Part 1 of this blog series described the genesis and current state of affairs of Workday – a novel company that was founded in March 2005 and launched in November 2006 by two great IT minds and PeopleSoft alumni: Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri. Part 2 of this series then got under the hood and analyzed Workday’s secret sauce: its object-oriented and in-memory database (IMDB) and definitional services approach, which involves no coding by developers.
The final part of this series will discuss who should be a good fit for Workday and who might not, and why.
Part 1 of this blog series talked about my very first attendance of BigIdeas, BigMachines’ annual user conference that takes place in the fall in Chicago. I wasn’t the only one that attended BigIdeas 2011 for the first time, as in May 2011 the company’s financial backers brought in David Bonnette, a seasoned Oracle executive in the customer relationship management (CRM) realm, as the new president. Mr. Bonnette has since gradually replaced the company’s founder and former CEO Godard Abel.
The highlights of Bonnette’s keynote presentation were that BigMachines has recently moved towards acting as an established company with more structured processes rather than as a slightly disorganized rapidly growing startup. Predictable results for both the vendor and its customers should come from more simplified and prepackaged offerings, and the upcoming BigMachines 12 release was previewed.
The fall of 2011 marked Theo Epstein’s move from Boston Red Sox to Chicago Cubs, whose fans have been yearning for a championship ring for well over 100 years and are fervently hoping that Theo’s curse-breaking success as the general manager in Boston will be repeated in the desolate Cubs nation. Well, 2011 also marked a much less important detail: after having to regretfully decline a few previous times, I was finally able to clear my calendar and attend BigMachines’ annual user conference dubbed BigIdeas, also in Chicago as the company’s base.
I have to confess that the attendance has changed my perceptions of the upbeat cloud software vendor somewhat. Namely, every time when we would meet in the past (most often at past salesforce.com’s Dreamforce and Oracle Open World events) the company’s staff struck me as too formal and somewhat standoffish. My earlier opinions on the vendor can be seen in this blog post from 2010 here.
Part 1 of this blog series described the genesis and current state of affairs of Workday – a novel company that was founded in March 2005 and launched in November 2006 by two great IT minds and notable PeopleSoft alumni: Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri. For a few years now I’ve been listening to a slew of otherwise hard-to-please analysts and bloggers raving about this software company that has purportedly finally overcome the traditional shortcomings of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems of the 1990s.
One of Workday’s earlier marketing slogans said that it was the first new business management solution to come to market “since the Web turned 2.0, Sarbanes met Oxley, and the world became flat.” In fact, Workday is a younger company than Facebook. The vendor says that its biggest distinguishing factor over traditional ERP platforms is its inherent flexibility, most notably its ability to logically reorganize personnel in a global organization on the fly as required.
Over the past several years, salesforce.com’s annual user conference Dreamforce has become a highly anticipated and entertaining end-of-the-year fixture for enterprise applications market observers. Well, Dreamforce 2011 was somewhat different as it took place in late August and early September 2011, but the vibrant feel of the event was no different. Indeed, in these prolonged times of bad economic news with businesses and government cutting spending across the board, one could again enjoy the unusually high attendance (45,000, for what it’s worth) and upbeat and “never a dull moment” atmosphere of the multi-day event, courtesy of salesforce.com’s CEO Marc Benioff and his executive team.
While Dreamforce 2009 was mostly about the continued growth of the vendor and the unveiling of Salesforce Chatter, the company’s quickly maturing social platform and collaboration cloud (covered in my mid-2010 blog series), the overall Dreamforce 2010 theme was cloud proliferation as well as salesforce.com’s further diversification and expansion in new frontiers (see my blog series for more details).
Dreamforce 2011 continued with the cloud proliferation theme (with new clouds such as Data.com and Heroku for Java), in addition to the theme of continued growth: salesforce.com is the first cloud company to exceed US$2.1.billion run rate and over 100,000 customers (ironically knocking on the door of the “evil empires” elite club). There have also been some acquisitions since Dreamforce 2010, most notably DimDim and Radian6. Post-Dreamforce 2011, salesforce.com has already acquired Assistly, a customer service social software startup in the lower end of the market.
