Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

About the Analyst

Mark Smith

Mark is responsible for the overall direction of Ventana Research and drives the global research agenda covering both business and technology areas. He defined the blueprint for Information Management and Performance Management as the linking together of people, processes, information and technology across organizations to drive effective results. Mark is an expert in technology for business from Performance Management, Business Intelligence, Analytics to Information Management across finance, operations and IT. Mark has held CMO, product development and research roles at companies such as SAP, META Group, Oracle and IRI Software. He has experience across major industries including banking, consumer products, food and beverage, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and retail and consumer services.


Recent Posts

Big Data Research Agenda and Trends are Bolder in 2015

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 7, 2015 9:46:10 PM

Big data has become a big deal as the technology industry has invested tens of billions of dollars to create the next generation of databases and data processing. After the accompanying flood of new categories and marketing terminology from vendors, most in the IT community are now beginning to understand the potential of big data. Ventana Research thoroughly covered the evolving state of the big data and information optimization sector in 2014 and will continue this research in 2015 and beyond. As it progresses the importance of making big data systems interoperate with existing enterprise and information architecture along with digital transformation strategiesbecomes critical. Done properly companies can take advantage of big data innovations to optimize their established business processes and execute new business strategies. But just deploying big data and applying analytics to understand it is just the beginning. Innovative organizations must go beyond the usual exploratory and root-cause analyses through applied analytic discovery and other techniques. This of course requires them to develop competencies in information management for big data.

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Topics: Big Data, MapR, Predictive Analytics, SAP, Human Capital, Mulesoft, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Paxata, SnapLogic, Splunk, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Cloudera, Hadoop, Hortonworks, IBM, Informatica, Information Management, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Datawatch, Dell Boomi, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Information Optimization, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Savi, Sumo Logic, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Tamr, Trifacta

Research Agenda: What Matters for Human Capital Management in 2015

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 5, 2015 8:16:49 PM

Managing investments in people and their performance is critical to every organization. It also is complicated. To support the various aspects of human capital management (HCM), organizations often use a variety of technology including systems for human resource management, talent management, workforce management and payroll management. Often these separate systems use their own information and are not well connected to each other. Today they are deployed both on-premises and in cloud computing environments, which further complicates integration. This situation disrupts processes and challenges HR departments and leaders to invest time and resources to correct it.

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Topics: HCM, Human Capital, Human Capital Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), HRMS, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Talent Management, Workforce Management

New Generation of Learning Management Systems Delivers Business Value

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 3, 2015 7:57:14 PM

As organizations look to improve the competency and skills of their workers, learning management system (LMS) technology can help improve their efforts. Our latest benchmark research innext-generation learning management systems finds a range of progress in this regard. Our Performance Index analysis places organizations almost evenly between the two lowest (51%) and the two highest (49%) of four levels of performance. The results differ by size of company as measured by number of employees. For example, only 8 percent of small companies reach the highest Innovative level of performance, compared to 26 percent of very large companies, the largest percentage of any size. Analyzed by industry, the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sector performs best: Two out of three (65%) are at the top two levels. We attribute this in part to the finance industry’s focus on processes and its need to comply with regulations and teach employees how to do so.

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Topics: HCM, Human Capital, learning management systems, LMS, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Performance Management (BPM), HR, Talent Management

The Future of Integrating ERP and Applications in the Cloud

Posted by Mark Smith on Jul 30, 2014 9:23:41 PM

In recent years line-of-business applications including accounting, human resources, manufacturing, sales and customer service have appeared in the cloud. Cloud -based software as a service (SaaS) has replaced on-premises applications that were previously part of ERP and CRM environments. They have helped companies become more efficient but have also introduced interoperability challenges between business processes. Their advantage is that cloud software can be rented, configured and used within a day or week. The disadvantage is that they don’t always connect with one another seamlessly, as they used to and when managed by a third party there is limited connectivity to integrate them.

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Topics: ERP, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Order Management, Business Analytics, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Accounting, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM)

Teradata Takes Bigger Approach to Big Data

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 17, 2014 9:17:38 AM

Teradata continues to expand its information management and analytics technology for big data to meet growing demand. My analysis last year discussed Teradata’s approach to big data in the context of its distributed computing and data architecture. I recently got an update on the company’s strategy and products at the annual Teradata analyst summit. Our big data analytics research finds that a broad approach to big data is wise: Three-quarters of organizations want analytics to access data from all sources and not just one specific to big data. This inclusive approach is what Teradata as designed its architectural and technological approach in managing the access, storage and use of data and analytics.

