Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

About the Analyst

Ventana Research

Ventana Research is the most authoritative and respected market research and advisory services firm focused on both business and technology. Since our beginning, our goal has been to provide insight and expert guidance on mainstream and disruptive technologies. In short, we want to help you become smarter and find the most relevant technology for your organization.


Recent Posts

Docebo Innovates Learning Management Systems for Employees and Customers

Posted by Ventana Research on Apr 14, 2016 8:29:15 AM

The learning management system (LMS) offers opportunity for organizations to progressively enhance the effectiveness of their workforce. An advanced LMS can be more than a digital version of an organization’s training programs for specific jobs or to achieve compliance with policies and regulations. It can provide dynamic yet informal learning that business units can create, deploy and sustain through their own efforts. Last year I outlined the benefits of this new generation of learning management systems.

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Topics: Human Capital, LMS, learning, HCM, human capital management, Doce, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Uncategorized, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM)

Meridian Helps Communities and Customers with Learning Management System

Posted by Ventana Research on Apr 1, 2016 9:58:59 AM

In this highly competitive age, optimizing the potential of workers is essential. A learning management system (LMS) can increase both knowledge and engagement. Our benchmark research on next-generation learning management systems finds that adopting one can help almost half (46%) of organizations gain a competitive advantage, and more than one-third (35%) said it assists in helping customers. Expanded use of learning can engage customers, partners and others who need more information about an organization or its products and services. Thus we suggest that learning systems should be used for and made available in customer and third party communities. Doing so can enhance effective use of products and services and help reduce the volume of inbound calls to and interactions with the contact center.

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Topics: Human Capital, Meridian, Learning, Learning Management Systems, L, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Uncategorized, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM)

Mastering Marketing Mayhem in a Meaningful, Meticulous Manner

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 31, 2016 8:57:27 AM

I hope this title captures your attention; I’m trying to make a point about the chaos going on in managing and operating marketing. What marketing needs in 2016 is to manage and optimize its efforts in a more unified manner. This perspective kicks off a new series on the challenges for marketing to automate or execute tasks and manage toward maximum performance. We all know that the craft of marketing is in need of significant transformation, from the CMO throughout the entire marketing organization and all the way out to the experience of consumers and customers. But this may be a fanciful mission, as applications and technology does not really automate marketing let alone manage it. Most marketing automation products are specialized applications that are not used by marketing management, let alone front-line marketing managers; they are for specialized needs in demand generation or digital marketing that personalizes inbound and outbound interactions with contacts for the purpose of advancing dialogue and creating relationships. Marketing automation, like its cousin sales force automation, has been a placeholder category that describes only a narrow slice of marketing, and the term has been co-opted by the industry for its own purposes. Though some observers predict that CMOs will outspend CIOs and other leaders of the business in technology investments, I have debunked this ludicrous idea; even if it were true, that would not make marketing departments much more efficient in their management and operations. To counterbalance the silliness of the marketing automation dialogue, I plan to bring you a series on key areas for investment to start the conversation. Evaluating them should help Marketing demonstrate its commitment to promoting effectively its organization and its products and services. Here is an overview of the many issues in the landscape.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Uncategorized, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), CMO, Marketing, Marketing Planning, Marketing Reso, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Optimization, Sales Performance Management (SPM)

Supercharging Sales and Commerce in 2016

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 29, 2016 9:54:37 AM

For several years I have been advocating that sales organizations adapt their processes and applications to optimize both sales performance and the customer experience. For details see my research agenda for last year. However, it appears that not many sales organizations have responded to this challenge; many can barely maintain their quarterly sales forecasts and monthly pipeline, track progress toward quotas and ensure that sales commissions are processed promptly and paid accurately. A great many are still using spreadsheets for these critical activities. Yet our benchmark research finds that more than half (61%) who use them for commissions said this makes the effort more difficult. Elsewhere, I have seen B2B sales organizations continue down the old path of annoying prospects with direct cold calling and email instead of nurturing real relationships. For B2C sales, the digital age of search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) has begun to haunt prospects by inserting ads in our personal social media channels. My research suggests that these practices are not due to bad intentions but to force of habit and lack of desire, time and resources to develop a modern strategy and plan. Most are just managing the basics of their sales processes and relying on sales force automation (SFA) systems, reporting and dashboards, which will only produce more of the same, less than optimal results.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, mobile technology, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Uncategorized, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales, SFA, SPM, Sales Performance Management, Sal

Qlik Makes Sense of its Analytics and Business Value

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 29, 2016 9:10:58 AM

At the 2015 technology analyst summit in Austin, Texas, analytics and business intelligence software vendor Qlik discussed recent market and product developments and explained its roadmap and strategy for 2016. Discussion topics included its Qlik Analytics Platform and QlikView 12.0, Qlik Sense and Qlik DataMarket, applications built on the platform but also how it is expanding its analytics experience for business.

