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SAP Using Humor To Sell SaaS In Latest Business ByDesign Video

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In July, SAP bravely broke ranks with the “big is better and ERP is VERY serious business ” messaging the company had seemingly been frozen in for years with a break-out marketing video they produced with Epipheo Studios.  If you have not checked out Ephipheo, be sure to.  They are doing excellent work across a range of clients.

Earlier this week SAP released their second Epipheo Studios video of the year, SAP Business ByDesign — SaaS Made Simple!

This video attacks the perception many small businesses have of ERP systems being large, unresponsive, complex, difficult to use, and costly.  All of this is done with self-deprecating humor, while showing how Business ByDesign can scale to the needs of a small, quickly growing business.  It is very well done and worth checking out.

Data Science Shows Potential To Redefine Cloud-based Analytics

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The emerging field of data science is a fascinating one that has major implications on the potential of cloud-based analytics, CRM, search, supply chain management and logistics.

Instead of relying purely on latent semantic indexing or the Google PageRank algorithm to define relevance of a search, data science techniques analyze content and its context to determine relevance.  Google today looks at the content of a page; data science considers its surrounding data and relevance.

Earlier this month TechCrunch published the blog post Marissa Mayer’s Next Big Thing: “Contextual Discovery” — Google Results Without Search.  The techniques of contextual discovery Google is experimenting with rely on a very rapid aggregation and transforming of data, which are part of the methodologies of data science.   When Google moves fully into contextual discovery the potential exists for cloud-based analytics, CRM, search, supply chain management and logistics to be completely revolutionized by solving the big data problems associated with each of these areas.

In CRM, this would mean finally being able to access external and internal content (including the massive amount of data on social networks), aggregate the data, and transform it into meaningful analysis.  The vision of social CRM would be realized once data science serves as the catalyst of contextual search or as Google calls it, contextual discovery.

Exploring Data Science

Two of the best blog posts are both from O’Reilly Radar on the emerging topic of data science.  What is data science? By Mike Loukides and Six months after “What is data science?” by Mac Slocum O’Reilly Radar are worth reading and giving some serious thought to.  O’Reilly also has also created a free report titled What is Data Science, which can be downloaded here.

Authors Mike Loukides and Mac Slocum set the foundation for how transformational data science has the potential of being by concentrating on the nascent area of data products.  A data product is the result of accessing, aggregating and transforming content regardless of its location – and capturing data on its attributes – not just the data itself. Both authors point to reference systems and guided reference engines on e-commerce sites as just the beginning.  Yet after reading their assessments and listening to Roger Magoulas, O’Reilly’s Director of Research, interviewed about data science below there are many more potential uses of this evolving area.

Potential Impact of Data Science on Analytics

The blog posts by Mike Loukides and Mac Slocum go into detail explaining how each area of data science is in varying levels of maturity.  After reading these over and considering the big data problems in cloud-based analytics, CRM, search, supply chain management and logistics, the following methodology starts to make sense:

Access – For data science to realize its full potential there needs to be a technology layer that provides for real-time access to structured and unstructured content both within and outside an enterprise.  More than a traditional Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) layer the technologies driving data access need to selectively pull all available content from every unstructured and structured data source available.  Mike Loukides mentions Google Goggles and how MapReduce has made this application possible.  Hadoop as a means to create greater access across federated content has much potential in this phase as well.

Aggregate – Called data conditioning by Mike Loukides, the aggregation phase is where contextual discovery happens.  This could be accomplished through contextual search filters, taxonomies defined by specific alerts, or the use of the MapReduce and Hadoop query and relevance tools in use today.

Transform – Where Hadoop could be used for driving data analysis and as Mike Loukides calls this level of analysis, data jiujitsu.   Examples are mentioned by both Mike Loukides and Mac Slocum including the Hadoop Online Prototype (HOP), which does real-time stream processing and several others.  The impact of the access, aggregate and transform methodology on visualization is available at Flowing Data, one of the best sites on the Web for seeing how MapReduce, Hadoop and other data science-related techniques are taking on massive amounts of data and delivering insights.

Conclusion

Solving the big data problems of social media monitoring, sentiment analysis, forming a scalable platform for social CRM, integrating CRM, supply chain management and logistics data to demand management – and tying all of these areas to financial performance – is potentially achievable with data science.  Deployed as a cloud-based platform opens up even greater potential for getting the most use of social networks, free data sources, and third-party databases than is possible today.

Be sure to check out the video below of Roger Magoulas, O’Reilly’s Director of Research, where he was interviewed about data science.

