Enterprise hits & misses - May 19

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed May 18, 2014
Jon's cheeky weekly review of which enterprise software articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica & beyond - for week ending May 18, 2014

A cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond.

Cheerful Chubby Man
diginomica hit: Betting on SaaS, the financial angle for solution buyers by Den Howlett

quotage: 'One of the key considerations in acquiring any technology is the viability of the vendors involved. Right now, none of the momentum players that we cover (Workday, Salesforce, NetSuite, Tableau etc) is profitable when measured by GAAP standards. This is a problem for several reasons. As a general rule, companies that run continuing losses eventually run out of road.'

myPOV: A noteworthy article by Andreessen Horowitz’s Preethi Kasireddy and Scott Kupor, Understanding SaaS: Why the Pundits Have It Wrong, made a vigorous trip through social channels with a (mostly) sensible thesis. But Kasireddy and Kupor's piece cried out for a reality check of its own, which Den provided here.

I'm reluctant to offer a 'quick hit' as both pieces deserve a full reading. The biggest gap in the Andreessen Horowitz argument was assigning a 33.3 year customer lifetime value (CLV) to their sample Workday projection, whereas Den advocates a CLV of ten years which is more in line with life in the #ensw trenches. (Contrasting CLV with Customer Acquisition Cost is at the heart of Kasireddy and Kupor's position).

There is also the debate over the relevance of GAAP standards - Den's position is worth exploring. I'm biased towards profitability versus leveraging market momentum for explosive growth, but this is a case where pros and cons trump absolutes - particularly for customers who must assess the long term viability of any company they buy (or lease) big chunks of software from.

Happy children eating apple
More diginomica keepers

Vendor coverage:

Customer use cases: Derek filed a headline I was not expecting to see, Texas leads the way for US and creates Amazon-like tool for public sector buying, and it's a terrific read. Jessica also posted a use case from SuiteWorld, on retailer Orlebar Brown.

Don’t miss

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
NetSuite SuiteWorld coverage by lots o' peeps

quotage: 'Zach (Nelson) declared Salesforce wasn’t CRM because it didn’t manage the customer order. I will leave a formal definition of CRM to those that specialize in that category, but I would argue that the customer order doesn’t belong in CRM anyway. It belongs in ERP because it is a fundamental element of the system of record of the business.' - Cindy Jutras

myPOV: I chose this Jutras quote because a NetSuite show wouldn't be complete without Nelson taking some entertaining shots across the bow at competitors near and far. And: ERP versus CRM (and how CRM is evolving) was a big theme of Nelson's keynote, something Jutras delves into in her SuiteWorld post.

Of the other NetSuite posts, I liked Holger Mueller's NetSuite powers on with targeted innovation (which includes a take on HCM as the TribeHR functionality is pulled in). Meantime, Frank Scavo had an angle on Demand-Driven Material Requirements Planning and NetSuite's push in that area. NetSuite's UI revamp was a big theme of the show - Adrian Bridgwater tackled that from a developer angle in NetSuite SuiteCloud Developers: abandon the Microsoft Windows desktop metaphor (ironical note: I'm writing this from a Windows desktop).

Other standouts

  • Oracle consultant and UKOUG Board Member Debra Lilley read an Oracle support piece on Computerworld she thought was missing some vital points. She brought those to light in Oracle EBS Support Timebomb - Not So Black and White.
  • While we're at it, Alex Williams had some strong words for Oracle's approach to API copyright (and their recent court victory to that effect). Williams calls out Oracle for developer doublespeak and raises a warning flag regarding the problem for developers if their API calls are subject to copyright laws.
  • Salesforce's tightening of Heroku with the Force.com platform via Heroku-Connect was maybe the sneaky big vendor story of the week - Forrester's Stefan Ried posted his take.
  • Paul Greenberg's random CRM thoughts still added up to a worthwhile post. (I wish that were the case with my random thoughts).
  • Surprising this ZDNet piece on cloud pricing wars didn't mention Rackspace's predicaments, but it's a useful piece nonetheless. (Yup - be a commodity leader or find a specialization, and quick).
  • Anyone with a media stake plowed through the leaked New York Times innovation report like a pulpy thriller, but Times' grueling self-assessment has lessons for other 'digitally distrupted' industries, which is to say, most of the modern world (h/t Den Howlett).


Overworked businessman
So many whiffs, so little time. Hard to top Shutterfly sending pregnancy congrats by email to a wildly inaccurate demographic, including some of my own Twitter pals, offering the wet noodle 'if you were offended' apology, then forced into a more 'heartfelt' mea culpa.

In the enterprise space, SAP got it from both sides with their cloud leadership changes and layoffs/restructuring, with the usual 'SAP wouldn't know a cloud if it rained on them' junk on the one hand, and premature coronation as a cloud leader on the other. I hope to add my own puddle of enlightenment to this topic later this week.

There was plenty of competition for sensational headline whiffs this week - I'll go with What America Will Look Like Under 25 Feet Of Seawater as your fear/uncertainty/doubt linkbait leader as we head into the clubhouse.

Officially off-topic

Whiffing along, Google is the latest to update their TOS to allow them to profit from your likeness in advertising (though you can opt out, somewhere deep in the privacy settings - stay classy guys!). Oh, and the 'Internet of Things will Thrive by 2025'? Jeepers Wally! I can already feel the goose bumps forming.

Dunno how strongly I feel about the AT&T/Direct TV merger yet, but the Consumerists' 'Death Star' graphic is a keeper. Oh, and for an inspired headline, how about A Desk is a Dangerous Place to See the World From (neat article about startups in India).

Yeah, the future can be terrifying when it comes to killer drones, but at least we'll be able to mount a human defense via the encrypted email developed by some Harvard and MIT students. Oh, and early stages caveats galore, but a novel cancer treatment might one day steal headlines from the promise of talking toothbrushes.

DVD update: I watched Peter Jackson's elaborate fart, 'The Desolation of Smaug,' this weekend. On the good tip, I was better served by the gut churns of 'Captain Phillips'. 'American Hustle' now on deck. See you next time.

Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Most of these articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. “myPOV” is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credits: Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, King Checkmate © mystock88photo - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: Workday, Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle are diginomica partners as of this writing.

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