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The Best Cloud Computing Companies And CEOs To Work For In 2014

Job Growth2014 continues to be a year marked by the accelerating hiring cycles across nearly all cloud computing companies.

Signing bonuses of $3K to $5K for senior engineers and system design specialists are becoming common, and the cycles from screening to interviews to offers is shortening.  The job market in the cloud computing industry is leaning in favor of applicants who have a strong IT background in systems integration, legacy IT expertise, business analysis and in many positions, programming as well.

One of the most common questions and requests I receive from readers is who the best companies are to work for.  I’ve put together the following analysis based on the latest Computer Reseller News list The 100 Coolest Cloud Computing Vendors Of 2014.  

Using the CRN list as a baseline to compare the Glassdoor.com scores of the (%) of employees who would recommend this company to a friend and (%) of employees who approve of the CEO, the following analysis was completed.  You can find the original data here .  There are many companies listed on the CRN list that don’t have than many or any entries on Glassdoor and they were excluded from the rankings below.  You can find companies excluded here. If the image below is not visible in your browser, you can view the rankings here.

results

The highest rated CEOs on Glassdoor as of February 23rd include the following:

  • Jeremy Roche of FinancialForce.com (100%)
  • Robert Reid, Intacct (100%)
  • Randy Bias, Cloudscaling (100%)
  • Sridhar Vembu, Zoho (98%)
  • James M. Whitehurst, Red Hat (96%)
  • Larry Page, Google (95%)
  • Christian Chabot, Tableau Software (95%)
  • Aneel Bhusri, Workday (94%)
  • Bill McDermott & Jim Hagemann Snabe, SAP (93%)
  • Marc Benioff, Salesforce (93%)
  • David Friend, Carbonite (93%)

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

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

best performing YTD Feb 14

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

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

total dollar value 10K feb 14 2014

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

Cloud Computing Stock Index February 14

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

Capturebest performing for the week feb 14

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

worst performing for the week feb 14

Best Performing Cloud Computing Stocks In 2014

best performing YTD Feb 14

Worst Performing Cloud Computing Stocks In 2014

worst performing YTD Feb 14

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

trending

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

Predicting Enterprise Cloud Computing Growth

69% of enterprises who have separate budgets for cloud computing are predicting spending increases this year and into 2014.

This is one of several key take-aways from a research study published today by TheInfoPro, a service of 451 Research.  TheInfoPro Wave 5 Cloud Computing Study is based on research completed in the first six months of 2013, and relies on live interviews with IT management and primary decision-makers in midsize and large enterprises in Europe and North America. You can view details of TheInfoPro Cloud Computing Overview Program and methodology here.

Additional key take-aways from the study include the following:

  • The worldwide cloud computing market will grow at a 36% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2016, reaching a market size of $19.5B by 2016.
  • 38% of enterprises surveyed break out cloud computing budgets, while 60% include cloud-related spending as part of their enterprise-wide IT budgets.  TheInfoPro asserts that cloud computing’s benefits of greater business orchestration and reduced time-to-market have led to a change in budgeting approaches.
  • The median enterprise cloud computing budget is $675,000 and the mean enterprise cloud computing budget is $8,234,438.  The study found the largest enterprise cloud computing budget at $125M.  The following graphic provides a distribution of cloud computing budgets by range.

cloud-computing-budget

  • Internal Private Cloud (35%), Cloud Provider Assessments/Strategy Planning (33%), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) (31%) and Software-as-a-Service (30%) are the top four cloud computing-related projects enterprises are working on right now.  Cloud Provider Assessments/Strategy Planning have seen the largest increase, attributable to more enterprises looking to better support strategic plans with more agile, efficient IT organizations.

top-challenges-graphic2

  • 83% of enterprises face significant roadblocks that hold them back from moving beyond cost reduction to faster time-to-market and better orchestration of their businesses. Respondents mentioned that politics, budget, time and staff are the main sources of roadblocks to getting more value out of their cloud computing investments. The majority of these roadblocks are not related to IT.  They include lack of clarity regarding organization and budget (37%), resistance to change (16%) and lack of trust (visibility and reliability) (15%).  The following graphic illustrates the enterprise cloud journey as defined in TheInfoPro Wave 5 Cloud Computing Study.

