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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.  

451 Research Summit: Enterprises Competing With Digital Infrastructure & Cloud Computing

bellagio1Enterprises are defining their own cloud strategies, their own way, ignoring vendor hype and requiring metrics that reflect security (61%), mean-time-to-recover from outages (57%), number of data center outages (51%).

This and many insights were gained from attending the 451 Research Hosting and Cloud Transformation Summit at the Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas last week. 451 Research provided a free pass to the event but did not cover travel, hotel or meals.

What’s refreshing about 451 Group’s conferences is that each of their companies including 451 Research, Uptime Institute, and Yankee Group rely on solid methodologies to research their coverage areas and markets. This results in presentations that are packed with insight and are based on a solid foundation of interviews and research.  I had a chance to catch up with SoftLayer’s Lance CrosbySimon West and Andre Fuochi for an update on how the IBM acquisition is going, which is summarized in this post as well.  The slides shown are from Michelle Bailey, Vice President, Datacenter Initiatives and Digital Infrastructure’s excellent presentation given at the conference.

The following are the key take-aways from the summit:

  • Enterprises are defining their own cloud strategies, their own way, ignoring vendor hype and requiring metrics that reflect security (61%), mean-time-to-recover from outages (57%), number of data center outages (51%). When asked which metrics beyond Service Level Agreements (SLAs) service providers should report, respondents to the 451 Research survey provided the following insights, shown below:

  • The top three SaaS applications in two years will be for the enterprise, business support, and database platforms per 451 Research’s latest survey:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) growth is critical to off-premises hosting deployments succeeding in the next two years, as the following graphic illustrates:

  • 80%of enterprises would experience a severe impact to their operations if there was a cloud outage of just a day which make security and availability must-haves for any hosting and cloud services provider.  The following graphic breaks down the impact of service provider outage by time:
  • Worldwide Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is projected to grow from $4.475B in 2013 to $10.23B in 2016, with Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) growing from $2.23B in 2013 to $5.24B in 2016.  The following slide provides a breakout of forecast categories by hosting and cloud business categories:

Why Enterprises Need A Digital Infrastructure Playbook

The focal point of the summit was the launch of the digital infrastructure playbook.  Tony Bishop, Chief Strategy Officer, The 451 Group introduced the Digital Enterprise Playbook Series which you can download here. His presentation provided insights into how enterprises are struggling to align legacy IT, infrastructure including data centers, cloud, applications and system management to business goals while becoming more agile.

I had a chance to speak with Tony after his presentation and asked him why enterprises need a digital infrastructure playbook now.   “Digital transformation is breaking down the barriers to sustainable global prosperity by shifting power towards the individual,” he said. “This revolution will transform how enterprises create and deliver value. Digital enterprises will pursue and build dynamic infrastructure capabilities to innovate and differentiate customer experience, constantly empower employees and disseminate prescriptive knowledge across the enterprise.”

One of the most passionate and knowledgeable people I’ve ever met in infrastructure and IT research is Martin McCarthy, Chairman and CEO, The 451 Group.  He told me he’s seeing more pressure than ever for edge-to-core integration in the enterprise, which is forcing CIOs to be strategists over experts in cost reduction.  “Digital infrastructure will be the backbone enabling enterprise transformation in coming years. To blaze this trail, organizations need an ‘edge to core’ digital infrastructure playbook,” he said.   Presented below is a page from the Digital Enterprise Playbook Series:

The eight-striper wordmark of IBM, the letters...

