Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

Microsoft Hopes for a Miracle with Windows Phone 7

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:26:14 PM

Mobile computing isn’t new anymore. The capabilities of smartphones, among other things, enable businesses to run applications across an enterprise and workers to collaborate across business and social networks. In this endeavor Microsoft was early to market with its Windows CE devices that provided e-mail and Web browsing to phones. For the first years it was a low-level battle among Microsoft, RIM Blackberry and Palm as well as Nokia devices that were used mostly in Europe. In the last few years Microsoft has fallen behind in hardware and software sophistication, and even last year’s introduction of the Windows Mobile operating system had major issues, lacking multitasking, cut-and-paste, search and other basics that are essential for a phone to be smart. Meanwhile Apple has had massive growth with its iPhone, and Google has deployed the Android operating system for multiple devices and is growing its position in market. When I wrote about this movement with Apple in 2009 Apple had had a successful first year and I personally had ditched my Windows phone after giving up on Microsoft’s inability to develop effective mobile software integrated with hardware.

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Topics: Microsoft, Mobile Applications, Mobile Industry, Mobile Social Networking, Mobile Technology Smartphones, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Apple, Business Mobility, Business Technology, Chief Information Officer, Business Performance Management (BPM), IT Performance Management (ITPM)

Saba Dedicates Itself to People and Collaboration

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:25:07 PM

At its annual user conference in Boston, Saba provided insights to industry analysts on its progress over the last year and its direction for 2011. Best known for its learning management system (LMS), collaboration and more recently its talent management applications, Saba now has more than 19 million users in 1,400 customer organizations that are mostly in the public sector, have 5,000 or more employees and are based in North America, although it operates in 28 languages in 195 countries. Now the company is refining its mission. I analyzed the first indication of this shift in focus to business social networking in 2008 (See: “Saba to Innovate Workforces with Business Social Networking”); that started a movement that Saba communicated more clearly this year in describing its focus on providing “people systems.” That term means it wants to enable businesses to have people collaborate through open dialogue and its collaboration software and human capital management applications.

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Topics: Human Capital, Human Resources Management, Learning, Mobile Applications, Performance, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Compensation, Saba, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Teradata Advances Analytics across the Board

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:24:07 PM

The battle for business analytics rages on. IBM, Oracle, SAP and SAS as billion dollar and larger companies each combine analytic computation and processing in the underlying data but Teradata remains a key player. For its part Teradata used its annual Partners conference to tout the next generation of analytics in its product portfolio and brought along customers to testify to their success in using its technology.

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Topics: Business Intelligence (BI), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM)

Plateau Brings Mobility to Talent Management and Simplifies Applications

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:22:58 PM

At its 2010 user conference in Miami, Plateau Systems reviewed for analysts its progress in the market for talent management software. Plateau has a unified platform and suite of applications that cover learning, compensation, job performance and analytics. The company’s financials have been steadily growing as more customers adopt its platform and show good year-to-year growth in its applications that are rented through software as a service (SaaS). Plateau claims that its SaaS business has customer retention of 99 percent. The conference itself grew 40 percent from the previous year, with about 500 people in attendance, and Plateau has started a European conference that provided a local event for the first time.

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Topics: Learning, Performance, Plateau, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

IBM Brings Business Analytics and Information Management to Center Stage

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:21:56 PM

This year IBM joined its annual Information on Demand conference with the new IBM Business Analytics Forum. Some 10,000 attendees came to learn about managing information assets using analytics for business, and the value of integrating business intelligence (BI) with information assets across the enterprise. All these topics are relevant, as large organizations have created thousands of silos that house data in many enterprise and personal computing environments. The conference was highlighted by the announcement of Cognos 10 that my colleague analyzed and of IBM’s emphasis on the business value of BI for performance management. The focus on business analytics is now a key part of the company’s overall strategy, and IBM has committed more trained consultants and employees to this market than anyone else.

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Topics: Enterprise Data Strategy, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Chief Information Officer, IBM, Information Management, Business Intelligence (BI), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM)

SuccessFactors Takes a Calculator into the Cloud?

