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10 Charts That Will Change Your Perspective Of Amazon Prime’s Growth

    • 70% of Americans with incomes of $150,000 or more who shop online have Amazon Prime memberships.
    • Amazon Prime international customers will grow at a 56% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2016 to 2018.
    • Amazon shipped more than 5 billion items in 2017 with Prime worldwide.
    • By 2022 there will be 56 million Amazon Prime Video subscribers in the U.S., and 122 million worldwide.

Net Sales at Amazon reached $177.9B in 2017, a 31% increase from $136B in 2016 and Net Income increased from $2.4B in 2016 to $3B in 2017. Their fourth quarter, 2017 financial results are available here. Their latest financial results also reflect how increasing operating expenses are squeezing margins as the company builds out their fulfillment network in international markets, technology, content, and marketing efforts.

Amazon Prime is an annual membership program that includes unlimited free shipping of over 100 million items, access to unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV episodes, Alexa voice shopping, unlimited free access to thousands of Kindle books and content. Amazon Prime also includes free same day delivery on selected products, in addition to planned services Amazon is fine-tuning for launch later this year.

Revenue for online subscriptions to services like its Amazon Prime membership, Audible, Prime Video, and Prime Music Unlimited was up 49% year over year, handily outpacing the 20% year-over-year revenue growth from its online store segment. In January 2018 Amazon raised the price for Prime membership $2 to $12.99 for customers making monthly payments, totaling $156 per year. Amazon chose to leave the Prime membership price at $99 for those customers choosing to make one annual payment. Investment firm Cowen & Company estimates the $2 price increase to Prime subscribers who pay monthly will generate an additional $300M in revenue.

The following ten charts provide insights into Amazon Primes’ explosive growth:

  • 51% of U.S. households will be Amazon Prime subscribers in 2018, up from 45% in 2017 with Prime subscribers spending up to 4.6X more than non-prime customers. Morgan Stanley estimates that the average Amazon Prime customer spent $2,486 over the last twelve months compared to $544 for non-Prime Amazon customers. Source: Amazon Disruption Symposium Where so Far? Where to Next? Who is Safe?, Morgan Stanley, September 18, 2017. (PDF, 88 pp., no opt-in).

  • There are an estimated 90 million paying Amazon Prime subscribers in the United States today according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners and Statista. Amazon was able to grow Prime memberships from 63 million in June 2016 to 90 million in September of last year. From just 25 million members in December 2013 to 90 million in September of last year, Amazon has been able to attain a 29.2% CAGR of subscribers over the last five years. Statista found that Amazon Prime members spend an average of $1,300 per year compared to non-Prime members who spend $700 annually. Source: Statista.   

  • 70% of Americans with incomes of $150,000 or more who shop online have Amazon Prime memberships. Alexa, Echo, Dash, IoT, Smart Home and Prime Now delivery services are predicated on attracting and retaining Prime customers who have higher disposable incomes and are willing to pay for convenience. Amazon realizes the most profitable Prime customers they have are facing a continual time shortage due to demanding jobs and travel schedules. The Prime services roadmap continues to reflect convenience and speed to serve high-income families, many of which have two wage earners, where time is at a premium. Source: Statista.

  • 46% of Amazon Prime subscribers buy something online using the benefits of their subscription at least once a week. In contrast, only 13% of non-Prime Amazon shoppers make weekly purchases. Amazon’s proliferation of services helps to keep Prime customers coming back. Combining a broad services portfolio and real-time convenience on a trusted platform, Amazon has found a way to become indispensable to customers who have high disposable incomes and little extra time. Source: Nearly Half of US Households Are Now Amazon Prime Subscribers, eMarketer Retail. January 30, 2018.

  • Amazon Prime international customers will grow at a 56% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2016 to 2018, growing over two times as fast as the S. Prime customer base while expectations of shorter delivery times increase. Morgan Stanley estimates there will be 62 million U.S.-based Amazon Prime customers by the end of 2018, growing from an estimated 54 million in 2017. International Prime subscribers are projected to grow from 18 million in 2018 to 45 million in 2018. Source: Amazon Disruption Symposium Where so Far? Where to Next? Who is Safe?, Morgan Stanley, September 18, 2017. (PDF, 88 pp., no opt-in).

  • By 2022 there will be 56 million Amazon Prime Video subscribers alone in the U.S., and 122 million worldwide. Within four years it’s projected that Amazon Prime Video will grow its customer base globally to 122 million subscribers, with 45.9% from the U.S. alone. Amazon’s Source: Statista.

  • Amazon Prime Video is the primary growth catalyst for Amazon to gain new subscribers in Japan, Germany, and the UK. Amazon Prime membership jumped 16% in Japan in just three months following the launch of Prime Instant Video. Prime subscriber rates increased in the UK and Germany with the introduction of Prime Instant Video. Source: Amazon Disruption Symposium Where so Far? Where to Next? Who is Safe?, Morgan Stanley, September 18, 2017. (PDF, 88 pp., no opt-in).

  • 63% of Amazon online shopping users are also subscribers to Amazon Prime today. Gaining new Prime subscribers from existing online users have started to slow down compared to other areas of Amazon Prime growing at double-digit growth rates. Amazon’s strategy of broadening the base of services and devices including Alexa to attract new subscribers shows signs of working according to their latest financial results. Source: Statista.

  • Amazon Prime has 3.4 times the number of customers acquired Whole Foods Market has and is changing the pricing and profitability of food retailing now. Amazon is actively re-ordering the food retailing landscape by capitalizing on the scale of their operations in the supply chain, logistics and fulfillment operations. Morgan Stanley found that the primary reason customers aren’t shopping at Whole Foods Markets is the perception of lower prices elsewhere. Amazon’s selective reduction of prices at Whole Foods Markets is margin-driven today. Source: Amazon Disruption Symposium Where so Far? Where to Next? Who is Safe?, Morgan Stanley, September 18, 2017. (PDF, 88 pp., no opt-in).

