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Posts tagged ‘SaaS ERP’

2013 ERP Market Share Update: SAP Solidifies Market Leadership

SAP Headquarters, Building 1

SAP Headquarters, Building 1 Source: Wikipedia

During 2012 the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market experienced sluggish growth of just 2.2%, yet Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), financial management and Human Capital Management (HCM) applications showed potential for breakout growth.

Through the challenging times of the previous year however, SAP still retained worldwide market share leadership.  These and other insights were recently published in the recent report, Market Share Analysis: ERP Software Worldwide, 2012 authored by Chris Pang, Yanna Dharmasthira, Chad Eschinger, Koji Motoyoshi and Kenneth F. Brant.

Key Take-Aways

  • Overall market growth of just 2.2% and the top ten vendors owning 64% of the worldwide ERP market is leading Gartner to predict further consolidation of the industry.
  • SAP had just over $6B in total ERP software revenue in 2012, leading the worldwide market with 24.6% market share.  Oracle had $3.12B and Sage, $1.5B in software revenues for 2012.  Oracle’s market share was 12.8%, and Sage, 6.3%. The following graphic shows worldwide ERP market share for 2012.

ERP Market Share 2012 Stats

  • Infor achieved 49.5% revenue growth in 2012, increasing their 2011 sales from $1B in 2011 to $1.5B in 2012.  Their market share increased from 4.2% in 2011 to 6.2% in 2012.
  • Microsoft achieved 4.2% revenue growth  in 2012, increasing revenue from $1B in 2011 to $1.1B in 2012.  The majority of these sales are for the Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system.
  • The fastest growing ERP vendors  in 2012 include Workday, Cornerstone OnDemand, WorkForce Software, Ventyx and NetSuite.
  • Workday grew 114.7% in 2012, increasing revenue from $88.6M in 2011 to $190.3M in 2012.
  • Cornerstone OnDemand grew 61.5% in 2012, increasing revenue from $58.4M in 2011 to $94.3 in 2012.
  • WorkForce Software grew 39.8% in 2012, increasing revenue from $11.8M in 2011 to $16.5M in 2012.
  • NetSuite grew 34% in 2012, increasing revenue from $139.7M in 2011 to $187.1M in 2012.
  • SaaS-based ERP revenues are projected to grow from 12% worldwide in 2013 to 17% in 2017.  The following graphic from the report Gartner’s Market Trends: SaaS’s Varied Levels of Cannibalization to On-Premises Applications published: 29 October 2012 shows this progression.  You can find a research roundup at the previous post SaaS Adoption Accelerates, Goes Global in the Enterprise, which provides additional insights into which factors are driving SaaS adoption.

SaaS Revenue Market Sizing

Bottom line:  SAP’s continued market dominance depends on how well the company orchestrates it core ERP strategy with the following areas: BusinessObjects 4.0, its highly regarded analytics suite; social application adoption (StreamWorks and SuccessFactors Jam); the many Cloud-based initiatives they have including SuccessFactors and BusinessbyDesign; mobility platform wins;  and major wins with their SAP Sybase DBMS and HANA architectures.

How Cloud Computing Is Redefining the M&A Landscape

Cloud Computing M&AIn 2013, expect to see the pace of mergers and acquisitions for cloud computing, mobile and analytics technologies accelerate as software vendors look to fill gaps in their product and service strategies. This and other key insights of how cloud computing is reshaping the merger and acquisition landscape can be found in the latest Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) report published today.

The US Technology M&A insights: Analysis and Trends in US Technology M&A Activity 2013 provides an excellent overview of merger, acquisitions, private equity, divestures, cross-border transactions across the five key industry sectors.  The report, free for download, covers the Internet, IT Services, hardware and networking, software, and semiconductor sectors.

Enterprise Software Players: In Search of Sticky Revenue and Higher Margins

The major catalysts driving cloud deals forward in 2013 are enterprise software companies’ need to redefine their business models and find sources of sticky revenue that can replace for many of them, dwindling maintenance revenue streams.  Knowing that the annuity model of cloud computing works best with multiyear payments required at the beginning of a customer engagement, enterprise software companies are looking to strengthen this area of their product portfolios.  Third, the faster cloud acquisitions can be integrated into their legacy systems, the more upsell can be achieved with their large installed bases of customers.  The greatest challenge many of them face however is selling entirely new cloud applications to entirely new customers they’ve never sold to before.  The potential of these entirely new markets however is going to be a valuation multiplier in 2013 and beyond.

