Deciding what should be included in any list is a difficult job. Do you check in to see what was most popular? What about those pieces where you know they made a difference, even if it isn't obvious in the public domain? How about those pieces over which you sweated but which fell flat with the intended audience?
The stories I am choosing, which come in no particular order, are a mix of all three. And as we close out 2016, I hope you'll find something that inspires, entertains and/or gives pause for thought.
As a side note, my SAP coverage in 2016 was the most trafficked and shared of all content by some distance. That should not surprise given my long association with the company and the depth of connections I have in that community. But then however much tech media may be enamored of the Uber's of the world, it is a fact that the SAP/Oracle hegemony is more than alive and well. It is thriving in the enterprise.
Why? This was a popular story, being shared more than 1,200 times but beyond that, I wanted to hear from a real expert in the field of AI at a time when I was being bombarded with PR fluff and ridiculous claims. Vishal Sikka, CEO Infosys provided that much needed dose of reality at just the right time.
Why? I understand Ms Catz was none too pleased with my lifting and then reframing her words at an ERP analyst session this year. But then I enjoyed her refreshing sense of realism, recognizing both where Oracle has been and where it is going. You don't often see that among senior leaders. The best part is that rhetoric aside, Oracle continues its transition apace, demonstrating progress at every earnings call.
Why? Sometimes headlines write themselves and this one sure did. It's a play on the 1962 classic horror movie Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and it's marketing line of the time. The meltdown at Tableau was both sudden and horrific, leaving a CEO spouting gibberish at the earnings call. The CEO's commentary drew into question the fragility of a technology that at its business model end, is meant to land and expand. 2017 will be a telling year as the new CEO gets his feet truy wet on both the technology and customer side of the company.
Why? I am aways suspicious of secretive companies and Domo is among the most secretive among the Silicon Valley cadre of startups. It promises the earth to potential customers but lets very few informed observers inside to test the veracity of its statements. This proved a frustrating investigation but what I could discover left me feeling queasy. Fortunately the comment section had plenty to add that, on balance, support my thesis that you should approach Domo with caution.
Why? 2016 was certainly a year of change in the BI landscape with Qlik eventually succumbing to a PE buyout, a rollercoaster for Tableau and increasing doubts about Palantir. The ripple effect into buying decisions along with the emergence of numerous 'new' BI players only makes for a confusing market. Watch for more of the same in 2017 with the inevitable bloviation from vendors keen to catch the eye.
Why? I never took Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP as a gambling man but this feel good story was one I could not resist. Well done that fella.
Why? This is one of the local folks in what has been my neighborhood the last couple of years. There are some companies you meet where it's hard to find fault with the management and how it executes. MindTouch is one of those. It may be a dwarf in the context of revenue but it is a giant in the context of how it goes about its business and how it treats its people. It also solves a real problem in the world of omni-channel service.
Why? I'm probably the only SAP observer who has consistently supported ByDesign since it's launch in September 2007. Looking back, ByDesign was always going to have a tough time, starting with the bold (and specious) claim that new UIs could be built inside 30 days. And SAP has struggled to catch a break on ByDesign ever since it became obvious that the original technical design was never going to scale. That was fixed a long time ago but even now, competitors see it as a side show. Really? Today's customers tell a different story. In short, never under estimate SAP.
Why? You're going to hear me talk a lot more about geopolitical issues in 2017 and this is something of a stake in the ground. Why? Our technology decisions the last 30 years have been predicated upon a combination of a globalized support and relatively free trade model. That model made the expansion of the enterprise software industry relatively easy and also made the establishment of global IT strategies a reality. The current mode of populism is a genuine threat to how business acquires and uses technology. It may also mean significant business process change that has to be rewired into existing systems. Ignore at your peril.
Why? I was truly amazed when I saw the extent to which New Relic has managed to capture the interest of the business buyer. It was unexpected and yet makes so much sense when you think about how business models are changing and the place of technology in the underlying processes. It will be interesting to follow the company's progress in 2017.