Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

Oracle Has Sunny Forecast for Cloud Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 20, 2014 9:36:09 AM

At Oracle’s recent cloud computing analyst summit in sunny Palm Springs, the company’s executive team insisted that it sees clear skies for its efforts in cloud computing. The summit was led by senior executive Thomas Kurian, who runs the entire product organization and reports directly to CEO Larry Ellison. He affirmed that Oracle intends to offer the full range of cloud computing – public, private and hybrid models – to its customers and partners. As one of the world’s largest software suppliers Oracle has much at stake to make its database and all tools and applications available in these cloud environments, including managed cloud services. Our business technology innovation research shows this is a smart bet. Cloud computing is important or very important to 57 percent of organizations, and more than half (55%) of cloud users have been using it for more than a year. I noted in 2013 that simplifying IT and innovating in business are key to its software strategy, and Oracle’s efforts since then have executed on this outline.

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Topics: Big Data, Database, Microsoft, SaaS, Social Media, Software as a Service, Middleware, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Oracle Cloud, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, IBM, Oracle, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Database as a Service, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Verizon, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

SAS Unifies Big Data for Business and IT

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 12, 2014 6:45:57 AM

Many businesses are close to being overwhelmed by the unceasing growth of data they must process and analyze to find insights that can improve their operations and results. To manage this big data they find a rapidly expanding portfolio of technology products. A significant vendor in this market is SAS Institute. I recently attended the company’s annual analyst summit, Inside Intelligence 2014 (Twitter Hashtag #SASSB). SAS reported more than $3 billion in software revenue for 2013 and is known globally for its analytics software. Recently it has become a more significant presence in data management as well. SAS provides applications for various lines of business and industries in areas as diverse as fraud prevention, security, customer service and marketing. To accomplish this it applies analytics to what is now called big data, but the company has many decades of experience in dealing with large volumes of data. Recently SAS set a goal to be the vendor of choice for the analytic, data and visualization software needs for Hadoop. To achieve this aggressive goal the company will have to make significant further investments in not only its products but also marketing and sales. Our benchmark research on big data analytics shows that three out of four (76%) organizations view big data analytics as analyzing data from all sources, not just one, which sets the bar high for vendors seeking to win their business.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, SAS, Event Stream, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, CIO, Data Management, Information Management, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Discovery, Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM)

Location Analytics Delivers Geographic Insights

Posted by Mark Smith on Mar 3, 2014 8:54:04 PM

Adding geographic and location context to business information enables organizations to develop fuller understanding and optimize the activities of people that use the information. We call this location intelligence, and to achieve it requires location analytics, which focus on that context where the processing and presentation of geography and spatial aspects of data are utilized. Analysis of geographic information can provide business insights that help organizations make better business decisions. I have written about this new generation of location analytics previously and noted that it can provide fresh analytic perspectives on information collected and integrated from in-house applications and across the Internet.

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Topics: Big Data, Customer Analytics, GIS, Location Analytics, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, 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), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

The Sales Forecast Requires Commitment not Status Quo

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 27, 2014 8:03:07 AM

In today’s highly competitive sales environment, where success depends on meeting the specific needs of buyers, an accurate and timely sales forecast is a critical tool for optimizing business outcomes. I discussed this as part of our 2014 research agenda for sales, noting that linking the forecast to commissions, quotas and territories is a requirement for success. We recently completed new benchmark research on sales forecasting to ascertain the state of the processes and technology sales organizations use. This research continues to find less than adequate efforts by organizations to improve their sales forecasting process and insufficient information about the full revenue potential from accounts and customers.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Sales Forecasting, Sales Operations, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM)

Wearable Computing is in Fashion and Ready for Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 26, 2014 7:30:55 AM

In the near future, technology will be something we wear or attach comfortably to our bodies. Wearable computers have been evolving for some time, and while that might seem futuristic to the uninformed, in the technology industry it is rapidly becoming real. This trend is important for businesses to note, as our business technology innovation research shows that it is very important to more than half (56%) of organizations to find methods to use technology innovation to support both business processes and their people. Mobile technology is the third-most important innovative technology, after analytics and collaboration, and innovators will use all three together. Many organizations focus on acquiring and retaining the best possible workforce, which after all is their most valuable asset.

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Topics: Big Data, Social Media, HCM, Human Capital Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Wearable Computing, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Talent Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Oracle Modernizes HR with Mobile and Wearable Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Feb 22, 2014 6:43:03 AM

At Oracle’s first-ever HCM World conference, the technology company demonstrated its commitment to human resources customers, explaining its strategy for Modern HR in the Cloud, which is focused on meeting the needs of employees in a large, dispersed workforce. The conference was insightful both intellectually and practically in its discussions of how workforces are changing. Oracle also showed its commitment by having both President Mark Hurd and CEO Larry Ellison present keynotes. This was the first time both have addressed a conference other than the flagship Oracle OpenWorld. It is worth watching the replays of their talks, which reveal the company’s motivation and investment in human capital management (HCM). In developing its HCM products Oracle has in mind multigenerational workforces that require software that is adaptable to people, competencies and new technologies such as mobile devices and social collaboration and recognizes the imperative to access workforce information and analytics immediately. The rebranded Oracle HCM Cloud Service has gained significant momentum, as my colleague Stephan Millard pointed out in his recent analysis of Oracle’s HCM portfolio. Taking a global approach it supports users in 196 countries, 34 languages and multiple currencies and operates entirely in a cloud environment.