In 2005, after his PeopleSoft venture ended (successfully in financial terms, at least), I was sure that Dave Duffield would not sit still for long. And in fact, I’ve been listening to a slew of otherwise hard-to-please analysts and bloggers raving about Workday for a few years now – this company that was founded in March 2005 and launched in November 2006 by two great IT minds and PeopleSoft alumni: Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri.
Dave Duffield is Workday’s co-CEO, co-founder, and chief customer advocate. As mentioned earlier, he was co-founder, CEO, and chairman at PeopleSoft, and Workday is the fifth company that he has founded (see his full bio here). Aneel Bhusri is Workday’s co-CEO and co-founder (he was vice chairman at PeopleSoft). Aneel was named #15 on the 2011 Forbes Midas list (see his full bio here as well as other Workday leadership bios here).
Indeed, David Dobrin, Naomi Bloom, Ray Wang, Vinnie Mirchandani, Dennis Howlett, Dana Gardner, Nick Carr, Mike Krigsman, Jason Busch, Phil Wainewright, and Brian Sommer are only a few of the renowned market observers that have been talking, blogging, tweeting, and whatnot about Workday as possibly the best invention since sliced bread. Naturally, the skeptic in me has wondered what all this fuss and adulation was about. For some flavor, here are the blog posts on Workday by Dennis Howlett of ZDNet, Nick Carr of the Rough Type blog, and Vinnie Mirchandani of Deal Architect, and these seasoned and discerning fellas are not easily impressed.
I finally had a deeper look at Workday at the recent Dreamforce 2011 conference by salesforce.com (where Workday had a noted presence at the expo floor), and the vendor’s conceptual design and approach is beyond reproach. In many ways, Workday can be viewed as the next generation of good-old PeopleSoft enterprise applications. Like its predecessor, the company started with a set of best-of-breed applications around human capital management (HCM).
Part 1 of this blog series presented the opportunity of service economy and associated complexity of providing consistently an experience of customer service excellence. The article then introduced KANA Software, a provider of Service Experience Management (SEM) solutions. Although KANA has focused on enabling superior customer service for its enterprise clients since being founded in 1996, it has experienced periods of ups and downs.
Having been acquired and taken private under Accel-KKR in late 2009, the vendor has since regrouped and come out with its renewed value proposition. Part 1 concluded with KANA’s SEM approach and accompanying solutions that blend customer relationship management (CRM), business process management (BPM), business intelligence (BI), and knowledge management (KM), social media monitoring, and many other parts.
In this service economy it is not surprising to hear about smart innovative companies whose businesses have been blossoming due to the superior customer service they provide. Zappos and its “Powered by Service” tagline is a crown example.
Many vendors that offer customer service software solutions, especially those that bundle customer relationship management (CRM) with business process management (BPM) capabilities and even infuse knowledge in the service process, have been doing quite well, such as Pegasystems, SwordCiboodle, salesforce.com’s Service Cloud 3, inQuira, RightNow, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customer Care Framework (CCF), and so on and so forth. But achieving consistently excellent customer service and satisfaction is not easy by any stretch of imagination. Research shows that over the last 15 years customer satisfaction has dropped by over 20 points (true, we as customers are becoming more fastidious, but that is our right, isn’t it?) while the cost per interaction has more than doubled, in great part due to agents’ errors and repeated service resulting in issue resolution calls.
Many recent TEC articles have talked about quote-to-order (Q2O) or configure, price, quote (CPQ) solutions that facilitate business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales, thus helping companies sell more products and services faster. A number of thriving vendors provide on-demand product configurator, pricing and quoting, proposal generator, and B2B eCommerce (self-service portals, product catalogs, etc.) software solutions. These Web-based offerings facilitate sales across their customers’ diverse channels by streamlining their sales processes, from opportunity to order.
Using Q2O/CPQ solutions, dispersed sales teams and channels can quickly configure products, generate quotes, proposals and contracts, manage complex pricing, and manage orders. Most recently, I’ve reported on Cameleon Software’s bullish posture. The company was visibly present at salesforce.com’s annual Dreamforce 2010 user conference expo floor, making hay out if its Apple iPhone- and iPad-enabled sales application and integration to the Salesforce Chatter cloud collaboration product.
Part 1 of this series introduced SuccessFactors, a public provider of software as a service (SaaS) talent management solutions. The article first analyzed the vendor’s evolution from its traditional People Performance realm to the seemingly more opportune Business Execution (BizX) province.