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:20:40 PM

SuccessFactors is known for applications in performance and talent management but has been working to expand its portfolio more broadly into business. This year the company expanded its focus to workforce analytics with the acquisition of Inform, which I assessed. I have assessed that Inform needed to improve the usability of its tools to compete better which is now more easily possible with a new acquisition.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, SuccessFactors, Analytics, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Talent Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

iWay Software Connects Salesforce Chatter to the Enterprise

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:19:10 PM

It is not easy for businesses to make their operations more efficient, partly because their information systems do not provide notifications of events as they are happening. Most enterprise technology uses batch processing and is designed to move data from one database to another; otherwise it requires people to go and find the data they need. To be more responsive, new technologies capture and process events that are triggered by underlying systems and manage them through complex event processing (CEP). This technology is part of our research in the general category of information management; and in researching the category we call operational intelligence but now CEP is becoming embedded in other technologies in the enterprise.

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Topics: Salesforce.com, Business Collaboration, Data Integration, Business Intelligence (BI), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM)

HR Technology Conference Brings Insight to Opportunity

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:17:43 PM

The annual HR Technology conference in Chicago provided a glimpse into the activities of HR organizations and their technology investments. It was a busy event with large attendance and much movement between sessions and the exhibit floor as attendees sought to learn more about the technology and what it can do for them. As always event organizers presented a large number of awards and announcements on the latest in technology for managing the workforce. The months leading up to the event saw various vendor consolidation activities that were part of the dialogue and discussion at HR Tech. First Kenexa acquired Salary.com to gain a talent management suite to complement its compensation and performance management software. Then ADP acquired Workscape for its compensation and performance management software, Taleo acquired Learn.com to bring learning to its suite, and SumTotal Systems acquired Softscape for its HRMS and talent management suite. All of them attended the conference. Also present were large providers of a range of business applications Infor, Oracle and SAP, which have several offerings for HR environment both HRMS and talent management applications. Oracle just made a move in talent management with the announcement of Oracle Fusion for Human Capital Management that I assessed; it is part of the larger Fusion family of new applications shown at Oracle OpenWorld. WorkDay continues to promote its blend of HRMS and talent management in its HCM offering appears to be making progress in catching up to the maturity of other offerings in the market.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, Business Performance Management (BPM), HRMS, Talent Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Oracle Expands Its Playbook at OpenWorld

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:16:12 PM

At its annual conference Oracle OpenWorld this year Oracle flexed its muscles as a technology giant. The company has been steadily growing through acquisitions to expand its database, middleware and applications, and the recent acquisition of Sun Microsystems gives it a way to sell hardware for servers and storage. This momentum is enabling Oracle to develop new streams of revenue, which were on display at OpenWorld in offerings such as a new generation of appliances from Oracle Exalogic for transactional computing and Oracle Exadata 2 for analytical processing along with the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud. This move into database appliances provides a route to capturing market share, particularly from Hewlett-Packard and IBM. As well its market and technology consolidation efforts are paying off in strong financial growth, as shown in its results for the first fiscal quarter of 2011. The conference had hundreds of announcements and insights delivered in breakout sessions or customer presentations regarding all aspects of Oracle’s portfolio of applications, middleware and database technologies. Seeing the former CEO of HP, Mark Hurd, on stage as President of Oracle added to the sense that the company is making dramatic steps for the present and future (See: “Oracle Hopes Mark Hurd Brings New Herd of Business“). And while there were few references to the previous president, Charles Phillips, it is clear that his hard work sowed the crop for Hurd to harvest in marketing, sales and services.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Enterprise Software, Information Technology, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM)

Sneak Preview and Analysis: Oracle Fusion Applications for CRM and Sales Organizations

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:14:40 PM

At Oracle OpenWorld this week the company announced its next generation of business applications call Oracle Fusion Application ,  , which Larry Ellison touted in his closing day keynote at last year's conference, as I noted then. I attended the conference partly to learn what Oracle is doing in providing applications for sales organizations. In the late 1990s Siebel Systems introduced customer relationship management (CRM), which proved to be the next generation of sales-assisting technology after sales force automation (SFA). Since Oracle acquired Siebel a few years ago, it has advanced CRM through its own products and those acquired with PeopleSoft, and more recently with the Oracle OnDemand offerings. At OpenWorld Oracle began the formal  unveiling of next generation applications called Oracle Fusion Applications for CRM. Under this umbrella is a portfolio of applications designed to help lines of business with specific activities and processes, especially those involving sales operations and managers.
I was eager to attend a session at OpenWorld that had the phrase sales performance management (SPM) in its title because Oracle has not explicitly recognized this as a category for sales applications and also other sessions on its new approach to sales applications. More than five years ago our firm defined SPM as a category and since then has provided research and education on it. More and more sales organizations are adopting applications in this category to replace their SFA and CRM applications; SPM includes applications for managing incentives and rewards, compensation, goals, coaching, assets, territory, quotas and other sales functions not well addressed by those older applications. The need for these types of applications is clear from our benchmark research on SPM, which found only 13 percent of organizations to be very satisfied with SFA and many organizations rating other applications more important than it to their sales operations and performance.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Operations, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM)

Sneak Preview and Analysis: Oracle Fusion Applications for Human Capital Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:13:02 PM

At Oracle OpenWorld this week the company announced its next generation of business applications call Oracle Fusion Applications ,  which Larry Ellison touted in his closing day keynote at last year's conference, as I noted then. Oracle's head of strategy, Gretchen Alarcon, and head of development, Clive Swan, presented the introduction to one of the seven Fusion families, Human Capital Management, and afterward many sessions provided depth on the product. Though this application suite is not ready for sale to the public yet, Oracle Fusion Applications for HCM has many new capabilities that will be welcomed not just by HR professionals but by line-of-business managers and employees. After all, human capital management (HCM) or what many in the industry call talent management matters as much to people whose career it affects as it does to those who use it in HR.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Talent Management, Workforce Performance Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

IBM Makes Major Buy in Analytics Market with Netezza

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:11:44 PM

IBM has announced its intention to acquire Netezza, one of the world’s fastest-growing providers of data appliances, for approximately $1.7 billion. Founded only 10 years ago, Netezza has over 500 employees and 350 clients including brand names Burlington Coat Factory, Con-way Freight, Estee Lauder, Marriott and Nationwide Insurance. IBM has been investing in analytics software for five years and now becomes one of the strategic providers in the market. Many organizations are unwilling to spend the large amount of resources and budget to configure and tune complex databases like Microsoft, Oracle’s and even IBM on a specific brand of hardware and then have to deal with issues in storage, performance and scalability in processing data across their network. Instead they would like to find a technology package that handles data simply for various analytic purposes and is as easy to buy as a dishwasher or a clothes dryer.

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Topics: Data Warehouse, Analytics, Netezza, Business Intelligence (BI), Information Management (IM)

Talent Management Market Contracts Further as SumTotal Acquires Softscape

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:10:16 PM

The market for talent management software continues to consolidate as SumTotal will acquire Softscape to bring together a combination of customers, people and products that reaches more than 25 million users and 1,800 customers globally. This purchase follows three other recent ones: ADP acquiring WorkscapeKenexa acquiring salary.com and Taleo acquiring Learn.com. The result is fewer but stronger software companies providing applications that enable human resources departments and others in the organization to manage workforce performance. In recent years SumTotal has gone through a transition of management and rationalization of products from acquisitions with financial backing from Vista Equity Partners to help stabilize the company. On the other hand, Softscape had been growing organically over the last 15 years through its closely held ownership to expand its presence across the world. While SumTotal specializes in learning and collaboration along with performance management, Softscape has a complete HRMS and talent management suite that includes recruiting, onboarding, performance, compensation, succession planning and analytics.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, Softscape, Business Performance Management (BPM), HRMS, SumTotal Systems, Talent Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

IBM Opens a Page for GRC

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:09:18 PM

IBM has announced its intention to acquire OpenPages, a privately held, Massachusetts-based software company focused on governance, risk and compliance (GRC). I noted that after the deal finishes, the business will reside within IBM’s analytics group rather than in document management; this arrangement signals IBM’s intention to integrate its collaboration and communications around performance management (and achieve a fusion of text and data) and sharpen the ability of OpenPages to get an audience with finance and IT organizations, which are mainstays of IBM’s business analytics efforts after its acquisitions of Cognos, SPSS and others.

