Last month I wrote about a USA Today story on Infor. Instead of focusing on Infor’s micro-vertical and other investments, Jon Swartz chose to focus on beanbags at HQ and the gossipy aspect of Charles Phillips versus former boss, Larry Ellison.
This week Quentin Hardy at the NY Times raises it several decibels. He puts NetSuite and Workday squarely in the middle. They deserve to be. In fact they deserve multi-part articles each. Instead, Quentin again focuses on the Larry angle – as investor in NetSuite, as “incentive” for Dave and Aneel at Workday.
While Larry is great for tech writer gossip, the reality is thousands of buyer decisions are made with him as a small decision driver. When Oracle is involved, Mark Hurd and Thomas Kurian and Steve Miranda are much more influential in their decision. Their decisions are also more reflective of NetSuite’s growing retail vertical prowess or its attractiveness as a “tier 2” option for global companies. And they reflect Dave’s HR pedigree, and a number of architectural decisions Workday has made for its cloud solutions.
Probably not convenient for his angle, but a story which ends with a quote about “who owns the future” of the enterprise software industry with no mention at all of Salesforce.com or Infor or Microsoft is a bit tough to swallow.
Jon and Quentin are no spring chickens when it comes to tech coverage. I wish they would give enterprise tech far more intense and regular coverage (like multiple stories on each of the vendors, their customers, their products) not just focus on the gossipy angles which have little to do with the commerce of enterprise software.
KFC has been running commercials like below. For decades they have convinced us the Colonel’s original, “secret” recipe had not changed. So, this is a clever way of introducing their boneless, skinless version of the original.
The interesting thing is I have been having lots of those “I ate the bones” wake-up moments – no, not at KFC because I am not big on deep fried stuff.
But in daily life
Thanks to Delta, I qualified for the TSA Pre list in Orlando a couple of weeks ago. And the agents look at me funny as I removed my shoes, jacket, liquids from the bag, laptop etc. “Never done this before, have you?”. No, I cannot remember this easy a TSA process since even before 9/11.
My daughter and her friend Emily are “Euro-railing” it this summer. For decades now we have used local phones, calling cards, call forwarding from US and who knows what else to avoid outrageous roaming charges during the family’s annual trips to Ireland. So we give them both Nokia dumb phones with O2 SIM Cards from our previous visits. We brace ourselves for short calls every few days. Turns out my daughter discovers Viber (likely from this blog) and has free wi-fi at most hotels they are staying at. So, we have been getting regular calls, text messages with photos and videos. For free. The Nokias are their back up when they are away from hotel. My wife and I are astonished at how much easier and cheaper this makes staying in touch overseas.
A battery at home sent me an email a few weeks ago. No kidding. It identifies itself as 12-Volt 7.2 Ah SLA Sealed Lead Acid. I have no earthly idea if it is a prank email – no idea what that battery is, certainly not something I have installed at home. Turns out the email is from Verizon, our FiOS broadband provider, and when I get home it is beeping to be replaced. A smart battery. Wow!
I hear a radio DJ announce that DisneyWorld is open 24 hours this Memorial Weekend. And the other says – “great, 24 hours of waiting in lines”. Clearly, this man has not experienced Disney’s MyMagic+ which allows guests to schedule 3 FastPasses before arriving to the parks for rides, shows, parades, fireworks, or to meet characters
I am talking to an auto executive about coming autonomous cars. And he tells me his car has had adaptive cruise control since 2001. And it hits me many cars already have functions to offset attention deficit, help detect blind spots, keep you from straying across lanes. It makes me wonder how many “I ate the bones” moments we have coming as our cars override our poor decisions.
Readers do you have other technology-enabled “wake up” moments to share?
SAP is consolidating several cloud, analytical, mobile innovation developments under Vishal Sikka. That's a good move. For a while now, I have watched him focus a bit too much on HANA - "his baby" as he calls it, while leadership for other innovation assets has been somewhat fragmented. Hopefully, other areas such as social analytics, Internet of Things etc will also be part of the brief, though consolidating disparate Ariba, SuccessFactors, BYD and other development teams will take some time.
Even more importantly, I see Gerhard Oswald is leading a Scale, Quality and Support board area which will scale the operations of
SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. Honestly I have been unimpressed with SAP's data center/infrastructure strategy around its BYD and SuccessFactors clouds. Be nice to see SAP build scale and economics which start to bring to the enterprise what larger consumer clouds have been offering for a while now. (see The Shock and Awe of the Public Cloud)
There's another move SAP should think about. Create a seperate field organization around these new products. The exisiting field has not done well with these new products (only 6.5% of 2012 revenues after years of product availiability). The older SAP partners are, well, old and tired as the services space gets revitalized by a number of boutiques (see my note Outsourcing: The Seismic Changes).