Here are the key take-aways from PwC’s report:

  • Software and Internet deals represented 57% of transactions closed in 2012, a figure that PwC has seen steadily grow over the last two years. Cumulative value for software and Internet deals represented 53% of total 2012 deal value, an increase from 51% in 2011. Software deals represented over a third of 2012 technology deals, generating 35% of deal volume and 36% of deal value for the year   A comparison of both years and technology sectors are shown in the following graphic:

Figure 1 PWC Report

  • PwC takes a cautionary, conservative tone in this report showing how overall IT spending growth finished the year at an anemic 1.2% while technology deal volumes and values dropped by just under 20% from the prior year.
  • The report cites Gartner and Forrester’s optimistic IT spending forecasts for IT growth predicting a recovery in 2013 followed by accelerating growth in 2014 according to Forrester.
  • PwC is seeing SaaS, mobile devices, analytics and Big Data as the drivers of current and future M&A growth and a fundamental shift in deal volumes to software and Internet deals based on these technologies.  The report says the most promising areas of M&A activity in 2013 are mobile application development start-ups who have the intellectual property it would take years for enterprise software companies to create on their own.
  • Analytics will move from being a differentiator to the cost of doing business, a key point made in the PwC analysis.  PwC claims that analytics M&A will accelerate across all enterprise software vendors as they seek to fill gaps in their product and service strategies, and position themselves for growth in specific areas of the emerging industries using Big Data.
  • PwC reports that monthly deal volumes for software remained relatively even throughout 2012, hovering at 8-9 transactions per month and averaging just over 20 per quarter. The average deal value of $433M for 2012 was slightly lower than 2011 levels of $438M but an increase in the number of deals in excess of $500M helped to keep average deal values high. The report also shows how 2012 saw 18 deals (21% of volume) in excess of $500M closed, the majority of which closed in the latter half of the year. Fourteen deals greater than $1B closed in 2012, an increase of 8 deals (133%) over 2011.  The following is a graphic comparing software sector deals by volume and value:
Figure 2 PWC Report

 Bottom line: The land grab is on for intellectual property in the fields of mobile application development, analytics and cloud computing as enterprise software vendors look to fill gaps in their product and service strategies.

Gartner Predicts Infrastructure Services Will Accelerate Cloud Computing Growth

public cloud computing forecast 2011 - 2016As public cloud computing gains greater adoption across enterprises, there’s an increased level of spending occurring on infrastructure-related services including Infrastructure-as-a-Service(IaaS).  Enterprises are prioritizing how to get cloud platforms integrated with legacy systems to make use of the years of data they have accumulated.  From legacy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, integrating legacy systems of record to cloud-based platforms will accelerate through 2016.  I’ve seen this in conversations with resellers and enterprise customers, and this trend is also reflected in Gartner’s latest report on public cloud computing adoption, Forecast Overview: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2011-2016, 4Q12 Update Published: 8 February 2013.  Below are the key take-aways from the report:

  • Global spending on public cloud services is expected to grow 18.6% in 2012 to $110.3B, achieving a CAGR of 17.7% from 2011 through 2016. The total market is expected to grow from $76.9B in 2010 to $210B in 2016. The following is an analysis of the public cloud services market size and annual growth rates:

Figure 1 Cloud Computing Growth

  • Gartner predicts that Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) will achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41.3% through 2016, the fastest growing area of public cloud computing the research firm tracks.  The following graphic provides insights into relative market size by each public cloud services market segment:

Figure2

  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) will achieve a 27.7% CAGR through 2016, with Cloud Management and Security Services attaining 26.7% in the same forecast period.  Software-as-a-Service’s CAGR through 2016 is projected to be 19.5%.  The following graphic illustrates the differences in CAGR in the forecast period of 2011 – 2016:

Figure 3

  • Gartner is projecting the SaaS market will grow at a steady CAGR of 19.5% through 2016, having increased the forecast slightly (.4%) since its latest published report.  Global SaaS spending is projected to grow from $13.5B in 2011 to $32.8B in 2016.
  • CRM will continue to be the largest global market within SaaS, forecast to grow beyond $5B in 2012 to $9B in 2016, achieving a 16.3% CAGR through 2016.   The highest growth segments of the SaaS market continue to be office suites (49.1%), followed by digital content creation (34.0%).  The following graphic rank orders CAGRs across all public cloud services segments from the forecast period:

Figure 4

  • 59% of all new spending on cloud computing services originates from North American enterprises, a trend projected to accelerate through 2016.  Western Europe is projected to be 24% of all spending.  A graphic comparing total spending by geography and corresponding growth rates is provided below:

Figure 5

  • The following tables provide insights into each category of public cloud computing spending throughout the forecast period.  Please click on the tables to expand them for easier reading.

Table 1

Table 2

Table 3

Source:  Forecast Overview: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2011-2016, 4Q12 Update Published: 8 February 2013.

Plex Systems’ CEO Jason Blessing on the Future of ERP and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Jason Blessing med HS
Last week Plex Systems, a leading provider of SaaS-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems announced enterprise software veteran Jason Blessing has joined their company as CEO.   He is responsible for the strategic direction and growth of the company, and has a proven track record in many facets of enterprise software, from new application development to professional services.  His extensive experience includes previous executive positions at Oracle, Taleo, PeopleSoft and Price Waterhouse.  You can find his LinkedIn profile here.

Plex Systems’ success delivering ERP entirely on the SaaS platform to manufacturers have many industry analysts, experts and pundits saying their unique business model is prescient of the future of enterprise software.  Originally designed for an automotive parts manufacturer, Plex Online is being adopted by aerospace and defense, food and beverage, high tech and electronics, industrial machinery, and precision metal manufacturers.  You can find an overview of Plex Systems here.

I recently had a chance to speak with Jason and get his views on the future of ERP, SaaS in manufacturing and the enterprise, and what he sees as the greatest challenges and opportunities for Plex Systems.

Here’s a transcript of my interview with Jason Blessing, the new CEO of Plex Systems:

What are the three biggest challenges you see to Plex Systems’ growth over the long-term and how will you and the management team address them?

Our greatest challenge is awareness of who Plex Systems is and the value we are delivering to our manufacturing customers today. We’re already putting together programs that will highlight the very meaningful customer base we have and what they are able to accomplish using Plex Online.  Second, we’re going to continue making significant product investments.  Our owners are growth-minded and we’re looking to create a beachheads in additional areas to compliment our heritage in auto manufacturing.  Third, we’re going to expand our sales and marketing investments to provide better coverage domestically and in Europe and Asia. We’re also on a mission to lead the resurgence of manufacturing in America by giving small and mid-sized companies the systems they need to be formidable global competitors. 

SaaS-based applications have proved themselves in the enterprise.  How and why are manufacturers adopting SaaS-based ERP systems today?  How is this going to change in the future?

Credit has to go to Taleo and Salesforce for proving SaaS can succeed at the departmental level in the enterprise.  We’re finding that the combination of financials and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) delivered in the cloud is very well-suited for small and medium manufacturers.  These manufacturers often don’t have a large Information Technologies (IT) staff and want to offload these systems so they can stay focused on their core business.  In this sense we free up these smaller manufacturers to get back to work running their businesses without having to hassle with large, complex and costly ERP deployments. 

Will SaaS-based ERP systems cannibalize monolithic ERP systems or coexist and compliment them?  Or are you seeing a mix of both cannibalization and coexistence?  For Plex Systems, what’s the best direction?

We do see customer that adopt parts of our solution, quality for example, to test the cloud model before going wall to wall Plex.   Another approach we see is customers who have global operations bring foreign factories online quicker than they had in the past as a result of SaaS.  The end result will be the cannibalization of monolithic ERP systems by those that are SaaS-based.

One of the implicit factors in this area of cannibalization is the typical release cadence of a SaaS provider.  Most large cloud providers have, on average, 3 releases a year.  Here at Plex Systems we’re on a continuous release cadence.  When a customer asks for a feature enhancement or entirely new set of functions, we strive to be very responsive with our release cycles and deliver what is needed.  

