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Salesforce.com Wave May Matter A Lot… Or Not At All.

This week at the Salesforce.com Dreamforce event, amongst the all the charity appeals and hugging, alongside the usual advances in Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud, there was one announcement that was truly interesting. While the other technology advancements were important, especially to customers of Sales, Service, and Marketing Cloud, this one was significant. It’s the new cloud, the Analytics Cloud, which was given the moniker “Wave”. In true Salesforce.com fashion CEO Benioff and Company are not just dipping their toes in the waters. They are diving in head first. Wave is a full-fledged business intelligence tool capable of making sense out of the treasure trove that is contained in Salesforce.com

IBM and SAP Sitting in a Tree

An important announcement was almost was lost in all the noise that spews from the Salesforce.com Dreamforce technology/charity/inspirational/damn-near-religious event. IBM and SAP announced that they had partnered up to offer SAP Hana Enterprise Cloud applications on IBM’s Softlayer cloud infrastructure. This makes infinite amounts of sense. SAP is best known for its three letter enterprise applications – CRM, ERP, HCM etc. – and IBM really understands enterprise infrastructure. It’s true that there is some overlap between the companies, for example IBM Kenexa and SAP Successfactors, IBM Connect and SAP JAM, or SAP HANA (the database not the application suite) and IBM DB2 BLU. That’s to be expected with information technology

Oracle: Social Is Now Part of The Infrastructure

Larry Ellison of Oracle has been around the IT industry from before it was called the IT industry. While he doesn’t always predict the future well (cloud computing… ahem) he is a keen observer of large enterprises. He is also willing to say what he thinks. That must drive the corporate communications people at Oracle insane but it is refreshing for the rest of us. Mr. Ellison, in speaking about Oracle’s cloud platform at Oracle OpenWorld, made it known where he thinks Social (meaning enterprise social networks) fits into the IT ecosystem. In his view it is part of the infrastructure like a database, Java VM, or a web server.

Bye Bye Larry… Oh Wait!

  Oracle announced yesterday that Larry Ellison will hand over the CEO reins to his lieutenants Mark Hurd and Safra Catz. I bet HP feels really stupid just about now for having said so many mean things about Hurd. Predictably, this set off a series of ancient clichés in the press and amongst Silicon Valley executives and bloggers. Headlines have declared this “the end of an era” and a “changing of the guard” which, of course, it’s not. In fact, unlike Elvis, Larry has not left the building. He doesn’t carry the CEO title anymore but he is now the new Executive Chairman (after demoting the Board Chair to Vice-chair)

Quick Thoughts on Watson Analytics

  IBM has had a ton of announcements around Watson, their cognitive computing platform. A couple of weeks ago it was Watson Discovery and earlier this week it was Watson Analytics. Still a Beta program, Watson Analytics is a cloud based cognitive computing analytics package with a user friendly interface. It is an important step in the evolution of cognitive computing platforms for the following reasons: It makes it easy for anyone to use cognitive computing. Truth be told, a lot of cognitive computing have been science experiments. They relied on teams of Ph.D-type data scientists to build models, extract and import data, and build a presentation layer for mere

Salesforce.com Wave May Matter A Lot… Or Not At All.

This week at the Salesforce.com Dreamforce event, amongst the all the charity appeals and hugging, alongside the usual advances in Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud, there was one announcement that was truly interesting. While the other technology advancements were important, especially to customers of Sales, Service, and Marketing Cloud, this one was significant. It’s the new cloud, the Analytics Cloud, which was given the moniker “Wave”. In true Salesforce.com fashion CEO Benioff and Company are not just dipping their toes in the waters. They are diving in head first. Wave is a full-fledged business intelligence tool capable of making sense out of the treasure trove that is contained in Salesforce.com databases. So much more than simple reporting, which usually only benefits management, Wave attempts to bring relevant information to the small fish in the organization to help them perform better.

For the Salesforce.com customer, especially those who are all-in with marketing, sales, and service, Wave will be a boon. Simply put, it’s easy. The data is already in the various Salesforce.com clouds, the models are already developed by Salesforce.com, and the UI is designed for a typical Salesforce.com user/customer. I predict that sales and marketing managers already using Salesforce.com products will be attracted to it.

Unless of course you need to import other data in in which case the argument for going Wave is less. Yes, Wave can also integrate external data sources but I can’t imagine data integration still won’t be a difficult. It also means that the decision to surf the Wave will no longer be one that sales and marketing can make on their own. IT will need to get involved and they may have thoughts of their own when it comes to BI tools. For example, IT and legal may not be pleased with pushing operational or product data up into the Salesforce.com cloud. Issues of security and privacy take on new meaning when company financial information or supply chain information is placed in someone else’s control. Even if you are only looking to Wave for sales and marketing data, the attraction diminishes when you are not an all-Salesforce.com customer. Imagine the complexity of integrating data from with multiple cloud vendors? If you like Sales Cloud for CRM but are keen on Oracle Marketing Cloud or Adobe Marketing Cloud (yes they all call their marketing suites the same thing), then a more vendor neutral solution would seem safer or at potentially easier.

Wave is a necessary step forward and is done with the usual Salesforce.com flourish. For much of the existing Salesforce.com customer base, Wave will be a great product with tangible benefits. From the point of view of the sales, service, or marketing team member already using a Salesforce.com, Wave will feel like empowerment. For more heterogeneous environments though, Wave probably won’t make much of a difference. Hopefully, the Salesaforce.com sales force can use Wave themselves to tell when it’s worthwhile to push the new product and when it’s a waste of time.

IBM and SAP Sitting in a Tree

An important announcement was almost was lost in all the noise that spews from the Salesforce.com Dreamforce technology/charity/inspirational/damn-near-religious event. IBM and SAP announced that they had partnered up to offer SAP Hana Enterprise Cloud applications on IBM’s Softlayer cloud infrastructure. This makes infinite amounts of sense. SAP is best known for its three letter enterprise applications – CRM, ERP, HCM etc. – and IBM really understands enterprise infrastructure. It’s true that there is some overlap between the companies, for example IBM Kenexa and SAP Successfactors, IBM Connect and SAP JAM, or SAP HANA (the database not the application suite) and IBM DB2 BLU. That’s to be expected with information technology companies of this scope. Overall though, SAP and IBM tend to compliment more than they compete. That’s because SAP is still mostly an enterprise applications vendor and IBM mostly an enterprise infrastructure vendor.

On the surface, this means that SAP and IBM customers will have a choice of an excellent cloud experience comprised of world class applications and world class cloud infrastructure. It is the same combination that works so well for many enterprise on-premises. This could also point to a direction both companies should consider – deeper partnerships and perhaps a merger. Financial details of such a partnership or merger aside, it makes sense from a product point of view. If both of these companies want to compete against Oracle, who controls both applications and infrastructure, deeper ties will make that a lot easier. The same is true of competitors such as Salesforce.com who have always delivered applications in the cloud but are now transforming themselves into a platform vendor. Together SAP and IBM would offer a breadth and depth of IT products and service that even oracle couldn’t match.

Enterprise applications are the apex predator – everything else feeds that beast. A well-fed beast is much more dangerous than an anemic one. IBM and SAP have taken a solid step forward. They should continue walking this path.