  • Amazon is combining Prime Now 1 to 2-hour deliveries and Whole Foods Market local inventory to fuel and scale a profitable grocery delivery business. One of the most attractive benefits of Prime membership is the flexibility of ordering products for 1 to 2-hour By increasing the variety of products deliverable by the Prime Now service, Amazon is scaling its home delivery business profitably. Source: Amazon Disruption Symposium Where so Far? Where to Next? Who is Safe?, Morgan Stanley, September 18, 2017. (PDF, 88 pp., no opt-in).

Data Sources on Amazon Prime and their latest reported financial results:

Amazon Disruption Symposium Where so Far? Where to Next? Who is Safe?, Morgan Stanley, September 18, 2017. (PDF, 88 pp., no opt-in)

Amazon has around 80 million reasons to be excited for Prime Day, Business Insider. July 10, 2017

Amazon hikes the price of Prime monthly memberships by 18%, CNN, January 19, 2018

Amazon nipping at Netflix’s heels, IHS Markit, January 16, 2018

Amazon Prime Had A Ridiculously Good 2017, Slash Gear January 2, 2018

Amazon Prime had its best year of sign-ups ever, Quartz, Alison Griswold.

Amazon Prime Hits 90 Million US Members, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, October 18, 2017 (PDF, 22 pp., no opt-in)

Amazon Prime’s Monthly Price Hike Will Generate $300 Million a Year, Bloomberg & Company, January 22, 2018

Don’t Overlook These Metrics From, Inc.’s Fourth Quarter, NASDAQ. February 10, 2018

For the wealthiest Americans, Amazon Prime has become the norm, Recode, June 8, 2017

Here’s How Much Amazon Prime Customers Spend Per Year, Fortune, October 18, 2017

Nearly Half of US Households Are Now Amazon Prime Subscribers, eMarketer Retail, January 30, 2018

Number of Amazon Prime Video subscribers worldwide in selected countries in 2022 (in millions), Statista, 2018.

Pros and Cons of Amazon Prime, Consumer Reports, February 22, 2018

Sixty-Four Percent Of U.S. Households Have Amazon Prime, Forbes, June 17, 2017

Why Amazon Bought Whole Foods, The Atlantic, June 16, 2017


10 Ways Machine Learning Is Revolutionizing Marketing


  • 84% of marketing organizations are implementing or expanding AI and machine learning in 2018.
  • 75% of enterprises using AI and machine learning enhance customer satisfaction by more than 10%.
  • 3 in 4 organizations implementing AI and machine learning increase sales of new products and services by more than 10% according to Capgemini.

Measuring marketing’s many contributions to revenue growth is becoming more accurate and real-time thanks to analytics and machine learning. Knowing what’s driving more Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), Sales Qualified Leads (SQL), how best to optimize marketing campaigns, and improving the precision and profitability of pricing are just a few of the many areas machine learning is revolutionizing marketing.

The best marketers are using machine learning to understand, anticipate and act on the problems their sales prospects are trying to solve faster and with more clarity than any competitor. Having the insight to tailor content while qualifying leads for sales to close quickly is being fueled by machine learning-based apps capable of learning what’s most effective for each prospect and customer. Machine learning is taking contextual content,  marketing automation including cross-channel marketing campaigns and lead scoring, personalization, and sales forecasting to a new level of accuracy and speed.

The strongest marketing departments rely on a robust set of analytics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure their progress towards revenue and customer growth goals. With machine learning, marketing departments will be able to deliver even more significant contributions to revenue growth, strengthening customer relationships in the process.

The following are 10 ways machine learning is revolutionizing marketing today and in the future:

  1. 57% of enterprise executives believe the most significant growth benefit of AI and machine learning will be improving customer experiences and support. 44% believe that AI and machine learning will provide the ability to improve on existing products and services. Marketing departments and the Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) running them are the leaders devising and launching new strategies to deliver excellent customer experiences and are one of the earliest adopters of machine learning. Orchestrating every aspect of attracting, selling and serving customers is being improved by marketers using machine learning apps to more accurately predict outcomes. Source: Artificial Intelligence: What’s Possible for Enterprises In 2017 (PDF, 16 pp., no opt-in), Forrester, by Mike Gualtieri, November 1, 2016. Courtesy of The Stack.

  1. 58% of enterprises are tackling the most challenging marketing problems with AI and machine learning first, prioritizing personalized customer care, new product development. These “need to do” marketing areas have the highest complexity and highest benefit. Marketers haven’t been putting as much emphasis on the “must do” areas of high benefit and low complexity according to Capgemini’s analysis. These application areas include Chatbots and virtual assistants, reducing revenue churn, facial recognition and product and services recommendations. Source:  Turning AI into concrete value: the successful implementers’ toolkit, Capgemini Consulting. 2017. (PDF, 28 pp., no opt-in).

  1. By 2020, real-time personalized advertising across digital platforms and optimized message targeting accuracy, context and precision will accelerate. The combined effect of these marketing technology improvements will increase sales effectiveness in retail and B2C-based channels. Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) lead generation will also increase, potentially reducing sales cycles and increasing win rates. Source: Can Machines be Creative? How Technology is Transforming Marketing Personalization and Relevance, IDC White Paper Sponsored by Gerry Brown, July 2017.

  1. Analyze and significantly reduce customer churn using machine learning to streamline risk prediction and intervention models. Instead of relying on expensive and time-consuming approaches to minimize customer churn, telecommunications companies and those in high-churn industries are turning to machine learning. The following graphic illustrates how defining risk models help determine how actions aimed at averting churn affect churn impact probability and risk. An intervention model allows marketers to consider how the level of intervention could affect the probability of churn and the amount of customer lifetime value (CLV). Source: Analyzing Customer Churn by using Azure Machine Learning.