Plex Systems has done well in several key manufacturing industries including automotive, A&D, electronics, food and beverage, and medical devices.  Do you see Plex Systems moving into additional industries, and if so, which ones?  Pharmaceutical and biotech for example.

We’re going to be fairly disciplined in our approach within the verticals we’re already selling into.  We’re seeing increasing interest in moving core shop floor applications to the cloud for example, and we’re going to expand out our coverage in our core vertical markets as a result.      

With the majority of sales in the United States, does Plex Systems have plans for Europe and Asia?  What’s your perspective of those markets for SaaS-based ERP system sales? 

We’re growing at an approximately compound annual growth rate of 30%+ per year, the majority of that growth coming from North America today.  We’re also seeing strong interest from EMEA, South America and Asia.  What’s driving our foreign market demand is the need manufacturers have for quickly getting production centers up and running on financials, MES and Supply Chain Management Systems (SCM).  We also run our own data centers and have hot standby and back facilities supporting our worldwide customer base.

Two-tier ERP delivers significant business value and is growing in adoption. How will Plex Systems capitalize on this trend and what are the implications for the application development priorities?

We’re delivering two-tier ERP implementations today and one of the largest heavy equipment manufacturers in the world uses Plex Online to run their shop floor operations at several manufacturing centers.  Their main ERP system is an SAP R/3 instance, and we integrate to that and help this manufacturer be more efficient at the individual plant and shop floor level.   

Plex_ColorLast year Plex Systems announced IntelliPlex, SmartPlex, in addition to several other significant new services and partnerships.  Of these, IntelliPlex has the potential to deliver analytics and business intelligence to manufacturers who may have never had these metrics available before.  How do you see analytics in manufacturing improving this year, and how will this augment Plex Online’s analytics strategy going forward?

Much of our success as a provider of SaaS-based ERP systems is due to the breadth of applications that span from the shop floor to the top floor. We’re seeing analytics resonate really well with the people who write us the checks, the top floor executives and their teams responsible for the getting the highest performance from manufacturing operations.  We’re going to augment our analytics this year, supporting mobile devices.  We’ve also been doing data mining of production data across the worldwide Plex Systems customer base and see the potential to create an index of manufacturing performance. We’re going to look at how this data will be able to help our customers predict economic conditions in their specific manufacturing industries. 

There are a myriad of studies out on the impact of mobile technologies on manufacturing.  Last year, Plex Systems introduced SmartPlex Mobile, which gives ERP users access to data on iOS and Android devices.  Can you discuss the challenges of mobile adoption in manufacturing and how Plex Systems will address them?

Often mobile technologies installed and used on the factory floor are proprietary to the systems and workflows for that specific factory.  They are fine-tuned to the specific workflows on the factory floor, and the proprietary nature of their electronics only work with the systems they are designed for and Plex Online supports many of these devices.  Material handling, RFID and other logistics projects are based on these kinds of technologies.

We’ve also found that senior management teams want to get as close to real-time data as possible on each phase of manufacturing operations.  SmartPlex Mobile is designed to give senior management teams visibility into operations on Android and iOS devices, and continues to gain interest from existing and new customers alike.

Many manufacturers are dealing with “brain drain” or the retiring and churn of their long-time manufacturing, process control, and quality management professionals.  How do you see Plex Systems helping these manufacturers to retain that tacit knowledge in their organizations over their long-term?

We talk quite often about this with our prospects, customers and internally in our development meetings.  Prospects are especially interested in how to solve this problem as tribal knowledge is often the most difficult to capture and re-use.  It’s common to find manufacturers with a myriad of Microsoft Access databases, legacy systems and data locked on spreadsheets. Our architecture is based on a Master Data Management (MDM) model with gives manufacturers a single source or version of the truth.  Using our experience implementing these systems in small and medium-sized manufacturers, we’ve found methods and techniques for managing corporate-wide data effectively.

Visualization in manufacturing including the extensive use of 2D and 3D CAD drawings is also accelerating.   What are your thoughts on the future of visualization in manufacturing, and more specifically, which key process areas do you see Plex Systems addressing with its visualization strategy?