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Topics: GRC, Open Pages, Operational Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Management, Financial Performance Management (FPM)

ActuateOne Advances Information Platform with Analytics and Business Intelligence

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:07:51 PM

Actuate has announced a major new version of its software called ActuateOne. Its technology is integrated in a single platform and set of tools for performance management, analytics, business intelligence (BI) and information applications; the product can be managed on-premises or in the cloud and is accessible via mobile devices such as the Apple iPhone and iPad. Actuate has been in the BI market since the 1990s; this release counts as version 11, which by itself represents a significant milestone for an independent company like Actuate.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Information Management, Actuate, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Information Management (IM)

SAP Unveils Next Generation of Business Analytics

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:04:20 PM

On Tuesday in Silicon Valley, SAP introduced its latest business software: business analytics applications for specific vertical industries. The event was kicked off by SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott, who demonstrated the simplicity of the applications on an Apple iPad, which has become the demonstration system of choice for SAP as well as a tool it provides for its sales force. Bill and EVP of Business Analytics Keith Costello provided a glimpse of the applications’ capabilities as part of the product launch event. This announcement was expected as SAP has been known to be working on advancing its analytics through its own development efforts and from applications acquired with Business Objects. The announcement is significant for SAP’s ability to compete with IBM and Oracle in vertical industries but has not arrived to their point of also offering independent and cross industry analytics across all line of business areas like sales, operations, marketing, contact center and customer management . Bringing new applications to the analytics market enables SAP to utilize its business intelligence (BI) platform and tools with analytics models and metrics brought together in a package for an industry. Specifically SAP announced 10 applications for vertical industries including consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail, banking, healthcare, the public sector and telecommunications and plans to release new ones on a quarterly basis along with updates.

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Topics: SAP, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Information Management, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Information Management (IM)

Informatica Cloud Asserts Its Strength

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:02:23 PM

Recently I wrote a blog outlining a relatively new offering, Informatica Cloud. I questioned how many companies understood the need for data management and whether they would turn to a cloud-based solution to meet their needs. It seems that my doubts have been addressed with the rapid adoption of it in 2010. At salesforce.com’s recent Cloudforce event in London, I learned that Informatica Cloud now has more than 1,000 customers and that it is the application most often downloaded from salesforce’s AppExchange. Basically, Informatica Cloud allows business users to extract data from one or more systems and have it integrated into another system. Business people pick the systems they want to use and define rules for how integration should take place; the process then happens automatically. All the technology resides “in the cloud” so after a little help getting started from IT, business users can handle their own data integration requirements.

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Topics: Cloud Computing, Data Integration, Informatica, Business Intelligence (BI), Information Management (IM)

Oracle Hopes Mark Hurd Brings New Herd of Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:01:06 PM

At the eye of the tornado of accusations, rumors and gossip in Silicon Valley that began with CEO Mark Hurd’s departure from Hewlett-Packard are the internal politics and lack of management procedures and oversight at the company. I have pointed out a connection not discussed elsewhere to issues around the enterprise software efforts at HP (See: “HP Scandal Reflects on Enterprise Software Issue“). Now with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s hiring of Hurd as president and appointment of him to the company’s board of directors, this topic comes up again because Mark will bring energy and ideas for advancement of Oracle’s technology portfolio. Larry continues to deliver interesting one-liners to the media, beginning at the time of the firing (“The HP Board just made the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple Board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.”) and continuing as HP sues Oracle over Hurd bringing proprietary knowledge from there (“The HP board is acting with utter disregard for that partnership, our joint customers, and their own shareholders and employees. The HP board is making it virtually impossible for Oracle and HP to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace."). Larry is right that his move will impact the Oracle/HP partnership at many levels, but the war of words also shows the personal nature of high-stakes gamesmanship in Silicon Valley.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Enterprise Software, Information Technology, Oracle, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM)

ADP Acquires Workscape to Consolidate Talent Management Market

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 3:00:02 PM

Consolidation activity increased in the market for applications in talent management or what I call workforce performance management as ADP announced and now has closed the acquisition of Workscape. ADP is a $9 billion outsourcing provider that is well known for providing employer and payroll services; the company has been expanding its breadth of services for employers by responding to demand for software as a service (SaaS), a deployment model that does not require significant involvement from the customer’s IT staff.