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Topics: Big Data, Teradata, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Information Management, NoSQL, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), JSON, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), UDA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Xactly Delivers New Inspiration for Sales to Maximize its Potential

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 9, 2014 11:22:25 AM

In an analyst perspective at the beginning of this year I wrote that sales organizations must step beyond conventional wisdom to generate the best outcomes. One such step is to invest in software that delivers immediate value to manage sales and be efficient in its operations. Our latest research on sales organizations finds that inconsistent execution (53%), scattered information (48%) and limited visibility (42%) are motivating investment to improve sales. At CompCloud, its annual conference, Xactly unveiled advances in its software to help improve the effectiveness and productivity of sales organizations. Spokespeople said the company’s sales compensation products have helped users manage US$10 billion in commissions in the past two years.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Forecast, objectives, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Commission, Sales Compensation, Analytics, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Insights, Quotas, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Xactly

Informatica Unveils New Platform and Tools for Information Optimization

Posted by Mark Smith on Jun 3, 2014 9:09:20 AM

At the Informatica World 2014 conference, the company known for its data integration software unveiled the Intelligent Data Platform. In the last three years Informatica has expanded beyond data integration and now has a broad software portfolio that facilitates information management within the enterprise and through cloud computing. The Intelligent Data Platform forms a framework for its portfolio. This expression of broad potential is important for Informatica, which has been slow to position its products as capable of more than data integration. A large part of the value it provides lies in what its products can do to help organizations strengthen their enterprise architectures for managing applications and data. We see Informatica’s sweet spot in facilitating efficient use of data for business and IT purposes; we call this information optimization.

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Topics: Big Data, Master Data Management, application architecture, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, CIO, Cloud Computing, Data Integration, Data Management, Informatica, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Information Optimization, Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Pitney Bowes Brings New Software for Better Business Insights

Posted by Mark Smith on May 19, 2014 10:17:25 AM

I recently attended the 2014 global analyst summit in San Francisco hosted by Pitney Bowes, an old technology company (now in business for 94 years) that has a new focus in its software along with an entirely new executive team. These leaders unveiled a business and technology strategy meant to demonstrate the company’s commitment to software. For many years it has been known mostly for mail services and postage metering, but Pitney Bowes also has made investments in software that can help companies change their business processes by optimizing their information assets. Over the past few years the company has had its ups and downs as regards its corporate mission, as I wrote in 2012. Most of the turmoil was due to conflicting agendas from past management, but other factors were the company was not as clear in communicating the value of its combined software portfolio and not capitalizing on the demand in lines of business and IT for information management and analytics software.

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Topics: Big Data, Social Media, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Pitney Bowes, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Location Intelligence, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM)

Qvidian Helps Sales Optimize Execution

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 23, 2014 10:02:20 AM

Few sales organizations realize their full potential, partly because they don’t execute well. We urge organizations to move beyond conventional wisdom in how they think about executing sales processes and have placed methods for making improvement to sales execution at the center of our research on sales in 2014. In our recent research on sales forecasting almost half (44%) of sales organizations said they have impediments that are motivating management to consider further investment in sales technology, and the most common of those is inconsistent execution (for 53%). Many sales organizations don’t use training in a consistent manner and fail to automate processes to gain efficiency.

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Topics: Operational Performance Management (OPM), Qvidian, sales analytics, Sales Coaching, Sales Force Automation, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Salesforce, SFA

Successful Sales Forecasting Requires Dedicated Technology

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 23, 2014 9:44:02 AM

Sales forecasting is an essential process for most businesses. It helps guide the efforts not only of the sales function but also of finance, operations, manufacturing and customer service. Our recently released sales forecasting benchmark research reveals significant insights and best practices that can help companies optimize the effectiveness of this process. I recently wrote that most sales organizations need to make significant changes to the way they do sales forecasting. In that analyst perspective, I examined aspects of technology that can make sales forecasting a much more efficient process than it is in most organizations that use software not designed for sales forecasting.

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Topics: Sales, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Forecasting, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Business Intelligence (BI), Information Applications (IA), Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA