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Posts from the ‘Louis Columbus’ blog’ Category

Best- And Worst-Performing Cloud Computing Stocks Feb. 10th To Feb. 14th And Year-to-Date

cloud computing forecast update 2012The five highest performing cloud computing stocks year-to-date in the Cloud Computing Index are Akamai (NASDAQ: AKAM), F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV), Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR), Fusion-IO (NYSE:FIO), Qualys (NASDAQ:QYLS) and Workday (NYSE:WDAY).  A $10K investment in Akamai on January 2nd of this year is worth $12,901 and $10K invested in F5 Networks is worth $12,509 as of market close yesterday.   IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP share prices are included for comparison.

best performing YTD Feb 14

Akamai delivered better-than-respected results for their latest fiscal quarter and year, gaining $436M in revenues for fiscal Q4 and $1.578B for fiscal year.  Media Deliver Solutions revenue increased 19% year over year to $207.5M in revenue.  On their latest earnings call earlier this month, Akamai also says that traffic for gaming, social media, software and video downloads all continue to accelerate.  Support and Service revenues grew 36% year over year, reaching $36.3M in fiscal Q4, and Performance And Security revenue reached $192.2M, increasing 18% year over year.  Adjusted EBITDA for fiscal Q4 was $192M.

The following graphic compares how $10,000 invested on January 2nd of this year in the highest performing cloud computing stocks, in addition to IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP are valued today.

total dollar value 10K feb 14 2014

Please see the full Cloud Computing Index for market caps, average volumes, 52-week high and low share prices, Earnings per Share, Price/Earnings Ratio, and Beta.  I am using the Google Finance Portfolio option to track the performance of these stocks.  For information on how this index was created, see the description at the end of this post.  I do not hold equity positions or work for any of the companies mentioned in this blog post or included in the Cloud Computing Index and this post is not meant to provide investment advice.  It is simply a glimpse into the performance of these company’s stock prices over time.  The following is this week’s Cloud Computing Index.

Cloud Computing Stock Index February 14

Best Performing Cloud Computing Stocks, February 10th to February 14th, 2014

Capturebest performing for the week feb 14

Worst Performing Cloud Computing Stocks, February 10th to February 14th, 2014

worst performing for the week feb 14

Best Performing Cloud Computing Stocks In 2014

best performing YTD Feb 14

Worst Performing Cloud Computing Stocks In 2014

worst performing YTD Feb 14

Comparing Cumulative Stock Performance Performance of the Cloud Computing Index over the last year is compared to NetSuite, Salesforce, IBM, Oracle and SAP is below. This index has been up 27.58% over the last year, with NetSuite (NYSE:N) up 63.84%, Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) up 43.50%, IBM (NYSE:IBM) down 8.59%, Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) up 9.10% and SAP (NYSE:SAP) up .14%. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

trending

Specifics on the Cloud Computing Stock Index I used The Cloud Times 100 as the basis of the index, selecting twenty companies all of which are publically traded.  The latest edition of the Cloud Computing Index is shown here.  The filter applied to these companies is that 50% or more of their revenues are generated from cloud-based applications, infrastructure and services

Why Cloud ERP Adoption Is Faster Than Gartner Predicts

200393880-001A recent study completed by Gartner titled Survey Analysis: Adoption of Cloud ERP, 2013 Through 2023 published on January 24, 2014, written by Nigel Rayner advises CIOs and application leaders of financial services institutions to “consider cloud ERP as a potential replacement for aging core ERP systems that are out of support or running on an old technology platforms (such as mainframes).“

The methodology is based on a survey of Gartner Research Circle members from North America, EMEA, APAC and Latin America from companies that range in size from $10M to $10B.

Key take-aways of the study including the following:

  • Including the 2% that already have core ERP in the cloud, a total of 47% of organizations surveyed plan to move their core ERP systems to the cloud within five years. This is because their ERP requirements tend to be focused around administrative ERP (financials, human capital management and procure-to-pay) where there is a wider range of cloud options (compared with manufacturing).
  • In aggregate, 30% of respondents say that the majority of their ERP systems will be on-premises for the foreseeable future as can be seen from the following graphic.

cloud adoption pie chart

  • 30% of organizations surveyed said they planned to keep the majority of their ERP systems on-premise for the foreseeable future.  Manufacturing organizations dominated this survey segment.

Why Cloud ERP Is Accelerating Faster Than Gartner Predicts

Two-tier ERP is the Trojan Horse of cloud ERP.  If Gartner had asked their respondents about if and how cloud-based ERP systems are being considered and used in two-tier ERP strategies globally, their survey and previous forecasts would have been significantly different.

From researching and working with manufacturers where two-tier ERP strategies make perfect sense for extending their legacy ERP systems to move into new markets, the following key take-aways emerge:

  • Achieving faster time-to-market while reducing cost of quality.  This is quickly turning into a year of transition for many supply chains, with the shift most noticeable in aerospace and defense.  Tighter project schedules driven by reduced budgets, coupled with more aggressive launch schedules is making this the year of the agile supplier.  Cloud-based ERP systems are essential to suppliers in this industry especially.
  • Legacy ERP systems lack scalability to support 21rst century compliance. One CIO who is a good friend jokingly refers to the legacy ERP systems populating each division of the manufacturing company he works for as fuel for his silos of excellence.  His point is that legacy ERP systems don’t have the data models to support the current quality management and compliance requirements corporate-wide and are relegated to siloed roles in his organization.  Cloud-based applications, specifically designed for ISO 9100, AS9100 Rev. C can do what legacy systems can’t, which is span across the aerospace manufacturer’s entire operations.
  • SaaS-based manufacturing and distribution software will increase from 22% in 2013 to 45% by 2023.  According to MintJutras, a leading research and advisory firm tracking ERP trends, a survey completed in 2013 shows SaaS-based applications will steadily grow from 22% of all manufacturing and distribution software installed to 45% within ten years.  The catalyst for much fo this growth will be two-tier ERP system adoption.
  • Microsoft’s New CEO knows the enterprise and cloud’s role in it. Satya Nadella has the daunting task of bringing innovation back into Microsoft.  As Anshu Sharma writes in his blog post today Satya Nadella: Microsoft, Coffee and the Relevance Question provides an excellent analysis of the challenges and paradoxes faced by the new Microsoft CEO.  It’s common knowledge in the Microsoft Partner community that the company runs one of the largest two-tier ERP system architectures in IT today, with an SAP R/3 instance in headquarters and Microsoft Dynamics AX running in each subsidiary.
  • All cloud ERP providers including Microsoft intend to monetize two-tier as much as they possibly can, architecting their respective Cloud OS strategies and enterprise suites to capitalize on it. Microsoft released an overview of their Cloud OS strategies in the following presentation, which provides a thorough overview of their perspective of the hosting market and how it relates to their apps business. Also included is the following graphic, Cloud OS: Innovation at Scale.  All of the factors taken together will drive up adoption of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and streamline two-tier enterprise sales across all cloud ERP providers.  Last year at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference the announcement was made that Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 would be available on Windows Azure in July, 2014.

cloud scale

  • Mobility is unifying the manufacturing shop floor to the top floor faster than anyone thinks.  In traditional ERP systems mobile platforms are most often used for material handling, warehouse management, traceability, quality management, logistics and service tracking. From the discussions I’ve had with CIOs and a few CEOs of manufacturing companies, there’s a high level of interest in analytics, alerts and approvals on Android and Apple tablets.  These apps and the speed of results they deliver are the new corporate bling. Intuitive, integrated and fast, these mobile apps make it possible for senior managers to check up on operations for wherever they are globally, in addition to approving contracts and being notified of events via alerts.  For Gartner’s assessment of cloud ERP to have been complete in this survey, mobility also needed to be covered

Roundup Of Free Cloud Computing Online Courses

career-start1One of the best ways to capitalize on cloud computing’s growth from a career standpoint is to constantly be learning and gaining new knowledge.

Being able to apply the technological aspects of cloud computing to business problems quickly, combined with constantly developing expertise on how to manage legacy systems and cloud platforms is a very valuable, marketable skill.

Many manufacturers I meet with are grappling with the high maintenance costs and time latency of legacy systems when their business models are accelerating faster than ever.   Helping these enterprises bridge the gap between legacy systems and the urgent need for more accurate customer, supplier, pricing, and quality data creates many opportunities for career growth.

Free Cloud Computing Courses

The number and quality of free online cloud computing courses continues to grow, and lately the prices of fee-based online programs are dropping.  Not across the board, but clearly the competition of online education programs is changing in favor of the student.

The table below profiles free online cloud computing certificate and degree programs.  You can download a PDF of the full roundup of cloud computing courses here that also includes fee-based online programs.  Please click on the graphic to expand it for easier reading.

Roundup of cloud computing courses

Key take-aways from the roundup of cloud computing courses include the following:

  • edX & UC BerkeleyX are offering a series of courses on Engineering Software as a Service.  The first of two sessions offered by edX and UC Berkeley concentrate on engineering solid high performance cloud applications using agile techniques to design then code a Software as a Service (SaaS) application using Ruby on Rails.  The second session concentrates on deploying the application in the cloud and enhancing its performance using JavaScript.
  • Coursera and Vanderbilt University are offering Programming Cloud Services for Android Handheld Systems.  This class signifies a broader trend by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) where cloud computing and mobility are often being included in the same course.  This course includes instruction on how to apply patterns and frameworks to develop scalable and secure cloud services.  Included is coverage of mobile and cloud communication, data persistence, concurrency and synchronization, synchronous and asynchronous event handling, and security. The bulk of the examples are in Java using the Spring Framework and Jetty middleware platform. The examples will be run on Google App Engine and Amazon EC2.  This course is free. 
  • Google Developer Academy – Self-based e-learning site that has an excellent overview of Google AppEngine, Python App Engine and Google+ APIs.
  • Microsoft Research Windows Azure for Research Training – An innovative training program aimed at academicians and researchers, this is going to be an excellent learning platform regarding the Microsoft Windows Azure Platform.  Best of all, the course sessions and eventual online content are free.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) – One of the most comprehensive collections of courseware available globally today, OCW  is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

BCG’s Value Creators Report Shows How Software Is Driving New Business Models

boston-300x211Boston Consulting Group (BCG) recently released their fifth annual technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) value report. The 2013 TMT Value Creators Report: The Great Software Transformation, How to Win as Technology Changes the World (free, opt-in required, 41 pgs).

The five trends that serve as the foundation of this report include the increasing pervasiveness of software, affordable small devices, ubiquitous broadband connectivity, big-data analytics and cloud computing.  BCG’s analysis illustrates how the majority of TMT companies that deliver the most value to shareholders are concentrating on the explosive growth of new markets, the rise of software-enabled digital metasystems, and for many, both.

The study is based on an analysis of 191 companies, 76 in the technology industry, 62 from media and 53 from telecom.  To review the methodology of this study please see page 28 of the report.

Here are the key takeaways from this years’ BCG TMT Value Creators Report:

  • BCG is predicting 1B smartphones will be sold in 2013, the first year their sales will have exceeded those of features phones.  By 2018, there will be more than 5B “post-PC” products (tablets & smartphones) in circulation. There are nearly as many mobile connections in the world as people (6.8B) according to the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

bcg figure 1

  • 27 terabytes of data is generated every second through the creation of video, images social networks, transactional and enterprise-based systems and networks.  90% of the data that is stored today didn’t exist two years ago, and the annual data growth rate in future years is projected to be 40% to 60% over current levels according to BCG’s analysis.

bcg figure 2

  • The ascent of communications speeds is surpassing Moore’s Law as a structural driver of growth.  BCG completed the following analysis graphing the progression of microprocessor transition count (Moore’s Law) relative to Internet speed (bps) citing Butter’s Law of Photonics which states that the amount of data coming out of an optical fiber is doubling every nine months. BCG states that these dynamics are democratizing information technology and will lead to the cloud computing industry (software and services) reaching nearly $250B in 2017.
    bcg figure 3
  • BCG predicts that India will see a fivefold increase in digitally-influenced spending, ascending from $30B in 2012 to $150B in 2016, among the fastest of all nations globally according to their study. India will also see the value of online purchases increase from $8B in 2012 t5o $50B in 2016.

bcg figure 4

  • 3D printing is forecast to become a $3.1B market by 2016, and will have an economic impact of $550B in 2025, fueling rapid price reductions in 3D printers through 2017.  BCG sees 3D printing, connected travel, genomics and smart grid technologies are central to their digital metasystem.   The following graphic illustrates the key trends in each of these areas along with research findings from BCG and other sources.

bcg figure 5

  • Only 7% of customers are comfortable with their information being used outside of the purpose for which it was originally gathered.

bcg figure 6

  • BCG reports that mobile infrastructure investments in Europe have fallen 67% from 2004 to 2014.  Less than 1% of mobile connections in Europe were 4B as of the end of 2012, compared to 11% in the U.S. and 28% in South Korea.   European operators have also been challenged to monetize mobile data as well, as the following figures illustrate.

bcg figure 7

bcg figure 8

  • Big Data is attracting $19B in funding across five key areas according to BCG’s analysis.  These include consumer data and marketing, enterprise data, analytical tools, vertical markets and data platforms.  A graphical analysis of these investments is shown below.

bcg figure 9

IDC’s Top Ten Technology Predictions For 2014: Spending On Cloud Computing Will Exceed $100B

Planning-for-Cloud-Computing-2014-Final-300x2242-300x225International Data Corporation recently presented their top ten technology predictions for 2014.   Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC hosted a webinar to present the research firm’s predictions for 2014 including the research firm’s latest cloud computing market forecast.  You can see a replay of the webinar and get the predictions documents at IDC Predictions 2014.  They are briefly summarized below:

  • Emerging markets will return to double-digit growth of 10%, driving nearly $740B or 35% of worldwide IT revenues and, for the first time, more than 60% of worldwide IT spending growth.  IDC also predicted that in 2014 the number of smart connected devices shipped in emerging markets will almost double that shipped in developed markets. In addition, IDC predicts that over the next seven years emerging markets cloud spending will grow seven-fold versus three-fold in developed markets.  IDC is predicting IT spending in Western Europe will be marginally up, with U.S. and Japan spending marginally down.
  • 3rd-platform-253x300Worldwide IT spending will grow 5% year over year to $2.1 trillion in 2014. Spending will be driven by 3rd Platform technologies, which will grow 15% year over year and capture 89% of IT spending growth.  Smartphones and tablets will lead 2014 growth, accounting for over 60% of total IT growth.  Excluding mobile devices, IT growth will only by a modest 2.4%.  The graphic shown to the right was shared during the webinar today, explaining the 3rd platform and its contribution to market growth.
  • Within the 3rd Platform, value will start to migrate “up the stack”, from infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to platform as a service (PaaS) and from generic PaaS to data-optimized PaaS. The latter will be most evident as Amazon Web Services rolls out an avalanche of platform-as-a-service offerings for developers and higher value services for businesses. This will force incumbent IT suppliers – the companies that won market leadership in the 2nd Platform era – to urgently reconfigure themselves to fight for position in the 3rd Platform marketplace.
  • The mobile device onslaught will continue in 2014 with sales of tablets growing by 18% and smartphones by 12%. The Android community, led by Samsung, will maintain its volume advantage over Apple, while Apple will hold onto its value edge with higher average selling prices and an established ecosystem of apps. But Google Play (Android) app downloads and revenues are making dramatic gains and the “app ecosystem value gap” will be significantly narrowed in 2014. And the clock will be ticking louder for Microsoft, which needs to quickly double mobile developer interest in Windows.  Frank Gens presented the following graphic to support this prediction:

idc

  • Cloud spending, including cloud services and the technology to enable these services, will surge by 25% in 2014, reaching over $100B.   IDC explained the $100B figure includes software, services and cloud infrastructure.  IDC also expects to see a dramatic increase in the number of datacenters as cloud players race to achieve global scale. This will be accompanied by a similar expansion in the variety of workload-specialized cloud infrastructure services, leading to new forms of differentiation among cloud service providers. Finally, a pitched battle will be joined for the developers that can create the cloud-based applications and solutions that will fuel the market’s growth.  IDC predicts that by 2017, 80%+ of new cloud apps will be hosted on six PaaS platforms.
  • Spending on big data technologies and services will grow by 30% in 2014, surpassing $14 billion as demand for big data analytics skills continues to outstrip supply. Here the race will be on to develop “data-optimized cloud platforms”, capable of leveraging high volumes of data and/or real-time data streams. Value-added content providers and data brokers will proliferate as enterprises (and developers) look for interesting data sources as well as applications that help them to understand their customers, products, and the markets in which they exist.  IDC is also predicting that big data analytics services 2014 spending will exceed $4.5B, growing 21% over 2013.
  • Social technologies will become increasingly integrated into existing enterprise applications over the next 12-18 months. In addition to being a strategic component in virtually all customer engagement and marketing strategies, data from social applications will feed the product and service development process. IDC expects enterprise social networks will become increasingly available as standard offerings from cloud services providers. This will enable enterprises to further embed social into the workflow, rather than having a separate “social layer.”  IDC also predicts that by 2017, 80% of Fortune 500 companies will have an active customer community, up from 30% today.  By 2016, 60% of the Fortune 500 will deploy social-enabled innovation management solutions.
  • Datacenters represent the physical foundation underneath the cloud, and are thus a crucial component of the 3rd Platform. As cloud-dedicated datacenters grow in number and importance, the market for server, storage, and networking components will increasingly be driven by cloud service providers, who have traditionally favored highly componentized and commoditized designs. The incumbent IT hardware vendors, who have struggled to sell into this market, will be forced to adopt a “cloud-first” strategy, designing new innovations for initial release and widespread adoption in cloud service provider datacenters.
  • The 3rd Platform will deliver the next generation of competitive advantage apps and services that will significantly disrupt market leaders in virtually every industry. A key to competing in these disrupted and reinvented industries will be to create industry-focused innovation platforms (like GE’s Predix) that attract and enable large communities of innovators – dozens to hundreds will emerge in the next several years. IDC predicts that most of these industry platform players will not reinvent the cloud underpinnings they need, but will build on top Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Salesforce, and others’ platforms. In 2014, it will be critically important for these IT leaders to find these emerging industry platform players and win their business.
  • The 3rd Platform will continue to expand beyond smartphones, tablets, and PCs in 2014 to the Internet of Things (IoT). With IoT momentum building in 2014, IDC expects to see new industry partnerships to emerge as traditional IT vendors accelerate their partnerships with global telecom service providers and semiconductor vendors to create integrated offerings in the consumer electronics and connected device spaces. This kind of collaboration and coordination will be necessary to reach the 30 billion autonomously connected end points and $8.9 trillion in revenues that IDC believes the IoT will generate by 2020.

Source: IDC Predicts 2014 Will Be a Year of Escalation, Consolidation, and Innovation as the Transition to IT’s “3rd Platform” Accelerates 

Roundup of Cloud Computing Forecasts Update, 2013

tunnel-of-speed-forecast-of-saas-cloud-computing-final-300x201Time-to-market, more flexible support for business strategies by IT, and faster response time to competitive conditions are combining to accelerate cloud computing adoption today.

Of the enterprises I’ve spoken with over the last several months including several Fortune 500 corporations to small businesses just beginning to evaluate cloud-based CRM and manufacturing systems, one message resonates from all of them: they need enterprise applications that keep pace with how fast they want to move on new business strategies. The latest round of cloud computing forecasts reflect the urgency enterprises have of making IT a foundation for strategic business growth.

The following is a summary of the latest cloud computing forecasts and market estimates:

McKinsey Analysis

  • IDC predicts public IT cloud services will reach $47.4B in 2013 and is expected to be more than $107B in 2017. Over the 2013–2017 forecast period, public IT cloud services will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.5%, five times that of the IT industry as a whole. The growing focus on cloud services as a business innovation platform will help to drive spending on public IT cloud services to new levels throughout the forecast period. By 2017, IDC expects public IT cloud services will drive 17% of IT product spending and nearly half of all growth across five technology categories: applications, system infrastructure software, platform as a service (PaaS), servers, and basic storage. Software as a service (SaaS) will remain the largest public IT cloud services category throughout the forecast, capturing 59.7% of revenues in 2017. The fastest growing categories will be PaaS and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), with CAGRs of 29.7% and 27.2%, respectively.  Source: IDC Forecasts Worldwide Public IT Cloud Services Spending to Reach Nearly $108 Billion by 2017 as Focus Shifts from Savings to Innovation.

IDC Forecast Public IT Spending

  • Informatica’s presentation titled Enable Rapid Innovation with Informatica  and MicroStrategy for Hybrid IT by Darren Cunningham, Informatica Cloud  and Roger Nolan, Informatica Data Integration and Data Quality contains a useful series of cloud market overviews supported by 451 Research Gartner, Forrester and IDC data.  A summary of the statistics section is shown below:

Informatica

adoption graphic from KPMG

  • Gartner predicts that in the next five years enterprises will spend $921B on public cloud services, attaining a CAGR of 17% in the forecast period.  Darryl Carlton, Research Director, APAC with Gartner recently presented Cloud Computing 2014: Cloud Computing 2014: ready for real business?  His presentation is full of insightful analysis and market forecasts from Gartner, with specific focus on Asia-Pacific.
  • Visiongain predicts the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) submarket is valued at $1.9B in 2013 growing to $3.7B in 2018, attaining a 14.3% CAGR for the period 2013-2018.  The following figure shows the firm’s forecast.  Source: Visiongain on Slideshare.
  • Gartner predicts that in the next five years enterprises will spend $921B on public cloud services, attaining a CAGR of 17% in the forecast period.  Darryl Carlton, Research Director, APAC with Gartner recently presented Cloud Computing 2014: Cloud Computing 2014: ready for real business?  His presentation is full of insightful analysis and market forecasts from Gartner, with specific focus on Asia-Pacific.
  • Visiongain predicts the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) submarket is valued at $1.9B in 2013 growing to $3.7B in 2018, attaining a 14.3% CAGR for the period 2013-2018.  The following figure shows the firm’s forecast.  Source: Visiongain on Slideshare.

visiongain forecast

marketscape

  • Boston Consulting Group writes that SaaS is a $15B market, growing at three times that rate of traditional software.  BCG estimates that SaaS is 12% of global spending on IT applications.  BCG interviewed 80 CIOs and found they were willing to consider SaaS solutions for 35% to 60% of their application spending.  BCG also evaluated how the economics of cloud software adoption vary for on-premises versus SaaS customers.  The following two charts from the completed study. Source: (Free, opt-in required) Profiting from the Cloud: How to Master Software as a Service

Profiting_Cloud_Ex1_lg_tcm80-138310 BCG Categories

Profiting_Cloud_Ex2_lg_tcm80-138309 BCG Economics

Asia Pacific Cloud Market Growth

Cloud Predictive Analytics Most Used To Gain Customer Insight

AnalyticsUsing analytics to better understand customer satisfaction, profitability, retention and churn while increasing cross-sell and up-sell are the most dominant uses of cloud-based analytics today.

Jim Ericson and James Taylor presented the results of Decision Management Solutions’ cloud predictive analytics survey this week in the webinar Predictive Analytics in the Cloud 2013 – Opportunities, Trends and the Impact of Big Data.  The research methodology included 350 survey responses, with a Web-based survey used for data collection.  The survey centered on the areas of pre-packaged cloud-based solutions, cloud-based predictive modeling, and cloud deployment of predictive analytics.  You can see a replay of the webinar at this link.