deciphering-the-cloud-journey

  • Consistent with many other enterprise cloud computing surveys, security is the biggest pain point and roadblock to cloud computing adoption (30%).  Migration and integration of legacy and on-premise systems with cloud applications (18%) is second, and lack of internal process (18%) is third.  The following graphic shows a rank ordering of cloud computing-related pain points.

cloud-related-pain-points

2013 CRM Market Share Update: 40% Of CRM Systems Sold Are SaaS-Based

CRM-Market-Share-Analysis-Image-2012Last year, four out of every ten CRM systems sold were SaaS-based, and the trend is accelerating.

In the recent Gartner report  Market Share Analysis: Customer Relationship Management Software, Worldwide, 2012 published April 18, 2013 the authors provide insights into why the worldwide CRM market experienced 12% growth in 2012, three times the average of all enterprise software categories.  Gartner cites demand they are seeing from their enterprise clients for CRM systems that can help acquire customers, analyze and act on customer behaviors, and increase all-channel management performance.  Big data inquiries are also increasing in CRM, driven by the interest enterprise clients have in getting more value from social network data and interactions.

Key take-aways from the report include the following:

  • The CRM worldwide market grew from $16B to $18B attaining a 12.5% growth rate from 2011 to 2012.
  • 80% of all CRM software in 2012 was sold in North America and Western Europe.    North America CRM sales grew 16.6% from 2011 to 2012.  The highest growth regions of CRM sales between 2011 to 2012 included Greater China (26.9%) and Latin America (24.3%).
  • Salesforce.com is the world’s leading CRM software vendor with 14% market share in 2012 ($2.5B in sales), surpassing SAP (12.9%, $2.3B in sales), Oracle (11.1%, 2.01B in sales), Microsoft (6.3%, $1.1B in sales), IBM (3.6%, $649M in sales) and all others.  The top ten vendors worldwide generated $10.9B in sales alone in 2012.

Figure-1-Market-Share-CRM

  • Worldwide CRM software spending by subsegment shows Customer Service and Support leading all categories with 36.8% of all spending in 2012 ($6.6B), followed by CRM Sales (26.3%, $4.7B), Marketing (includes marketing automation) (20%, $3.6B) and e-commerce (16.9%, $3B).   The following chart shows the distribution of revenue by category:

CRM-Software-Subsegments

  • 40% of all CRM software sold in 2012 worldwide was SaaS-based.  Gartner states that they are seeing their enterprise clients seek out easier-to-deploy CRM systems compared to on-premise alternatives.  The report states that many enterprises are now replacing their legacy systems with SaaS-based CRM systems as well.  Enterprise clients also report that SaaS-based CRM systems are delivering net-new applications that deliver complementary functionality not possible with legacy and previous-generation CRM platforms.
  • Ten fastest growing CRM vendors as measured in revenue Annual Growth Rate (AGR) in 2012 include Zoho (81.2%), Hybris (78.6%), Teradata (70.4%), Bazaarvoice (56.2%), Marketo (54.3%), Kana (44.2%), Demandware (43.9%), IBM (39.4%), Technology One (37.1%) and Neolane (36%).
  • Communications, media and IT services were the biggest spenders on CRM in 2012 due to their call center requirements.  Manufacturing including Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) was second, and banking & securities were third.

Microsoft’s Cloud Computing Strategy and Roadmap Evident at Convergence 2013

cloud-multi-tenancyKirill Tatarinov’s keynote this morning at Microsoft’s Convergence 2013 marks a subtle, yet very significant shift in how this technology leader is marketing itself to partners and the outside world.  They are humanizing their marketing, messaging and products.

Gone is the Spock-like precision of presentations packed with roadmaps, mind-numbing metrics and intricate feature analysis.  The Nick Brophy Band made the keynote complete by delivering excellent sets.

