Enterprise hits & misses - December 2

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed December 1, 2013
Jon's cheeky weekly review of which articles hit (or didn’t) on diginomica and beyond - for the week ending November 29, 2013.

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

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit:
SAP User Group Conference: rumours of death greatly exaggerated by Stuart Lauchlan

quotage: 'No reference was made to the comments [Snabe] made last week at a Morgan Stanley investor conference in Barcelona which caused a bit of a stir when he raised the prospect of accelerating the firm’s push towards the cloud even though it would have a short term negative impact on revenues.'

myPOV: Stuart capped off a week on the U.S. side of the pond a Dreamforce with a visit to the UK and Ireland SAP User Conference, commemorating its 25th year of existence. No surprise that Stuart found SAP in a cloudy mood, both during co-CEO Jim Snabe's keynote and in a one-on-one with Sven Denecken. Denecken acknowledges to Stuart that the ByDesign platform transition could have been communicated more effectively.

On the number front, Stuart reports that SAP generated 547 million euro in cloud subscriptions and support revenues in the first nine months of 2013, and has a target for revenue of 750 million euro from this field for this year, while aiming for 2 billion euro by 2015. In a follow-on post, SAP User Group Conference: cometh ‘the American’, Stuart continues his interview with Denecken and provides some context from Snabe's keynote in terms of  Bill McDermott's pending challenges continuing SAP's innovation strategy and cultivating, shall we say, that European sensibility he will need following Snabe's move out of the co-CEO role this spring.

For my part, I find the increasing public comments from SAP executives warning of a potential earnings dip based on the ongoing cloud transformation refreshing. I don't see how an investor in SAP (of which I am not) could expect SAP to move to cloud business models without a short term financial hit. I say communicate those changes frankly to investors, and focus on customer delivery and cloud re-inventions instead. Easy for me to say.

As a side note, the UK and Ireland SAP User Group has been instrumental in advocating for SAP licensing simplicity. This somewhat simplistic news report implied the group is much happier with SAP's progress on that front. But there is more work to do. Meantime the UK/Ireland SAP User Group intends to form a charter to address adoption questions around new SAP product innovation. Let's see if there's more to this story in 2014, as license simplification is not a quick fix process. By-the-by I also recommend Stuart's Europe’s Thanksgiving gift to the US – a list of demands which updates/analyzes European stances towards data privacy pertaining to the U.S. post-PRISM revelations.

Happy children eating apple
diginomica pick: Deloitte prepackages cloud expertise in CloudMix by Phil Wainewright

quotage: 'In one of the most aggressive moves yet by a top global systems integrator to productize services for the cloud, Deloitte Consulting last week launched CloudMix, a family of pre-packaged cloud solutions designed to cut costs and bring more consistency to cloud application deployments.'

myPOV: Phil tracks the impact of cloud on services firms as closely as anyone, so I read with interest his analysis of Deloitte's CloudMix offering. I think Phil is correct to note that while other firms (e.g. Appirio) have productized cloud integration and implementation expertise, this move by Deloitte is not only a favorable one for end customers but a sign of things to come. The final section includes a quote about 'cloud services brokerages.' I find myself wondering if we aren't too far off from SIs selling cloud services rather than packaged applications. There is always skepticism about sleek new brand names but I'll look forward to updates on the CloudMix story.

Also recommended: I thought Phil's Internet of customers? We are not prospects; we are people was one of the most thought-provoking pieces coming out of Dreamforce. Meantime, Den Howlett provided the analysis of Workday's record revenues and appointment of Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang to the Board of Directors.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Phil Fersht of HfS Research had a stellar blogging week, including the provocative HP and Salesforce team up to go after the zombie enterprise, co-authored by HfS' Ned May - also a top contender for post title of the week.

quotage: Echoing similar views to Phil's piece on Deloitte's CloudMix offering, Fersht and May write: 'As we move to a SaaS driven mobile environment, systems integration is now giving way to services integration and the opportunity is robust. In short, the clouds just might be clearing on the next wave of IT services growth.'

Particularly inspiring was Fersht's interview with Leila Janah, Founder and CEO of non-profit social sourcing firm Samasource, which provides outsourced work opportunities to low income knowledge workers across the world. As Janah puts it, 'Essentially, what we do, is we take money from Google and Wal-Mart and we get it into the hands of poor people in rural Uganda.' And they do it while providing needed corporate services to those firms. Now that's what I call a nifty business model!

Other standouts

It was a good week for semi-rants. By 'semi-rants' I mean rants that are heavy on venting but not absent a logical framework. As in:

Not every good piece was a rant. Here's a few more that stood out:


Overworked businessman
As a happy Google Chromebook user, this anti-Chromebook rebuttal got under my skin and then some. First off, the poor-loserism. The author is fresh off a beat-down where he lost a debate over the merits of Chromebook, but he seems to lack the intellectual curiosity to examine why he lost. I'm a fan of argumentation and my pro-Chromebook biases aside, this is poor argumentation.

Look, if you want to argue that the Chromebook (without a touch screen) will always be a niche product compared to keyboard-enabled tablets and touchscreen ultrabooks, you'll get no objections here. But to argue that there is NO use case for Chromebooks is wacked. There is nothing a Chromebook can do that a Windows 8 laptop can't do? True. But there are a few wee advantages: The Chromebook is significantly lighter, faster, and cheaper. Not to mention life without the dreaded 'Windows Update.' And did I mention (in most cases) vastly superior battery life?

Perhaps this is a rope-a-dope kind of thing where someone takes a bull-headed, intellectually turgid position to spur page views. If so, I fell for it and shouldn't.  The Chromebook use case is not for content consumers. But for creators - of the writing variety - how does a cheap, disposable machine that is super easy to create and post content with sound? Pretty darn good in my book. When the price point is $200 the bar for justifying a use case is very low. Debate can lead to insights but it can also lead to blowhardism.

Officially off-topic

Right before publication, the tech press and backchannel blew up with stories of Amazon's plans to deliver packages by drones within five years. The implications are vast, enough to unsettle even those who consider themselves comfortable with technical disruptions. From what I can see, there is an early reaction divide between the ominous 'robots are taking our jobs faster than we can re-invent' crowd versus the 'history is full of innovation cycles that ultimately advance the quality of life' peeps.

I can see merits on both sides. My early reaction is darker, only because my interactions with young twentysomethings have convinced me our educational system is doing a wretchedly-poor job of preparing them for the skills upheavals they will need navigate to be in charge of the drones rather than running for cover underneath. That's an early reaction open to change.

On the happier side of futurism, would you consider moving into the world's first floating city? Make plans now. Speaking of travel, we've come a long way from the air travel of the 30s (check this fascinating retrospective). Now we've graduated to the point where we need big data to track the air travel delays and cancellations on a 'misery map.'

More disruption: Tom Foremski has been calling for the death of the press release for years, so he was understandably stoked when Coca Cola's digital chief said it was time to kill the press release. Twitter chats may not be the future, however, as JP Morgan recently learned in brutally painful fashion. It gets even better when a CEO chimes in, which is how T-Mobile recently whipped AT&T in a social skirmish that delighted me as an outspoken hater of the misleading AT&T ad campaign that exploits children to obscure their pathetic 4G coverage.

Hmm if only they had a media 'ninja' like me on their side. Maybe in another life. 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, Loser and Winner © ispstock - all from Fotolia.com

Disclosure: SAP, Salesforce.com, and Workday are all diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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