This area is critically important for the shop floor as it can drive higher levels of production quality quickly. We’re going to continue to invest in this area, and our Actify partnership gives us a strong foundation to build on in this area.  The partnership with Actify allows us to embed engineering drawings directly in Plex, allowing shop floor workers to look up specifications on the fly to ensure high levels of quality.  The drawings are highly valuable because they are contextualized in Plex (e.g., tied to the product in question) and don’t require any expensive CAD equipment or training to view.

Plex Systems has also built a strong foundation of partners including system integrators and resellers.  Do you anticipate Plex Systems will increasingly rely on resellers or stay with primarily a direct sales strategy?  

It’s very important to high fidelity relationships with customers when you’re selling SaaS-based enterprise software so the direct model is important to us.   That said, partners are also very important to us because of the value they can bring to customers and the added reach they can provide us.  So, we’ve been successful in creating a partner program, which has a rigorous certification process that ensures those we partner with have strong domain expertise to serve our shared customers.  Partners can quickly become a force multiplier for us, and we’re working towards that goal by keeping direct sales in balance.   

Disclaimer: This interview was done independent of Plex Systems. I have not and have never been a paid consultant of the company.  I approached them to do this interview based on insights gained from WordPress analytics showing readers’ interest in ERP, SaaS and enterprise software.

Forecasting Public Cloud Adoption in the Enterprise

The economics of public cloud computing are accelerating the pace of change occurring in enterprise software today.

Many of the scenarios that Clayton Christensen insightfully describes in The Innovator’s Dilemma are playing out right now in many sectors of this industry, shifting the balance of purchasing power to line-of-business leaders away from IT.  True to the cases shown in the book, new entrants are bringing disruptive innovations that are being successfully used to attack the most price-sensitive areas of the market.  Winning customers at the low-end and making their way up-market, new entrants are changing the customer experience, economics and structure of the industry.  Salesforce.com is a prime example of how the insights shared in The Innovator’s Dilemma are alive and well in the CRM market for example.  This is an excellent book to add to your summer reading list.

Defining The Public Cloud

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have defined the public cloud in their latest definition of cloud computing in their September, 2011 brief you can download here (The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing). The NIST defines public cloud as “the cloud infrastructure is provisioned for open use by the general public. It may be owned, managed, and operated by a business, academic, or government organization, or some combination of them. It exists on the premises of the cloud provider.”   In addition the NIST defines three models including Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).  Gartner’s definition of public cloud computing is comparable yet includes Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) and Cloud Management and Security.

A quick check of the term public cloud on Google Insights shows the rapid ascent of interest in this area.  A graphic from Google Insights is shown below:

Public Cloud Adoption in the Enterprise 

In the many conversations I’ve had with CIOs and CEOs of manufacturing companies the role of cloud computing comes up often.  There’s a very clear difference in the thinking of CIOs who see their jobs as selectively applying technologies to strategic needs versus those who are focused on compliance and risk aversion.  The former see their enterprises moving to public and hybrid clouds quickly to better integrate with dealers, distributors and suppliers at a strategic level.

The public cloud’s pervasiveness in the enterprise is growing rapidly.  This market dynamic is reflected in the report, Forecast: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2010-2016, 2Q12 Update (ID:G00234814).  Gartner breaks out forecasts into the areas of Cloud Business Process Services/Business Process as a Service (BPaaS), Application Services/Software as a Service (SaaS), Application Infrastructure Services/Platform as a Service (PaaS), System Infrastructure Services/Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Cloud Management and Security Services.  Highlights from the report are presented in the following five areas:

Cloud Business Process Services/Business Process as a Service (BPaaS)

  • Gartner is predicting that BPaaS will grow from $84.1B in 2012 to $144.7B in 2016, generating a global compound annual growth rate of 15%.
  • Of the eight subsegments Gartner is tracking in their BPaaS forecast, Cloud Payments (17.8%) Cloud Advertising (17.1%) and Industry Operations (15.1%) are expected to have the greatest compound annual growth rates (CAGR) in revenues generated by 2016.
  • In terms of revenue generated, Cloud Advertising is projected to grow from  $43.1B in 2011 to $95B in 2016, generating 17.1% CAGR in revenue growth through 2016.
  • Cloud Payments are forecast to grow from $4.7B in 2011  to $10.6B in 2016, generating a CAGR of 17.8% worldwide.
  • E-Commerce Enablement using BPaaS-based platforms is expected to grow from $4.7B in 2011 to $9B in 2016, generating a 13.6% CAGR in revenue globally.

