can enable and challenge enterprise Marketing and other aspects of Digital Business, and how it in turn changes and challenges the role(s) of the enterprise CIO.

Fabric is a free extension with three SDKs that can be added to existing iOS and Android development environments. It enables very simple and straightforward, with drop-down menus for adding Twitter functions, analytics, and ads to applications. Developers select Continue reading

Tidemark: Mobile-First, Ease of Use Analytics

As part of Saugatuck’s ongoing “Finance in the Cloud” Series, Mike West and Bill McNee recently conferenced with executives from Tidemark to learn more about the Tidemark solutions, their market reception, future plans for enhancement and how Tidemark views “Finance in the Cloud.”

Formerly known as Proferi, Tidemark is a privately-held firm founded in 2010 that provides Cloud-based analytics solutions built for a mobile device-enabled platform. Tidemark has grown rapidly, and now has nearly 200 employees and over 50 customers.

Tidemark’s differentiation in the financial planning and analysis (FP&A) space, which has many competing providers, is a process-focused elastic grid platform that enables a high ease-of-use user experience designed to move financial analysis beyond the CFO suite. Tidemark targets the emerging urgency – not just in the CFO suite, but across the lines of business – for real-time analysis of multi-dimensional, complex Continue reading

Rethinking Digital Business Vision for Vendors

We at Saugatuck are frequently privileged to partake in update briefings with a wide range of IT providers, both established Master Brands and emergent, potentially disruptive upstarts. These briefings are helpful in not only catching up with planned product updates, key customer wins, new offering availabilities, and so on, but also in developing and refining providers’ overall visions of current and expected IT market – and how they will or are pursuing those markets.

Recent briefings with the largest and most established IT providers – the Master Brands of the world – have spurred some internal thinking about their positioning as they continue to transition from traditional markets to more and more types of Cloud-catalyzed, digital-business-first demand and situations. The bottom line is that, while they are all making substantial progress in their own transitions, and in rethinking/re-inventing themselves, the traditional IT Master Brands still have some way to go in their own understanding of how markets and buyer/user demands are shifting. They still don’t see the holistic, digital enterprise picture.

One graphic used in a recent Master Brand briefing really spotlighted this continuing lag/gap in understanding. I’ve reproduced the graphic below – this is a close approximation, with everything in the right place but with non-original colors and typeface. Continue reading

Five Surprising Findings About DevOps

DevOps is everywhere these days. At our recent Saugatuck Cloud Business Summit, there was almost universal adoption of DevOps in the organizations represented by the large-enterprise CIOs and CTOs at the conference. This was a bit surprising, as it represents an acceleration of adoption across organizations at a much faster pace than our recent research had suggested. Perhaps it wasn’t as surprising, however, as five recent findings about the state of DevOps in North America recently revealed.

How does DevOps start? As with many technology-related phenomena, DevOps often begins as isolated pockets of IT automation. This is regardless of company size, whether the company has a pre-disposition to Open Source or Windows, and regardless of who you ask (developers or operations).

The typical scenario for many companies: a team or organization deploys Puppet or Chef, for instance. Although, it could be Salt or Ansible, Dell KACE or ScriptRock’s GuardRail. After initial learning and project success, the DevOps expertise spreads, and several more people in the organization acquire the skills Continue reading