Most people are risk-averse. Growing up, my parents certainly were. And it has long been clear that most large-enterprise CFOs are. So it has not been that surprising that the Office of the CFO has been cautious in adopting Cloud-based solutions, regardless as to whether any of their fears are substantially justified or not.
No doubt, pockets of next-gen solution adoption have been occurring for some time throughout Finance, although mostly around the periphery. Cloud players such as Adaptive Insights, Host Analytics and Tidemark are having strong success in the business planning and budgeting space. Niche players such as Avalara and Kyriba are likewise enjoying strong demand in the Sales / Use Tax and Corporate Treasury segments respectfully. And providers of Cloud-based core Accounting / Financials targeting SMBs and mid-market firms have likewise seen some solid success, including firms such as Intacct, Kenandy, FinancialForce and especially NetSuite – as well as newer next-gen versions from Sage, Epicor and Infor, all of whom have been heavily investing in / reinventing their solution sets.
For the largest of enterprises, though, we still haven’t yet seen the explosive growth in core financials anticipated only a couple of years ago. To some degree we have viewed this as a “chicken or the egg” issue – as until the last year or two, large enterprises lacked robust / fully fleshed out / credible financials / accounting offerings to evaluate and choose from.
However, that has been changing – as four options are now available to serve the unique needs of this high-end market segment. NetSuite has been having some success going upmarket with its two-tier financial consolidation play for a couple of years now. Oracle has come to market with its Fusion Financials Cloud Service, and both Workday (see recent Lens360 blog post) and SAP now have much richer and more powerful solutions that can support the needs of the largest of enterprises.
As part of our focused 2014-2015 research program on Cloud Financials, last Continue reading
SAP has agreed to acquire Cloud-based travel and expense management provider Concur Technologies. When completed, the deal will be the most expensive acquisition ever for SAP, ranking above SAP’s 2010 $7.1 billion acquisition of Sybase Inc. It will also be a Top 10 all-time software or Cloud / SaaS acquisition in terms of total price paid. Concur shareholders will receive $129 per share, a 20 percent premium over Wednesday’s closing price of $107.80. The 21-year-old, Bellevue, WA-based Concur had been known to be shopping for a buyer, with most rumors indicating SAP or Oracle as the most likely acquirers. The publicly-traded firm posted fiscal-year 2013 losses of $24.4 million on revenue of $546 million.
Saugatuck’s first take is that, while buying Concur may not improve bottom-line profits immediately, SAP does get another significant stream of Cloud-driven revenue; Cloud-based providers’ revenues are growing increasingly faster than traditional software providers. SAP also adds more Cloud expertise and presence overall, especially expertise in marketing and supporting Cloud-based financial software. With 23,000 clients and 25 million users through 150 countries, SAP also gains a business transaction network similar to its 2012 acquisition of Ariba. According to SAP CEO Bill McDermott, the addition of Concur would mean Continue reading
This year’s SuccessConnect event in Las Vegas brought the release of Workforce 2020, a summary of two global research studies by Oxford Economics and sponsored by SuccessFactors parent firm SAP. Oxford Economics surveyed more than 5,400 employees and executives, and interviewed 29 executives, in 27 countries, regarding key workplace/workforce management challenges, the factors driving or enabling these, and how all would affect the composition of the typical workforce by 2020.
The Oxford study confirms that the workforce is changing rapidly and dramatically – but not in ways that most have expected. What’s most important, and challenging to managing HR – and HR systems/solutions – is not that there’s a younger workforce with different ideas coming in. In fact, the research indicates that Millennials are very much like the rest of the workforce when it comes to motivation, attitudes, compensation expectations, and more. So much has been written – and believed – about how Millennials are so different from previous generations, that such preconceptions have become a red herring, pulling our attention away from what’s really changing – and what’s really challenging HR and HCM management, solutions, and providers. Continue reading
What is Happening?
At the SuccessConnect event in Las Vegas this week, Saugatuck was able to speak with more than a dozen customer attendees along with key executives from SuccessFactors and SAP, including SFSF co-founder and CTO Aaron Au, Chief Marketing Officer / SAP Cloud and Line of Business Tim Minahan, and Sven Denecken, Global VP Cloud Solutions and Co-Innovation at SAP.
Throughout all of our conversations, three key threads emerged regarding Cloud, HR solutions and strategy, and SAP itself as follows:
- Concerns: We found it fascinating that none of our customer conversations touched on Cloud concerns – including security. No mentions were made about data security and privacy in the Cloud. Instead, discussions tended to focus on the specific, tactical concerns relative to any new software deployments, namely integration, data migration, and time to completion. This is another powerful sign that the “Cloud experiment” truly is over.
- Strategy and Modularity: We found no one with an actual “Cloud strategy” in regards to their Cloud procurement approach. Instead, businesses are building on, enhancing and extending business processes and management with a variety of solutions. In our conversations there was no hint of a broad enterprise movement toward Cloud-based solutions exclusively. Consistent with the broader Cloud HCM segment, many customers are retaining existing systems in certain areas such Learning, Payroll, or Performance Management, while others are using the modularity to extend their on-premises core HR solutions with additional SuccessFactors Modules like Recruiting, Talent Management, and Workforce Analytics. All indications are that current SFSF customers are planning on embracing fully hybrid deployments in their HR systems, and that while complex integrations are far from being a solved problem, SFSF’s implementation partners and 3rd party integration vendors like Dell Boomi, and Informatica are able to make the complexity manageable.
