Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

Can We Trust Salesforce for Business in the Cloud?

Posted by Mark Smith on May 14, 2016 9:30:47 AM

I have been meaning to write about Salesforce since its Dreamforce 2015 conference. Salesforce provides a platform, tools and applications for business and IT who claims to be the ‘no software’ company which as you will read is exactly what happened on May 10th. Heck, Salesforce is making a lot of advances on its platform, its applications and even with Analytics and the Internet of Things. These changes are at the center of what at our analyst firm calls digital business innovation. Much of what it’s doing is very good, but now I am questioning whether the company’s foundation of business processes and technology platform has reached a point at which it can’t grow any further without impacting its own customers’ operations and success. That may be a harsh statement, but I think my reasoning will become clear as you read this perspective.

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Topics: Sales, Marketing, messaging, #NA14, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, IOT, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Salesforce

The Establishment of Data Preparation

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 21, 2015 12:45:49 AM

Data is an essential ingredient for every aspect of business, and those that use it well are likely to gain advantages over competitors that do not. Our benchmark research on information optimization reveals a variety of drivers for deploying information, most commonly analytics, information access, decision-making, process improvements and customer experience and satisfaction. To accomplish any of these purposes requires that data be prepared through a sequence of steps: accessing, searching, aggregating, enriching, transforming and cleaning data from different sources to cre­ate a single uniform data set. To prepare data properly, businesses need flex­ible tools that enable them to en­rich the context of data drawn from multiple sources, collaborate on its preparation to serve business needs and govern the process of preparation to ensure security and consistency. Users of these tools range from analysts to operations professionals in the lines of business.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Data Preparation, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Information Optimization, IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Sales Agenda for Applications and Technology in 2015

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 17, 2015 8:36:29 PM

Most people in business management admit that sales is more an art than a science. Organizations have long struggled to find the right mix to improve its effectiveness, and few get the most out of available technology. For many the default is still to use sales force automation (SFA) and spreadsheets to manage processes and try to increase the productivity of sales staff. In our view they should take a holistic approach to sales processes from contact to close and support everything from sales forecasting to pipeline management to compensation with applications designed for these purposes. Those in sales operations need to apply analytics to understand and fine-tune sales activities. Those in sales management need applications that can help recruit, engage and retain the best talent. Even more than elsewhere in business, in sales people matter, and the organizations that most empower their teams are likely to get the best results. Optimizing people and processes requires a balance of information and technology to support the various needs of the sales organization.

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Topics: Sales, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Recurring Revenue, sales analytics, Sales Compensation, Sales Forecasting, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), SFA

Ventana Research Technology Innovation Awards Are More Than Cool

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 31, 2013 1:33:58 AM

In the realm of technology that matters for business and IT, our firm as part of our responsibility continually assesses the latest technology and how it can impact organizations’ efficiency and effectiveness. Our benchmark research in technology innovation found that 87% of participants indicated the importance of increasing the organization’s value through technology innovation. Every year we take our knowledge from research and technology briefings to focus on our Technology Innovation Awards and determine the vendors and products that have the potential to drive change in the market, the competitiveness of an organization’s business and sometimes just how efficiently a company operates. Our firm believes that Innovation can come from any size technology vendor from the smallest to the largest that are measured on a spectrum of attributes that contribute to the specific impact of the technology.

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Topics: Big Data, Datameer, Mobile, Sales, Social Media, Sustainability, Agility, Customer, ESRI, Globoforce, GRC, HCM, Kronos, Kyriba, Location Analytics, Marketing, NetBase, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Overall Operational Leadership, Peoplefluent, Planview, SQLstream, VMWare, VPI, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, CIO, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Hortonworks, IBM, Informatica, Information Builders, Information Management, KXEN, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Contact Center, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Datawatch, Financial Management, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Information Optimization, Information Technology Leader, IT Analytics or Performance, IT Performance Management (ITPM), Johnson Controls Panoptix, Roambi, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Service & Supply Chain, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Upstream Works, Vertex, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Xactly Corporation

Oracle Aims To Simplify IT and Innovate Your Business

Posted by Mark Smith on May 1, 2013 12:11:30 PM

I was recently at Oracle Analyst World which is the vendor’s annual gathering of technology industry analysts. Its executives and others in the products organization deliver the latest news on where the titan is focusing efforts to expand its technology and markets. This year, against the background of the consumer and business markets embracing mobile and cloud computing, Oracle is working to sound like a more friendly supplier that can help remove legacy issues and inefficiencies that plague CIOs and data centers. Oracle also used this forum to attract IT departments to the technology advances it has made across its deep and broad portfolio of products. Oracle has more than 3,900 software products and more than 3,000 software patents that indicate its significant investment in R&D. Now the company is beginning to release improved products more frequently, which most customers now expect from technology vendors.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile, Social Media, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social Collaboration, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, CIO, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Oracle, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, COO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Big Data Search is Getting Better with LucidWorks