  1. Price optimization and price elasticity are growing beyond industries with limited inventories including airlines and hotels, proliferating into manufacturing and services. All marketers are increasingly relying on machine learning to define more competitive, contextually relevant pricing. Machine learning apps are scaling price optimization beyond airlines, hotels, and events to encompass product and services pricing scenarios. Machine learning is being used today to determine pricing elasticity by each product, factoring in channel segment, customer segment, sales period and the product’s position in an overall product line pricing strategy. The following example is from Microsoft Azure’s Interactive Pricing Analytics Pre-Configured Solution (PCS). Source: Azure Cortana Interactive Pricing Analytics Pre-Configured Solution.

  1. Improving demand forecasting, assortment efficiency and pricing in retail marketing have the potential to deliver a 2% improvement in Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT), 20% stock reduction and 2 million fewer product returns a year. In Consumer Packaged Goods (CPQ) and retail marketing organizations, there’s significant potential for AI and machine learning to improve the entire value chain’s performance. McKinsey found that using a concerted approach to applying AI and machine learning across a retailer’s value chains has the potential to deliver a 50% improvement of assortment efficiency and a 30% online sales increase using dynamic pricing. Source:  Artificial Intelligence: The Next Frontier? McKinsey Global Institute (PDF, 80 pp., no opt-in)

  1. Creating and fine-tuning propensity models that guide cross-sell and up-sell strategies by product line, customer segment, and persona. It’s common to find data-driven marketers building and using propensity models to define the products and services with the highest probability of being purchased. Too often propensity models are based on imported data, built in Microsoft Excel, making their ongoing use time-consuming. Machine learning is streamlining creation, fine-tuning and revenue contributions of up-sell and cross-sell strategies by automating the entire progress. The screen below is an example of a propensity model.

  1. Lead scoring accuracy is improving, leading to increased sales that are traceable back to initial marketing campaigns and sales strategies. By using machine learning to qualify the further customer and prospect lists using relevant data from the web, predictive models including machine learning can better predict ideal customer profiles. Each sales lead’s predictive score becomes a better predictor of potential new sales, helping sales prioritize time, sales efforts and selling strategies. The following two slides are from an excellent webinar Mintigo hosted with Sirius Decisions and Sales Hacker. It’s a fascinating look at how machine learning is improving sales effectiveness. Source: Give Your SDRs An Unfair Advantage with Predictive (webinar slides on Slideshare).

  1. Identifying and defining the sales projections of specific customer segments and microsegments using RFM (recency, frequency and monetary) modeling within machine learning apps is becoming pervasive. Using RFM analysis as part of a machine learning initiative can provide accurate definitions of the best customers, most loyal, biggest spenders, almost lost, lost customers and lost cheap customers.
  2. Optimizing the marketing mix by determining which sales offers, incentive and programs are presented to which prospects through which channels is another way machine learning is revolutionizing marketing. Specific sales offers are created supported by contextual content, offers, and incentives. These items are made available to an optimization engine which uses machine learning logic to continually try to predict the best combination of marketing mix elements that will lead to a new sale, up-sell or cross-sell. Amazon’s product recommendation feature is an example of how their e-commerce site is using machine learning to increase up-sell, cross-sell and recommended products revenue.

Data Sources On Machine Learning’s Impact On Marketing:

4 Ways to Use Machine Learning in Marketing Automation, Medium, March 30, 2017

84 percent of B2C marketing organizations are implementing or expanding AI in 2018. Infographic. Amplero.
AI, Machine Learning, and their Application for Growth, Adelyn Zhou. SlideShare/LinkedIn.  Feb. 8, 2018.

AI: The Next Generation of Marketing Driving Competitive Advantage throughout the Customer Life Cycle (PDF, 10 pp., no opt-in), Forrester, February 2017.

An Executive’s Guide to Machine Learning, McKinsey Quarterly. June 2015.

Artificial Intelligence for Marketers 2018: Finding Value beyond the Hype, eMarketer. (PDF, 20 pp., no opt-in). October 2017

Artificial Intelligence: The Next Frontier? McKinsey Global Institute (PDF, 80 pp., no opt-in)

Artificial Intelligence: The Ultimate Technological Disruption Ascends, Woodside Capital Partners. (PDF, 111 pp., no opt-in). January 2017.

AWS Announces Amazon Machine Learning Solutions Lab, Marketing Technology Insights

B2B Predictive Marketing Analytics Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide, (PDF, 36 pp., no opt-in) Marketing Land Research Report.
Four Use Cases of Machine Learning in Marketing, June 28, 2018, Martech Advisor,
How Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Will Reshape Small Businesses, SMB Group (PDF, 8 pp., no opt-in) May 2017.

How Machine Learning Helps Sales Success (PDF, 12 pp., no opt-in) Cognizant

Inside Salesforce Einstein Artificial Intelligence A Look at Salesforce Einstein Capabilities, Use Cases and Challenges, Doug Henschen, Constellation Research, February 15, 2017

Machine Learning for Marketers (PDF, 91 pp., no opt-in) iPullRank

Machine Learning Marketing – Expert Consensus of 51 Executives and Startups, TechEmergence. May 15, 2017.

Marketing & Sales Big Data, Analytics, and the Future of Marketing & Sales, (PDF, 60 pp., no opt-in), McKinsey & Company.

Sizing the prize – What’s the real value of AI for your business and how can you capitalize? (PDF, 32 pp., no opt-in) PwC, 2017.

The New Frontier of Price Optimization, MIT Technology Review. September 07, 2017.

The Power Of Customer Context, Forrester (PDF, 20 pp., no opt-in) Carlton A. Doty, April 14, 2014. Provided courtesy of Pegasystems.

Turning AI into concrete value: the successful implementers’ toolkit, Capgemini Consulting. 2017. (PDF, 28 pp., no opt-in)

Using machine learning for insurance pricing optimization, Google Cloud Big Data and Machine Learning Blog, March 29, 2017

What Marketers Can Expect from AI in 2018, Jacob Shama. Mintigo. January 16, 2018.

Machine Learning’s Greatest Potential Is Driving Revenue In The Enterprise

  • Enterprise investments in machine learning will nearly double over the next three years, reaching 64% adoption by 2020.
  • International Data Corporation (IDC) is forecasting spending on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will grow from $8B in 2016 to $47B by 2020.
  • 89% of CIOs are either planning to use or are using machine learning in their organizations today.
  • 53% of CIOs say machine learning is one of their core priorities as their role expands from traditional IT operations management to business strategists.
  • CIOs are struggling to find the skills they need to build their machine learning models today, especially in financial services.

These and many other insights are from the recently published study, Global CIO Point of View. The entire report is downloadable here (PDF, 24 pp., no opt-in). ServiceNow and Oxford Economics collaborated on this survey of 500 CIOs in 11 countries on three continents, spanning 25 industries. In addition to the CIO interviews, leading experts in machine learning and its impact on enterprise performance contributed to the study. For additional details on the methodology, please see page 4 of the study and an online description of the CIO Survey Methodology here.

Digital transformation is a cornerstone of machine learning adoption. 72% of CIOs have responsibility for digital transformation initiatives that drive machine learning adoption. The survey found that the greater the level of digital transformation success, the more likely machine learning-based programs and strategies would succeed. IDC predicts that 40% of digital transformation initiatives will be supported by machine learning and artificial intelligence by 2019.

Key takeaways from the study include the following:

  • 90% of CIOs championing machine learning in their organizations today expect improved decision support that drives greater topline revenue growth. CIOs who are early adopters are most likely to pilot, evaluate and integrate machine learning into their enterprises when there is a clear connection to driving business results. Many CIO compensation plans now include business growth and revenue goals, making the revenue potential of new technologies a high priority.
  • 89% of CIOs are either planning to use or using machine learning in their organizations today. The majority, 40%, are in the research and planning phases of deployment, with an additional 26% piloting machine learning. 20% are using machine learning in some areas of their business, and 3% have successfully deployed enterprise-wide. The following graphic shows the percentage of respondents by stage of their machine learning journey.

  • Machine learning is a key supporting technology leading the majority Finance, Sales & Marketing, and Operations Management decisions today. Human intervention is still required across the spectrum of decision-making areas including Security Operations, Customer Management, Call Center Management, Operations Management, Finance and Sales & Marketing. The study predicts that by 2020, machine learning apps will have automated 70% of Security Operations queries and 30% of Customer Management ones.

  • Automation of repetitive tasks (68%), making complex decisions (54%) and recognizing data patterns (40%) are the top three most important capabilities CIOs of machine learning CIOs are most interested in.  Establishing links between events and supervised learning (both 32%), making predictions (31%) and assisting in making basic decisions (18%) are additional capabilities CIOs are looking for machine learning to accelerate. In financial services, machine learning apps are reviewing loan documents, sorting applications to broad parameters, and approving loans faster than had been possible before.

  • Machine learning adoption and confidence by CIOs varies by region, with North America in the lead (72%) followed by Asia-Pacific (61%). Just over half of European CIOs (58%) expect value from machine learning and decision automation to their company’s overall strategy. North American CIOs are more likely than others to expect value from machine learning and decision automation across a range of business areas, including overall strategy (72%, vs. 61% in Asia Pacific and 58% in Europe). North American CIOs also expect greater results from sales and marketing (63%, vs. 47% Asia-Pacific and 38% in Europe); procurement (50%, vs. 34% in Asia-Pacific and 34% in Europe); and product development (48%, vs. 29% in Asia-Pacific and 29% in Europe).
  • CIOs challenging the status quo of their organization’s analytics direction are more likely to rely on roadmaps for defining and selling their vision of machine learning’s revenue contributions. More than 70% of early adopter CIOs have developed a roadmap for future business process changes compared with just 33% of average CIOs. Of the CIOs and senior management teams in financial services, the majority are looking at how machine learning can increase customer satisfaction, lifetime customer value, improving revenue growth. 53% of CIOs from our survey say machine learning is one of their core priorities as their role expands from traditional IT operations to business-wide strategy.

Sources: CIOs Cutting Through the Hype and Delivering Real Value from Machine Learning, Survey Shows

53% Of Companies Are Adopting Big Data Analytics

  • Big data adoption reached 53% in 2017 for all companies interviewed, up from 17% in 2015, with telecom and financial services leading early adopters.
  • Reporting, dashboards, advanced visualization end-user “self-service” and data warehousing are the top five technologies and initiatives strategic to business intelligence.
  • Data warehouse optimization remains the top use case for big data, followed by customer/social analysis and predictive maintenance.
  • Among big data distributions, Cloudera is the most popular, followed by Hortonworks, MAP/R, and Amazon EMR.

These and many other insights are from Dresner Advisory Services’ insightful 2017 Big Data Analytics Market Study (94 pp., PDF, client accessed reqd), which is part of their Wisdom of Crowds® series of research. This 3rd annual report examines end-user trends and intentions surrounding big data analytics, defined as systems that enable end-user access to and analysis of data contained and managed within the Hadoop ecosystem. The 2017 Big Data Analytics Market Study represents a cross-section of data that spans geographies, functions, organization size, and vertical industries. Please see page 10 of the study for additional details regarding the methodology.

“Across the three years of our comprehensive study of big data analytics, we see a significant increase in uptake in usage and a large drop of those with no plans to adopt,” said Howard Dresner, founder and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services. “In 2017, IT has emerged as the most typical adopter of big data, although all departments – including finance – are considering future use. This is an indication that big data is becoming less an experimental endeavor and more of a practical pursuit within organizations.”

Key takeaways include the following:

  • Reporting, dashboards, advanced visualization end-user “self-service” and data warehousing are the top five technologies and initiatives strategic to business intelligence.  Big Data ranks 20th across 33 key technologies Dresner Advisory Services currently tracks.  Big Data Analytics is of greater strategic importance than the Internet of Things (IoT), natural language analytics, cognitive Business Intelligence (BI) and Location intelligence.