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Topics: Performance Management, Kenexa, Business Performance Management (BPM), Compensation Management, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Talent Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Kenexa Advances in Talent Management and Saves Salary.com

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:58:59 PM

Today was another inflection point for the talent management market and buyers of HR applications with the announcement that Kenexa is acquiring salary.com (NASDAQ: SLRY) pending shareholder and SEC approval. Kenexa is offering a cash-per-share agreement that should work to complete the transaction. More complicated will be figuring out how to retain the talent at salary.com; that company has been decreasing in sales and size of the organization over the last couple of years and has struggled to reduce operating expenses. Its recent quarterly SEC filing showed a loss of more than $5.5 million on $9.7 million of revenue. It’s obvious that salary.com needed to find a buyer fast or face closing its doors. In contrast, according to its most recent quarterly SEC filing, Kenexa generated a $1.1 million profit on $44.8 million of revenue.

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Topics: Performance Management, Kenexa, Business Performance Management (BPM), Compensation Management, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Talent Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Infopia Launches Retail Analytics for E-Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:57:16 PM

The rapid evolution of business on the Internet has dramatically changed many organizations’ strategies for growth and profitability, especially those in the retail sector. I have written about the importance of analytics overall and in retail, but many companies are maturing slowly in using them to analyze electronic business and commerce. Data derived from analytics can enable them to manage the cycle from electronic merchandising and promotions to assessing interactions with sales categories and products and then to details of customer behavior and revenue. While there have been advancements in analytics of Web traffic, more is needed to be done to operate the Internet channel of retailing like those of “bricks and mortar.” As I have written about the evolution of Web sites to business sites (See: “Destroy the Website and Build Your Business on the Internet“), organizations need to invest in this business not just with people and processes but with the information and technology required to be successful. Our recent benchmark research into business intelligence found slight maturity and inadequate use of analytics to support retail. The research specifically discovered that the overuse of spreadsheets and lack of analytic capabilities are holding back organizations from maturing: Only 15 percent of retailers are at the highest Innovative level of maturity according to our Ventana Research Maturity Model.

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Topics: Retail Analytics, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Commerce Analytics, InfoPia

Operational Intelligence Gets Boost from eg solutions

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:55:41 PM

The market for operational intelligence (OI) has grown as organizations realize the importance of having information in real time and in the right context. To accomplish this requires that operational data is processed as it happens, commonly by being packaged into what are called events and made available through technologies for complex event processing or event monitoring. Operational intelligence has long been part of our research focus. In benchmark research on it, we found that optimizing business processes and reducing time to respond drive more than 70 percent of organizations to invest in OI and that utilization of events for managing risk and complying with regulations is important to more than half of organizations today.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Complex Event Processing, Operational Intelligence, eg Solutions

Workforce Analytics is Easy and Simple with Accero

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:53:41 PM

To utilize a workforce effectively requires information about it and the ability to analyze that in the context of the business’s needs. Yet it has long been the case that the use of analytics and business intelligence (BI) is least advanced in the human resources function. It remains so even as organizations introduce talent management applications to supplement or replace legacy human resource management systems (HRMSs). We believe that to apply analytics effectively to talent management processes in HR and also support the finance and operations management teams, organizations should examine new technology tools. I recently wrote about the challenges in workforce analytics (See: “Workforce Analytics: Do You Know How Much Your People Matter?“) and noted confusion about vendors and their offerings to meet this need.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, Accero, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Talent Management, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

IBM Antes Up for Marketing Applications by Acquiring Unica

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:52:07 PM

In a second move indicating its seriousness about competing in the market for marketing software, IBM announced its offer to acquire publicly traded Unica Corp. Unica is one of the larger providers in this space, with more than $100 million in annual revenue and 1,500 customers worldwide. Its success in very large marketing organizations, including brand-name customers Best Buy, Marriott and IBM itself, enabled it to be one of the few that has continued to grow in the challenging economic environment. It provides enterprise marketing automation and analytics software in both on-premises and on-demand forms. Unica had grown significantly in sales to business-to-consumer (B2C) companies, competing against EloquaSAS Institute and Infor’s CRM product, which was derived from its acquisition of Epiphany and has advanced since then (See:  “Infor Launches Innovative E-mail Management“).

