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Category: Posted: February 01, 2014 0 comments
For the past couple of years I've focused more on marketing and customer service than on sales, but last Fall, Salesforce asked me to put together a presentation on the future of sales for Dreamforce. Just like the other 2 functions, sales is also feeling the pressure of change driven by the 3rd platform technologies and the general shift to the networked economy. In fact I think sales will be one of the centers of disruption going forward as more organizations start to realize that what has worked in the past is not working today, or at least not working as effectively as desired.
The Information Age is here, and it's creating social, technological and economic change. Out of the Internet and it's subsequent connectedness came the "consumerization" trend that saw a shift in the source of innovation (from the consumer into the... Read the article
Category: Posted: October 31, 2013 0 comments
Most companies have a number of enterprise systems, whether that's financial, human resources, payroll, warehouse management, customer service or any number of other transaction based software products. The point of those systems is to provide a way to automate and create repeatable process around the business workflows and execute transactions. For Industrial Age businesses creating predictable and repeatable processes was the key to operational efficiency and operational efficiency was competitive advantage. In the information age operational efficiency is not a key competitive advantage, in fact it is directly tied to rigidity and inability to adapt to change, which are a huge disadvantage in the new global, connected economy. Flexibility, agility and adaptability are the new competitive advantage in a business environment where change and unpredictability are the norm. 

So transaction systems are a holdover from the Industrial Age and do not in themselves provide what a business needs to grow and prosper in this world of business change. Not that they are not still valuable to business, in fact automating and providing the business foundation is still very important. They are the base "operating system" for the business. In the past though, automation accompanied by rigid process, was an integral part of competitive advantage, manifest mostly in increased ... Read the article
Category: Posted: January 31, 2013 0 comments

Recently I've found myself reading a number of articles and blog posts decrying the untimely demise of the social business movement. So what do you think, has social for business run its course and now we should just move on, because there's "nothing to see here"? Have businesses given it a good go and, finding no value, are they abandoning their efforts? Okay, right up front here, let me say clearly, social for business is not only not dead, it's thriving and delivering lots of value to businesses! In fact, I believe that the changes associated with social business are absolutely critical for businesses in the information age if they want to attract and retain the best employees and partners and if they want to meet the expectations of their customers. In our last social business survey conducted Summer 2012, we found that 67% of North American businesses were already using some social tools for business, up from 42% the prior year. So if that's true, why all the doom and gloom predictions?

I think that there's still a general lack of understanding around what social business is and isn't. If you think it's just about implementing / using new technology your wrong, social business isn't a new marketing campaign on,..  Read the article
Category: Posted: November 05, 2012 0 comments
It's turning into a big news week for enterprise social network (ESN) software, first Yammer's 1st user conference, YamJam12, and then a very interesting announcement from SAP. SAP has, in the past at least, not really exhibited a great deal of interest in social software, nor have its few product attempts in the social business area been particularly compelling. The truth is that many of the enterprise software vendors have had some false starts and made some missteps over the past few years in attempts to get involved in the rapidly evolving enterprise social software market. The market is large already and getting larger quickly as adoption rates for social business solutions are skyrocketing. For the social software market (ESN) our recent forecast shows ~$1.1B in 2012 growing to ~$4.5B in 2016 (a CAGR of 42.4%), but that's not the whole story. The overall social business solutions market is ~$2.9B in 2012 growing to ~$10.3B by 2016 (a CAGR of 28.8%). With market numbers like that, it's pretty obvious why major enterprise vendors like IBM, Oracle and Salesforce.com have all rolled out new social business offerings ranging from ESN's to customer experience suites this year. It also explains why Microsoft recently boughtESN vendor (and a market leader in our recent social software marketscape) Yammer.

So now its time for SAP to make its move and with this weeks announcement, SAP becomes a contender in the social software market. Now this didn't just happen though, there's a bit of a story to it...

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Category: Posted: September 27, 2012 0 comments
Last week in San Francisco the world of everything cloud gathered for what, at least according to host Salesforce.com, was the largest tech conference ever. Whether its true or not, it was very well attended, well planned and executed nicely. Dreamforce is always an energetic event and this year was no exception, with celebrity guests like Sir Richard Branson, who did a fireside chat with CEO Marc Benioff and former Secretary of State and retired Gen Colin Powell, entertainment like MC Hammer as part of the opening keynote and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and high profile Salesforce customers like... Read the article
Category: Posted: September 01, 2012 0 comments

I spent the first part of this week at VMworld, mostly catching up on two acquired products, SocialCast and Zimbra, as well as the Horizon product line. I continue to be impressed with the feature set and depth of the SocialCast product and I have to say that the strategy and direction for the product are really shaping up nicely (more on that in a minute). Along with the barrage of press releases from VMware this week, you may have noticed an announcement from IBM about another acquisition, Kenexa. Now IBM acquiring another application company has become pretty common over the past few years, but this acquisition, I think is interesting more for the implications of strategy than just from the additional assets added to the IBM solution portfolio.

Over the past few years I've focused quite a bit on some emerging technology that falls loosely into the category of social applications. We've gotten more... Read the article
Category: Posted: August 14, 2012 0 comments
Crowd funding is a growing force in starting and/or growing small businesses or creative projects. The concept is simple, put together a compelling story and get people interested enough to pledge an amount of money in return for "something".  The story is publicized on some online community and hopefully interesting enough to go viral on several public networks. Kickstarter is arguably the best known crowd funding site, but its not the only one. There's RocketHub, invested.in, PleaseFund.Us, Indigogo, Pledge Music and I'm sure a few more that I haven't managed to track down. The business models differ a bit but in general the concept is pretty similar. ... Read the article
Category: none Posted: July 27, 2012 0 comments

"A chain of events"...an interconnected series of phenomenon that  lead to some outcome... enterprise applications are changing and both businesses and vendors are starting to see the series of changes in motion. I don't believe though, that we know yet what the "end game" is really. This past year or so I started trying to understand what the next generation enterprise platforms might look like and have some ideas. There are a few things that seem obvious to me at this point. For example next generation EA platforms must have embedded social (or relationship) capabilities as systems of relationship drive new ways for employees to collaborate. The same is true of analytics, which need to exist in the context of business decision processes.

As a part of the next generation it's possible that the definition of applications is also changing. Over the past 10 years vendors have broken apps down... Read the article
Category: none Posted: June 26, 2012 0 comments

The much anticipated and highly rumored announcement finally hit the wires today. One of the biggest questions was where would the company reside in the Microsoft organization, a question that was also answered today, the Microsoft Office Division under Division President Kurt DelBene. Yammer will continue to be lead by founder / CEO David Sacks and will continue to be housed in its current San Francisco location. According to Microsoft the integration will be handled in a similar way to the Skype acquisition, with a notable exception that Skype is its own division.

On the press and analysts call this afternoon a few details did come out, although of course it's still early to really get a detailed picture of the level of... Read the article
Category: Posted: May 24, 2012 0 comments

Tuesday's announcement from SAP ended months of discussion on who will buy cloud collaborative commerce vendor Ariba. As I've said a few times, most of the larger pure-play cloud vendors are getting a look by traditional large software application vendors, who need to quickly build out a cloud application portfolio. The offer, $4.3B, represents a significant premium of 106X trailing 12 month Ebitda, dwarfing the industry median for software acquisitions from 2002 to today of 16X. The price represents a 20% premium on Ariba's closing price on 5/21 but is considerably less than the 52% premium it paid for SuccessFactors last Fall.

Even though SAP executives have consistently derided Oracle ... Read the article