  • 53% of companies are using big data analytics today, up from 17% in 2015 with Telecom and Financial Services industries fueling the fastest adoption. Telecom and financial services are the most active early adopters, with Technology and Healthcare being the third and fourth industries seeing big data analytics Education has the lowest adoption as 2017 comes to a close, with the majority of institutions in that vertical saying they are evaluating big data analytics for the future. North America (55%) narrowly leads EMEA (53%) in their current levels of big data analytics adoption. Asia-Pacific respondents report 44% current adoption and are most likely to say they “may use big data in the future.”

  • Data warehouse optimization is considered the most important big data analytics use case in 2017, followed by customer/social analysis and predictive maintenance. Data warehouse optimization is considered critical or very important by 70% of all respondents. It’s interesting to note and ironic that the Internet of Things (IoT) is among the lowest priority use cases for big data analytics today.

  • Big data analytics use cases vary significantly by industry with data warehouse optimization dominating Financial Services, Healthcare, and Customer/social analysis is the leading use case in Technology-based companies. Fraud detection use cases also dominate Financial Services and Telecommunications. Using big data for clickstream analytics is most popular in Financial Services.

  • Spark, MapReduce, and Yarn are the three most popular software frameworks today. Over 30% of respondents consider Spark critical to their big data analytics strategies. MapReduce and Yarn are “critical” to more than 20 percent of respondents.

  • The big data access methods most preferred by respondents include Spark SQL, Hive, HDFS and Amazon S3. 73% of the respondents consider Spark SQL critical to their analytics strategies. Over 30% of respondents consider Hive and HDFS critical as well. Amazon S3 is critical to one of five respondents for managing big data access. The following graphic shows the distribution of big data access methods.

  • Machine learning continues to gain more industry support and investment plans with Spark Machine Learning Library (MLib) adoption projected to grow by 60% in the next 12 months. In the next 24 months, MLib will dominate machine learning according to the survey results. MLib is accessible from the Sparklyr R Package and many others, which continues to fuel its growth. The following graphic compares projected two-year adoption rates by machine learning libraries and frameworks.

The Best Software Companies To Work For In 2018, According To Glassdoor

These and other findings are based on an analysis of Glassdoor rankings of Software Magazine’s 2017 Software 500 list of the leading software companies globally. An Excel spreadsheet was first created using the 2017 Software 500 list as the basis of the Glassdoor company comparisons. Rankings from Glassdoor were added today for the (%) of employees who would recommend this company to a friend and (%) of employees who approve of the CEO.The Software 500 list was used to preserve impartiality in the rankings.  The original data set the analysis is based on is available for download here in Microsoft Excel format.

To gain greater insights into the data sets a series of cross-tabulations and correlation analyses were done using IBM SPSS Statistics Version 25. The analysis shows CEOs have an even greater impact on improving their company’s recommendation scores, rising to 82% this year from 70% in 2015. The analysis also showed that companies who flood Glassdoor with fake reviews hit a wall around 10 posts, down from 15 in 2015. This doesn’t stop some companies from offering cash, prizes, and merchandise to their employees in exchange for positive reviews. Relying on Glassdoor and ideally in-office visits to see how a company culture is and how your potential boss treats others is ideal.

The following are the highest rated software companies to work for in 2018, based the (%) of employees who would recommend the company to a friend:

The following companies scored between 80% and 89% on the rating % of employees who would recommend this company to a friend:

Please see the entire data set for the rankings of all companies included in the Software Magazine 500 here in Microsoft Excel format.

Cloud Computing Market Projected To Reach $411B By 2020

  • Worldwide public cloud services market revenue is projected to grow 18.5% in 2017 reaching $260.2B, up from $219.6B in 2016.
  • 2016 worldwide SaaS revenue exceeded Gartner’s previous forecast by $48.2B.
  • SaaS revenue is expected to grow 21% in 2017 reaching $58.6B by the end of this year.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is projected to grow 36.6% in 2017 alone, reaching $34.7B this year making this area the fastest growing of all cloud services today.

Gartner’s latest worldwide public cloud services revenue forecast published earlier this month predicts Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), currently growing at a 23.31% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), will outpace the overall market growth of 13.38% through 2020. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) revenue is predicted to grow from $58.6B in 2017 to $99.7B in 2020. Taking into account the entire forecast period of 2016 – 2020, SaaS is on pace to attain 15.65% compound annual growth throughout the forecast period, also outpacing the total cloud market. The following graphic compares revenue growth by cloud services category for the years 2016 through 2020. Please click on the graphic to expand it for easier reading.

Catalysts driving greater adoption and correspondingly higher CAGRs include a shift Gartner sees in infrastructure, middleware, application and business process services spending. In 2016, Gartner estimates approximately 17% of the total market revenue for these areas had shifted to the cloud. Gartner predicts by 2021, 28% of all IT spending will be for cloud-based infrastructure, middleware, application and business process services. Another factor is the adoption of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Gartner notes that enterprises are confident that PaaS can be a secure, scalable application development platform in the future.  The following graphic compares the compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of each cloud service area including the total market. Please click on the graphic to expand it for easier reading.

Source: Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud Services Revenue to Reach $260 Billion in 2017

Gartner’s Top 10 Predictions For IT In 2018 And Beyond

  • In 2020, AI will become a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3M jobs while eliminating only 1.8M jobs.
  • By 2020, IoT technology will be in 95% of electronics for new product designs.
  • By 2021, 40% of IT staff will be versatilists, holding multiple roles, most of which will be business, rather than technology-related.

These and many other insights are being presented earlier this month at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017 being held in Orlando, Florida. Gartner’s predictions and the series of assumptions supporting them illustrate how CIOs must seek out and excel in the role of business strategist first, technologist second. In 2018 and beyond CIOs will be more accountable than ever for revenue generation, value creation, and the development and launch of new business models using proven and emerging technologies. Gartner’s ten predictions point to the future of CIOs as collaborators in new business creation, selectively using technologies to accomplish that goal.