Microsoft is learning that telling a good story trumps terabytes of metrics. They delivered a strong keynote today starting out showing how attendees reached out to the local community and helped Habitat for Humanity.  Kirill then based the majority of his keynote on four customer success stories taken from the Microsoft Customer Excellence Award winners. Chobani, Shock Doctor, Revlon and Weight Watchers shared how they were able to better connect with customers and run more efficient businesses using Microsoft Dynamics.

The only aspect of these award winner’s stories that fell short was how the complexity of back office system integration was glossed over.  No mention of third party or legacy system integration was made, which could have shown how far Microsoft and its partners have progressed on this point, especially with the help of integration partners like Scribe Software.

Microsoft’s Cloud-First Strategy Playing Well With Partners

For Microsoft to succeed with Windows Dynamics and Azure, they are going to need each partner and reseller to believe in the vision of a cloud-first strategy, then translate their unique expertise into sales.  That’s going to be a challenge that Microsoft will have to deal with daily as it looks to further strengthen its partner and reseller base.  The recent Azure outage caused by an expired SSL certificate is on the minds of many partners and resellers here too.  Microsoft is promoting their Windows Azure Service Dashboard heavily here as a result.

Despite that recent outage, Microsoft’s ecosystem on Dynamics is flourishing , as is evidenced by the attendance and participation in this show.  The cloud-first strategy has infused a sense of hope and anticipation in many partners and resellers.  Walking the floor yesterday and today, nearly eight of every ten partners offered up how they are planning on the cloud without being asked about it.

Microsoft 2013 Roadmap Embracing the Cloud, Devices and Services    

Kirill Tatarinov’s keynote underscored how committed Microsoft is to becoming as cloud, devices and services company.  He cited the statistic that there are more devices connected to the Internet today than there are human beings on the planet.

Through several examples he also showed how Microsoft is moving full speed into being a devices and services business.  Microsoft Windows Azure is the foundational component to this strategy.  While Kirill did not specifically say that, it is clear from an architectural standpoint Windows Azure will be the foundational element of their devices and services strategy.  Microsoft is already competing with market leader Amazon Web Services, Google, Rackspace and many others.  For more information on the competitive landscape of this market, please see my previous post, Demystifying Cloud Vendors.

From a roadmap perspective this will also force Microsoft to support many more mobile operating systems and environments than they ever have before.  For their device and services strategy to succeed for example, they will have to support Google Android and Apple iOS device interfaces capable of integrating with SQL Server, at a minimum.

The following table showing recently announced updates to the 2013 Microsoft Product Roadmap first appeared on the Redmond Channel Partner website on march 18th.

Microsoft roadmap analysis

Source: Redmond Channel Partner Magazine  

Microsoft reports that Office365 will go to an accelerated release cycle, further capitalizing on the nature of a cloud-based architecture.  Resellers at this conference like the  Office 365 Open licensing program because it allows them to direct-bill customers for use of the suite, in addition to paying for the bundle of their services. Windows Azure-hosted versions of Dynamics NAV and Dynamics GP will arrive in mid-2013 according to the article as well.

For the cloud, device and services strategy to succeed Microsoft must also succeed in convincing enterprise accounts to migrate their applications to Windows Azure.  This is one of the most critical areas for the future of their cloud strategy in the enterprise, so expect to see customer stories and ongoing messaging on this point.

Bottom line: Microsoft is transitioning to a more humanized approach to marketing while embracing a cloud, device and services strategy. It will be the partner ecosystem that transforms that vision into a profitable reality.

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.

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.

What’s Hot in CRM Applications, 2012

Serving the sales force is a mantra and mindset that resonates through the best companies I’ve ever worked with and for.

That priority alone can help galvanize companies who are adrift in multiple, conflicting agendas, strategies and projects.  Uniting around that goal – serving sales and getting them what they need to excel – can turn around even the most downtrodden companies.  And size doesn’t matter, the intensity of focus and commitment to excel  do.

That’s why the latest report from Gartner’s Ed Thompson, What’s “Hot” in CRM Application 2012, published last Thursday resonates with me.  He’s talking about how sales strategies need to be propelled by rapid advances in mobile technology, social CRM, sales content and collaboration, and clienteling to serve the sales force more thoroughly than ever before.  His assessment of what’s hot in CRM is a great foundation for getting behind the mantra of serving the sales force and engraining it into a corporate culture while getting full value from the latest technologies.