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 20, 2013 4:52:04 PM

LucidWorks addresses the growing volume of information now being stored in the enterprise and in big data with two products aimed at the enterprise with search technology. Though you may not be familiar with LucidWorks (previously known as Lucid Imagination), the company has for many years contributed to Apache Lucene, an open source search project, and commercialized and supported for it for business.

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Topics: Big Data, MapR, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Cloudera, Hadoop, Hortonworks, Business Intelligence (BI), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Search, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Why Business Intelligence Software is Failing Business

Posted by Ventana Research on Feb 15, 2013 4:29:16 PM

Business intelligence software is supposed to help businesses access and analyze data and communicate analytics and metrics. I have witnessed improvements to BI software over the years, from mobile and collaboration to interactive discovery and visualization, and our Value Index for Business Intelligence finds a mature set of technology vendors and products. But even as these products mature in capabilities, the majority lack features that would make them easy to use.  Our recent research on next-generation business intelligence found that usability is the most important evaluation criteria for BI technology, outpacing functionality (49%) and even manageability (47%). The pathetic state of dashboards and the stupidity of KPI illustrate some of the obvious ways the software needs to improve for businesses to gain the most value from it. We need smarter business intelligence, and that means not just more advanced sets of capabilities that are designed for the analysts, but software designed for those who need to use BI information.

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Topics: Big Data, Mobile Technology, Natural Language, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Business Intelligence (BI), Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Discovery, Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

IBM Provokes Social Collaboration and Smarter Workforce Revolution

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 31, 2013 4:05:26 PM

IBM held its 20th annual IBM Connect conference (previously known as Lotusphere) as part of its IBM Social Business efforts at the end of January. The conference focuses on business and social collaboration technology, which our business technology innovation research found to be the second-ranked priority for business innovation. At the conference IBM made a series of significant announcements, including a new version of its social collaboration suite, IBM Connections, and the ability to use the software on a cloud computing platform.

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Topics: Social Media, Human Capital Management, Kenexa, Learning, Performance, Recruiting, Smarter Analytics, Smarter Workforce, Social Business, Social Collaboration, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IBM, Compensation, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

The Secrets to Big Data and Information Optimization Revealed in 2013 Research Agenda

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 16, 2013 3:09:37 PM

Managing the access, storage and use of data effectively can provide businesses a competitive advantage. Last year I outlined what the big deal is in big data, as the initial focus on the volume, velocity and variety of data – what my colleague Tony Cosentino calls the three V’s – is only one small piece of how organizations should evaluate this technology. The more balanced approach is to include what he calls the three W’s – the what, so what and now what, which shifts the focus to an outcome-based view that can handle the time–to-value urgency found in business. Big data analytics can help assess the volume of data, while the velocity of data that is potentially in-motion is best handled by what we call operational intelligence. Beyond these, techniques and technology such as predictive analytics and visual discovery facilitate extracting more value from big data. Along with a wide variety of data, these tools help organizations focus on optimizing information assets. We will soon conduct benchmark research into information optimization to determine how organizations are dealing with their information today and what steps they are taking to improve. In-memory computing will surely be one of those steps, as it can significantly improve the time-to-insight equation.

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Topics: Big Data, Master Data Management, Predictive Analytics, MDM, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, CIO, Cloud Computing, Data Governance, Data Integration, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Business Intelligence (BI), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Product Information Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Happy New Year: Build on Foundation of Lessons Learned in 2012

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 4, 2013 2:10:51 PM

Happy New Year to all my readers and followers. I hope everyone has gotten some rest and is ready for a great 2013. 2012 was a busy year in which we saw a critical inflection point, where an elevated focus on new methods and innovative technological approaches such as big data, business analytics, business and social collaboration, cloud computing, mobile technology and social media become part of the mainstream business and IT dialogue. These technologies are beginning to be part of or embedded into enterprise software that will be available in 2013. This is a critical step forward that will help organizations become more efficient in their operations and use technology to its fullest. As we start the new year, I thought a reflection back on the some of the highlights from 2012 was in order.

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Topics: Big Data, Social Media, Sustainability, Market Research, Mobile Technology, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Social Collaboration, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, CIO, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, 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), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Technology, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)