The following are Gartner’s ten predictions for IT organizations for 2018 and beyond:

  1. By 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual- and voice-search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%. Gartner has found that voice-based search queries are the fastest growing mobile search type. Voice and visual search are accelerating mobile browser- and mobile app-based transactions and will continue to in 2018 and beyond. Mobile browser and app-based transactions are as much as 50% of all transactions on many e-commerce sites today. Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft’s investments in AI and machine learning will be evident in how quickly their visual- and voice-search technologies accelerate in the next two years.
  2. By 2020, five of the top seven digital giants will willfully “self-disrupt” to create their next leadership opportunity. The top digital giants include Alibaba, Amazon, Apple, Baidu, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Tencent. Examples of self-disruption include AWS Lambda versus traditional cloud virtual machines, Alexa versus screen-based e-commerce, and Apple Face ID versus Touch ID.
  3. By the end of 2020, the banking industry will derive $1B in business value from the use of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. Gartner estimates that the current combined value of cryptocurrencies in circulation worldwide is $155B (as of October 2017), and this value has been increasing as tokens continue to proliferate and market interest grows. Cryptocurrencies will represent more than half of worldwide blockchain global business value-add through year-end 2023 according to the Gartner predictions study.
  4. By 2022, most people in mature economies will consume more false information than true information. Gartner warns that while AI is proving to be very effective in creating new information, it is just as effective at distorting data to create false information as well. Gartner predicts that before 2020, untrue information will fuel a major financial fraud made possible through high-quality falsehoods moving the financial markets worldwide. By the same year, no significant internet company will fully succeed in its attempts to mitigate this problem. Within three years a significant country will pass regulations or laws seeking to curb the spread of AI-generated false information.
  5. By 2020, AI-driven creation of “counterfeit reality,” or fake content, will outpace AI’s ability to detect it, fomenting digital distrust. AI and machine learning systems today can categorize the content of images faster and more consistently accurate than humans. Gartner cautions that by 2018, a counterfeit video used in a satirical context will begin a public debate once accepted as real by one or both sides of the political spectrum. In the next year, there will be a 10-fold increase in commercial projects to detect fake news according to the predictions study.
  6. By 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will be spending more per annum on bots and chatbot creations than traditional mobile app developments. Gartner is predicting that by 2020, 55% of all large enterprises will have deployed (used in production) at least one bot or chatbot. Rapid advances in natural-language processing (NLP) make today’s chatbots much better at recognizing the user intent than previous generations. According to Gartner’s predictions study, NLP is used to determine the entry point for the decision tree in a chatbot, but a majority of chatbots still use scripted responses in a decision tree.
  7. By 2021, 40% of IT staff will be versatilists, holding multiple roles, most of which will be business, rather than technology-related. By 2019, IT technical specialist hires will fall by more than 5%. Gartner predicts that 50% of enterprises will formalize IT versatilist profiles and job descriptions. 20% of IT organizations will hire versatilists to scale digital business. IT technical specialist employees will fall to 75% of 2017 levels.
  8. In 2020, AI will become a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3M jobs while eliminating only 1.8M jobs. By 2020, AI-related job creation will cross into positive territory, reaching 2 million net-new jobs in 2025. Global IT services firms will have massive job churn in 2018, adding 100,000 jobs and dropping 80,000. By 2021 Gartner predicts, AI augmentation will generate $2.9T in business value and recover 6.2B hours of worker productivity.
  9. By 2020, IoT technology will be in 95% of electronics for new product designs. Gartner predicts IoT-enabled products with smartphone activation emerging at the beginning of 2019.
  10. Through 2022, half of all security budgets for IoT will go to fault remediation, recalls and safety failures rather than protection. Gartner predicts IoT spending will increase sharply after 2020 following better methods of applying security patterns cross-industry in IoT security architectures, growing at more than 50% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over current rates.The total IoT security market for products will reach $840.5M by 2020, and a 24% CAGR for IoT security from 2013 through 2020. Combining IoT security services, safety systems, and physical security will lead to a fast-growing global market. Gartner predicts exponential growth in this area, exceeding more than $5B in global spending by year-end 2020.

Gartner has also made an infographic available of the top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018, in addition to an insightful article on Smarter with Gartner.  You can find the article here, at Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018.


Gartner Reveals Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users in 2018 and Beyond

Smarter With Gartner, Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018

Top Strategic Predictions for 2018 and Beyond: Pace Yourself, for Sanity’s Sake (client access reqd)

Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017 Adds 5G, Edge Computing For First Time

  • Gartner added eight new technologies to the Hype Cycle this year including 5G, Artificial General Intelligence, Deep Learning, Edge Computing, Serverless PaaS.
  • Virtual Personal Assistants, Personal Analytics, Data Broker PaaS (dbrPaaS) are no longer included in the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies.

The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017 provides insights gained from evaluations of more than 2,000 technologies the research and advisory firms tracks. From this large base of technologies, the technologies that show the most potential for delivering a competitive advantage over the next five to 10 years are included in the Hype Cycle.

The eight technologies added to the Hype Cycle this year include 5G, Artificial General Intelligence, Deep Learning, Deep Reinforcement Learning, Digital Twin, Edge Computing, Serverless PaaS and Cognitive Computing. Ten technologies not included in the hype cycle for 2017 include 802.11ax, Affective Computing, Context Brokering, Gesture Control Devices, Data Broker PaaS (dbrPaaS), Micro Data Centers, Natural-Language Question Answering, Personal Analytics, Smart Data Discovery and Virtual Personal Assistants.

The three most dominant trends include Artifical Intelligence (AI) Everywhere, Transparently Immersive Experiences, and Digital Platforms. Gartner believes that key platform-enabling technologies are 5G, Digital Twin, Edge Computing, Blockchain, IoT Platforms, Neuromorphic Hardware, Quantum Computing, Serverless PaaS and Software-Defined Security.