I like to catalog complex innovation and write about Polymath organizations who can blend infotech, biotech, cleantech and a variety of STEM skills to come up with new solutions.
But there are times when a clean, crisp, simple product or messaging is such a joy to behold. Last week I wrote It’s all about the Enterprise Apps, Baby – the messaging from the NetSuite event compared to the complex transactions versus analytics, private versus public cloud messages coming out the same time from SAP’s event.
This week, Dennis Howlett reports on Workday’s impressive Q1. Workday has an even cleaner message than NetSuite’s – horizontal finance and HR apps hosted, supported and updated 3 times a year in its public cloud all for a set price per user. Someday Workday will have deep vertical apps. It may at some offer a Platform as a service. It likely will never offer Infrastructure as a service.
Wall Street already values NetSuite and Workday at over $ 17 billion in market cap. It obviously believes there is a nice customer demand for crisp and clean in a world of more complex flavors.
On a normal weeknight, Netflix accounts for almost a third of all Internet traffic entering North American homes. Look at the graph below and let the enormity of that sink in.
Now consider this. Netflix uses Amazon Web Services as its “data center”. Add on top of that Amazon and its affiliates retail commerce traffic, other companies who use AWS for their processing and storage, and Redshift users for complex analytics, and you see the massive scale that Amazon has built with an estimated $ 6 billion in data center capex the last few years.
Facebook 1+ billion users upload and tag 300 million + photos a day. Apple says more photos are taken on the iPhone than any other camera – and many of them get stored in the iCloud. Google says it answers more than one billion questions from people a day in 181 countries and 146 languages.
As the old adage goes a billion here, a billion there and you are talking real numbers.
And yet many in the enterprise still talk of public clouds as unreliable and unsafe. Many enterprise vendors claim they need to do better than consumer tech then brag about their data centers which are puny and grossly inefficient compared to new ones at Amazon, Google and others at Microsoft, Switch, Rackspace and elsewhere.
Fortunately, the best practices that are coming out of the consumer cloud are starting to be leveraged in the enterprise. Facebook’s Open Computing Initiative which it launched along with its hyper efficient Prineville data center has drawn interest from banks and other high volume users. Microsoft, Google and others are a bit more secretive but increasingly showcase their learnings when it comes to thermodynamics, power normalization and other data center operational issues.
An impressive example of the impact of the public cloud comes from a private cloud being rolled out by Fedex “The Colorado data center is located at an elevation of 6,000 feet, letting FedEx cool the building using the outside air instead of costly air conditioning. The design is modeled on the ultra-efficient, standards-based data centers that Internet giants such as Amazon.com, Facebook and Google have built. And that infrastructure will let FedEx move some computing capacity to public cloud services from the likes of Amazon, Rackspace and Verizon in the not-too-distant future. FedEx is set to convert a data center based on the same private cloud architecture near its Memphis headquarters. “
Admire what consumer clouds have built – then hurry up and apply the concepts to your private clouds and demand similar efficiencies from your hosting providers and other enterprise vendors.
I caught a replay of Bill McDermott's pitch at SapphireNow last week. Loved it. How could you not with acronyms like B2B2C?:)
Seriously, tough to not like his sports talk and see him surrounded by sports world luminaries you see on ESPN and Fox - James Brown, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, San Francisco
49ers CEO Jed York and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank.
I did wonder if Bill's talk would have been different if he had spent the weekend at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics event in Boston in early March. He would have heard Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks talk about how his team doctors are trying to match anti-inflammatories to player DNA markers. He would have heard how pioneering work by the San Francisco Giants and others around secondary markets is leading to a revolution in single game and season ticket pricing. He would have heard Michael Lewis who cataloged some of the earliest applications of advanced analytics in sports with his book Moneyball. And sessions on Fanalytics, Injury Analytics and countless other technology applications in sports.
What SAP is doing in the sports world is impressive (and after that weekend I posted on New Florence its efforts), but relatively small compared to so much else going on in sports technology.
It points to a thing I have noticed - how SAP likes "association". Statements like "SAP customers produce 70 percent of the world’s chocolate" or "SAP systems touches $12 trillion of consumer purchases around the world."
I certainly understand it is for marketing effect. I worry, though, SAP is actually delusional and does not realize how small a role it plays in many of these companies and industries.
Which is why I wonder if Bill had been in Boston that weekend, whether his talk at SapphireNow would have more modest and celebratory of all the innovation happening in sports tech, much without SAP involvement.