Key takeaways of the study results released during the webinar include the following:

  • Customer Analytics (72%), followed by supply chain, business optimization, marketing optimization (57%), risk and fraud (52%), and marketing (58%) are the areas in which respondents reported the strongest interest.
  • When the customer analytics responses were analyzed in greater depth they showed most interest in customer satisfaction (50%) followed by customer profitability (34%), customer retention/churn (32%), customer management (30%), and cross-sell/up-sell (26%).
  • Adoption was increasingly widespread and growing, with over 90% of respondents reporting that they expected to deploy one or more type of predictive analytics in the cloud solution.
  • Industries with the most impact from predictive analytics include retail (13% more than average), Financial Services (12%) and hardware/software (4%). Lagging industries include health care delivery (-9%), insurance -11%) and (surprisingly) telecommunications (-33%).  The following graphic illustrates the relative impact of cloud-based predictive analytics applications by industry.

Adoption of Cloud-based Predictive Analytics by Industry

  • The most widespread analytics scenarios include prepackaged solutions (52%), cloud-based analytics modeling (47%) and cloud-based analytic embedding of applications (46%).  Comparing the 2011 and 2013 surveys showed significant gains in all three categories, with the greatest being in the area of cloud-based analytic modeling.  This category increased from 51% in 2011 to 75% in 2013, making it the most likely analytics application respondents are going to implement this year.

Comparison of Analytics Applications Most Likely To Deploy, 2011 versus 2013

  • 63% of respondents report that when predictive analytics are tightly integrated into operations using Decision Management, enterprises have the intelligence they need to transform their businesses.

Impact of Predictive Analytics Integration Across The Enterprise

  • Data security and privacy (61%) followed by regulatory compliance (50%) are the two most significant concerns respondent companies have regarding predictive analytics adoption in their companies.  Compliance has increased as a concern significantly since 2011, probably as more financial services firms are adopting cloud computing for mainstream business strategies.

Concerns of Enterprises Who Are Using Cloud-based Predictive Analytics Today

  • Internal cloud deployments (41%) are the most common approach to implementing central cloud platforms, followed by managed vendor clouds (23% and hybrid clouds (23%). Private and managed clouds continue to grow as preferred platforms for cloud-based analytics, as respondents seek greater security and stability of their applications.  The continued adoption of private and managed clouds are a direct result of respondents’ concerns regarding data security, stability, reliability and redundancy.

Approach To Cloud Deployment

  • The study concludes that structured data is the most prevalent type of data, followed by third party data and unstructured data.
  • While there was no widespread impact on results from Big Data, predictive analytics cloud deployments that have a Big Data component are more likely to contribute to a transformative impact on their organizations’ performance.  Similarly those with more experience deploying predictive analytics in the cloud were more likely to use Big Data.
  • In those predictive analytics cloud deployments already operating or having an impact, social media data from the cloud, voice or other audio data, and image or video data were all much more broadly used as the following graphic illustrates.

Which Data Types Deliver The Most Positive Impact In A Big Data Context

Making Analytics Pay In The Enterprise

global-analytics-300x2001With analytics and big data being so heavily hyped today, it is ironic the majority of business analysts often lack access to data and tools they need.

But things are changing with the next generation of analytics software coming to market.  A recent study by The Economist, “Big Data and the Democratisation of Decisions,” shows the severity of the big data analytics problem and which departments need the most support: customer service, human resources, marketing, strategy and business development.  The following is an infographic based on the study’s key findings. To be clear, all companies mentioned in this post are not and never have been clients of mine or companies I have worked for.

Unleashing Greater Insight in the Enterprise

The real analytics payoff in the enterprise begins when business analysts can achieve customer and market insights faster than their competitors.  In the consumer packaged goods industry, every week counts in a new product launch and product lifecycle.  In healthcare, lag times in customer service lead to patients seeking more responsive treatment alternatives.  The net result in each is lost revenue.

Analytics applications and platforms are increasingly being designed for self-service and the needs of business analysts first.  Instead of having to rely on IT for analytics, big data and advanced statistical analysis support, business analysts need to be able to complete projects on their own. Analytics applications are advancing quickly on this self-service dimension, making it possible for business analysts to get complex projects done in a fraction of the time it would have taken IT to staff and complete them.

Alliances and partnerships between analytics software providers are focused on getting business analysts the tools they need so they don’t have to rely on IT so much to get their work done.  The recent partnership announced between Alteryx and Revolution Analytics puts R-based predictive analytics directly in the hands business analysts is a case in point.

What’s noteworthy about this partnership above all others is the option it gives enterprises to integrate big data and other 3rd party sources into a common system of engagement. Business analysts can then use tools to design analytics and reporting workflows that align and stay in step with line-of-business needs over time.

alteryx-gallery1-300x1691Once an application or workflow is complete, business analysts can publish and distribute their analytics applications enterprise-wide. The Alteryx Analytics Gallery (shown to the right) gives customers the opportunity to share their analytics applications with each other.  The gallery is helping business analysts learn from each other, serving as a catalyst for broader analytic consumption.

