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Customer Focus: the Constellation Supernova Awards

Constellation Research, founded by fellow Enterprise Irregular and star analyst Ray Wang has just announced the  ambitious Supernova Awards program, focusing on – what a twist! – customer champions of innovation, rather than vendors.

Krish and I both feel honored to have been invited as Judges for the Cloud Computing category. Below is the official announcement in full:

 

THE GENESIS

Today, we announce an award that celebrates and recognizes leaders who have overcome the odds to successfully apply emerging and disruptive technologies for their organizations.

In Search of Protostars

Most award programs recognize the technology suppliers for their advancements in the market. Few, if any programs, have recognized individuals for their courage in battling the odds to effect change in their organization. The Constellation SuperNova Awards celebrate the explorers, the pioneers, and the unsung heroes who successfully put new technologies to work. More importantly, these leaders have created disruptions in their market.

“Applying technology innovation to effect business results requires exceptional organizational leadership and teamwork. It is not enough to simply implement the technology. To ensure success, these leaders had to build buy-in relationships across all levels of the organization – appealing to rational and emotional senses – as well as make tough calls in system delivery to make change easier”, noted Amy Wilson, Vice-President and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Inc.

An all star cast of judges will identify applicants who embody the human spirit to innovate, overcome adversity, and successfully deliver market changing approaches. Applicants will be subjected to a vigorous set of criteria that reflect real-world and pragmatic experience. Semifinalists will be selected in five categories: social business, mobile enterprise, cloud computing, advanced analytics, and emerging technologies.

“Innovation is the life blood of businesses. We need to celebrate those pioneers who are able to see what the others don’t, who are willing to invest their time and energy while others don’t dare to, and whose passion inspires us all to look innovation in the eyes, embrace it and become innovators.” said Paul Papadimitriou, Vice-President and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Inc.

THE DETAILS

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No Longer a Prank – Defections from Sage to NetSuite Continue

I called it a Software Marketing Prank, but hey, apparently customers do listen…

…and they vote with their feet checkbook.  Today NetSuite claims over 500 customer defected from Sage to NetSuite.  Make no mistake, this is not simply one software company “stealing” another one’s business…

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Twitter in the Enterprise – Round 56745327

In the last minute I had to cancel my trip to the SAP Influencer Summit, but I am following it almost as if I was there – by following the Tweet Stream.  SAP has also provided a Virtual Environment, where analysts, media, bloggers can interactively participate – right now I am watching a live video on their On Demand Strategy (hm.. how appropriate – watching the On-Demand session on-demand).  The Virtual Environment includes Twitter tools, including sentiment analysis based on SAP’s Business Objects technology:

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Web 2.0 in the Enterprise – Round …n.. (I can’t keep track)

Stowe Boyd picks up where Ben Metcalfe left off in Web 2.0 doesn’t work in the mothership, but… essentially recommending that Web 2.0 is best introduced in the Enterprise “in a satellite operation at arms length from the rest of your operation

While this is often the easy solution, I think a case can be made for the seamless mashup of process- and workflow-centric enterprise applications and the more creative, unstructured, collaborative tools like wikis.  Case in point is JotSpot’s integration with Salesforce.com based on the Appexhange. Granted their target is not the largest of enterprises, but another example I heard of at SAP’s annual conference is the SAP Help Desk wiki by  Socialtext targeting the entire SAP ecosystem.  In any case, I agree that spontaneous, project-focused use is how wikis will become adopted in the Enterprise, but at the same time I believe they should be a logical extension of any Enterprise system – SAP, Salesforce.com are starting to recognize, and I think the day when we’ll have both top-down (enterprise sale as part of the large package) and bottom-up (departmental initiative) penetration is not that far.

But then Stowe goes one step further, and this is where the trouble starts:

…the larger question — whether the enterprise would be more agile, more adaptive, and more of a survivor is it could somehow break away from the need for slow-to-change applications that span the needs of many departments, beholden to many but satisfying none — has not really been addressed by Ben or the others I am interviewing on the on ramp to CTC 2006….
My gut says yes. Enterprises would be better off if their IT departments could move to small, low cost, web-based apps that satisfy local needs — a project group, one campus in Denver, the marketing department in Japan — without having to subordinate local needs to corporate controls. The benefits of enterprise standardization are measured in the IT budget, but the true costs are distributed thoughout the enterprise: less collaboration in the research team leads to slower innovation, a less-thatn-intuitive UI for the sale staff in France leads to lowered sale numbers, and a heavyweight finance solution that slows down invoicing costs serious bank in collection time
.”

Oh, boy. When we’re talking about large multinational corporations, as Stowe does in his example, the primary benefit of standardization and integration is NOT measured in the IT budget. The key benefit is competitiveness, simply being able to conduct business.  Here’s a case study from my “previous life” when I was implementing SAP systems in exactly these types of companies: The Client, a major test and measurement equipment manufacturer had no real-time visibility of their available-to-promise inventory throughout their own plants accross the US and several countries in Asia and Europe.  It typically took them 3 weeks to be able to promise a delivery date to customers. Needless to stay they started to lose business. After the SAP implementation customers could receive the promised delivery date in real-time. For this company the implementation of the standard system was not an option, or driven by IT savings, it was the only way to stay in business.

As a matter of fact, prior to standardizing on SAP the individual plants operated exactly according to Stowe’s ideal model: each doing whatever they wanted, picking their own systems that simply did not talk to each other.

Web 2.0, collaboration is great, it has it’s place in the Enterprise, but so do those “ugly complex” transactional systems.  Don’t try to run your supply chain on a wiki

Update , more than three years later: Would You Manage CRM with a Wiki?

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