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Topics: Marketing Automation, Operational Performance Management (OPM), CRM, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Unica

HP Scandal Reflects on Enterprise Software Issue

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:50:19 PM

The recent turmoil at Hewlett-Packard that went public with news of the resignation of CEO Mark Hurd is only superficially about the facts of the scandal or the question of who will be the new CEO, sexy as those issues may be. What it really shines a light on is the performance of the company itself. I wrote earlier this year (See: “HP Takes Technology Portfolio to the Clouds with New Growth Strategy”) about the challenges HP faces in building its brand credibility and gaining traction to advance its enterprise software business. Then in May, HP hired Bill Veghte from Microsoft to run its $3 billion software business unit. Bill and his boss Ann Livermore stated at the time, not surprisingly, that software is a strategic part of delivering innovation to customers. In my view that’s more a description of their goal than the then-current reality. In fact, HP has had a low profile in the software segment. Though the division gets its place on its Web site, many of us close-in watchers question claims that HP is a leader in any enterprise software category beyond data center and network management. Convincing us otherwise will require more than fancy words and sales collateral; Mark Hurd or no Mark Hurd, it’ll require walking the talk: having the people and products companies want – products that will make a difference.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Enterprise Software, HP, Information Technology, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM)

Taleo Brings New Intelligence to Talent Management

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:48:47 PM

Today’s intense competitive pressures demand that organizations utilize their human capital more effectively. Taleo has been steadily growing as a provider of talent management by offering its applications and platform through software as a service (SaaS). Now it has advanced into what they call Talent Intelligence that can help organizations gain new insights on their workforce and individual employees by examining their potential and areas for improvement. Research has shown that performance is at risk when individuals doubt that their contribution is fully valued and lack confidence that executives are compensating them appropriately. Talent Intelligence can help alleviate these issues. Adding to its availability for large organizations, Taleo has released a version for small and midsize businesses to help organizations of any size manage their talent better.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Talent Management, Taleo, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Infor24 Makes Applications Simpler To Acquire and Integrate

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:47:21 PM

The advent of cloud computing and renting of applications has provided another realm of opportunity for applications software vendors. Infor, which already is the third-largest in the world, is taking advantage of it. Infor announced Infor24, an initiative to bring its role-based applications into the cloud. It will use the Infor ION platform that supports other new Infor applications, including one for hospitality that my colleague recently discussed (See: “Infor Simplifies Hospitality Management Software“). Infor24 is built on the Microsoft Azure platform, which will help Infor support interoperability through standard interfaces such as SOAP, REST and XML  utilizing Microsoft SQL Azure. Additionally Infor provides tight security on Infor24 and integration across processes to facilitate alerting, monitoring and reporting. This is an important step for customers as well as the company in balancing support for different ways to acquire software.

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Topics: Enterprise Applications, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Infor, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM)

Hadoop Gets Easier with Cloudera Version 3

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:45:19 PM

Managing large volumes of enterprise data continues to challenge IT organizations as they deal with administration and storage of no longer just terabytes but now petabytes of data and costs increase accordingly. This massive size of data complicates the underlying issues of where and how to store it easily in low-cost hardware and manage the data efficiently. One attempt at a solution is Hadoop, an open source community-based project. It began as part of Yahoo and was led by Doug Cutting, who used the MapReduce concepts for large-scale distributed computing to create a distributed file system. Yahoo itself runs the largest deployment of Hadoop. Doug Cutting is not new to the open source world, being involved in the creation of Lucene, open source search technology among many other open source community projects.