- Maturity: Our conversations with customers here at SuccessConnect, and with enterprise IT and LOB leaders globally, continue to indicate that, while nowhere near its final form and capabilities, Cloud has matured enough that its perceived and real risks are equivalent to those of most other mainstream forms of IT. That means that Cloud can be acquired and managed as would most other forms of Business IT, even as it enables and catalyzes business transformations.
In short, we’re learning to manage Cloud as it should be – a key Business IT component and catalyst. Next, and soon, we must learn to manage business change, as our Business IT continues to transform. Continue reading
What is Happening?
Recent software analyst and IT media reports, including insights from a recent SAP Americas User Group (ASUG) survey, suggest that SAP’s HANA Big Data service / platform is not yet seen by a majority of ASUG members as benefiting their business (relative to the implementation cost of implementing), or driving enough revenue growth for SAP. SAP has, very smartly, issued a careful rebuttal explaining how, where, and why customers see value in HANA – and more importantly, offering to work with any customer to help them understand and realize business benefits from the offering and its associated apps.
We believe that, through at least 2016, this type of approach is the most effective way of getting user enterprises to understand the value of any Big Data analytics capability; i.e., develop company-specific and operationally-specific business cases in order to enable and develop business value. This is because, in most companies, Big Data analytics just can’t be widely used to deliver broad-based business benefits across the full portfolio – because user enterprises have huge challenges finding and managing their own data, let alone analyzing it. Continue reading
I am pleased to announce some of the details surrounding our fourth annual Cloud Business Summit, which will be held November 12, 2014 at The Yale Club in New York City.
Our conference theme this year is “Innovation, Opportunity, Risk and Reward,” with the event focusing on the journey that large enterprise CIOs, CTOs, and senior marketing and finance executives are on as they optimize their Cloud investments, and begin to remake their companies as Digital Businesses. For a short overview of the event, go to: http://cloudbusinesssummit.com/about-the-event.html.
We’ve moved the Summit to a new venue this year. The Yale Club of New York has a spectacular Grand Ballroom that we will be using, along with its elegant Rooftop Dining Room. Both will provide an optimal setting for the peer-level learning and interaction that are hallmarks of our events, fostering an intimate, C-level setting.
Our program / agenda is coming together nicely, with our keynotes and panels offering unique first-person experiences, insights, and best practices Continue reading
What is Happening?
Earlier this week, Saugatuck attended the SAP Sapphire NOW conference in Orlando, Florida. We value coming to the conference each year as it, like several others that we attend, provides great signposts as to the current state of business computing. This year more than 20,000 attended the event live, with thousands more accessing the keynotes remotely. In this Research Alert, we emphasize three key takeaway threads from the event: “Simplicity”, “HANA Front and Center”, and “Ariba: Key to SAP’s Future.”
Why is it Happening?
With many of the key technological foundations having already been laid, SAP is at an important juncture to begin to significantly monetize on the vision it has built over the past few years. We see the company pursuing that in the following ways: Continue reading
Ahead of SAP’s annual SAPPHIRE event, we took a look at our research regarding buyer preferences for Cloud-based business software over the past few years. We’ve looked at this several times previously, including in our past Cloud Business Summit events, and after our 2013 global Cloud survey (1243RA, Survey Says: Single-vendor Suites Winning over Best-of-Breed and Multi-vendor (Loosely-Coupled) Cloud Solutions, 24July2013).
Given buyer and user statements and positions over the past few years about embracing “digital business,” enabling greater business flexibility and adaptability, and enabling greater business innovation, one would expect that their preferences to shift more and more toward loosely-coupled solutions that utilize Cloud platform-based middleware and other forms of integration – especially, and increasingly, APIs – to provide “good enough” interoperability that enables greater flexibility in solution and provider choice.
As this buyer/user movement grows, as the paces of business and Cloud change increase, and as more and more business software providers embrace API-driven interoperability and other forms of technological and functional integration capabilities, one would expect to see significant moves toward more diversity in the types of Cloud-based business software desired and acquired. Continue reading
Last night and today, Saugatuck has participated in a series of analyst briefings and one-on-one sessions (with customers and Ariba execs), as well as attending the keynote presentations at Ariba LIVE 2014. What is clear from all of the experiences is that the acquisition of Ariba by SAP appears to be paying huge dividends across many dimensions of the business.
While the 80% + bookings growth that Ariba achieved last year is a tangible signpost demonstrating solid demand for its Cloud-based procurement / sourcing / collaborative commerce solutions (and the amazing power of cross selling across the SAP client base) – in many ways, Saugatuck sees the bigger impact of this acquisition yet to come. SAP clearly views Ariba strategically, and is investing with a longer-term view – especially in regards to power of “the network.”
The range of investments is truly impressive, including functional and UX enhancements, new mobile capabilities, integration with key SAP ERP solutions, globalization and localization capabilities, and the re-platforming / leveraging of HANA across the fully array of Ariba solution Continue reading
I’m lucky enough to be at my third consecutive SAP TechEd event this week, living and working among ERP providers, developers and associated geeks to gather insight and intelligence that allows me to develop reasonable vision into the hot topics and expected next steps in the SAP and ERP universe – especially as they relate to Cloud-based IT and its associated technologies: Social IT, Mobility, and Data analytics.
While the event is held in Las Vegas, what happens at TechEd never stays at TechEd. That’s because what we see here in terms of technology, interest, and activity, tends to be the leading edge of emergent enterprise business management technologies, solutions and services. Because of its SAP ERP roots, TechEd is one of several early warning systems for developments in mainstream, large enterprise IT. Continue reading