One of the most common questions I get from students is where they can find free cloud computing and enterprise software research.
Few if any of my students work for companies who have subscriptions with the top analyst firms however. A small group of students are working on a start-up on the side and want to absorb as much market data as they can.
Many of my former students are also in IT management roles, and when they become interested in a specific cloud computing or enterprise topic over time, they write me and ask if I have any data on their subject of interest. I keep the following list updated from them too. To serve all these students I’ve been adding to the list shown below for a number of years. None of these companies are current or past clients and I hold no equity positions in any of them.
The requests are so prevalent in global competitive strategy courses I distribute this list at the beginning of the semester with the following disclaimers.
- Many of the cloud computing and enterprise software companies pay to have white papers written and research done. Writing white papers and doing research for an enterprise software vendor client is a very lucrative business for many industry analyst firms. Ethical industry analysts will often insist that a disclaimer be included in the white paper and on the website stating that they and their firms were hired to write the paper or do the research and publish the report.
- The reports are intellectual property of the firms publishing them. Enterprise software vendors often pay tens of thousands of dollars at a minimum for reprint rights and the right to provide them on their websites. I advise my students to seek out the copyright and quote policies of the research firm of interest if they plan on re-using the graphics in any published materials or in their blog posts. One for example, the Gartner Copyright and Quote Policy is shown here.
- Pay attention to the methodologies used in each report and realize they change over time. This is especially the case with the Gartner Magic Quadrant and MarketScopes. Gartner has been very active this year in refining the Magic Quadrant methodology for example.
The following are the list of cloud computing and enterprise software vendor sites that offer free downloads of cloud computing and enterprise software research:
- Amazon Web Services – Amazon has purchased re-print rights to the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service written by Lydia Leong, Douglas Toombs, Bob Gill, Gregor Petri, Tiny Haynes published on August, 19, 2013 in addition to the latest reports from Forrester on enterprise public cloud platforms and enterprise cloud databases. Link: https://aws.amazon.com/resources/analyst-reports/
- BMC Software – Many free reports from Gartner, Forrester, The 451 Group and other research firms covering advanced performance analytics (APA), cloud computing, IT Service Management and long-term technology trends. Link: http://www.bmc.com/industry-analysts/reports/
- Computer Associates – An extensive collection of cloud computing and enterprise software research organized into the following categories: cloud; data management; energy and sustainability management; IT automation; IT security; IT service management; mainframe; project and portfolio management; service assurance and virtual organizations. CA requires opt-in on the latest research as they use this site as part of their lead generation strategy. Link: http://www.ca.com/us/collateral/industry-analyst-reports.aspx
- Cisco Systems – Data Center and Virtualization; includes the latest Current Analysis, Forrester, Gartner, IDC, Lippis and Yankee Group research reports covering Big Data, blade servers, cloud computing, Hadoop, unified data centers and many other topics. Be sure to click across the Computing, Network, Orchestration/Automation, and Network Services tabs to find additional research: Link: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/ns340/ns857/ns156/ns1094/analyst_reports.html
- Hewlett-Packard – HP has invested primarily in networking-related analyst research including the latest studies and market frameworks from Forrester, Gartner, IDC and Infonetics Research. Link: http://h17007.www1.hp.com/us/en/networking/ar/index.aspx#.Uhp-ERufg-J
- Intel – Organized around the topic of designing a data center for the cloud, Intel is providing a series of research studies, reports, white papers and videos that provide insights into virtualization, networking, mobility and Intel-based servers running cloud architectures. Link: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/cloud-computing/cloud-computing-analyst-reports.html
- Microsoft – Balancing the need to support their enterprise applications today and create demand for cloud-based initiatives now and in the future, Microsoft’s series of analyst reports reflect their evolving business model. Microsoft has licensed the latest research from Enterprise Strategy Group (ESDG), Forrester, Gartner, IDC, Ovum, Yankee Group and others listed on this site. Link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/itanalyst/
- Oracle – The most comprehensive collection of industry analyst research online for any enterprise software vendor, Oracle has hundreds of research reports available for viewing under their reprint licenses for free, and also for download. The reports are organized into corporate, infrastructure, systems, services, solutions, industries, enterprise applications and regions. Link: http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/analystreports/index.html
- Progress Software – Extensive collection of research from Bloor, Forrester, Gartner, IDC, Tabb Group, Ovum and other research firms are available for download from this site. Link: http://www.progress.com/en/inthenews/analyst-reports.html
- SAS – The most extensive and well-organized online collection of analyst research on analytics and business intelligence (BI) available, SAS makes research available from fifteen analyst firms across six industries on this area of their website. You can find the SAS Analyst Viewpoints section of their website here: http://www.sas.com/news/analysts/
- Symantec – Provides downloadable analyst reports in the areas of risk and compliance, endpoint security and management, information and identity protection, messaging security, backup and archiving, storage and availability management, services and emerging trends. ESG, Info-Tech Research Group, Forrester, Gartner and IDC reports are on this page for download. Link: http://www.symantec.com/about/industryanalysts/analystreports.jsp
- Teradata – Extensive collection of industry analysis and research organized into the sections of Active Data Warehousing, Active Enterprise Intelligence, Enterprise Data Warehousing, Teradata Analytical Ecosystem and Teradata Integration Analytics. The latest market frameworks from Gartner, Forrester, IDC and other research firms are available for download. Link: http://www.teradata.com/analyst-reports/
What sets apart the fastest-growing small businesses is their an innate strength at turning data and information into results.
