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Posts from the ‘SaaS Early Adopter Research’ Category

How Cloud Computing Is Accelerating Context-Aware Coupons, Offers and Promotions

Retailers and marketers often face the challenge of getting coupons, offers and promotions delivered at the perfect time and in the right context to their customers.

The rapid advances in cyber foragingcontextual computing and cloud computing platforms are succeeding at revolutionizing this aspect of the retail shopping experience.  Context-aware advertising platforms and strategies can also provide precise audience and segment-based messaging directly to customers while they are in the store or retail outlet.

What makes context-aware advertising so unique and well adapted to the cloud is the real-time data integration and contextual intelligence they use for tailoring and transmitting offers to customers.  When a customer opts in to retailer’s contextually-based advertising system, they are periodically sent alerts, coupons, and offers on products of interest once they are in or near the store.  Real-time offer engines chose which alerts, coupons or offers to send, when, and in which context.  Cloud-based analytics and predictive modeling applications will be used for further fine-tuning of alerts, coupons and offers as well.  The ROI of each campaign, even to a very specific audience, will be measurable.  Companies investing in cloud-based contextual advertising systems include Apple, Google, Greystripe, Jumptap, Microsoft, Millennial Media, Velti and Yahoo.

Exploring the Framework of Me Marketing and Context-Aware Offers

A few years ago, a student in one of my MBA courses in international marketing did their dissertation on cyber foraging and contextual mobile applications’ potential use for streamlining business travel throughout Europe.  As a network engineer for Cisco at the time, he viewed the world very systemically; instead of getting frustrated with long waits he would dissect the problem and look at the challenges from a system-centric view.  The result was a great dissertation on cyber foraging and the potential use of Near Field Communications (NFC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) as sensors to define contextual location and make business travel easier.  One of the greatest benefits of teaching, even part-time, is the opportunity to learn so much from students.

I’ve been following this area since, and when Gartner published Me Marketing: Get Ready for the Promise of Real-Time, Context-Aware Offers in Consumer Goods this month I immediately read it.  Gartner is defining Me Marketing as real-time, context-aware offers in grocery stores. Given the abundance of data on transactions that occur in grocery stores, Gartner is predicting this will be the most popular and fastest-growing area of context-aware offers.  The formula for Me Marketing is shown below:

The four steps of the Me Marketing formula are briefly described as follows:

Me marketing framework for contextual coupons

 

  • Consumer Insight and Permission – The first step of the framework and the most difficult from a change management standpoint, this requires customers to opt in to receiving alerts, coupons, offers and promotions.  The best retailers also have invested heavily in security and authentication technologies here too.
  • Delivery Mechanism and In-the-Moment Context – The real-time offer engine is used to determining which coupons, offers and promotions are best suited for a specific customer based on their shopping patterns, preferences and locations.
  • Select Best Offer – Next, the real-time offer engine next defines a very specific product or service offer based on location, previous purchase history, social media analysis, predictive and behavioral analysis, and previous learned patterns of purchasing.
  • Redemption – The purchase of the item offered.  Initial pilots have shown that less frequent yet highly relevant, targeted offers have a higher redemption rate.  It is encouraging to see that early tests of these systems show that spamming customers leads to immediate opt-outs and in some cases shopping competitors.

A Short Overview of Contextual Advertising and the Cloud

Cloud-based systems and applications are necessary for retailers to gain the full value that contextual advertising can provide.  This includes the social context, with specific focus on aggregation and analysis of Social CRM, CRM, and social media content, in addition to behavioral analytics and sentiment analysis.  It also includes the previous browsing, purchasing, returns and prices paid by product for each customer.  Cloud-based integration architectures are necessary for making contextual advertising a reality in several hundred or even thousands of retail stores at the same time.

Geographical data and analysis is also essential.  RFID has often been included in cyber foraging and contextual advertising pilots, in addition to NFC.  As Global Positioning System (GPS) chip sets have dropped in price and become more accurate, companies including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are basing their contextual advertising platforms on them.  Finally the activity or task also needs to have a contextual definition.

Combining all three of these elements gives the context of the customer in the retail store.  The figure below is from Three-Dimensional Context-Aware Tailoring of Information.  This study also took into account how personas are used by companies building cloud-based contextual advertising systems.  The taxonomies shown in the figure are used for building personas of customers.

context aware technology

There are many pilot projects and enterprise-wide system tests going on right now in the area of cloud-based contextual advertising.  One of the more interesting is an application suite created entirely on Google App Engine, Android, and Cloud Services.  The pilot is explained in the study Exploring Solutions for Mobile Companionship: A Design Research Approach to Context-Aware Management.  The following figure shows a diagram of the suite.  This pilot uses Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) which is part of the Android API to link the Google App Engine server and Android client.  Google will most likely add more depth of support for C2DM as it plays a critical role in contextual system development.

context aware Google Ad Platform

Benefits of a Cloud-based Contextual Advertising Platform

For the customer, cloud-based advertising systems over time will learn their preferences and eventually impact the demand planning and forecasting systems of retailers.  This translates into the customer-centric benefits of products being out of stock less.  In addition, customers will receive more relevant offers.  The entire shopping experience will be more pleasant with expectations being met more often.

For the retailer, better management of product categories and more effective gross margin growth will be possible. Having real-time analytics of each coupon, offer and promotion will also give them immediate insights into which of their selling strategies are working or not.

For the manufacturer, the opportunity to finally understand how customers respond at the store level to promotions, programs including the results of co-op funds investment and pricing strategies will be known.  The manufacturers who partner with retailers using these systems will also have the chance at attaining greater product differentiation as their coupons, offers and promotions will only go to the most relevant customers.

References:

Me Marketing: Get Ready for the Promise of Real-Time, Context-Aware Offers in Consumer Goods Published: 24 December 2012 Analyst(s): Don Scheibenreif, Dale Hagemeyer

Tor-Morten Grønli, Ghinea, G., & Bygstad, B. (2013). Exploring Solutions for Mobile Companionship: A Design Research Approach to Context-Aware Management. International Journal of Information Management, 33(1), 227. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0268401212001259

Tor-Morten Grønli, & Ghinea, G. (2010). Three-Dimensional Context-Aware Tailoring of Information. Online Information Review, 34(6), 892-906. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1896452

First Steps to Creating a Cloud Computing Strategy for 2013

Cloud computing strategy 2013 will be one of the most pivotal years for cloud computing because trust in these technologies is on the line.