Application Services/Software as a Service (SaaS)

  • SaaS-based applications are expected to grow from $11.8B in 2012 to $26.5B in 2016, generating a CAGR of 17.4% globally.  Gartner tracks ten different categories of SaaS applications in this latest forecast with CRM, ERP, and Web Conferencing, Teaming Platforms, and Social Software Suites being the three largest in terms of global revenue growth.
  • The three fastest-growing SaaS areas include Office Suites (40.7%), Digital Content Creation (32.2%) and Business Intelligence applications (27.1%) having the highest CAGRs from 2011 through 2016.
  • SaaS-based CRM will see the largest global revenue growth of all categories, increasing from $3.9B in 2011 to $7.9B in 2016, achieving a 15.1% CAGR worldwide.
  • Web Conferencing, Teaming Platforms, and Social Software Suites will grow from $2B in 2011 to $3.4B in 2016, generating an 11.2% CAGR.  Gartner is including Enterprise 2.0 applications in this category.
  • SaaS-based ERP is forecasted to grow from $1.9B in 2011 to $4.3B in 2016, achieving a 17.3% CAGR.
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM) is an area that Forrester, Gartner, IDC and others have predicted significant growth in.  Gartner’s latest forecast for SaaS-based SCM is $1.2B spent in 2011 growing to $3.3B in 2016, representing a 21.1% CAGR.

Application Infrastructure Services/Platform as a Service (PaaS)

  • Gartner forecasts the worldwide enterprise market for PaaS platforms will grow from $900M spent in 2011 to $2.9B in 2016, representing a 26.6% CAGR.
  • Growth rates by PaaS subsegment include the following: Application Development (22%), Database Management Systems (48.5%), Business Intelligence Platform (38.9%) and Application Infrastructure and Middleware (26.5%).
  • Application Infrastructure and Middleware is expected to be the largest revenue source in PaaS for the next four years.  Gartner reports this subsegment  generated $649M in 2011, projected to grow to $2.1B in 2016, generating $1.5B in revenue and a 26.5% CAGR.

System Infrastructure Services/Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

  • With a projected CAGR of 41.7%, this segment is the fastest growing of the five Gartner included in their public cloud forecast.  From $4.2B in revenue generated in 2011 to $24.4B in 2016, IaaS is expected to grow by just over $20B in the forecast period globally.
  • CAGR by IaaS segment from 2001 to 2016 include Compute (43.2%), Storage (36.6%) and Print (16%).
  • The Compute subsegment is expected to see the greatest revenue growth globally, growing from $3.3B in 2011 to $20.2B in 2016, generating a 43.2% CAGR.

Cloud Management and Security Services

  • Comprised of Security, IT Operations Management and Storage Management, Cloud Management and Security Services generated $2.3B in 2011 with a forecast of $7.9B in 2016, generating a 27.2% CAGR.
  • IT Operations Management (38.2%), Storage Management (30.6%) and Security (23.7%) each have relatively high CAGRs through 2016.

Bottom line:  Of the five areas Gartner includes in their forecast, BPaaS  and its subsegments show trending towards greater support for enterprise-wide transaction and e-commerce management. With 76% of the entire 2012 public cloud forecast being in the BPaaS segment, it is clear Gartner is seeing strong interest on the part of enterprise clients to spend in this area.

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.

How Cloud Computing And ERP Mobility Are Reordering Gartner’s Hype Cycle for ERP

A good friend of mine recently became CIO of a financial services firm and was given his first major project last month: make the complete accounting, financial, and loan provider data and applications available 24/7 on any iPad or Android-based tablet from any office, at any time.