Here are the key take-aways from the report:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery of CRM applications represented 34% of worldwide CRM application spending in 2011.  More than 50% of all Sales Force Automation (SFA) spending is on the SaaS platform.  Gartner clients who are successfully running SaaS are now looking at how to get value from Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in the context of selling strategies.
  • CRM spending grew 13% in 2011, fueled analytical, operational and social CRM growth.  Operational CRM represents 80% of all CRM spending and grew 10% in 2011.
  • Analytical CRM, in which Gartner includes predictive analytics and market segmentation analysis, grew a solid 10% in 2011 and is having a very strong year with inquiry traffic.
  • Social CRM grew 30% in 2011 in revenue terms and is 7% of total CRM spending globally as of 2011.   90% of Social CRM spending is originating in Business-to-Consumer (B2C) organizations with the remaining occurring in B2B.
  • Gartner is projecting that CRM will be one of the top three search terms on Gartner.com throughout calendar 2012 based on the trends and volume of calls they are seeing today.
  • CEOs see CRM as their #1 technology-enabled investment in 2012 according the query calls through April, 2012.
  • CRM is ascending rapidly in the priorities of CIOs in 2012, moving from 18th place to eight place  in the latest Gartner analysis.
  • The following table of Highest CRM Application Priorities, 2012 show what’s trending within Sales, Customer Service, E-Commerce and Marketing inquiries Gartner is receiving from its clients.  Consider these as leading indicators of interest.  Over time these areas will need to solidify for forecasts to be completed.
  • Apple iPads are the great maverick buy of 2012 with thousands being purchased by Sales and Marketing management with the immediate requirement of IT integration to these devices.   IT departments are scrambling on the security issues and lack of polices on BYOD.  In enterprise software, iPads are proving to be highly effective as demo platforms for new SaaS-based applications.  They have become the new sales bag of the 21rst century.
  •  High Tech, Life Sciences and Insurance are the three industries with the greatest levels of iPad adoption as of April 2012.  Gartner is predicting that by the end of 2012, 80% of all sales representatives in the pharmaceutical industry will be using iPads for their daily sales tasks.
  • Social or community customer service is the hottest area of growth for post-sales service with high-tech, media, travel, telecommunications, retail and education-based clients dominating client inquiries.

Predicting Cloud Computing Adoption Rates

From conservative, single digit adoption rates to hockey-stick projections of exceptional growth, analyst firms, venture capitalists and government ministries are weighing in on how they see cloud adoption progressing.

While each of the adoption rate predictions vary significantly in terms of their methodologies and results, all rely on the assumption that SaaS applications including CRM will continue to gain momentum.  The user adoption rates vary on how fast the momentum is, yet all share this assumption.  Speed, increased user adoption rates, and the ability to more closely align software to business goals are cited most often as the biggest benefits.

Where the projections vary most is whether enterprises will eventually migrate the majority of their applications to the cloud or not.  Forrester, Gartner and others see a hybrid cloud architecture emerging in the enterprise and forcing the issue of legacy systems migration by 2015.  As would be expected, vendor-driven research sees an “all or nothing” world in the near future.

Sanity Check

Wanting to see how reliable the figures were showing rapid cloud adoption in the enterprise, I did a quick sanity check.  Taking the  distribution of sales by segment for Salesforce.com and their annual revenue growth rate, then normalizing it across all segments, enterprise emerges as their strongest segment by a wide margin in 2015.  It had a 15%+ compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2011 – 2015 just taking their current sales by segment distribution of sales and extrapolating forward.  Data points like this and the market factors behind them is why SaaS is often used in these studies as a leading indicator of broader cloud adoption.