IBM SoftLayer Update

  • IBM’s acquisition of SoftLayer is going excellently and many IBM divisions now are actively collaborating with the Softlayer team to migrate existing apps and develop new ones. Thank you Lance CrosbySimon West and Andre Fuochi for the update provided at the conference, it was invaluable.
  • Softlayer will be the foundation for a global cloud services infrastructure capable of delivering applications across multiple continents and thousands of users within hours, not days.  Lance Crosby explained the vision IBM has of delivering a continual stream of new applications and services over the global cloud services infrastructure network, which has the potential to turn into a high margin business quickly.
  • Softlayer is assisting with making the IBM Request for Proposal (RFP) more efficient based on their deep expertise in this critical area. Based on personal experience it can take anywhere from several weeks to up to several months for an RFP response.  SoftLayer has devised processes and systems that make RFP response times a fraction of that.
  • The majority of the top ten customers Softlayer has today are running large-scale clusters of Hadoop, with 40 Hadoop clusters being commonplace.  Lance Crosby mentioned these customers are very sophisticated in their use of Hadoop and many of them are in consumer products companies, looking to gain greater insights into customer behavior.
  • Bare metal servers running Hadoop are one of the fastest growing areas of the Softlayer business right now.  Simon West made an excellent point that running Hadoop on bare metal servers instead of through virtualized environment leads to a higher level of throughput, given Softlayer’s internal testing results.  Bare metal servers continue to accelerate in the industry and Softlayer’s executives confirmed they are seeing an acceleration of demand in this area.
  • An additional six data centers are planned for 2014, and SoftLayer has the capability to build one data center every two months of needed.  When asked what the global expansion plans are for SoftLayer since the acquisition, Lance Crosby told me London and Germany are of primary interest.  He also added that whenever the demand for a given nation reached between four and five thousand servers, Softlayer and IBM will consider building a data center in-country.

Gartner’s Mobile App Store Forecast Predicts $26B in Sales, 102B Downloads in 2013

App-store-300x209Gartner’s latest Mobile App Store Worldwide Forecast predicts annual downloads will increase 59.38% from 64 billion in 2012 to 102 billion in 2013.  Worldwide revenue is forecast to also increase 44.45%, from $18B in 2012 to $26B in 2013.

Here are additional key take-aways from the Gartner Mobile App Store Forecast that was published this week:

  • Free applications are forecast to be 91% of all downloads in 2013, increasing to 94.5% by 2017.  Paid-for downloads will grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.22% from 2012 through 2017.  The following table provided in the Mobile App Store Forecast announcement this week provides an overview of free and paid-for downloads by year.
  • In-app purchases (IAP) are growing at a 27.83% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), increasing from 11% of revenue in 2012, projected to increase to 48% of app store revenue by 2017. IAP purchases are also projected to deliver 17% of store revenue in 2013, increasing to 48% in 2017.  At the projected rate of growth in this forecast, it is reasonable to assume IAP will surpass paid-for and advertising-based approaches to downloading.
  • 90% of global downloads in 2017 will be from Apple iOS and Google Android app stores.  Gartner cites the large developer communities and expanding ecosystems for each of these mobile app stores as being catalysts of their growth.
  • Average monthly downloads per Apple iOS device is projected to decline from 4.9 in 2013 to 3.9 in 2017.  Gartner is also forecasting Google Android average monthly downloads to drop from 6.2 in 2013 to 5.8 in 2017.

451 Research: Cloud-Enabling Technologies Revenue Will Reach $22.6B by 2016

cloud-computing-forecastDefining Cloud-Enabling Technologies (CET) as those that are installed, delivered and consumed on-premises, Market Monitor a service of 451 Research recently released their annual forecast of virtualization, security and automation and management revenue through 2016. The report, Market Monitor Cloud-Enabling Technologies has taken a bottoms-up approach in defining the three primary categories they include in their definition of cloud-enabling technologies.  Market Monitor’s methodology is explained in the report’s summary here.

Here are the key take-aways from this report:

  • Cloud-Enabling Technologies defined as virtualization, security and automation and management global revenues will grow from $10.6B in 2012 to $22.6B in 2016, attaining a 21% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).

  • Cloud-as-a-Service revenues will grow from $5.7B in 2012 to $19.5B in 2016, attaining a 36% CAGR.  Market Monitor defines Cloud-as-a-Service as externally delivered services, specifically 3rd party, that are hosted and pay-as-you-go with the cloud being relied on as a service delivery and consumption model. The following graphic provides a comparison of Cloud-as-a-Service and Cloud-Enabling Technologies revenue forecasts by year from 2012 through 2016.

  • 451 Research forecasts that the majority of CET revenues will be from virtualization-based systems and services (66%).  This segment is projected to attain a 16% CAGR in the forecast period and serve as the foundation of Phase I CET Adoption shown in the following graphic.  Phase 2 of CET Adoption is projected to be dominated by the need for tools to manage and control virtualized environments.  Phase 3 is projected to signal a shift to internal IT resources and internal IT cloud service providers.

Top Ten Cloud Computing Skills Recruiters Search For

cloud-computing-jobsI recently had the opportunity to speak with Jennifer Bewley and Rachel Ceccarelli of Dice.com regarding the trends they are seeing in cloud computing recruiters’ searched-for terms on their sites.  They’re seeing exponential growth in cloud computing-related job listings today and provided an analysis of the top ten cloud computing skills recruiters are searching for.

From just 13 cloud computing-related jobs listed in May, 2008, their site has over 5,000 today.  The following graphic shows the growth in cloud computing job listings on their site over time.

 

The following are the top ten cloud computing skills searched for on Dice.com as of today:

  • Linux operating system
  • Chef – The open-source systems management and cloud infrastructure automation framework
  • Puppet - IT automation software that helps system administrators manage infrastructure throughout its lifecycle, from provisioning and configuration to orchestration and reporting
  • Cloud, Legacy System and IT Consulting
  • SaaS Programming – Java is the number one search term on the Dice.com site and is a common programming language cited in these searches.
  • Python
  • Perl
  • DevOps
  • Shell scripting
  • Ruby on Rails

Getting A 360-Degree View Of Potential Candidates

They also demonstrated Open Web, a unique new web application in beta right now that has the ability to aggregate all social networks, keywords, and published experience of technical professionals.  The accuracy and speed of Open Web is impressive; it’s been in beta since January and responds like a production-ready app.  Jennifer and Rachel mentioned that recruiters using Open Web today are seeing 30% response rates to their queries to in-demand technical professionals.

What’s unique about Open Web is that it provides a 360-degree view of potential candidates, including all social media they participate in, in addition to discussion boards and favorited or liked sites on Facebook. The following is what Open Web looks like today:

Bottom line:  Recruiting analytics and tools online are accelerating quickly, making it possible for companies searching for cloud computing talent to find it quicker than ever before.  For those searching for a job in the field, making every aspect of your online presence reflect cloud computing expertise can make you stand out in recruiter’s searches.

Note: Dice.com isn’t now and has never been a client. I chose to write this post to serve readers who frequently ask me to research hiring trends in cloud computing.

Lessons Learned From The 2013 Pacific Crest SaaS Survey

Pacific Crest SurveyDeveloping the ability to upsell existing customers into longer-term, higher value contracts that are multi-year in duration is one of the most critically important skill sets any SaaS business needs to attain.

These and other insights were gained from analyzing the 2013 Pacific Crest SaaS Survey, published earlier this month by David Skok.   The survey is based on responses from 155 SaaS companies, compiled by Pacific Crest Securities.   David’s blog For Entrepreneurs provides excellent content on SaaS metrics, start-up advice and a wealth on insight in the areas of sales and marketing, business models and the specifics of how to manage a SaaS business model profitability.

Key take-aways from the 2013 Pacific Crest SaaS Survey include the following:

  • Median GAAP revenue growth increased by 41% in 2012, projected to reach 47% in 2013 across all 155 SaaS companies included in the analysis.  When smaller companies whose revenue growth projections are excluded, median revenue growth for 2012 was 32%, projected to increase to 36% this year.  The following two figures illustrate distribution of revenue growth by number of companies.

  • The fastest growing SaaS companies have median contract sizes that are between $1K to $25K.  Companies’ with less than $2M in revenue were excluded from this analysis given the smaller deal sizes they generate.

  • The larger the median ACV (Annual Contract Value) the greater the reliance on field sales.  In results from previous surveys Pacific Crest found that mid-tier companies were more reliant on inside sales.  54% of respondents in the $5K to $25K ACV segment of companies this year are reliant on insider sales, up from 33% in 2012.
  • 13% of new ACV is generated from upsells across all SaaS companies, with the largest capable of expanding into other departments and divisions of existing customers.  SaaS companies with sales over $60M are generating 32% of new ACV from upsell strategies. It’s interesting to note that upsell is a more effective strategy at gaining market share versus marketing spending, and this hold true across sizes of SaaS companies.  The following graphic illustrates percentage of new ACV by size of SaaS company and an analysis showing the fastest-growth SaaS companies generate a higher proportion of new ACV from upsells compared to their peers.
  • 76% gross margins are being achieved across all respondents.  This does not change significantly when smaller companies are removed from the analysis.
  • Try-Before-You-Buy is used far more often than Freemium because it generates additional sales.  The following graphic shows the expected contribution of each to ACV in 2013:

  • Professional Services are 12% of 1rst year ACV across all customer segments.  Selling professional services into the enterprise generates 23% of first year ACV according to the study.  A graphic showing the distribution of first year ACV as a percentage of professional services by customer segment is shown below:

  • SaaS companies who primarily rely on Internet-based distribution methods are attaining the highest growth rates.  When companies with less than $2M in revenue were taken out of the analysis, those companies primarily based on inside sales grew 10% more than field sales.  The following graphic presents this analysis, excluding companies with less than $2M in revenue.

  • 37% of respondent companies rely on field sales as their primary means of distribution followed by inside sales (29%) and Internet sales (17%).  When smaller companies with sales less than $2M are excluded, field sales jumps to 50% of all respondents using this method as a primary means of distribution.  Inside sales (29%) and Internet sales (8%) are second and third.  While Internet sales is the cheapest form of distribution, it also leads to the highest churn rates (9%) recorded in the survey.

Where Cloud Computing Jobs Are Today

career-start1Gaining insights into cloud computing hiring trends is invaluable to understanding the competitive landscape and direction of new application and platform development.

It’s also invaluable for any company looking to recruit cloud computing professionals.  For qualified job seekers, staying on top of these trends can and does lead to well-timed career moves, higher salaries and greater chances for professional growth.

Real-time business intelligence of the talent marketplace is a fascinating area to track.  Wanted Analytics is a leader in this field, and their analytics applications and advanced data sets are used for competitive analysis, sourcing new hires, analyzing employment and economic trends, and lead generation.  I’ve never worked for Wanted Analytics and they’re not a client.   They were kind enough to provide a test-drive account for this analysis. The Wanted Analytics platform is based on 25,000 employment sources that together account for 950 million job posts.

Here are the key take-aways from an analysis of cloud computing job opportunities:

  • For all positions that mention the term cloud computing as part of the description, requirements or prerequisites, the Hiring Scale is 72.  The higher the score on the scale, the greater difficulty employers are having in finding the right applicants for their open positions.  Wanted Analytics has published a white paper explaining the methodology of the Hiring Scale and you can download it here.
  • Average salary range for cloud computing jobs is $90,650 to $110,800 according to the Wanted Analytics.
  •  There are 10,077 positions open at 1,447 employers, with the average posting period being 47 days.   This analysis is based on all positions where cloud computing is mentioned as part of the job description, requirements or prerequisites.
  • The following map shows the distribution of job counts by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and a table comparing the top 20 MSAs nationally.
cloud-computing-jobs-by-job-count1
cloud-computing-jobs-by-SMA1
 
  • EMC (17%), Amazon.com (16%) and Salesforce.com (12%) and their partners are the leading cloud computing employers currently looking to fill positions.  Software, services and system integration partners that work with these three companies will often mention them in their own job ads as well.  This distribution of jobs reflects the partner network these companies have each built in addition to jobs available with each of them.

top-ten-employers-with-cloud-positions-open

  • Top ten certifications include the following:
  1. Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS SCI) (863 ads);
  2. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) (385 ads);
  3. Project Management Professional (PMP) (209 ads);
  4. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) (193 ads);
  5. Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) (180 ads);
  6.  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) expertise (156 ads);
  7.  Business Process Management Programming Languages (BPM) expertise (137 ads);
  8.  EMC System Administrator (EMCSyA) (130 ads);
  9.  VMware Certified Professional (VCP) (109 ads);
  10. Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) (108 ads).
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