The majority of loan provider applications are cloud-based and his company is running NetSuite.  His corporate office is in Asia and cloud-based applications made it possible for the company to launch and operate in California within months.   He’s been given six months to transform this mobile vision into reality.

Another CIO of a major A&D manufacturer I recently visited wants vendors to challenge him more to get greater value from his investments in legacy data and ERP systems. Using ERP to run batch reports alone has nearly caused project schedules to slip, so the focus internally is on real-time system integration of project management and accounting systems.  He’s also been given the task of revamping accounting and financial systems by October, 2012, and they just started late last year.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle for ERP 

Considering these two extremes in the context of the Gartner Hype Cycle for ERP (shown below) and the recent report SaaS and Cloud ERP Trends, Observations, and Performance 2011  (free for download until January 9, 2012) published by Aberdeen last month several take-aways emerge.

  • CIOs are under increasing pressure in 2012 to enhance, modify even replace existing ERP systems while standardizing technology across the enterprise at the same time.  The most risk-averse way around this is to add applications to single instance ERP backbone systems, with analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) being the among the most in demand.
  • Cloud-based ERP in the Enterprise and Small & Medium Businesses (SMB) are accelerating along the Hype Cycle faster than Gartner indicates.  Enterprises are using Cloud-based ERP systems as part of their two-tier ERP system strategies due to the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and time-to-deploy advantages, and the flexibility of tailoring everything from user interfaces to workflows to their specific requirements.  Highly specialized Cloud-based ERP suites including those from Plex Systems are gaining traction due to their expertise in specific industries and the compliance-related challenges inherent within them. In SMBs, the cost and time-to-deploy are two major drivers with concerns over security being the biggest impediment to growth.  Gartner reports that they are seeing Cloud-based ERP adoption fastest in companies with fewer than 200 users overall.
  • Cloud-based ERP systems most often considered in industries that have high variable costs, rapid transaction cycles and tend towards higher Return on Invested Capital (ROIC).  Based on the research SaaS and Cloud ERP Trends, Observations, and Performance 2011 the industries who are the most willing to consider Cloud-based ERP versus on-premise are Financial Services (22% SaaS versus 44% on-premise); Healthcare (42% SaaS versus 58% on-premise); and Professional Services (56% SaaS versus 58% on-premise).
  • Large companies (over $500M in annual revenue) using Cloud-based ERP systems are opting for hosted deployments managed by their ERP vendor (10%) or an independent 3rd party (11%), with just 2% relying on a SaaS platform. Aberdeen defined small organizations as those with annual sales under $50M, midsize organizations having annual sales of $50M – $500M. The following is from SaaS and Cloud ERP Trends, Observations, and Performance 2011:
  • ERP mobility will be a dominant force from the shop floor to each sales call where quotes, orders and contracts deliver real-time order and pricing updates.  How a given manufacturer chooses to sell is even more important than what they sell in many industries. Equipping manufacturing, quality assurance, production scheduling, procurement and sales to have immediate data on what’s going on with orders, customers and suppliers is critical.  For the sales and service teams, real-time data is the fuel they run on.  There’s a chronic time shortage in many, many companies right now, and bringing greater ERP mobility from the shop floor to the sales call will increasingly be seen as a means to lessen the time crunch.  2012 is the year where mobility gets real across the enterprise with solid performance numbers being generated as a result.  For companies with large sales forces and service organizations, integrating to key ERP systems to gain real-time data will quickly lead to increased sales and higher gross margins on service and warranty repairs.
  • Gartner predicts that by 2015 enterprises who are successfully using extreme information management strategies (Big Data) will outperform competitors in their industry sectors by 20% in every available financial metric.  The following is the Priority Matrix for ERP, 2011 showing what Gartner believes to be transformational technologies and strategies in ERP.

SaaS-based ERP Systems are Business Process Stress Tests in Progress

Bottom line: Signing up for an Amazon AWS account is faster than creating a profile on Expedia. As a result, there are dozens of SaaS start-ups in the analytics, CRM, social CRM, ERP, supply chain management and many other areas of enterprise software. The ones that are going to make it already have a very clear vision of which complex, challenging, impossible business processes their customers face that they can standardize on, drive down cost per user per month down, and build a real business on.

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