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Topics: Cloudera, Hadoop, Data, Information Management (IM)

Research Finds New Adoption and Interest in Mobile Business Intelligence

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:44:10 PM

The demand for access to business information and applications through mobile technologies such as the Apple iPhone and iPad, devices running Google Android or using RIM Blackberry is surging as consumer preferences and behavior spill over into the business workforce. The massive growth of adoption of these technologies around the world as consumers seek instant access to information has many business managers wondering how to benefit from the trend. The drive for mobility is part of the 2010 business technology agenda (See: “Using Innovative and Disruptive Technology in 2010”) as a source of innovation inside the enterprise and in interactions with consumers and customers. Of course in a business rather than personal context, more types and complexity of information are needed, ranging from access to documents and presentations, to status on initiatives and processes, for specific application needs to performance in what is known as business intelligence.

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Topics: Mobile BI, Android, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Mobility, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), iPhone, IT Performance Management (ITPM)

Kalido Does Data Governance Right

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:42:44 PM

The proper management of data is ever more important and complex. Business people must have easy access to data from all over the enterprise, but unguarded access and distribution may enable users to bypass the IT organization’s rules for data management, copy and paste whatever they like into spreadsheets and share it in uncontrolled fashion. Firm control of enterprise data requires policies and practice for governance, yet our benchmark research found that only 12 percent of organizations are innovative in their data governance. Reaching this highest level of maturity is not easy when you have to manage a portfolio of policies and rules that span business units and IT and must take into account people, processes, information and supporting technology. Despite this it is essential to address this data governance need and as I wrote is a 2010 priority (See: “Optimized IT and Focus on Information Technology in 2010“).

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Topics: Master Data Management, MDM, Data Governance, Kalido, Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM)

IBM’s Advances Business Analytics and Optimization in First Year

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:41:33 PM

At its Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) analyst summit in Washington, D.C., IBM provided direction on the state of its software and services in this category of business technology. This annual event goes back to 2005 when IBM started making BAO-related software acquisitions in earnest. I have written before about IBM’s focus on analytics and optimization (See: “IBM Fuses New Generation of Analytics for Deeper Business Optimization”), but I want to point out the company’s focus is not just on software but also on services, hardware and larger efforts. At the executive level IBM has communicated to investors and shareholders four strategic areas of focus: Business Analytics, Smarter Planet, Cloud Computing and Growth Markets. IBM sees itself as leading the business analytics market with unified services, software, hardware and a platform for them.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, IBM, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM)

Sales Compensation Easier To Manage with Varicent 7

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:40:04 PM

To help sales teams to maximize their value to the company, sales operations and management must find the right balance of compensation and incentives to motivate them to achieve their quotas. To do this requires the ability to design compensation plans that take into consideration products, territories and accounts and of course the number of customers and prospects. Sales managers also need flexibility so they can build plans that align to sales objectives and realistically evaluate the potential of products and services for each territory and customer opportunity. Our benchmark research on sales performance management found that many organizations fall short in these capabilities: One-third of research participants said they have no confidence in their existing sales operations and management, and 26 percent more said they are only somewhat confident in them. Faced with this negativity, many organizations are trying to improve their processes by adopting applications designed for these and related aspects of sales.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Compensation, Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Varicent

Information Applications is a New Technology Category Designed for Business and IT

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:37:31 PM

In today’s world, without information there is no business. That is, without having the right information and making it available to the right people at the right time, an organization cannot be fully informed, make the right decisions and act on them, and compete effectively enough to survive and prosper. That much is a given. Finding ways to ensure that an organization’s information is available, timely and in the right form is a complex, ongoing process; I call it the ”secret sauce” that is needed for efficiency and profitability.

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Topics: Information Applications, Information Management, Business Intelligence (BI), Data, Information Applications (IA), Information Availability, IT Performance Management (ITPM)

Informatica Simplifies Cloud Integration with New Data Plugs

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:30:49 PM

Businesses continually need to improve their abilities to utilize data generated by their activities and interactions. Retrieving, cleaning and sharing data are ongoing processes, and along with data within the enterprise, applications in cloud computing are becoming critical sources. Vital data about customers and even employees among many other types is distributed across the cloud and must be integrated with the rest of data in the enterprise for applying analytics to gain visibility into the entire business.