Key takeaways from this year’s Hype Cycle include the following:

  • Heavy R&D spending from Amazon, Apple, Baidu, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Facebook is fueling a race for Deep Learning and Machine Learning patents today and will accelerate in the future – The race is on for Intellectual Property (IP) in deep learning and machine learning today. The success of Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google’s Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and others are making this area the top priority for R&D investment by these companies today. Gartner predicts deep-learning applications and tools will be a standard component in 80% of data scientists’ tool boxes by 2018. Amazon Machine Learning is available on Amazon Web Services today, accessible here.  Apple has also launched a Machine Learning JournalBaidu Research provides a site full of useful information on their ongoing research and development as well. Google Research is one of the most comprehensive of all, with a wealth of publications and research results.  IBM’s AI and Cognitive Computing site can be found here. The Facebook Research site provides a wealth of information on 11 core technologies their R&D team is working on right now. Many of these sites also list open positions on their R&D teams.
  • 5G adoption in the coming decade will bring significant gains for security, scalability, and speed of global cellular networks – Gartner predicts that by 2020, 3% of network-based mobile communications service providers (CSPs) will launch 5G networks commercially. The Hype Cycle report mentions that from 2018 through 2022 organizations will most often utilize 5G to support IoT communications, high definition video and fixed wireless access. AT&T, NTT Docomo, Sprint USA, Telstra, T-Mobile, and Verizon have all announced plans to launch 5G services this year and next.
  • Artificial General Intelligence is going to become pervasive during the next decade, becoming the foundation of AI as a Service – Gartner predicts that AI as a Service will be the enabling core technology that leads to the convergence of AI Everywhere, Transparently Immersive Experiences and Digital Platforms. The research firm is also predicting 4D Printing, Autonomous Vehicles, Brain-Computer Interfaces, Human Augmentation, Quantum Computing, Smart Dust and Volumetric Displays will reach mainstream adoption.


Gartner Identifies Three Megatrends That Will Drive Digital Business Into the Next Decade

Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017 (client access required)

How Artificial Intelligence Is Revolutionizing Enterprise Software In 2017


  • 81% of IT leaders are currently investing in or planning to invest in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • Cowen predicts AI will drive user productivity to materially higher levels, with Microsoft at the forefront.
  • Digital Marketing/Marketing Automation, Salesforce Automation (CRM) and Data Analytics are the top three areas ripe for AI/ML adoption.
  • According to, there are 2,200+ Artificial Intelligence start-ups, and well over 50% have emerged in just the last two years.
  • Cowen sees Salesforce ($CRM), Adobe ($ADBE) and ServiceNow ($NOW) as well-positioned to deliver and monetize new AI-based application services.

These and many other fascinating insights are from the Cowen and Company Multi-Sector Equity Research study, Artificial Intelligence: Entering A Golden Age For Data Science (142 pp., PDF, client access reqd). The study is based on interviews with 146 leading AI researchers, entrepreneurs and VC executives globally who are involved in the field of artificial intelligence and related technologies. Please see the Appendix of the study for a thorough overview of the methodology. This study isn’t representative of global AI, data engineering and machine learning (ML) adoption trends. It does, however, provide a glimpse into the current and future direction of AI, data engineering, and machine learning.  Cowen finds the market is still nascent, with CIOs eager to invest in new AI-related initiatives. Time-to-market, customer messaging, product positioning and the value proposition of AI solutions will be critical factors for winning over new project investments.

Key takeaways from the study include the following:

  • Digital Marketing/Marketing Automation, Salesforce Automation (CRM) and Data Analytics are the top three areas ripe for AI/ML adoption. Customer self-service, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Resource Management (HRM) and E-Commerce are additional areas that have upside potential for AI/ML adoption. The following graphic provides an overview of the areas in software that Cowen found the greater potential for AI/ML investment.

Artificial Intelligence: Entering A Golden Age For Data Science

  • 81% of IT leaders are currently investing in or planning to invest in Artificial Intelligence (AI). Based on the study, CIOs have a new mandate to integrate AI into IT technology stacks. The study found that 43% are evaluating and doing a Proof of Concept (POC) and 38% are already live and planning to invest more.  The following graphic provides an overview of company readiness for machine learning and AI projects.

How Artificial Intelligence Is Revolutionizing Enterprise Software In 2017

  • Market forecasts vary, but all consistently predict explosive growth. IDC predicts that the Cognitive Systems and AI market (including hardware & services) will grow from $8B in 2016 to $47B in 2020, attaining a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 55%. This forecast includes $18B in software applications, $5B in software platforms, and $24B in services and hardware. IBM claims that Cognitive Computing is a $2T market, including $200B in healthcare/life sciences alone. Tractica forecasts direct and indirect applications of AI software to grow from $1.4B in 2016 to $59.8B by 2025, a 52% CAGR.

Artificial Intelligence: Entering A Golden Age For Data Science

  • According to CBInsights, the number of financing transactions to AI start-ups increased 10x over the last six years, from 67 in 2011 to 698 in 2016. Accenture states that the total number of AI start-ups has increased 20-fold since 2011. The top verticals include FinTech, Healthcare, Transportation and Retail/e-Commerce. The following graphic provides an overview of the AI annual funding history from 2011 to 2016.

Artificial Intelligence: Entering A Golden Age For Data Science

  • Algorithmic trading, image recognition/tagging, and patient data processing are predicted to the b top AI uses cases by 2025. Tractica forecasts predictive maintenance and content distribution on social media will be the fourth and fifth highest revenue producing AI uses cases over the next eight years. The following graphic compares the top 10 uses cases by projected global revenue.


  • Machine Learning is predicted to generate the most revenue and is attracting the most venture capital investment in all areas of AI. Venture Scanner found that ML raised $3.5B to date (from 400+ companies), far ahead of the next category, Natural Language Processing, which has seen just over $1Bn raised to date (from 200+ companies). Venture Scanner believes that Machine Learning Applications and Machine Learning Platforms are two relatively early stage markets that stand to have some of the greatest market disruptions.