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Topics: Big Data, Social Media, Human Capital Analytics, Human Capital Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Recruiting, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Oracle, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), HR, Information Applications (IA), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Talent Management, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

The Challenge for Sales in 2014: Stepping Beyond Conventional Wisdom

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 31, 2014 8:46:26 AM

It should be no surprise for those who work in sales that increasing outcomes collectively is not always easy. Sales teams and individuals work under pressure to perform at high levels, selling more than they did in the previous period or more than the person who previously had responsibility for a territory. Today’s economic and competitive environments demand that everyone work not just faster but smarter in their sales efforts. To excel in this environment requires not just wise use of time but prioritization of the activities and tasks that contribute to achieving the quota and forecast. In the past, sales organizations often resisted adopting new technology, but it’s time for them to realize that tools are available to facilitate better sales performance. As I outlined in the overview of our business and technology research agenda for this year, the sales department has a ripe opportunity to get smarter in how it operates. This is the essential point of our research practice in sales applications and technology: Our methodical benchmark research examines applications and technology best practices and benefits for sales organizations, and we assess the vendors and products in this market through our Value Index ratings. We will start 2014 with the latest release of our Value Index on Sales Performance Management, which will help sales management evaluate products to assist in improving performance of the organization.

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Topics: Big Data, Sales, Social Media, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Business Performance Management (BPM), Compensation, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA

Big Data Offers Business Opportunity for Information Optimization in 2014

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 27, 2014 9:10:32 AM

Businesses are always looking for ways to grow and to streamline their operations. These two goals can come into conflict because as organizations become larger it becomes more complicated to be agile and efficient. To help them understand and modify their processes, businesses can derive insights from analytics applied to their data. Today that data is available not only in the enterprise and cloud computing environments but also from the Internet. To collect, process and analyze it all is a challenge, one that an increasing number of organizations are meeting through the use of big data technologies. The resulting insights can help them make strategic business decisions such as where to focus efforts and how to engage with customers. At Ventana Research we have been working hard to understand the advancing technology that supports big data and its value through information optimization and bring clarity to the industry through our research and analysis of trends and products. There are many opinions about big data and fixation on the attributes of it through the V’s (volume, variety and velocity) and how to use it, often biased toward one technology or vendor; our research and analysis of the entire market cuts through the noise to provide not just facts but insights on best practices and methods to apply this technology to business problems.

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

IBM Bets a Billion to Mobilize Watson Business Unit and Monetize Cognitive Computing

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 13, 2014 8:04:48 AM

With much fanfare and a rarely seen introduction by CEO Ginni Rometty, IBM launched IBM Watson as a new business unit focused on cognitive computing technology and solutions, now being led by Senior Vice President Mike Rhodin. The announcement is summarized here:. Until now IBM Watson was important but had neither this stature in IBM’s organizational structure nor enough investment to support what the company proclaims is the third phase of computing. As IBM tells it, computing paradigms began with the century-old tabular computing, followed by the age of programmatic computing, in which IBM developed many products and advancements. The third phase is cognitive computing, an area in which the company has invested significantly to advance its technology. IBM has been on this journey for some time, long before the IBM Watson system beat humans on Jeopardy!. Its machine-learning efforts started with the IBM 704 and computer checkers in the 1950s, followed by decades of utilizing the computing power of the IBM 360 mainframe, the IBM AS/400, the IBM RS/6000 and even IBM XT computers in the 1980s. Now IBM Watson is focused on reaching the full potential of cognitive computing.

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

Research Agendas for 2014: Optimizing the Use of Technology for Business

Posted by Mark Smith on Jan 8, 2014 7:50:02 AM

Greetings, everyone, and best wishes for a great start to 2014. In this new year, utilizing best practices and skills learned in 2013 will be critical for optimizing the use of efforts to support both business and IT. In 2013 many organizations made progress in balancing technology decisions across business and IT as the lines of business continued to take leading roles in investment and prioritization. Major investments were made in business applications using software as a service, business analytics and mobile computing applications. In some other areas of innovation, particularly big data and social collaboration, deployments are just beginning to happen and a significant amount of projects are in experimental and proof of concept than enterprise use.

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Topics: Big Data, Social Media, Market Research, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, CIO, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, 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), Technology, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)