It’s becoming easy to spot a smaller business who is going to break out and grow quickly. They often have these qualities: they highly value knowledge, expertise and speed over seniority or cronyism; they have successfully managed a geographically distributed supply chain, production and service operations early in their history; and long before they reach $20M in sales they have learned how to balance domestic and international customer demands. In short, they learned fast how to compete and win business globally.
Over the last several months research firms and enterprise software vendors have released studies on cloud computing adoption in small & medium businesses (SMBs).
The following are the key take-aways from these studies:
- Forrester forecasts that channel partners will increase their reliance on cloud software and services from 22% to 27% from 2013 to 2014. The majority of this growth will be in SMBs. For additional details please see the free reprint of the report, Cloud Channel Trends, 2013 To 2014 by Tim Harmon and Jonathan Silber, February 28, 2013. You can download the reprint here (no opt in required): http://www.forrester.com/pimages/rws/reprints/document/90001/oid/1-LMIK8X
- 61% of SMBs who responded to a recent survey are using cloud-based solutions today, with an additional 5% planning to add cloud services in the next six months. 69% of SMBs with fewer than 20 employees and 55% of SMBs with 250 to 999 employees are using cloud-based applications today. North American SMBs are more likely to use cloud-based applications co these services than EMEA (64% compared to 56%). Source: State of SMB IT 1H 2013 Semi-Annual Report On Small And Midsize Business Technology Plans & Purchase Intent (Opt-in required): http://www.spiceworks.com/marketing/state-of-smb-it/ The following is a graphic from the report:
- SMB spending on cloud solutions will grow by almost 20% over the next five years, with 3 in 10 midsize firms adopting public cloud solutions. IBM is offering a free download of the IDC report, Cloud Computing in the Midmarket: Assessing the Options in 2013 (no opt-in required): http://idcdocserv.com/995 IDC’s graphical definition of how their Primary Market and Secondary Market IT Product Taxonomy maps to the NIST Taxonomy is shown below:
- Cisco predicts the U.S. SMB commercial-services market addressable by service providers will grow to more than $200B by 2015. Also included is an analysis of how fundamental differences in business segments drive IT behavior, as the following table illustrates. Source: What Do SMBs Want from Commercial-Services Providers? Insights from Cisco’s U.S. Research on SMB Services Delivery Link:http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac79/docs/sp/SMB-Cloud-Survey.pdf. Please click on the image to expand it for easier reading.
- Hosting and cloud services provider Parallels projects that the worldwide SMB SaaS applications market was $14.5B in 2012 today and will grow to $33.8B by 2015, attaining a 32% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). Please see the following illustration of a breakdown by region over the forecast period. Source: Profit from the Cloud 2013 Global Parallels Global SMB Cloud Insights Opt-in required, Link: http://www.parallels.com/fileadmin/parallels/documents/smb-reports/2013/2013_SMB_Brochure_Global_web.pdf. Please click on the image to expand it for easier reading.
- SMEs overwhelmingly prefer to buy or acquire these critical systems (43%) rather than lease or pay for use (23%) in an SAP-sponsored survey by Oxford Economics. The study found that the tools most commonly used by SMEs are business management software (48%), mobile (46%), and analytics (44%). Cloud computing adoption is expected to jump from 35% to 47% in three years. An infographic summarizing the results is below. You can get the survey results here: http://cdn.news-sap.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/SAP-SME-analysis-presentation.pdf . Please click on the image to expand it for easier reading.
The best manufacturers I’ve visited this year all share a common attribute: they are obsessed with making themselves as easy as possible to work with from a supply chain, distribution and services standpoint. Many are evaluating cloud-based manufacturing applications including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and several have adopted cloud-based applications across their companies.