Adoption Rate Round-Up

  • Forrester found that SaaS will outgrow all other cloud services, achieving 37% adoption in 2011 growing to 50% by 2012.  In previous studies Forrester has shown that SaaS is a major growth catalyst of ongoing investment in IaaS and PaaS in enterprises. Source: Source:  Forrsights: The Software Market In Transformation, 2011 And Beyond Shifting Buying Preferences Lead To New Software Priorities by Holger Kisker, Ph.D. with Pascal Matzke, Stefan Ried, Ph.D., Miroslaw Lisserman  Link: http://bit.ly/ijJy70  The following table is from the report:

  • Microsoft Global SMB Cloud Adoption Study released in March, 2011 is one of the most comprehensive done this year on this topic. Of the many findings, the study predicts  39 % of SMBs expect to be paying for one or more cloud services within three years).  One of the best studies on cloud adoptions done this year Source: Study Results Document (PDF (22 pages): http://bit.ly/gN8yTx

  • North Bridge Venture Partners, GigaOM PRO and over a dozen research partners completed the study The Future of Cloud Computing 2011.  The study found 13% expressed high level of confidence in cloud computing for enterprise applications, with 40% experimenting and 10% saying they will never use cloud-based platforms as they are too risky. A presentation of the results can be found here:

Source: http://futureofcloudcomputing.drupalgardens.com/2011-future-cloud-computing-survey-results

  • Springboard Research (Forrester) completed a study of cloud computing adoption in Asia finding 31% of companies with 50 or fewer PCs will adopt cloud-based applications in 18 months, 56% with up to 500 PCs.  The key findings are available for download from the source URL below the infographic.

                                     Microsoft Asia is making this available for download here: http://bit.ly/jWjOj1

  • TechTarget published their analysis of virtualization and cloud computing adoption in the study, State of virtualization and cloud computing: 2011.  Of the many findings, a few of the most significant is how pervasive VMware ESXi 4 and later (vSphere) is throughout enterprises today.  The study also shows that 7% of those interviewed had implemented cloud computing in 2010, growing to 9% in 2011 – quite conservative compared to many of the other adoption rate analyses completed.  You can find the results here: http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/feature/State-of-virtualization-and-cloud-computing-2011
  • Yankee Group has found that in 2011, 41 percent of very large enterprises (more than 10,000 employees) have already deployed or are considering deployment of platform as a service (PaaS) within the next 12 months, compared to just 32 percent in 2010.  They have also found that mobility is most significant factor driving cloud adoption in the enterprise. Source: http://professional.wsj.com/article/TPCHWKNW0020110722e77q0004d.html

Gartner Search Analytics Shows Spike in Platform as a Service (PaaS) Inquiries in 2011

Trends of search terms from user accounts and topics of their inquiries form the catalyst of research agendas in many IT advisory firms.  At Gartner these two factors and others like them are commonly regarded as leading indicators of future IT spending.

Gartner has been delivering short analyses of these subject areas to clients in the form of reports, with the latest being Search Analytics Trends: Platform as a Service published on June 9, 2011.  This report covers user search activity from April, 2009 to March, 2011. For purposes of the report, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is defined as cloud application infrastructure services delivered as a service.  Gartner makes the point that PaaS includes no traditional software license and is expensed on a metered or utility basis.  Presented below is the time series of searches by month from the report.

A few key take-aways emerge from the report, and they are presented below:

  • Cloud Middleware Services including Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) are still unknown to many Gartner IT user clients.  As a result this area is seen with skepticism by many of their clients.  In studies of PaaS adoption from other analysts at Gartner and Forrester, it is evident that internal software development will make or break the credibility of PaaS initiatives for the long-term.
  • When Gartner IT users search for PaaS on the website and throughout online research, the four most common secondary terms are IaaS and SaaS (7.05%), Magic Quadrant (6.12%) and cloud (5.72%).  Clearly Gartner IT user clients are looking to define their own technology stack in this area and looking for a framework of reference of where PaaS fits into their own IT plans and architectures.  The competitive intensity across the analyst community will most likely go up as a result of the uncertainty many IT buyers have over PaaS.
  • The top three vendors that Gartner IT users search for are Microsoft (18%), Amazon (13%) and Tata (11%).  Additional vendors include IBM (11%), Salesforce.com (11%), SAP (7%), Google and Oracle (4%).

Bottom line: The key to PaaS adoption in larger enterprises, many of which are IT user clients of Gartner, is how successfully Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) clarify their value proposition and how their apps add value to the platform layer.

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