Then the article talked about SuccessFactors’ diverse product editions (tailored to satisfy companies of all sizes) and detailed the two core modules of the SuccessFactors BizX suite of applications: Performance Management and Goal Management. These two modules serve as the foundation for the BizX application suite, since visibility into employee performance and organizational goals form the necessary basis for other talent management activities.
Part 2 then analyzed additional BizX modules (i.e., recruiting, learning & development, compensation, and succession planning), some nice-to-have capabilities, and the most recent developments, such as the 2010 tuck-in acquisitions of Inform, CubeTree, and YouCalc.
Part 1 of this blog series talked about my attendance of Dreamforce 2010, salesforce.com’s annual user conference, which has over the past several years become a highly anticipated and entertaining end-of-the-year fixture for enterprise applications market observers. My post concluded that while Dreamforce 2009 was mostly about continued growth of the cloud computing trailblazer and unveiling of Salesforce Chatter, the company’s nascent social platform and collaboration cloud (as duly covered by my blog series), the overall Dreamforce 2010 theme was cloud proliferation (and salesforce.com’s further diversification).
In his blog post, Louis Columbus states that at the center of Dreamforce 2010 was the transformation of salesforce.com into an enterprise cloud platform provider, starting with endorsing open application programming interfaces (APIs) including REST (Representational State Transfer), which its developer community had reportedly been requesting for over a year. Moreover, after realizing the proprietary nature of its Force.com cloud platform (and its Apex code), salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and his co-founder Parker Harris have recently decided to decouple Force.com into a more open application layer, for platform as a service (PaaS) purposes and a database layer for providing infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
Dreamforce, salesforce.com’s annual user conference, has over the past several years become a highly anticipated and entertaining end-of-the-year fixture for the enterprise applications market observers (surprisingly, Dreamforce 2011 will take place in late August, and let’s see how that new timing will feel). Namely, in these prolonged times of bad economic news and businesses recoiling across the board, one could always enjoy the unusually high attendance and upbeat and “never a dull moment” atmosphere of the multi-day event, courtesy of salesforce.com’s CEO Marc Benioff and his executive team.
While Dreamforce 2009 was mostly about the continued growth of the vendor and the unveiling of Salesforce Chatter, the company’s nascent social platform and collaboration cloud (as duly covered by my blog series), the overall Dreamforce 2010 theme was the cloud proliferation (and salesforce.com’s further diversification). Needless to say, this was in addition to the theme of continued growth.
One of the major takeaway messages from salesforce.com’s recent Dreamforce 2010 conference was the company’s diversification within the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) space. Namely, during their keynote presentations, the company’s executives admitted publicly to the Force.com platform’s proprietary nature (i.e., the non-mainstream Apex language), which made them decide recently to decouple the application development layer from the database layer in the cloud (the latter called database.com).
The application layer has been further broken down into several cloud-based application building flavors. To that end, there are the following application development environments that cater to different user constituencies and developer language preferences:
Part 1 of this series introduced SuccessFactors, a public provider of software as a service (SaaS) talent management solutions. My post first analyzed the vendor’s evolution from its traditional People Performance realm to the seemingly more opportune Business Execution (BizX) province.
Then, I talked about SuccessFactors’ multiple product editions to satisfy companies of all size and detailed the two core modules of the SuccessFactors BizX suite of applications: Performance Management and Goal Management. These core modules serve as the foundation for the BizX application suite, as visibility into employee performance and organizational goals are the necessary basis for other activities, such as recruiting, learning & development, compensation, and succession planning.
In addition to the Giants’ Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series 2010 victory, San Francisco has been even more famous for its software powerhouses, spearheaded by mighty and ever-acquisitive Oracle and the cloud computing trailblazer salesforce.com. Another company from the same metro area that has lately had admiration and accolades lavished upon it is SuccessFactors, a player in the software as a service (SaaS) talent management market.
In fact, a number of SuccessFactors employees are former Oracle and salesforce.com alumni, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some trickles of employees going in other direction too. In any case, SuccessFactors was founded in 2001 by Lars Dalgaard, who previously held various general management positions at Unilever, a global packaged consumer and industrial goods company, in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. In November 2007, the company went public on the NASDAQ Global Market under the stock symbol SFSF.