SAP Finally Buys SuccessFactors – Is It Too Late?
For years, a variety of industry analysts and bloggers have suggested that SAP jumpstart its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and broader Cloud initiatives with a major acquisition, such as SuccessFactors. Today’s news that SAP will buy SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion shows that the company’s executives have finally admitted that they can no longer rely on internal development and organic sales efforts to gain a meaningful share of the rapidly growing SaaS/Cloud marketplace.
I can’t say that I’ve been among those advocating this type of bold move because I’ve been a part of a similar acquisition which failed to achieve its strategic objective, and I’m not convinced that SAP will be able to transform its business through this transaction.
Back in 1999, I worked for a fast-growing network professional services company, called International Network Services (INS), which was acquired by Lucent Technologies for $3.7 billion, or 12x revenues! Lucent’s goal … Read More »
Corralling the Social Cloud for Business Purposes
Salesforce.com unveiled a series of important enhancements to its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) service-desk management capabilities this week aimed at helping businesses more effectively track and respond to the escalating volume of data feeds from Facebook and Twitter.
The company’s Service Cloud 3.0 announcement coincided with its CloudForce 2011 event at the Javits Center in NYC, in the backyard of ‘Corporate America’, the financial services sector and the traditional media world to maximize its attention.
The new round of enhancements were primarily focused on enabling users of Salesforce.com’s service-desk management platform to better monitor Facebook and Twitter feeds, and track their response to comments, complaints and other service requests via these increasingly important social networks.
Salesforce.com made sure to brand each feature as a separate offer to ensure it gained as much attention as possible, including Salesforce.com for Facebook and Salesforce.com for Twitter.
The new monitoring capabilities are actually enabled … Read More »
Back-Office Cloud Solutions Soar
A series of announcements over the past week clearly indicates that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) financial management and enterprise resource management (ERP) solutions are taking hold among organizations of all sizes worldwide.
The first was Intacct’s announcement that it had grown its customer subscription base 68% in 2010 and added more than 800 new client organizations. The company also reported 94.2% of clients surveyed indicated they would recommend Intacct to their colleagues, which is a perfect example of the customer-driven referral engine which is powering the overall growth of SaaS solutions. Intacct also said that 11 of the top 100 largest CPA firms in North America have joined the Intacct Accountants Program from CPA2Biz, showing that mainstream professional service firms are also adopting SaaS and recommending their clients take advantage of these solutions as well.
Plex Systems, a provider of SaaS-based manufacturing ERP software, … Read More »
Soaring Clouds at Dreamforce
The year of the Cloud has come to a climax at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco where over 30,000 registrants converged to celebrate the rapidly expanding world of ‘on-demand’ solutions and collaboration tools.
Salesforce.com used the event to beat back the recent efforts of Oracle and Microsoft to gain a share of the Cloud Computing market with a new round of initiatives aimed at building on its phenomenal momentum and success.
The two most significant announcements on Day One were Salesforce.com’s offer of free Chatter accounts across its customer base along with a public version of the social networking service in February, and a new Database.com offering as a spin out of its Force.com Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
Day Two began with the news that Salesforce.com plans to acquire the Open Source oriented, Ruby-based application development platform, Heroku, for $212 million in cash. Salesforce.com and BMC Software also announced that … Read More »
Dell Delves Into Data Integration Market With Boomi Acquisition
Dell’s acquisition of Boomi today is the latest example of the tech industry’s herd mentality.
In the same way that Dell followed HP’s example when it purchased Perot Systems after HP acquired EDS, Dell is now copying IBM’s acquisition of Cast Iron Systems with its own move into the integration business.
Besides trying to keep up with other ‘systems’ vendors, Dell is also attempting to fortify its Cloud Computing capabilities which hinge on helping potential customers cost-effectively migrate and integrate data from various legacy applications and databases into a new set of cloud services.
Dell indicated at an analyst briefing in Boston last week that it wants to ‘move up the stack’ and build a platform which can help enterprises and independent software vendors (ISVs) develop and deliver applications. Dell can’t compete with the other major Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) vendors — including Salesforce.com, Google and Microsoft … Read More »
NetSuite's Hairball Awards Applies A Humorous Edge to Address Serious Software Issues
NetSuite has unveiled a great video to promote its new Hairball Institute for Business and associated Award program aimed at curing “Software Hairball Syndrome” (SHS).
The video is a fun and effective way to bring attention to the fundamental flaws of pulling together an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, including the endless integration, customization and support issues.
However, NetSuite’s video and award program takes aim primarily at applications focused on the individual piece-parts of an ERP system in the small- and mid-size business (SMB) segment of the market, specifically inventory and project management represented by Microsoft Great Plains and Project, financials illustrated by Intuit QuickBooks, and eCommerce exemplified by Websphere. It also can’t help itself and includes its sibling rival, Salesforce.com, as a ‘standalone’ CRM solution vendor.
Yet, the real culprits of this syndrome are the bigger players–SAP and Oracle–along with a myriad of like-minded legacy software vendors. Unless NetSuite has … Read More »
SAP Rolls Out New Business ByDesign Capabilities
One of the more interesting sagas in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market has been SAP’s effort to develop and deliver a competitive offering.
After a series of fits and starts over the past three years, SAP is hoping the latest version of its SaaS-based Business ByDesign (ByD) system which was made generally available today will finally hit the mark.
As I reported in this space in May, I was briefed by SAP (a THINKstrategies client) at its Sapphire user conference about the significant investment it has made retooling the ByD service delivery infrastructure and user interface to make it more appealing, economical and competitive. On the infrastructure side, the 2.5 version of ByD boasts a truer multi-tenant architecture to make it more scalable. The user interface is more intuitive and easier to configure.
Today SAP unveiled three new ‘starter kits’ in Feature Pack 2.5:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) … Read More »
Yes – The SaaS 'Experiment' Is Over
For the past two weeks, I’ve been debating whether to respond to a commentary in InfoWorld by Neil McAllister which asked, “Is the SaaS Experiment Finally Over?”
But, I couldn’t hold back any longer when one of the many online publications where I’m a contributor, eBizQ, posed the question in a more provocative fashion, “Is SaaS Dead?”
I couldn’t bring myself to respond to McAllister’s column when it was first published because his argument was so ludicrous. He alluded to a variety of past SaaS and cloud vendor service outages to raise concerns about the overall viability of these rapidly expanding markets. And he used a series of Gartnerisms to warn against developer migration to the SaaS model.
Yet, McAllister ignores the pervasive failures of traditional on-premise software which has inspired organizations of all sizes to explore and increasingly adopt SaaS alternatives to better meet their corporate needs.
The … Read More »
Return of the Titans – SAP and Other ISVs Push Into SaaS and Cloud Computing
Seven weeks of traveling came to an end in Florida today after attending SAP’s Sapphire user conference and speaking to Tech Data’s TechSelect executives about the channel implications of the rapidly evolving Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing market.
Prior to this week’s events, I traversed the country from Boston to the Bay Area six times to speak, host and moderate sessions at SaaScon, Under the Radar, AlwaysOn OnDemand, Pervasive’s Metamorphosis and the SIIA/OpSource All About the Cloud conferences, and conduct strategy sessions with a wide range of clients in between.
The common theme of all these events and client meetings is that SaaS has become a viable alternative to legacy on-premise software across nearly every application segment, and a newer wave of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing services is quickly disrupting traditional data center models across nearly every industry.
Concerns about hyperbole outdistancing today’s realities are being pushed aside by a growing number of customer success stories … Read More »
Microsoft Poised to Regain Momentum in 2010
In my latest column for E-Commerce Times, I suggest that “once again, Microsoft may be a late entrant in the market with a set of solutions that lag those offered by today’s industry innovators, but it is still in a good position to regain its momentum and become a dominant force in the rapidly evolving cloud computing marketplace.”
Click here to read why.