Tag Archives: cloud

This Week at SAPPHIRE / Monday May 14

This week during the ASUG Annual Conference and SAP SAPPHIRE program, I will be providing a summary of key announcements, trends and discussions each day. For more detailed information and analysis please refer to the content links that will be updated and added into this post and at my SCN blog.

On the heels of last week’s enterprise HANA announcement, SAP has not let up on the gas for companies looking to move their business to big data and cloud computing. The new notion of BYOL (bring your own license) creates a theoretical space where organizations can mix and match their application and data needs, from small to large and from on-premises to cloud based platforms.


When it comes to cloud platforms, SAP has come a long ways from its announcement one year ago about the acquisition of SuccessFactors, but much work to integrate a fully portable topology from mobile, to cloud to on-premises remains. Over the past 12 months SAP has added both Syclo (mobile field management) and Ariba (cloud and mobile purchasing and supply chain) solutions to their brand. While the cross-customer opportunities abound, the integration work has yet to be defined. Syclo representatives were casual in their conversation around the 12-month initial platform integration work that lays before them during pre-conference partner day sessions, while SuccessFactors executives were touting the ability of the cloud based talent management solutions to out-perform and out sell previous versions of SAP (pre-acquisition) that “customers hated.” (I was always taught that “hate was a strong word growing up as a kid.”) While the technical integration work will be hard and will take some time to get right, the cultural integration will perhaps be the toughest slog.

Ariba is an interesting play. Years ago the automotive industry gave Ariba strong push into reverse auctions and VPN purchasing models. Today, SAP brings on 12 million from the Ariba platform. This could be one of SAP’s biggest opportunity for customer out-selling our its biggest opportunity squandered. Taking the SAP message of “fast, secure, in-memory, social, mobile” computing into that population will be a bit like Moses convincing the Hebrews to dump the golden calf. But it’s a subscriber focused customer base, similar to SuccessFactors customers, who are accustomed to writing smaller checks (and in some cases bigger checks) more frequently. Subscriptions as a percentage of revenues could potentially rival the annuity of enterprise maintenance revenues over time. That’s big money that takes pressure off of an enterprise software sales force that increasingly faces customer price pressures and financial risks of large on-premises implementations.

Another shift that SAP will take on in the Americas is a shift in go to market partner indirect sales strategy to a geo-regional approach in NA. SAP President Americas Cardenuto stated market unit partner governance models which drove indirect sales revenue to 40% of sales in Latin America would be applied in the US and Canada. Will this work and drive indirect sales revenue to that level? Hard to say, however SAP does need its partner network to drive indirect sales much like it has for Microsoft over the years.

Up next today … Duet Enterprise showcased at ASUG News TV at 2PM ET US and a quick check in with my friend and host of SAP Radio Coffee Break with Game Changers, Bonnie Graham. Unfortunately no home made Irish cream today (but you can still find my recipe in this blog).


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Filed under Big Data, Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, Cloud Readiness, Innovation, Mobile Society, Strategy, Technology

How Analytics Shaped an Obama Win, Romney Defeat

The stories are slowly coming out of the election night landscape where an overly confident Governor and an equally confident incumbent President basked in the glow of a hard fought campaign.  As the election results trickled in one thing was becoming clearer by the hour, one candidate had correlated the demographics of the citizen vote particularly in key battleground states – and the other had not.

If 2008 were the election year that President Obama won with a solid push of social media, 2012 could be the year that the incumbent President had a competitive advantage with clear transparency of the voting population based on his use of advanced, cloud-based analytics.  Hosted largely by Amazon Web Services (AWS) as described in this New York Times piece by Steve Lohr, the AWS platform allowed for canvassing, massive phone poling, and real-time forecast projections which painted a very different view particularly of the ground game than what the GOP was predicting based on 2008 demographics.  A completely different ground attack resulting in a largely unpredictable election outcome that even as the key battleground state of Ohio was being called for the President, few Romney supporters would believe the numbers staring in front of them.

This time, the Obama campaign’s data center was mainly Amazon Web Services, the leading supplier of cloud services. The campaign’s engineers built about 200 different programs that ran on the Amazon service including Dashboard, the remote calling tool, the campaign Web site, donation processing and data analytics applications.

These data analytics applications gave the Obama team a clearer vision of the ground game which became painfully obvious in the key state of Ohio:

  • The Obama team had a higher number of voters in their turnout model in the key metropolitan areas surrounding Cleveland, Cincinnati, and the college city of Columbus.  GOP models accounted for a lower overall turnout particularly with historically minority groups.  In short, the Romney camp had too small a denominator for their projections.
  • GOP models also incorrectly accounted for the Libertarian candidate, Governor Gary Johnson, who took most of the 1.6% “other” vote in the Buckeye state.  Conventional thinking in the Romney camp was that these conservatives would “come home” on election night.  They didn’t. Advanced voter forecasting particularly in rural counties where the Governor won overwhelmingly would have showed that the GOP didn’t win “enough” to take the state.

By and large the final embarrassment came on Fox news when a disbelieving election night crew went to confront their own projections room for a final answer on Ohio.  The analysts – realizing they were the messengers about to be shot – sheepishly stood by their projections with “99.95% accuracy” in calling Ohio for the President.  At that point even the Fox News projection room was apparently working with more sophisticated analytics tools than even the Romney campaign had available.

Even national trends escaped the GOP which is cause for much needed reflection.  While the GOP took a larger percentage of the Caucasian vote in 2012 by 2% over 2008, the overall electorate had shifted by nearly 5% of population swing to minority groups, particularly Latinos.  While the Obama camp likely saw this trend emerging, the Romney camp was completely oblivious to the fact that by achieving their own campaign objectives it would cost them 2 million votes.

In the end one could argue that the campaign outcome in the final days would be changed much differently. However the Romney camp, bouyed by its own inaccurate portrayal of the ground game, believed that states like Pennsylvania and Michigan might be in play and diverted much needed funds for advertising and events into those markets.  Romney played the safe “incumbent” role in both Ohio and Virginia since their forecast models showed victories in those states – as well as Florida.  In each case the suburban and urban vote came out strong for the President.  Again, Team Romney was simply working with the wrong denominator.

Much can be said about the candidate profiles and the Republican party will spend months dissecting what went wrong and what should have been.  In the end though, their strategies and ground tactics were flawed due to an inadequate use of available data analytics and forecasting technology which cast a very unrealistic image of what was actually happening in the nation.


Filed under Business Analytics, Change Management and Leadership, Cloud Computing, Cloud Readiness, Communication Planning, Community and Municipal Outreach, Marketing and Social Business, Operations, Technology

SuccessFactors now leading SAP cloud strategy, but questions remain

As part of covering the cloud strategy unfolding this week at SAP SAPPHIRE, I will share a number of observations regarding the positioning and history of SAP and what the SuccessFactors cloud strategy means for SAP customers.  In this article which posted on searchSAP.com, I consider some of the open issues that the merging of road maps bring with such an acquisition now in its second quarter of operation.

With SuccessFactors now fully responsible for consolidating the SAP cloud portfolio of products, the task of integrating the two organizations will certainly lead to winners and losers among SAP’s existing products.

Last December’s $3.4 billion acquisition of SuccessFactors provides a new vision and roadmap for SAP’s cloud product strategy. Former SuccessFactors CEO, Lars Dalgaard, joined the SAP management team as a man whom McDermott lauded this week as having been “born in the cloud.”

SAP has made similarly bold moves in the past in a number of technologies, both through acquisition and organic innovation over the past several years. With each innovation, existing SAP customers wonder about the fate of their installed products and whether they will be offered OnDemand or on premises.

To read the full article please visit the searchSAP.com site in its special coverage of the SAP SAPPHIRE event.  In Part 2 I will consider the history of SAP acquisition and what this forward integration of SuccessFactors might mean from a strategic road map perspective.

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