With so much interest, there is much confusion as well. I recently spoke with Cindy Jutras, founder and CEO of MintJutras. Her firm has recently completed a survey of SaaS adoption in manufacturing, distribution and other industries. She found the following:
- 49% of respondents in the manufacturing & distribution industries do not understand the difference between single- and multi-tenant SaaS architectures. Overall 66% of respondents to the survey did not know.
- SaaS-based applications are 22% of all manufacturing and distribution software installed today, and will grow to 45% within ten years according to MintJutras.
- The three most important characteristics of a SaaS solution in manufacturing and distribution include giving customers a measure of control over upgrades, consistent support for global operations and allowing for rapid and frequent upgrades.
Why Manufacturers Are Looking To Cloud Computing
Manufacturers are under constant pressure to increase accuracy, make process speed a competitive force, and capitalize on their internal intelligence and knowledge to make every supplier, distributor and service interaction count. The manufacturers spoken and visited with to gain the following insights are in the high tech, industrial and aerospace and defense industries, where rapid product lifecycles and short time-to-market schedules are commonplace.
Cloud-based strategies give these companies the chance to bring their own innate intelligence and knowledge into every sales situation. While on-premise systems could also do this, cloud-based systems were quicker to roll out, easier to customize and showed potential to increase adoption rates across resellers.
One manufacturing manager explained how during a new product launch the speed and volume of collaboration was so rapid on between suppliers and distributors that an allocation situation was averted. That he said, made senior management believers. These epiphanies are happening daily in manufacturing.
Based on my visits with manufacturers, here are the ten ways they are using cloud computing to revolutionize manufacturing:
- Capturing and applying company-wide intelligence and knowledge through the use of analytics, business intelligence (BI), and rules engines. For the many manufacturers who rely on build-to-order, configure-to-order and engineer-to-order strategies as a core part of their business models, using cloud-based platforms to capture knowledge and manage rules is accelerating. A key part of this area is mobility support for analytics, BI and rules engine reporting and analysis.
- Piloting and then moving quickly to full launch of supplier portals and collaboration platforms, complete with quality management dashboards and workflows. Among the manufacturers visited, those in high tech are the most advanced in this area, often implementing Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) and demand management applications that deliver real-time order status and forecasts.
- Designing in services is now becoming commonplace, making cloud integration expertise critical for manufacturers. From simplistic services integration on iPhones to the full implementation of voice-activated controls including emergency assistance in the latest luxury cars, adding in services integrated to the cloud is redefining the competitive landscape of industries today. Revising a product or launching an new product generation with embedded services can mitigate price wars, which is why many manufacturers are pursing this strategy today.
- Accelerating new product development and introduction (NPDI) strategies to attain time-to-market objectives. Using cloud-based platforms in high tech manufacturing is growing today as time-to-market constraints are requiring greater collaboration earlier in design cycles.
- Managing indirect and direct channel sales from a single cloud platform tracking sales results against quota at the individual, group and divisional level is now commonplace across all manufacturers visited. Dashboards report back the status by each rep and for sales managers, the profitability of each deal.
- Using cloud-based marketing automation applications to plan, execute and most important, track results of every campaign. Marketing is under a microscope in many manufacturers today, as marketing automation applications have promised to deliver exceptional results and many manufacturers are still struggling to align their internal content, strategies and ability to execute with the potential these systems promise.
- Automating customer service, support and common order status inquiries online, integrating these systems to distributed order management, pricing, and content management platforms. Manufacturing industries are at varying levels of adoption when it comes to automating self-service. The cost and time advantages in high tech are the highest levels of adoption I’ve seen in visiting manufacturers however.
- Increasing reliance on two-tier ERP strategies to gain greater efficiencies in material planning, supplier management and reduce logistics costs. Manufacturers are also using this strategy to gain greater independence from a single ERP vendor dominating their entire operations. Several manufacturers remarked that their large, monolithic ERP systems could not, without intensive programming and customization, scale down to the smaller operational needs in distributed geographic regions. Cloud-based ERP systems are getting the attention of manufacturers pursuing two-tier ERP strategies. Acumatica, Cincom, Microsoft, NetSuite and Plex Systems are leaders in this area of ERP systems.
- Reliance on cloud-based Human Resource Management (HRM) systems to unify all manufacturing locations globally. This often includes combining multisite talent management, recruiting, payroll and time tracking. Contract manufacturer Flextronics uses Workday to optimize workforce allocations across their global manufacturing centers for example.
Bottom Line: Using cloud-based systems to streamline key areas of their business, manufacturers are freeing up more time to invest in new products and selling more.