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Topics: Cloud Computing, Data Integration, Informatica, Information Management (IM)

Plateau Advances Talent Management in the Cloud

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:29:21 PM

The market for talent management continues to grow as organizations realize that they have not invested enough to make their workforces more productive and valuable. Not many human resources organizations have enabled innovation in their workforce processes or taken the next step to work more strategically with finance and operations executives. Now savvy HR organizations have been renting a new generation of talent management applications through software as a service (SaaS) in a cloud computing environment.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, Plateau, Business Performance Management (BPM), Talent Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Merced Systems Customer Summit Advances Sales and Customer Service Organizations

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:27:50 PM

Many organizations want to improve the performance of their sales and customer service operations but have difficulty increasing efficiency and producing better results. One barrier to improvement is sticking with the status quo of managing sales operations and performance through spreadsheets, as 47 percent of organizations still do, according to Ventana Research’s benchmark research on sales performance management. Also many organizations continue to expect good results from using sales force automation (SFA), but our research shows that 39 percent of organizations are not satisfied with these systems. We also found that the number-one driver of efforts to improve is to make sales performance strategic. In customer service, optimizing utilization of call center agents is a top requirement; another is increasing customer satisfaction, cited by 89 percent of participants in our benchmark research on agent performance management.

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Topics: Merced Systems, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Agent Performance Management, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM)

iWay Software Deepens Information Management Expands to Cloud Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:25:58 PM

At the Information Builders 2010 conference I spent some time to learn about the latest in its business intelligence (BI) technology and also performance management, which my colleague has analyzed recently (See: “IBI’s Eye Popping New Performance Management Software”). But I focused more on information management, which is becoming a strategic component of the company’s portfolio. Its iWay Software includes a suite of integration adapters used to interoperate across processes and data types along with its integration server, and I investigated several products that use these two foundation components for various aspects of information management.

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Topics: Data Integration, Information Builders, Information Management, Business Intelligence (BI), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), iWay

Softscape Demonstrates Leadership in Managing Talent with New Release

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 28, 2010 2:23:55 PM

Cliché or not, a business’s most valuable asset is its people, and for 15 years Softscape has been dedicated to providing applications that help human resources organizations handle a range of processes that I call workforce performance management, including what the industry refers to as talent management. Privately held Softscape operates in 156 countries, and its customers range from large companies (with 1,000 to 10,000 employees) to the extremely large (which have over 50,000 employees). It has one of the highest customer renewal rates in the industry, is growing consistently and is attracting new customers with its cloud computing offering that provides software as a service (SaaS) that organizations rent rather than license and install themselves. Softscape also has entered the expanding market for customer experience management to support processes for maximizing customer relationships.

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Topics: Human Capital Management, Softscape, Talent Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Kronos Goes Usability and Mobility in New Releases

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 26, 2010 6:07:48 PM

At its annual user conference in Las Vegas, Kronos unveiled the next stage of its approach to workforce management to its customers and partners, showing an aggressively confident posture after completing its fiscal year 2010 with revenue increased 9 percent to $741 million. Kronos is the largest provider of workforce management systems for time and attendance, scheduling, absence tracking, hiring and workforce analytics. Kronos offers the software in several delivery options: through conventional licensing and deployment on-premises, as a managed, hosted service and now software as a service (SaaS). Kronos has made progress since my in-depth analysis last year of its roadmap for its workforce management applications.

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Topics: Human Capital, Human Resources Management, Kronos, Mobile Applications, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Compensation, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Talent Management, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Kronos Goes Usability and Mobility in New Releases

Posted by Mark Smith on Nov 26, 2010 7:47:13 AM

At its annual user conference in Las Vegas, Kronos unveiled the next stage of its approach to workforce management to its customers and partners, showing an aggressively confident posture after completing its fiscal year 2010 with revenue increased 9 percent to $741 million. Kronos is the largest provider of workforce management systems for time and attendance, scheduling, absence tracking, hiring and workforce analytics. Kronos offers the software in several delivery options: through conventional licensing and deployment on-premises, as a managed, hosted service and now software as a service (SaaS). Kronos has made progress since my in-depth analysis last year of its roadmap for its workforce management applications.

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Topics: Kronos, Learning, Performance, Cloud Computing, Compensation, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)