Artificial Intelligence: Entering A Golden Age For Data Science

  • Cowen predicts that an Intelligent App Stack will gain rapid adoption in enterprises as IT departments shift from system-of-record to system-of-intelligence apps, platforms, and priorities. The future of enterprise software is being defined by increasingly intelligent applications today, and this will accelerate in the future. Cowen predicts it will be commonplace for enterprise apps to have machine learning algorithms that can provide predictive insights across a broad base of scenarios encompassing a company’s entire value chain. The potential exists for enterprise apps to change selling and buying behavior, tailoring specific responses based on real-time data to optimize discounting, pricing, proposal and quoting decisions.

Artificial Intelligence: Entering A Golden Age For Data Science

  • According to, there are 2,200+ Artificial Intelligence start-ups, and well over 50% have emerged in just the last two years. Machine Learning-based Applications and Deep Learning Neural Networks are experiencing the largest and widest amount of investment attention in the enterprise.
  • Accenture leverages machine learning in 40% of active Analytics engagements, and nearly 80% of proposed Analytics opportunities today. Cowen found that Accenture’s view is that they are in the early stages of AI technology adoption with their enterprise clients.  Accenture sees the AI market growing exponentially, reaching $400B in spending by 2020. Their customers have moved on from piloting and testing AI to reinventing their business strategies and models.

How AWS And Azure Competing Is Improving Public Cloud Adoption

Global Cloud

  • Public Cloud spending is predicted to grow at quickly, attaining 16% year-over-year growth in 2017.
  • Cowen’s AWS segment model is predicting Revenue and EBITDA to grow 25% and 26.8% annually from 2017 to 2022.
  • Microsoft Azure is viewed as the platform that customers would most likely purchase or renew going forward (28% of total vs. AWS at 22%, GCP at 15%, and IBM at 10%).

These and many other fascinating insights are from Cowen’s study published this week, Public Cloud V: AWS And Azure Still Leading The Pack (58 pp., PDF, client access reqd.). Cowen partnered with Altman Vilandrie & Company to complete the study. The study relies on a survey sample of 551 respondents distributed across small, medium and enterprises who are using Public Cloud platforms and services today.  For purposes of the survey, small businesses have less than 500 employees, medium-sized businesses as 500 to 4,999 employees, and enterprises as more than 5,000 employees. The study provides insight on a range of topics including cloud spending trends, workload migration dynamics, and vendor positioning. Please see pages 5,6 & 7 for additional details regarding the methodology.

The more AWS and Azure compete to win customers, the greater the innovation and growth in public cloud adoption as the following key takeaways illustrate:

  • Existing Public Cloud customers predict spending will grow 16% year-over-year in 2017. Existing mid-market Public Cloud customers predict spending will increase 18% this year. SMBs who have already adopted Public Cloud predict a 17% increase in spending in 2017, and enterprises, 13%. Public Cloud providers are the most successful upselling and cross-selling mid-market companies this year as many are relying on the cloud to scale their global operations to support growth.

Public Cloud Spending, 2017

  • AWS dominates awareness levels with SMBs who have existing Public Cloud deployments, with Microsoft Azure the most known and considered in enterprises. Consistent with many other surveys of Public Cloud adoption, IBM SoftLayer scored better in enterprises than any other segment including SMBs (71% vs. 58%). Google Cloud Platform has its strongest awareness levels in SMBs, attributable to the adoption of their many cloud-based applications in this market segment. They trail AWS, Azure, and SoftLayer in the enterprise, however. Across all existing companies who have adopted Public Cloud, the majority are most aware of AWS and Microsoft Azure. The second graphic provides an overview of awareness across the entire respondent base.


  • Microsoft is the most-used Public Cloud and the most likely to be purchased or renewed by 28% of all respondents. While AWS is the most reviewed Public Cloud across all respondents, Microsoft Azure is the most used. When asked which Public Cloud provider they are likely to purchase or renew, the majority of respondents said Microsoft Azure (28%), followed by AWS (22%), Google Cloud Platform (15%) and IBM SoftLayer (10%). The following graphic compares awareness, reviewed and use levels by Public Cloud platform.

Comparative Analysis Of Most Used Public Cloud Provider

  • Only 37% of current Azure users expect to add or replace their Public Cloud provider, compared to 53% of current AWS users and 50% of GCP users. The study found that approximately 40% of respondents expect to add or replace their cloud provider in the next two years, compared to 43% who predicted that last year. Companies who have adopted Microsoft Azure are least likely to replace/add other vendors, as only 37% of current Azure users expect to add or replace, compared to 53% of current AWS users and 50% of GCP users.


  • AWS and Azure dominate all seven facets of user experience included in the survey. AWS has the best User Interface, API Complexity, and Reporting & Billing. Microsoft Azure leads all Public Cloud providers globally in the areas of Management & Monitoring, Software & Data Integration, Technical Support and Training &   Google Cloud Platform is 3rd on all seven facts of user experience.


  • 18% of workloads are supported by Public Cloud today with SMBs and mid-market companies slightly leading enterprises (16%). Overall, 38% of all workloads are supported with on-premise infrastructure and platforms, increasing to 43% for enterprises. The following graphic illustrates the percentage of workloads supported by each infrastructure type.


  • 77% of existing Public Cloud adopters are either likely or very likely to add a SaaS workload in the next two years, led by mid-market companies (81%). SMBs (76%) and enterprises (73%) are also likely/very likely to add SaaS workloads in the next two years. The majority of these new SaaS workloads will be in the areas of Testing & Development, Web Hosting, and e-mail and communications.


  • Cowen’s AWS segment model is predicting Revenue and EBITDA to have a five-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 25% and 26.8% from 2017 to 2022. AWS Net Income is predicted to increase from $2.7B in 2017 to $8.2B in 2022, attaining a projected 24.5% CAGR from 2017 to 2022. Revenue is predicted to soar from an estimated $16.8B in 2017 to $51.5B in 2022, driving a 25% CAGR in the forecast period.
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