This is the same model ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) has been so successful with in the area of IT Service Management.  I attended Knowledge13 earlier this year and found their customer base to be one of the most enthusiastic I’ve ever met.  What ServiceNow has done IT Service Management, Alteryx is on its way to accomplishing in analytics.

Why All This Matters For Customers

Getting analytics applications and tools in the hands of business analysts significantly improves the customer experience and reduce errors at the same time. At Kaiser Permanente, business analysts focus on cost saving projects that improve customer service.

Kaiser has a continual stream of customer interactions across multiple channels going on daily.  Supported by legacy IT systems, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and manual processes to keep the entire system working, the healthcare provider was seeing patient satisfaction levels drop as they didn’t have a clear view of their customers.  The legacy and manual systems also made coordinating customer service teams very difficult and replicating analytics tools very difficult.

Alteryx-Workflow-21

Kaiser Permanente was able to aggregate and cleanse the myriad of data sources they rely on and gain greater insights into their customer’s needs. Creating analytics and reporting workflows that business analysts and lean leaders in their Service Organization use to stay on top of customer needs has led to a five-fold increase in customer service performance according to Greg Hall, Senior Service Optimization Leader.

Why Salesforce Is Winning The Cloud Platform War

300px-Salesforce_Logo_2009The future of any enterprise software vendor is being decided today in their developer community.

Alex William’s insightful thoughts on Salesforce Is A Platform Company. Period. underscores how rapidly Salesforce is maturing as a cloud platform.  And the best measure of that progress can be seen in their developer community.

(To be clear, Salesforce and the other companies mentioned in this post are not clients and never have been.  I track this area out of personal interest.)

DevZone force.com

The last four years I’ve made a point at every Salesforce Dreamforce event to spend the majority of my time in the developer area.  Watching mini hacks going on in the DevZone, mini workshops, the Salesforce Platform and Developer keynotes over the last few years has been a great learning experience.  An added plus: developers are often skeptical and want to see new enhancements help streamline their code, extend its functionality, and push the limits of the Force.com platform. This healthy skepticism has led to needed improvements in the Force.com platform, including a change to governor limits on Application Programmer Interface (APIs) performance and many other enhancements.  Despite the criticisms of Force.com being proprietary due to Apex and SOQL, the crowds at developer forums continue to grow every year.

I’ve started to look at the developer area as the crucible or foundry for future apps.  While the Cloud Expo shows how vibrant the partner ecosystem is, the developer area is where tomorrow’s apps are being coded today. The Force.com Workbook, an excellent reference for Force.com developers, was just released October 1 and DeveloperForce shows how far the developer support is matured in Salesforce.  In addition a new Force.com REST API Developer’s Guide is out just last month.

The Journey From Application To Platform

In visiting the developer area of Dreamforce over the last four years I’ve seen indications that Salesforce is successfully transforming itself into a cloud platform business:

  • Significant jump in the quantity and quality of developer attendees from 2010 to 2012.  The depth of questions, sophistication of code samples, calls for more flexibility with governor limits, and better mobile support typified these years.
  • Steady improvement to visual design tools, application development environment and support for jQuery, Sencha and Apache Cordova.
  • The steady maturation of Salesforce Touch as a mobile development platform and launch of Salesforce Platform Mobile Services Launched in 2011, this platform continues to mature, driven by developer’s requirements that reflect their customers’ needs for mobility support.  HTML 5 is supported and the apps I’ve seen written on it are fast, accurate and ideal for customer service.  ServiceMax has created exceptional mobile apps including their comprehensive ServiceMax for iPad app on the Force.com platform.
  • 2012: Rise of the Mobile Enterprise Developer.  Salesforce’s enterprise customers in 2009 weren’t nearly as active as they were last year with questions on legacy systems integration and how to create web services capable of integrating customer data.  2011 was a breakout year in mobile app development with 2012 showing strong momentum on mobile web services development.  I expect this year’s Dreamforce developer community to reflect the rapidly growing interest in mobile as well.

How Enterprise Applications Make The Salesforce Platform Work For Them

In speaking with Salesforce developers over the years one of my favorite questions continues to be “what is the real payoff of having a native Force.com application in your company?”  Initially I thought this was marketing spin from enterprise software vendors attempting to use features as benefits, however after a closer look it is clear that the platform has significant advantages, especially for any solution requiring global deployments or large numbers of users.  Here is what I found out:

  • The investments Salesforce.com has made in their cloud infrastructure over several years (and continue to make) has resulted in a platform that developers  are leveraging to rapidly deliver enterprise applications that deliver world-class performance, reliability, and security.
  • Of the many native Force.com applications that extend Salesforce beyond CRM, it’s been my experience the most challenging are Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) and contract management.  Creating a single system of record across these two areas is challenging even outside of Force.com, which is why many companies in this space have two entirely different product strategies.  Apttus is the exception as they have successfully created a unified product strategy on Force.com alone.  I recently had the chance to speak with Neehar Giri, President and Chief Solutions Architect.  “Apttus’ strategic decision to deliver our enterprise-class applications natively on the Salesforce platform has allowed us to focus on our customer needs, meeting and exceeding their expectations in both functionality and speed of innovation,” said Neehar Giri, president and chief solutions architect, Apttus.  “We’ve seen the platform evolve rapidly in its capabilities and global scalability.  Apttus’ customers have and continue to benefit from the true multi- tenancy, world class security, reliability and performance of the Salesforce Platform.”
  • Salesforce.com’s multi-tenant architecture allows for optimization of computing resources resulting in savings and significant gains in efficiency for global enterprises even over applications deployed on private clouds.
  • Native Force.com applications share the same security model as Salesforce apps.  Financialforce.com chose to develop their accounting, ordering and billing, professional services automation and service resource planning entirely on the Force.com architecture due to shared master data, multi- tenancy, world class security, reliability and performance.  This shared architecture also benefits enterprise consumers of native applications by providing best-in-class uptime.
  • Native Force.com applications are contributing to greater return on investment (ROI). IT often does not need to manage data integration or sync issues, upgrades to even large numbers of users are easily deployed, and users can remain in a familiar interface.   These benefits support faster and easier deployment as well as rapid user adoption both of which are critical to success and a high ROI for any solution. Enterprise developers have often mentioned the familiar interface and ease of deployment have led to higher rates of adoption than any other approach to delivering new application functionality.
  • Advanced APIs to support integration of legacy applications not on the Force.com platform.
  • Proven ability of Salesforce.com to support global deployments.  The company has expanded its global support centers.  Salesforce.com also publishes real-time statistics on system status: http://trust.salesforce.com/trust/.
  • A continuing acceleration of new capabilities resulting from increasing numbers of developers driving the advancement of the platform through their collective input, suggestions and requirements.
  • Ability to design applications that respond with greater customer insight and intelligence across mobile devices.  ServiceMax has an impressive series of mobile applications that do this today.  I had a chance to speak with David Yarnold, their CEO about his vision for the company.  He wants to give ServiceMax’s customers the ability to deliver flawless field service where every interaction is perfect.  By building on the Force.com architecture he explained how each service customers’ contextual intelligence can be seen in real-time by everyone involved in serving customers.  Clearly ServiceMax is capitalizing on the mobile development platform area of Force.com as well.

Bottom Line: Enabling developers to attain greater revenue growth, while creating an extensive mobile app development platform is further proof Salesforce has turned the corner from being an application company to a platform provider.

Best- And Worst-Performing Cloud Computing Stocks Through Q3, 2013

cloud-computing-stock-update-October-2013-300x225The five highest-performing cloud computing stocks as of Q3, 2013 in the Cloud Computing Stock Index have proven prowess in closing enterprise-level deals, expertise in compliance and security, and years of infrastructure experience.

Twelve of the nineteen companies in the index delivered a positive return in the first three quarters of this year.  NetSuite (NYSE:N) leads all companies in the index with an annualized gain as of calendar Q3 of 88.69% and has a dollar value of $16,078 on $10,000 invested on January 2nd of this year.    Workday (NYSE:WDAY) attained an annualized gain of 81.49% as of Q3, and has a dollar value of $15,617 on $10,000 invested on January 2nd.  Qualys (NASDAQ: QLYS) attained an annualized gain of 49.33% and delivered $13,498 on $10,000 invested from January 2nd to October 2nd of this year.  The following table lists the top best performing cloud computing stocks in the index.

Best Performing 

high-performing-cloud-computing-stocks

Worst Performing

Seven of the nineteen companies in the index lost value, with Fusion-IO (NYSE:FIO) experiencing the greatest annualized loss in stock value of -51.03% and $10,000 invested on January 2nd of this year being worth $5,862 as of October 2nd.  Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) had an annualized loss of -38.61%, with $10,000 invested on January 2nd being worth $6,943 as of October 2nd.  The following table shows the five lowest-performing cloud computing stocks in the index.

low-performing-cloud-computing-stocks

The nineteen companies that comprise the Cloud Computing Stock Index attained a 19.41% return from October 3, 2012 to October 2, 2013.  In the same period Microsoft gained 13.98%, Oracle, 7.05% and SAP, 4.83%. Please click on the index to expand it for easier viewing.

CLOUD-INDEX-FOR-A-YEAR

Specifics on the Cloud Computing Stock Index

I used The Cloud Times 100 as the basis of the index, selecting nineteen companies all of which are publically traded.  The latest edition of the Cloud Computing Stock Index is shown here.  The filter applied to these companies is that 50% or more of their revenues are generated from cloud-based applications, infrastructure and services.  Please click on the index for easier viewing.

clous-computing-stock-index-October-2-20132-1024x351

Note: I do not hold equity positions or work for any of the companies mentioned in this blog post or included in the Cloud Computing Stock Index.  

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