Expectations are high regarding these technologies’ ability to deliver business value while reducing operating costs.  Enterprises’ experiences have at times met these high expectations, yet too often are getting mixed results.  Managing cloud expectations at the C-level is quickly emerging as one of the most valuable skills in 2013. The best CIOs at this are business strategists who regularly review with their line-of-business counterparts what is and isn’t working.  These CIOs who are excelling as strategists also are creating and continually evaluating their cloud computing plans for 2013.  They are focusing on plans that capitalize the best of what cloud computing has to offer, while minimizing risks.

CIOs excelling as strategists are also using cloud computing planning to punch through the hype and make cloud technologies real from a customer, supplier and internal efficiency standpoint.  Lessons learned from these cloud computing planning efforts in enterprises are provided below:

  • Cloud computing needs to mature more to take on all enterprise applications, so plan for a hybrid IT architecture that provides both agility and security.  This is a common concern among CIOs in the manufacturing and financial services industries especially.  As much as the speed of deployment, customization and subscription-based models attract enterprises to the cloud, the difficult problems of security, legacy system integration, and licensing slow its adoption.  There is not enough trust in the cloud yet to move the entire IT infrastructure there in the majority of manufacturing companies I’ve spoken with.
  • Reorganizing IT to deliver greater business agility and support of key business initiatives will be a high priority in 2013.  The gauntlet has been thrown at the feet of many CIOs this year: become more strategic and help the business grow now.  Cloud is part of this, yet not its primary catalyst, the need to increase sales is.  IT organizations will increasingly reflect a more service-driven, not technology-based approach to delivering information and intelligence to the enterprise as a result.
  • Recruiting, training and retaining cloud architects, developers, engineers, support and service professionals will be a challenge even for the largest enterprises.  There isn’t enough talent to go around for all the projects going on and planned right now.  State Farm Insurance has 1,000 software engineers working on their mobility applications for claims processing and quoting for example.  And they are hiring more.  Certifications in cloud technologies are going to be worth at least a 30 to 50% increase in salary in specific positions. This is very good news for engineers who want to differentiate themselves and get ahead in their careers, both financially and from a management standpoint.
  • Measuring the contributions of operating expense (OPEX) reductions is going to become commonplace in 2013.  From the cloud computing plans I’ve seen, OPEX is being tracked with greater accuracy than in any other year and will be a strong focus in the future.  The capital expense (CAPEX) savings are clear, yet OPEX savings in many cases aren’t. Cloud computing’s greatest wins in the enterprise continue to be in non-mission critical areas of the business.  This is changing as cloud-based ERP systems gain adoption within businesses who are constrained by monolithic ERP systems from decades ago.  Plex Systems is a leader in this area and one to watch if you are interested in this area of enterprise software.  SaaS is dominating in the area of lower application costs and high user counts, which is the Public Computing Sweet Spot in the following graphic:

Figure 1 Cloud Computing Planning Guide

Source: 2013 Cloud Computing Planning Guide: Rising Expectations Published: 1 November 2012 Analysts: Drue Reeves, Kyle Hilgendorf

  • Start building a SaaS application review framework including Service Level Agreement (SLA) benchmarks to drive greater transparency by vendors.  Gartner forecasts that the SaaS-based cloud market will grow from $12.1B in 2013 to$21.3B in 2015, with the primary growth factors being ease of customization and speed of deployment. CIOs and their staffs have SaaS frameworks already in place, often with specific levels of performance defined including security and multitenancy audits.  SLAs are going to be a challenge however as many vendors are inflexible and will not negotiate them. At a minimum make sure cloud service providers and cloud management platforms (CMP) have certifications for ISO 27001 and Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16, as this shows the provider is making investments in availability, security and performance levels.
  • Create a Cloud Decision Framework to keep technology evaluations and investments aligned with business strategies.  Business and application assessments and the vendor selection process need to take into account application requirements, role of external cloud resources, and how the RFI will be structured. These process areas will vary by type of company – yet concentrating in application requirements goes a long way to reducing confusion and forcing trade-offs in the middle of a review cycle.  The following is an example of a Cloud Decision Framework:

Figure 2 Sample Cloud Decision Framework

Source: 2013 Cloud Computing Planning Guide: Rising Expectations Published: 1 November 2012 Analysts: Drue Reeves, Kyle Hilgendorf

  • Mitigating risk and liability through intensive due diligence needs to become any cloud-based companies’ core strength.  Regardless of how the HP-Autonomy litigation is resolved it is a powerful cautionary tale of the need for due diligence.  And let’s face it: there are way too many SaaS companies chasing too few dollars in the niche areas of enterprise software today.  A shakeout is on the way, the market just can’t sustain so many vendors.  To reduce risk and liability, ask to see the financial statements (especially if the vendor is private), get references and visit them, meet with engineering to determine how real the product roadmap is, and require an SLA.  Anyone selling software on SaaS will also have revenue recognition issues too, be sure to thoroughly understand how they are accounting for sales.
  • Design in security management at the cloud platform level, including auditing and access control by role in the organization.  One manufacturing company I’ve been working with has defined security at this level and has been able to quickly evaluate SaaS-based manufacturing, pricing and services systems by their security integration compatibility.  This has saved thousands of dollars in security-based customizations to meet the manufactures’ corporate standards.

Bottom line: 2013 is the make-or-break year for cloud in the enterprise, and getting started on a plan will help your organization quickly cut through the hype and see which providers can deliver value.

Cloud Computing and Enterprise Software Forecast Update, 2012

The latest round of cloud computing and enterprise software forecasts reflect the growing influence of analytics, legacy systems integration, mobility and security on IT buyer’s decisions.

Bain & Company and Gartner have moved beyond aggregate forecasts, and are beginning to forecast by cloud and SaaS adoption stage.  SAP is using the Bain adoption model in their vertical market presentations today.

Despite the predictions of the demise of enterprise software, forecasts and sales cycles I’ve been involved with indicate market growth.  Mobility and cloud computing are the catalysts of rejuvenation in many enterprise application areas, and are accelerating sales cycles.  Presented in this roundup are market sizes, forecasts and compound annual growth rates (CAGRS) for ten enterprise software segments.

Key take-aways from the latest cloud computing and enterprise software forecasts are provided below:

  • Public and private cloud computing will be strong catalysts of server growth through 2015.  IDC reports that $5.2B in worldwide server revenue was generated in 2011 or 885,000 units sold.  IDC is forecasting a $9.4B global market by 2015, resulting in 1.8 million servers sold. Source:  IDC Worldwide Enterprise Server Cloud Computing 2011–2015 http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=228916 
  • IDC reports that enterprise cloud application revenues reached $22.9B in 2011 and is projected reach $67.3B by 2016, attaining a CAGR of 24%.  IDC also predicts that by 2106, $1 of every $5 will be spent on cloud-based software and infrastructure. Report, Worldwide SaaS and Cloud Software 2012–2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares, Link: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=236184
  • 11% of companies are transformational, early adopters of cloud computing, attaining 44% adoption (as defined by % of MIPS) in 2010, growing to 49% in 2013.  This same segment will reduce their reliance on traditional, on-premise software from 34% to 30% in the same period according to Bain & Company’s cloud computing survey results shown below.  SAP is using this adopter-based model in their vertical market presentations, an example of which is shown here.

  • The global Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) market is growing from $900M in 2011 to $2.9B in 2016, achieving a 26.6% CAGR.  At this projected rate, PaaS will generate an average of $360M a year in revenue between 2011 and 2016.  Gartner projects that the largest segments will be Application Platform Services (aPaaS) which generated 35% of total PaaS spending in 2011, followed by cloud application lifecycle services (12.5).    Source: Market Trends: Platform as a Service, Worldwide, 2012-2016, 2H12 Update Published: 5 October 2012 ID:G00239236.

  • The three most popular net-new SaaS solutions deployed are CRM (49%), Enterprise Content Management (ECM) (37%) and Digital Content Creation (35%).  The three most-replaced on-premise applications are Supply Chain Management (SCM) (35%), Web Conferencing, teaming platforms and social software suites (34%) and Project & Portfolio Management (PPM (33%). The following graphic shows the full distribution of responses. Source: User Survey Analysis: Using Cloud Services for Mission-Critical Applications Published: 28 September 2012

  •  In 2011, the worldwide enterprise application software market generated $115.1B in revenue, and is projected to grow to $157.6B by 2016, attaining a 6.5% CAGR in the forecast period. Gartner reports that 38% of worldwide enterprise software revenue is from maintenance and technical support; 17% from subscription payments; and 56% from ongoing revenue including new purchases.  An analysis of the ten enterprise software markets and their relative size and growth are shown in the figure below along with a table showing relative rates of growth from 2011 to 2016. Source: Forecast: Enterprise Software Markets, Worldwide, 2011-2016, 3Q12 Update Published: 12 September 2012 ID:G00234766

SaaS Adoption Accelerates, Goes Global in the Enterprise

In working with manufacturers and financial services firms over the last year, one point is becoming very clear: SaaS is gaining trust as a solid alternative for global deployments across the enterprise.  And this trend has been accelerating in the last six months.  One case in point is a 4,000 seat SaaS CRM deployment going live in Australia, Europe, and the U.S. by December of this year.

What’s noteworthy about this shift is that just eighteen months ago an Australian-based manufacturer was only considering SaaS for on-premises enhancement of their CRM system.  What changed?  The European and U.S. distribution and sales offices were on nearly 40 different CRM, quoting, proposal and pricing systems.  It was nearly impossible to track global opportunities.

Meanwhile business was booming in Australia and there were up-sell and cross-sell opportunities being missed in the U.S. and European-based headquarters of their prospects. The manufacturer  chose to move to a global SaaS CRM solution quickly.  Uniting all three divisions with a global sales strategy forced the consolidation of 40 different quoting, pricing and CRM systems in the U.S. alone.  What they lost in complexity they are looking to pick up in global customer sales.

Measuring Where SaaS Is Cannibalizing On-Premise Enterprise Applications

Gartner’s Market Trends: SaaS’s Varied Levels of Cannibalization to On-Premises Applications published: 29 October 2012 breaks out the percent of SaaS revenue for ten different enterprise application categories.  The greener the color the greater the adoption.  As was seen with the Australian manufacturer, CRM continues dominate this trend of SaaS cannibalizing on-premise enterprise applications.

Additional take-aways from this report include the following:

  • Perceived lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) continues to be the dominant reason enterprises are considering SaaS adoption, with 50% of respondents in 2012 mentioning this as the primary factor in their decision.
  • CRM is leading all other enterprise application areas in net new deployments according to the Gartner study, with the majority of on-premise replacements being in North America and Europe.
  • Gartner projects that by 2016 more than 50% of CRM software revenue will be delivered by SaaS.  As of 2011, 35% of CRM software was delivered on the SaaS platform.  Gartner expects to see SaaS-based CRM grow at three time the rate of on-premise applications.
  • 95% of Web analytics functions are delivered via the SaaS model  whereas only 40% of sales use cloud today according to the findings of this study.
  • The highest adoption rates of SaaS-based applications include sales, customer service, social CRM and marketing automation.
  • SaaS-based ERP will continued to be a small percentage of the total market, attaining 10% cannibalization by 2012.  Forrester has consistently said this is 13%, growing to 16% by 2015.
  • Office suites and digital content creation (DCC) will attain compound annual growth rates (CAGR) of 40.7% and a 32.2% respectively from 2011 through 2016. Gartner is making the assumption consumers and small businesses will continue be the major forces for Web-based office suites through 2013.
  • The four reasons why companies don’t choose SaaS include uncertainty if it is the right deployment option (36%), satisfaction with existing on-premise applications (30%), no further requirements (33%) and locked into their current solution with expensive contractual requirements (14%).

Bottom Line: Enterprises and their need to compete with greater accuracy and speed are driving the cannibalization of on-premise applications faster than many anticipated; enterprise software vendors need to step up and get in front of this if they are going to retain their greatest sources of revenue.

Source:  Market Trends: SaaS’s Varied Levels of Cannibalization to On-Premises Applications Published: 29 October 2012 written by Chad Eschinger, Joanne M. Correia, Yanna Dharmasthira, Tom Eid, Chris Pang, Dan Sommer, Hai Hong Swinehart and Laurie F. Wurster

Why CIOs Are Quickly Prioritizing Analytics, Cloud and Mobile

Customers are quickly reinventing how they choose to learn about new products, keep current on existing ones, and stay loyal to those brands they most value.  The best-run companies are all over this, orchestrating their IT strategies to be as responsive as possible.

The luxury of long technology evaluation cycles, introspective analysis of systems, and long deployment timeframes are giving way to rapid deployments and systems designed for accuracy and speed.

CIOs need to be just as strong at strategic planning and execution as they are at technology.  Many are quickly prioritizing analytics, cloud and mobile strategies to stay in step with their rapidly changing customer bases.  This is especially true for those companies with less than $1B in sales, as analytics, cloud computing and mobility can be combined to compete very effectively against their much bigger rivals.

What’s Driving CIOs – A Look At Technology Priorities

Gartner’s annual survey of CIOs includes 2,300 respondents located in 44 countries, competing in all major industries.  As of the last annual survey, the three-highest rated priorities for investment from 2012 to 2015 included Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI), Mobile Technologies and Cloud Computing.

Source: From the Gartner Report Market Insight: Technology Opens Up Opportunities in SMB Vertical Markets September 6, 2012 by Christine Arcaris, Jeffrey Roster

 

How Industries Prioritize Analytics, Cloud and Mobile  

When  these priorities are analyzed across eight key industries, patterns emerge showing how the  communications, media and services (CMS) and manufacturing industries have the highest immediate growth potential for mobility (Next 2 years).  In Big Data/BI, Financial Services is projected to be the fastest-developing industry and in Cloud computing, CMS and Government.

In analyzing this and related data, a profile of early adopter enterprises emerges.  These are companies who are based on knowledge-intensive business models, have created and excel at running virtual organization structures, rely on mobility to connect with and build relationships with customers, and have deep analytics expertise.  In short, their business models take the best of what mobility, Big Data/BI and cloud computing have to offer and align it to their strategic plans and programs.  The following figure, Vertical Industry Growth by Technology Over the Next Five Years, shows the prioritization and relative growth by industry.

Source: From the Gartner Report Market Insight: Technology Opens Up Opportunities in SMB Vertical Markets September 6, 2012 by Christine Arcaris, Jeffrey Roster

How Mobility Could Emerge As the Trojan Horse of Enterprise Software

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), the rapid ascent of enterprise application stores, and the high expectations customers have of continual mobile app usability and performance improvements are just three of many factors driving mobility growth.

Just as significant is the success many mid-tier companies are having in competing with their larger, more globally known rivals using mobile-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM), warranty management, service and spare parts procurement strategies.  What smaller competitors lack in breadth they are more than making up for in speed and responsiveness.   Gartner’s IT Market Clock for Enterprise Mobility, 2012 captures how mobility is changing the nature of competition.

Source: IT Market Clock for Enterprise Mobility, 2012 Published: 10 September 2012 Analyst(s): Monica Basso

 

Bottom Line – By excelling at the orchestration of analytics, cloud and mobile, enterprises can differentiate where it matters most – by delivering an excellent customer experience.  Mobility can emerge as an enterprise Trojan Horse because it unleashes accuracy, precision and speed into customer-facing processes that larger, complacent competitors may have overlooked.

The Marketing of Cloud Multitenancy: How Early Adopters Are Killing The Hype

It’s impressive how quickly the teams evaluating CRM cloud-based applications are learning how to deflate the hype surrounding multitenancy.

One gets the impression that hype-hunting has now become a sport in these teams.  In engineering-centric companies it’s a badge of honor to find out just how multitenant a cloud-based application or platform is.  Multitenancy isn’t the only area they are looking at, but given the massive amount of hype surrounding this issue on the part of vendors, it generates more attention because evaluation teams are skeptical.

Teams evaluating CRM applications aren’t satisfied with an easily customized and used graphical interface or series of workflows, they are getting more interested in the architecture itself .  In some cases they’ve been burned by claims of an application being SaaS-based when in fact the architecture is a glorified series of Citrix-like sessions running in the background or worse.  I have seen a healthy amount of skepticism in the evaluations going on right now and recently completed of SaaS applications and entire cloud platforms.  Gartner’s inquiry calls from corporate accounts must be accelerating as their clients look for guidance on how to sort out the multitenancy hype.

CRM, Multitenancy and the Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing

Gartner’s search analytics show that cloud computing and related terms had 29,998 searches in the last twelve months with cloud computing alone generating 10,062 searches.  SaaS and related terms had a search volume of 19,000.  These terms are among the most popular across all Gartner search terms for the last twelve months.  In comparison, CRM had over 42,000 searches in the same period.

It’s in this area of CRM applications where multitenancy has gone into hype overdrive. Looking for differentiators, some CRM vendors are claiming not just multitenancy – but their specific brand of it.  This confuses their prospects, which immediately energizes evaluation teams to do a more thorough job than they have ever done before.  By claiming their own type of multitenancy, CRM vendors are ironically not just slowing down their own sales cycles, they are making the entire industry slow down.  No wonder Gartner places multitenancy along the Peak of Inflated Expectations in the latest Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing which is shown below.

Making Sense of Elasticity and Multitenancy

It’s paradoxical that enterprise software vendors, especially those selling SaaS-based CRM applications,  are attempting to turn multitenancy into a differentiator.  What is needed is a greater focus on usability, flexibility in aligning workflows to specific needs, and better enterprise integration technologies.  Sell the value not the product features.

Given the confusion differentiating on multitenancy is creating and the calls Gartner is getting on this issue, they published Gartner Reference Model for Elasticity and Multitenancy.  It includes what Gartner believes a cloud services provider must implement in terms of a multitenant service in addition to what SaaS-based applications need to provide.  Here are their checklists for each area:

Multitenancy Service Requirements for Cloud Services Providers

  • Isolation of tenant data
  • Isolation of the tenant workspace (memory)
  • Isolation of tenant execution characteristics (performance and availability)
  • Tenant-aware security, monitoring, management, reporting and self-service administration
  • Isolation of tenant customizations and extensions to business logic
  • Continuous, tenant-aware version control
  • Tenant-aware error tracking and recovery
  • Tracking and recording of resources use per tenant
  • The ability to allocate resources to tenants dynamically, as needed and based on policy Horizontal scalability to support real-time addition/removal of tenant resources, tenants or users without interruptions to the running environment

Multitenancy in Cloud Application Services (Software as a Service) Applications

  • Be available 24/7, because of the potential global user base
  • Adopt new versions without disrupting the continuous operations of tenants, and preserve user customizations
  • Scale up or down on demand
  • Allow individual rollback and restore for each tenant
  • Not allow a “noisy neighbor” tenant to affect the performance of other tenants, or increase their costs
  • Be accessible from various locations, devices and software architectures to meet potentially global demand
  • Offer tenant-aware self-service

Gartner also released their Reference Architecture for Multitenancy, which is shown below.  One of the key assumptions of this model is that multitenancy is a mode of operation where multiple, independent and secured instances of applications run in a shared environment.  The model includes the seven different models of multitenancy Gartner has seen in their research.  These seven models, listed across the top of the model beginning with Shared Nothing and progressing to Custom Multitenancy are across the top of the model.

The majority of enterprises I’ve worked with are looking to the Shared Hardware approach in an attempt to create backward compatibility to their legacy applications via Virtual Machines. Another area of interest is the Shared Container approach which relies on a separate logical or physical instance of a DBMS, and often isolates its own business logic.  This is ideal for distributed order management systems and SaaS-based ERP systems for example.  Yet the legacy application support in this type of multitenancy can get expensive fast.

Shared Everything Multitenancy is ideal for quickly on-ramping and off-ramping applications, tenants and individual system users and is what nearly all enterprise vendors claim to do.  In reality only a handful do this well.  This approach to multitenancy is based on the Shared Container approach including support for shared DBMS sessions.  Salesforce.com’s Force.com platform, VMWare WaveMaker and Zoho Creator are all examples of companies who have successfully delivered Shared Everything multitenancy.

With so much to gain by positioning an application or solution suite in the 6th and 7th models, vendors are rushing to define their own versions of Shared Everything and Custom Multitenancy.  The land grab is on in this area of the multitenancy market right now.  IBM, Microsoft and Oracle are all expected to endorse and eventually have many of their cloud-based applications in the Shared Everything model.  Each of these companies and many others will have a multi-model based approach to selling multitenancy as well.

Gartner Reference Model for Elasticity and Multitenancy

Source:  Gartner Reference Model for Elasticity and Multitenancy

Bottom line: Enterprise software vendors can accelerate evaluation cycles and sell more by differentiating on the user experience and value delivered instead of trying to create fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) by creating their own definition of multitenancy.

Roundup of SaaS ERP Forecasts and Market Estimates, 2012

The latest round of SaaS ERP market forecasts are more grounded in the reality of CIO priorities and committed projects in 2012 than ever before.  And this is good news for the many vendors competing in the Financial Management Systems (FMS), Human Capital Management (HCM) and Manufacturing segments of the SaaS ERP market.

Two weeks ago in Houston I interviewed twenty-five different CIOs, IT Directors, CEOs and CTOs as part of a persona research study I am doing.  Their take on SaaS ERP was consistent with what this round-up shows, namely this type of SaaS application is best suited for extending beyond, not replacing, the main ERP systems and platforms.   I concentrated on SaaS ERP adoption in manufacturing and learned the following during my interviews:

  • Usability and speed of deployment are the two most common benefits CIOs mentioned in my survey during Convergence.  The economics of cloud computing is a topic that CFOs love to talk about, especially in the areas of value-based pricing and how that is determined.
  • When asked what kept them up at night, CIOs said it was the thought of a call from their boss (often the CFO) that a cloud system had been compromised or had completely gone down.  Security and reliability are holding back CIOs in manufacturing from adopting SaaS-based ERP systems more pervasively in their companies.
  • CIOs from aerospace and defense companies get the benefits of cloud computing, yet they have much bigger issues to deal with right now, like replacing financials in their existing ERP system and staying in compliance to government requirements.  Earned Value Management is a major focus they have as well.  SaaS-based ERP systems are interesting to them; they however would require a completely enclosed, locked-down implementation due to security requirements.
  • There are vast differences in how CIOs view cloud computing – something that the following forecasts don’t really capture.  For the CIOs who are strategists, cloud computing in general and SaaS ERP specifically is a consideration given the agility and time-to-market, providing customization is held to a minimum.  CIOs who came up through IT have a healthy degree of skepticism and see SaaS ERP as potentially useful for scaling out an operation yet never being the primary financial system.

Here are the latest SaaS ERP forecasts and market estimates:

  • Gartner released their latest SaaS revenue forecast last week predicting revenue will reach $14.5B this year, a 17.9% increase from 2011 of $12.3B, with strong growth predicted through 2015 when the market is expected to be $22.1B. Source: http://www.itjungle.com/tfh/tfh040212-story08.html
  • In the report Market Trends: Cloud Computing and SaaS Adoption in Manufacturing and Natural Resources, Worldwide, 2012 Gartner is predicting  59% of manufacturers will adopt IaaS during the 2011 – 2015 timeframe and 47% will be either piloting or using SaaS-based applications.  Gartner cites the need for greater business and supply chain agility as the factors driving this rapid adoption.  The following figure is from the Gartner report  Market Trends: Cloud Computing and SaaS Adoption in Manufacturing and Natural Resources, Worldwide, 2012.
  • Forrester forecasts SaaS ERP spending staying at 2% of the global ERP market, while Gartner forecasts 7% through 2012.  Gartner is projecting Project and Portfolio Management (29.1%) and Supply Chain Management (22.1%) will see the greatest growth rates through 2015.  Supply Chain Management is expected to reach $2.7B in revenue by 2015.  The Total Software Revenue Forecast for SaaS Delivery Within Enterprise Software is shown in the following table.  Source: Forecast: Software as a Service, Worldwide, 2010-2015, 1H11 Update Published: 22 June 2011 Analyst(s): Sharon A. Mertz, Chad Eschinger, Tom Eid, Chris Pang, Laurie F. Wurster
  • Gartner, IDC and Forrester all predict that Human Capital Management (HCM) will see the broadest adoption of all SaaS-based ERP components through 2015.  Vendors in this category include ADP, Concur, Cornerstone onDemand, HumanConcepts, Infor, Kenexa, Lumesse, Saba, SilkRoad, Sonar6, SuccessFactors, SumTotal Systems, Taleo, Ultimate Software and Workday.  Based on a recent Gartner Spending and Usage of SaaS Survey, 39% of manufacturers are piloting or using SaaS-based financials followed by 37% using Expense Management.The following figure illustrates their forecast, from the report  Market Trends: Cloud Computing and SaaS Adoption in Manufacturing and Natural Resources, Worldwide, 2012
  • Gartner’s IT Market Clock for ERP Platform Technology indicates that multitenant SaaS-based ERP is maturing rapidly, driven by time-to-market and cost advantages. The IT Market Clock is shown below, indicating SaaS ERP-based systems position relative to other ERP platforms now in use.  Vendors including  Epicor Express Editions, Glovia, Kenandy, NetSuite, Plex Systems, and SAP Business ByDesign compete in this segment.Source: IT Market Clock for ERP Platform Technology, 2011 Published: 19 September 2011 Analyst: Jim Shepherd.

Gartner has also compiled a Market Clock Recommendation Summary which is shown in the following table.  Of the CIOs I’ve spoken with during the persona research, the description of Multitenant SaaS is accurate.  No CIO I’ve spoken with is willing to bet their job on a rip-and-replace strategy for SaaS ERP; yet many are willing to extend their existing ERP systems using SaaS implementations to get up and running quickly at lower cost.  The one caveat nearly everyone mentions is little or no customization is necessary for SaaS ERP systems to be even evaluated by their companies.  Slight configuration is expected; however in-depth customization is not.

Bottom line: The persona research completed shows that the SaaS-based ERP growth is being helped by the transition occurring in the CIO ranks today.  More of them are strategists, who are expected to make business strategies happen, over and above just keeping the system dial tone on in their enterprises.

Enterprise Software as a Service Market Forecast: The Future is Already Here – It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed

The prescient quote by William Gibson aptly describes the worldwide Software as a Service (SaaS) market today, especially in the enterprise.

Global adoption and growth of SaaS within enterprises is unevenly distributed yet growing rapidly.  One of the primary catalysts moving this forward are Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and other platform providers lowering the barriers to creating new applications, continually investing in security technologies, and streamlining rapid prototyping, testing, and release of SaaS applications.

This week Salesforce showed how extensive the momentum is in their global base of developers during Dreamforce ’11.  The Developer Zone had the most innovation per square foot of any venue at this conference.  Insights gained from visiting the sessions at Dreamforce, speaking with Force evangelists and tech staff, and also with attendees form the basis of the following analysis and insights.  On Friday of last week Gartner also released the report, Forecast: Software as a Service, All Regions, 2010-2015 by Sharon A. Mertz, Chad Eschinger, Tom Eid, Yanna Dharmasthira, Chris Pang, Laurie F. Wurster, Tsuyoshi Ebina, Hai Hong Swinehart, which validated several of the trends seen in the Developer Zone at Dreamforce ’11.

Forecasting the Growth of SaaS in the Enterprise, 2015

In speaking with developers, vendors and after reviewing the Gartner report, here are several insights gained that illustrate how SaaS adoption will vary by region over the next four years:

  • APIs are getting more adept at managing multi-party transactions across all platforms.  Marc Benioff and Chuck Phillips alluded to this when Infor announced Inforce this week at Dreamforce.  It was also evident in how partners in the Developer Zone were demonstrating frameworks for supporting more advanced enterprise software application development.  These included supply chain management, the ability to manage complex project plans more effectively using apps based on these APIs, and greater control over collaboration development.  Gartner published their total software revenue forecast for SaaS delivery, 2007 – 2015 back in June, and a table from that analysis is shown below.  Their forecast reflects in large part depth of REST APIs which are part of Web Services.   This table is from the report, Forecast: Software as a Service, Worldwide, 2010-2015, 1H11 Update, 22 June 2011, ID:G00213816, Sharon A. Mertz, Chad Eschinger, Tom Eid, Chris Pang, Laurie F. Wurster.
  • Graphical interface flexibility, usability options, localization, and local language support dominate EMEA concerns about SaaS.  In Dreamforce sessions attended and in the Gartner report, it’s clear Salesforce is struggling to make localization work more effectively via their programming platforms and tools in EMEA.  This came out during many of the discussions in the Developer Zone as well.  All platform providers are facing this challenge, yet the pace of new API enhancements shows significant potential.  As a result the forecast for SaaS revenue in Western Europe is forecasted to be $2.66B in 2011 growing to $4.8B in 2015, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% according to Gartner.
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is aggressively pushed by Salesforce in the U.S. yet is most effective in EMEA.  This became evident in discussions and presentations, and also was validated by the recent Gartner report.  Salesforce also has extensive TCO calculators on its Force developer sites for the U.S. yet ironically they are finding they are most effective in EMEA sales cycles.
  • Based on my informal poll 20% of iPad-to-Salesforce account demos failed at Dreamforce.    Dozens of companies were hyping their iPad clients at Dreamforce, yet I found nearly one in five failed to deliver reliable performance. While the sample is hardly scientific, it does show that the iPad to Salesforce integration so heavily hyped by so many vendors is still nascent.  It’s as if these companies invested so much on iPad clients they ran out of time to make the back-end integrations work reliably.  Gartner found that lack of integration is the single greatest inhibitor to SaaS growth in North America.
  • Ease of speed and deployment, limited capital expense, and lower TCO are the most critical factors driving SaaS growth in U.S. enterprises today.  This became evident from listening to customer testimonials during the many vendor sessions in Moscone West, in addition to discussions with developers.  The impact of these factors is also evident in the total software revenue forecast for SaaS delivery within enterprise application software markets by region, 2008 – 2015.   This is from the Gartner report, Forecast: Software as a Service, All Regions, 2010-2015. Sharon A. Mertz, Chad Eschinger, Tom Eid, Yanna Dharmasthira, Chris Pang, Laurie F. Wurster, Tsuyoshi Ebina, Hai Hong Swinehart.

  • CRM continues to dominate SaaS usage across all enterprise applications, closely followed by Web conferencing and e-learning in North America and Northern Europe.  Both North America and Northern Europe have comparable adoption trends regarding these SaaS applications, with Western and Southern Europe lagging in terms of adoption and spending.
  • Asia/Pacific continues to be the most fragmented of all regions when it comes to SaaS adoption in the enterprise.  Countries with greater stability of their Internet infrastructures including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea are experiencing greater SaaS growth, and also contributing to Salesforce’s success in these regions.  Salesforce has 14.5% CRM share in this region, third behind SAP and Oracle. Emerging countries are the most rapid adopters of SaaS-based accounting, e-mail and collaboration-based apps.
  • China, India and Malaysia are experiencing the most rapid adoption of SaaS-based enterprise applications in the Asia/Pacific region.  WiPro’s decision to invest so heavily in Dreamforce as a promotional event is a case in point.  The Developer Zone had  several companies from this region offering their programming and system integration services as well.

Bottom line: SaaS adoption continues to accelerate globally across enterprise software, growing from $12B in 2011 to $21B in 2015, achieving a 16.3% CAGR annually. Platform providers are knocking down the barriers to market growth by using events including Dreamforce to educate, entertain and enable developers to quickly turn concepts into applications.

SaaS-based Analytics and Business Intelligence Market Update, August 2011

Challenging, uncertain economic times accelerate sales cycles and lead to more closed deals for business intelligence software providers.  Companies get an urgency to reduce costs and risks, relying on the insights gained from these applications.

There’s an interesting dichotomy starting to emerge in how experts and analysts define just how these markets will mature however.  Both agree that economic uncertainty are growth catalysts yet they diverge on adoption rates, roadblocks, and which analytics and BI technology will dominate in the years ahead.

This week I read Balancing Custom And Packaged Apps In Your Application Portfolio Strategy by George Lawrie, Mike Gilpin and Adam Knoll from Forrester and the latest Hype Cycle of Business Intelligence, 2011 by a collection of Gartner authors led by Andreas Bitterer.  I’ve summarized the key points of each below.

Forrester Sees SaaS Applications Overtaking Custom Application Development

Forrester sees SaaS-based applications starting to replace in-house custom application development, gathering momentum through 2013.  Gartner, with their Hype Cycle for Business Intelligence, 2011 just released this week, shows BI platforms having greater near-term benefit than SaaS-based analytics and BI.  Custom application development projects are going to face continued pressure to keep up with business requirements that SaaS applications are proving able to handle more effectively and economically than ever before.

In-house development makes more sense for specific analytics and reporting requirements,  yet will continually be eroded by SaaS-based applications that can meet most requirements at a lower cost.  Forrester has in the past said SaaS-based adoption of analytics applications in general and predictive applications specifically would be very slow due to data integration challenges.  This study points to a potential shift in their mindset, as the data shows SaaS-based analytics beginning to replace custom in-house developed applications.

Here are the key take-aways from the report:

  • Analytics processes are supported 79% of the time with custom application development.  Procure-to-pay (33%) and record-to-report (33%) are the second-most supported.  Multiple responses were allowed in the survey.
  • When asked which process areas they are automating with SaaS, analytics (33%), record-to-report (18%), order-to-cash  (15%), and purchase-to-pay (12%) were the most common responses.  There was a small sample size on the Forrester report and the most startling insight was how quickly respondent companies plan to migrate from custom application development to SaaS-based analytics and BI.
  • Nearly 50% of the respondents to the Forrester survey have between five and 19 SaaS-based applications today with 18% expecting to have 35 or more by 2013.  In addition 63% of respondents expect to deploy between five and 34 SaaS-based applications by 2013, a significant shift in just two years.
  • 36% of survey respondents say their  SaaS applications run completely standalone.  Another 36% mention they use a combination of on-premises Master Data Management (MDM) and process integration tools.  Ironically only 3% are deploying their applications on cloud-based MDM or process integration-based platforms.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Business Intelligence, 2011

Unlike the hype cycle for cloud computing, this hype cycle has fewer technology categories (25), a narrative firmly grounded in business process and strategy, and more practical and pragmatic insights versus just theoretical.  At 50 pages it’s  quick read and while there are many excellent points made, I have summarized the key take-aways pertaining to the highest hype points and SaaS adoption below:

  • Mobile Business Intelligence (BI) is the latest entry to the Hype Cycle for Business Intelligence based on the massive hype around analyzing locational and application data.  The hype surrounding the Apple iPad Series, Google Android and other tablet and smartphone platforms has made this one of the most hyped areas of the last year according to the analysis.
  • Consumerization, Decision Support, analysis of non-traditional data and “Big Data” are the areas of the greatest innovation today.  The hype cycle points to search, mobile, visualization and data discovery being the catalyst of Consumerization.  Predictive analytics, which is on the Slope of Enlightenment on this latest hype cycle, is critical to decision support.  The non-traditional and “Big Data” area of innovation is further supported by content, text analytics, in-memory DBMSs and columnar DBMSs.
  • SaaS-based Business Intelligence is at the apex of the Peak of Inflated Expectations yet will continue to have low adoption rates.  Gartner believes that the  lack of trust in third parties managing confidential data, and the inertia and fear many companies have in moving to a new architecture are slowing adoption.  This is in contrast to the survey Forrester released this week showing analytics being one of the most popular SaaS-based applications planned by 2013 in their base of respondents.
  • Gartner sees SaaS-based Business Intelligence of the most value to midsize and smaller organizations who lack IT staff yet have very specific, targeted information needs.  Website analytics, social media monitoring, dashboards, predictive analytics and Excel as a BI front-end all apply.  Both Forrester and Gartner agree on this point and see this type of custom development going away quickly internally.
  • There is a massive amount of hype surrounding in-memory computing, particularly from SAP at its Sapphire conferences .  Gartner believes that SAP’s vision of in-memory computing exceeds  in-memory analytics to include analytical and transactional processing.  As a result, In-Memory Database Management Systems are at the Peak of Inflated Expectations.


Source: Hype Cycle for Business Intelligence, 2011, Published 12 August 2011 | ID:G00216086 By Andreas Bitterer.  Gartner, Inc.

What Both Agree On

Forrester’s survey shows SaaS eventually replacing custom application development while Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Business Intelligence shows the practical, pragmatic technologies including dashboards, predictive analytics combined with the more complex Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), Business Intelligence Platforms, and Data-Mining Workbenches delivering the most value.  Despite these differences, both agree on the following:

  • The overall market for BI, Analytics and Performance Management continues to grow at between 8 to 12% per year depending on the forecast used.  The following forecast is from the report  Market Trends: Business Intelligence, Worldwide, 2011-2014, 7 June 2011 | ID:G00213483 by Dan Sommer and James Richardson.
Source: Market Trends: Business Intelligence, Worldwide, 2011-2014, 7 June 2011 | ID:G00213483 by Dan Sommer and James Richardson
  • 2011 continues to see large, strategic deals for analytics and BI closing more rapidly than they have in the past.
  • SaaS-based analytics and BI continues to gain a greater share of spending in midsize and smaller companies.  Both also agree that the proliferation of smaller SaaS-based analytics and Bi vendors concentrating on a specific niche have successfully displaced in-house custom development of competitive applications.  Trust in the smaller vendor, their track record, customer references and financial viability are what are winning deals for SaaS-based analytics and BI software providers today.
  • The market transition from build to buy is now in full force as budgets become available again.  This is key assumption of both analyses and means that smaller, more niche-oriented SaaS-based analytics and BI vendors stand a chance to get new reference accounts and grow, despite a challenging economy.

Gartner Releases Their Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2011

Calling the hype around cloud computing “deafening”, Gartner released their annual hype cycle for the 34 different technologies in a 75 page analysis today.  You can find the Hype Cycle at the end of this post and I’ve provided several of the take-aways below:

  • The industry is just beyond the Peak of Inflated Expectations, and headed for the Trough of Disillusionment. The further up the Technology Trigger and Peak of Inflated Expectations curve, the greater the chaotic nature of how technologies are being positioned with widespread confusion throughout markets. The team of analysts who wrote this at Gartner share that conclusion across the many segments of the Hype Cycle.
  • Gartner states that nearly every vendor who briefs them has a cloud computing strategy yet few have shown how their strategies are cloud-centric. Cloudwashing on the part of vendors across all 34 technology areas is accelerating the entire industry into the trough of disillusionment. The report cites the Amazon Web Services outage in April, 2011 as a turning point on the hype cycle for example.
  • Gartner predicts that the most transformational technologies included in the Hype Cycle will be the following: virtualization within two years; Big Data, Cloud Advertising, Cloud Computing, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Public Cloud computing between two and five years; and Community Cloud, DevOps, Hybrid Cloud Computing and Real-time Infrastructure in five to ten years.
  • There continues to be much confusion with clients relative to hybrid computing.  Gartner’s definition is as follows ”Hybrid cloud computing refers to the combination of external public cloud computing services and internal resources (either a private cloud or traditional infrastructure, operations and applications) in a coordinated fashion to assemble a particular solution”. They provide examples of joint security and management, workload/service placement and runtime optimization, and others to further illustrate the complex nature of hybrid computing.
  • Big Data is also an area of heavy client inquiry activity that Gartner interprets as massive hype in the market. They are predicting that Big Data will reach the apex of the Peak of Inflated Expectations by 2012.  Due to the massive amount of hype surrounding this technology, they predict it will be in the Trough of Disillusionment eventually, as enterprises struggle to get the results they expect.
  • By 2015, those companies who have adopted Big Data and extreme information management (their term for this area) will begin to outperform their unprepared competitors by 20% in every available financial metric. Early use cases of Big Data are delivering measurable results and strong ROI.  The Hype Cycle did not provide any ROI figures however, which would have been interesting to see.
  • PaaS is one of the most highly hyped terms Gartner encounters on client calls, one of the most misunderstood as well, leading to a chaotic market. Gartner does not expect comprehensive PaaS offerings to be part of the mainstream market until 2015.  The point is made that there is much confusion in the market over just what PaaS is and its role in the infrastructure stack.
  • SaaS performs best for relatively simple tasks in IT-constrained organizations. Gartner warns that the initial two years may be low cost for any SaaS-based application, yet could over time be even more expensive than on-premise software.
  • Gartner estimates there are at least 3M Sales Force Automation SaaS users globally today.

Bottom line: The greater the hype, the more the analyst inquiries, and the faster a given technology ascends to the Peak of Inflated Expectations. After reading this analysis it becomes clear that vendors who strive to be accurate, precise, real and relevant are winning deals right now and transcending the hype cycle to close sales.  They may not being getting a lot of attention, but they are selling more because enterprises clearly understand their value.

Source: Gartner, Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2011 David Mitchell Smith Publication Date: 27 July 2011 ID Number: G00214915 © 2011

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