Article links:

What is data science? By Mike Loukides  O’Reilly Radar
Six months after “What is data science?”  by Mac Slocum O’Reilly Radar

Windows Azure AppFabric Update

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Microsoft’s cloud-based middleware platform, Azure AppFabric, is designed to streamline the development, deployment and support of applications on the Windows Azure platform.   The Azure AppFabric initiative serves as  the foundation of the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in the Windows Azure stack as well.

Microsoft is supporting four types of multitenancy with Azure AppFabric. These types of multitenancy are explained in the presentation, with an analysis by Gartner of the multitenancy options also provided.  You will find a link to the Gartner research note below.

AppService Bus Is Key To Integration in Windows Azure. The AppFabric Service Bus is an interesting integration concept Microsoft is working on right now, as its design goal is to connect systems and content outside the firewalls of companies, unifying it with internal, often legacy systems’ data.  How ServiceBus will define context has not been shared by Microsoft.  That however will be interesting to see, as contextual content in this type of configuration has much potential for redefining internal search.

Usability is King. Azure’s design objective for a usability standpoint  is to deliver the content to any device, anywhere in the world, at any time.  It is a very ambitious project and the following presentation does an excellent job of putting Azure AppFabric into context.

Research note from Gartner. Yefim Natis,  David Mitchell Smith, David Cearley have written an insightful research note on AppFabric’s current status (as of November, 2010) and have also defined in detail its architectural components. Here is the research note:  Windows Azure AppFabric: A Strategic Core of Microsoft’s Cloud Platform.



IDC’s 2011 Predictions for the Cloud

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Frank Gens, Senior Vice President & Chief Analyst for IDC, shares insights from his firm’s predictions for 2011 and beyond in the areas of cloud computing, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), public and private cloud services.

Here are a few of the many take-aways in this 5 minute video:

  • Public cloud services adoption will grow at over five times the rate of the IT industry to $29B in 2011, up 30% from 2010 reaching $55B by 2014.   E-mail and collaboration will be the foundation, and entirely new application segments will drive incremental growth.
  • Private cloud services will grow to $13B in 2011, growing much faster than public cloud.  IDC predicts that Salesforce.com and Google will partner with infrastructure providers to create private cloud appliances of their public cloud offerings.
  • 15% of industry revenue and 30% of industry growth will be from public and private cloud services in 2011.
  • Cloud management systems and solutions will embrace public and private clouds and will see Accenture, Cisco, CA, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others enter this market with enterprise-ready solutions in the next year.
  • On-premise applications will go through a transformation of supporting private cloud integration, providing enterprise accounts with the option of migrating to the cloud if they choose to.
  • The term “cloud computing” as a buzzword will be gone by 2012, as these technologies are expected to become ubiquitous.

Salesforce.com’s Trojan Horse API Strategy

DreamForce 2010 had energy, intensity and focus that is rarely seen in enterprise software events.  There are many excellent summaries of the event with Michael Krisgman’s The new age of sexy enterprise software – Part 1: Salesforce.com gets mojo being one of the best.

The bottom line is that Salesforce.com is redefining enterprise software – not just at the marketing or user level – but at the developer level as well.
2010: The Year of the Trojan Horse

At the center of this year’s DreamForce is the transformation of Salesforce.com into an enterprise platform provider, an endorser of open APIs including REST (Representational State Transfer), which the Salesforce.com development community had been asking for over a year.  As the Google Trend graphic shows, the timing of a REST-based Salesforce.com API couldn’t’ have been better, it is now leading other APIs in terms of interest in trending data and adoption. Please click on the Google Trends graphic to enlarge for easier viewing.

Like the REST announcement, the timing of the Heroku acquisition last week shows how committed Salesforce.com is to creating a world-class development platform.  Having Ruby on Rails as part of the development suite of applications further accelerates this strategy of dominating development platforms.  The VMWare alliance does the same for Java.

There’s also urgency for getting as many developers onto Salesforce.com platforms, you can sense that in the presentations from the VPs of Development and from Marc Benioff as well.  The quicker they can reach critical mass with developers on the Force.com platform the quicker they can move on to entirely new application areas.  Chris Brogan would call it escape velocity and in the world of Salesforce.com, it looks a lot like a Trojan horse strategy of having as many applications in the enterprise on their platform as quickly as possible.

In the coming months, there will be more API-based announcements, more of an endorsement of open APIs.  JSON APIs for example will become increasingly important in this strategy.  Salesforce.com is out to win the stack war with a developer and API-driven land grab.  CloudStock showed this company knows how to excel at evangelism.  Time will tell if the Trojan horse strategy, now in full force, succeeds.

Note: The following is an excellent presentation on open APIs presented last week at CloudStock by John Musser.  The analysis of Open API trending and analysis is worth reading, Salesforce.com must be studying these statistics given the strategy directions they are choosing.

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