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Topics: Big Data, mobile technology, Business Analytics, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Uncategorized, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Information Management (IM), Information Optimization

Unifying Human Capital Management in 2016

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 18, 2016 7:13:27 AM

Businesses and their human resource organizations feel pressure to maximize the value of their human capital in today’s intensely competitive world. Many have made or considered investments in new applications that better exploit information to efficiently recruit, engage and retain the best talent. Advanced applications not only advance these processes but also help management assess the performance of the workforce and compensate individuals fairly so that they advance their careers and find the level of employee satisfaction in the organization. A year ago I outlined the priorities in human capital management (HCM). During the past year our research found a significant number of companies lacking a unified HCM strategy that includes processes and the applications to support it. As others advance, HR organizations that are not equipped with such skills, resources and tools risk falling behind in human capital management as it contributes to business success.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, HCM, HR, HRMS, Workforce Management, Learning Mana, Human Capital, mobile technology, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Uncategorized, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM)

Digital Technology Agenda for Business in 2016

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 10, 2016 9:57:24 AM

Technology innovation is accelerating faster than companies can keep up with. Many feel pressure to adopt new strategies that technology makes possible and find the resources required for necessary investments. In 2015 our research and analysis revealed many organizations upgrading key business applications to operate in the cloud and some enabling access to information for employees through mobile devices. Despite these steps, we find significant levels of digital disruption impacting every line of business. In our series of research agendas for 2016 we outline the areas of technology that organizations need to understand if they hope to optimize their business processes and empower their employees to handle tasks and make decisions effectively. Every industry, line of business and IT department will need to be aware of how new technology can provide opportunities to get ahead of, or at least keep up with, their competitors and focus on achieving the most effective outcomes.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Social Media, Human Capital, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Uncategorized, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Digital Technology, Innovation, Analytics, Big Dat, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM)

Informatica Navigates Carefully to Broader Data Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Dec 16, 2015 1:21:46 AM

This has been a dramatic year for Informatica, a major provider of data integration software. In August it was acquired and taken private by Permira funds and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for about US$5.3 billion. This change was accompanied by shifts in its management. CEO Sohaib Abbasi became chairman and now has left, and many executives were replaced while Anil Chakravathy became CEO from being the Chief Product Officer. The new owners appear to have shifted the company’s strategic priorities to emphasize profitability with reduced headcount and return on the purchase investment. Despite these changes, during the past six months Informatica has made key product announcements that will impact its future and the future of data management.

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Topics: Big Data, Data Quality, Master Data Management, MDM, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Cloud Computing, Data Integration, Data Management, Data Preparation, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Informatica, Uncategorized, Business Performance Management (BPM), Information Management (IM), Information Optimization, Risk & Compliance (GRC)

New Generation of Human Resources Management Systems

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 9, 2015 9:21:24 PM

Ventana Research defines a human resources management system (HRMS) as the set of applications and associated processes that store and manage the employee information used by an organization’s human resources department. New technologies make it possible for the HRMS to perform better and be easier to use by HR professionals and members of the workforce. The range of evolving technologies impacting the development of the HRMS include business analytics, big data, cloud computing, mobile technology, business collaboration, social media and wearable computing. These advances enable organizations to streamline the processes that the HRMS supports and more efficiently take advantage of competencies that already exist in the workforce. The changes are so substantive for organizations and their HR departments that we have undertaken new research called Next-Generation Human Resources Management Systems.

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Topics: Social Media, Human Capital, human resources, mobile technology, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), HR, HRMS

Product Information Management Trumps Master Data Management

Posted by Ventana Research on Nov 8, 2015 6:44:36 PM

Ventana Research defines product information management (PIM) as the practice of using information, applications and other technology to effectively support product-related processes across the customer, commerce and supply chain. As organizations increase the number and diversity of products and services they offer to customers and partners, they increasingly need to address limitations in the ways they manage and distribute product information, including related attributes and content that describes the pro­ducts. At the same time, compe­ti­tive pressures require them to be able to incorporate large amounts of new content – video and images, for example – quickly while ensuring that the information present­ed to customers is accurate, operational processes run uninterrupted and timely data is available for business analysis. In an en­vironment in which consumers, suppliers and partners use multiple channels to get to product information – including websites, kiosks, smart­phones and tablets – it is essential that the organization always be able to present complete and up-to-date product information to inspire interest and facilitate purchases.

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Topics: Big Data, Master Data Management, Governance, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), CIO, Business Performance Management (BPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), Information Optimization, Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM)