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How Analytics and Business Intelligence Are Accelerating Enterprise Cloud Adoption

During the last few weeks of completing a research project on buyer personas, a key finding of of just how quickly enterprises are switching out legacy reporting apps for SaaS-based analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) is emerging.

I’ve been interviewing sales VPs, sales operations directors, contract managers and CIOs. Of all these groups, the CIOs are providing valuable insight into the transition SaaS is going through in their enterprises.

Throughout this post I’ll correlate the interviewed CIOs’ comments back to a recent report Forrester published titled Understanding The Business Intelligence Growth Opportunity by Holger Kisker, Ph.D.  Dr. Kisker’s findings support many of the insights gained from the research on personas completed to date.

Key Points from Persona Interviews and Forrester Study

  • Forrester predicts the market for BI SaaS software will be $529M in 2011 growing to $2.4B in 2014.  The report mentions that by 2012, up to 30% of companies will have some SaaS-based BI services.  From the conversations with CIOs, I think this is actually low.  The urgency to get off of legacy reporting systems and onto a unified reporting platform is quickly changing this market.
  • 80% of enterprises will complement on-premise analytics and BI systems with SaaS-based applications by 2014 according to Forrester.  From the persona study I am working on, the cut-over is going to be much more abrupt.  50% or less of companies will most likely have on-premise applications in place by 2014, as SaaS-based analytics and BI applications provide business users with the information they need when they need it.
  • iPads running analytics and BI apps with lenders’ data in real-time are the new bling in financial services.  One CIO who recently was recruited to a financial services firm told me he quickly picked out the other C-level execs in the room – they all had iPads running analytics apps with live customer data.  One of his first projects: make that happen for the sales teams with a policy app.  Everyone I’ve spoken with on this research study tells me being able to get to their analytics data on an Android or Apple iOS device is critical for their build-out plans.
  • The greatest concerns the CIOs continue to have with SaaS are data integration to legacy systems and lack of security standards.  Despite these concerns one CIO summed it up well and said “We really don’t have a choice, the legacy reporting apps are too high maintenance, don’t integrate to our new workflows well – we need a new reporting platform, so we are piloting a SaaS-based analytics app right now.”
  • The high cost of maintaining legacy reporting applications, integrating them to the latest Microsoft, Oracle or SAP databases, and preserving tribal knowledge are factors pushing CIOs to adopt SaaS-based analytics and BI apps.  One of the CIOs is with a government subcontractor who has Airbus, Boeing, Sikrosky Aircraft as their largest clients explained how dashboards are manually generated in Excel, taking weeks and often being inaccurate.  To comply with contracts they must move to a faster reporting process.  Using SaaS-based analytics in pilots have trimmed the time for creating dashboards from weeks to hours.
  • Cloud integration and security are the skill sets these CIOs are hiring for right now.  A quick analysis from Google Insights shows the rapid ascent of cloud integration as a search term. While Insights doesn’t provide demographics, the persona interviews underscore this trend.
  • Analytics and BI data integration wins are setting the foundation for more complex system migrations in the future.  Bank of America, Citibank and other financial institutions have client-side systems that are outpacing legacy systems’ ability to analyze and make use of the massive amount of inbound data they provide.  Implementing cloud integration projects successfully, in conjunction the successful launch of more scalable SaaS-based analytics and BI applications sets the foundation for migrating even more complex systems.  The Forrester Report Understanding The Business Intelligence Growth Opportunity included the following graphic with further underscores this point.

Bottom line: The lessons learned from migrating analytics and reporting from legacy to SaaS-based analytics and BI applications, combined with the need to have customer and market intelligence on mobile devices, is leading to rapid changes in this market.

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

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

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

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

Forecasting the Growth of SaaS in the Enterprise, 2015

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

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

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

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

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