Monday, November 24, 2008


Hello! Starting in December 2008, A Software Insiders Point of View will be moving to a new home. As we are in beta, look forward to new ways of sharing and reaching out. Look forward to your suggestions!

Here's the new blog link:


Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday’s Musings: The Three Pillars of Software Maintenance And Support Policies

After more than 350 conservations with customers about the maintenance and support issue in the past 4 months, it’s becoming quite clear users expect from their software vendors. While those issues can be broken into tens of categories, three themes have emerged that include:

  • Choice. Customers want to choose between tiered plans. The best plans allow customers to select the option best for them. Choice means the availaiblity of a basic plan or the full range of services expected in a comprehensive “insurance policy”.
  • Value. Users expect plans to show ROI or meet service level agreements (SLA’s). These SLA’s should reflect outcomes not just process. If a user contacts a help desk 5 times a year and pays $500,000 in maintenance, at $100,000 a call, they better be getting platinum response levels of 1 hour or less and a resolution in 24 to 48 hours.
  • Predictability. Maintenance and support remain one of the biggest budget items in the ownership of packaged apps. Changes in price, policies, or service levels should be communicated with at least 4 quarters notice. The best vendors provide guidelines that give customers predictability 2 to 3 years in advance.

The bottom line- can vendors deliver on such promises?

Let’s see which vendors can deliver on all 3 pillars. Recent financial analyst reports from investment houses (i.e. Merrill Lynch’s Kash Rangan w.r.t. Oracle and Merrill Lynch’s Raimo Lenschow w.r.t SAP) indicate a sharpening downward trend in revenue estimates, not only for Q4 2008, but also for FY 2009 and FY 2010. Software vendors under pressure to make margins will be forced to choose whether they are willing to take short term pain in stock valuations for long term gain in improving the vendor-client commitment or make their numbers by disenfranchising customers during a time of crisis by violating any one of the three tenants of maintenance pricing. Because many software vendors have blown through their Q1 2009 pipe in Q4 2008, new deals are scarce and maintenance revenues are the easiest targets for “guaranteed” revenue and price increases.

Your POV.

Are you being hammered in your existing maintenance arrangements? Do you feel locked in or do you feel your vendor is willing to work with you on deals? Feel free to share with me your experience. You can post here or send me a private email to

Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Event Report: Dreamforce 2008 - Love is In the Clouds

Entrance to the DreamForce Expo Floor at Moscone Center, SF, CA

(Photo: Main show floor for Dreamforce 2008 at Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA. Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.)

Over 9,000 attendees made it to the annual San Francisco pilgrimage to hear the high priest of SaaS kickoff the event. This year’s theme focused on the future of Cloud Computing, a focus on success, and how much Salesforce loves its customers. Key product, technology, and partnership announcements from the November 3 to 5 event include:

  • expands usage to new product and services. sites allows customers to publish data and apps to any site, basically supporting customer built web apps. SFDC will take care of domain, URL, RSS management, etc when customers run their Web apps on Other expansions include for Amazon and for Facebook. On the Amazon front, SFDC also will support applications being built using Amazon web services, in effect creating a mega cloud. Facebook support allows developers to tap into the Facebook Platform and Facebook Connect.

    POV: Movement to expand the platform into new B2C facing markets give SFDC credibility in new social media markets as well as taking the Cloud wars to the consumer. Consider this a continuation in the battle for domiance of IDE’s in the cloud.

  • CODA showcases its financial package on APEX for the North American market. While Coda2Go was launched at Dreamforce Europe in London last May, attendees at Dreamforce 2008 in SanFrancisco had a chance to see first hand how the 30 year old vendor had completed its rewrite. With enterprise financials built on this new platform, customers now have more choice in financial solutions within the ecosystem.POV: Like many mid-market vendors, CODA had the opportunity to bet on the next platform and chose a SaaS approach over an on-premise middleware platform. Most mid-market vendors bet on a Microsoft VS.NET “Rainbow” Stack, IBM Websphere, or Progress Software. These middleware platforms allow companies to spend 10 to 15% of budget on tools and technology instead of a staggering 33% that many would spend if they built their own middleware. CODA’s decision is market leading for the industry and is reflective of its groundbreaking historical bets on HP3000 in the 70’s, VAX (DEC) in the 80’s, and AS/400’s (IBM) in the 90’s.
  • Glovia, a Fujitsu Company, builds order management on Customers seeking lead to billing solutions in order management can now turn to the Glovia solution for order management, inventory, fulfillment, and billing. Glovia takes the order from and brings it into the order maangement system giving it visiblity from prospect to invoice. Enterprises can also check status via the web or on a mobile device via Salesforce mobile.POV:’s ecosystem strategy allows other vendors to build key back office end to end processes. As more companies add to the ecosystem, SalesForce will continue to gain market relevance against enterprise vendors struggling to move to a true multi-tenant onDemand delivery model.

The bottom line - SaaS platforms continue to morph into cloud computing

Recent decisions by CODA, Glovia, and a host of software vendors show that the transition from on-premise middleware platforms to cloud-based platforms has begun. Application development and delivery professionals seeking new delivery models can benefit from these new platforms. is gaining momentum and given its history will emerge as one of the top 3 platforms for both customers and software vendors. The real question out there - what will vendor lock-in look like in the world of cloud computing? Will it be like the mainframe lock-ins 40 years prior?

Your POV.

Are you considering a SaaS deployment? Will you move to the cloud? Are you a software vendor looking at ditching your on-premise middleware platform? Feel free to share with me your thoughts. You can post here or send me a private email to

Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Monday’s Musings: The Role of User Groups - Check and Balance

Conversations and polling at recent user group meetings confirm a common sentiment that user groups should play a role as client advocates with the vendors. Information dissemination, benchmarking, product issues, training, and maintenance fee reductions rise to the top of the list in this 235 person on-going survey. While not explicit in all charters, here’s a full list of expectations user group members seek from their user group:

  • 85% - Communicate vendor news and updates.
  • 73% - Benchmark performance.
  • 72% - Address product issues, bugs, enhancement requests.
  • 68% - Deliver training and educational sessions
  • 65% - Fight for maintenance fee reductions.
  • 63% - Influence product road maps.
  • 59% - Share product and technical knowledge.
  • 51% - Facilitate peer networking opportunities like user group meetings
  • 40% - Provide recruiting opportunities.
  • 35% - Liase with software vendor executives
  • 32% - Negotiate license discounts

The bottom line - Get involved and make a difference.

Companies join user groups for both professional and social reasons. User groups command true power in influence a vendor’s direction while bringing common issues for discussion and sharing. Recent actions by SUGEN - the SAP User Group Executive Network in making some progress on the topic of maintenance fees and improving the vendor-client commitment show how publicity and impact can shape influence. The key is for user groups to leverage the power of the users and clients to publicly and privately create checks in the balance of power with the vendors. Go make a difference and contribute your time to your user group today!

Your POV.

Do you feel your user group has given you value? What are you looking from your user group? Feel free to share with me your experience. You can post here or send me a private email to

Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday’s Whispers: The Word On the Street


Congratulations to all! Thanks for your emails and alerts. If you’ve got a change or know of a promotion, keep dropping me a line!

Bruce Cameron is now President of CDC Software. The former executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing was promoted from within. He now reports to Peter Yip, CEO of parent company CDC Corp.

Jocelyn Eisenberg has started her own analyst relations firm at Eisenberg Analyst Relations Services.

Garland Hall has been appointed SVP of Product Support at Deltek. Garland joins Deltek as of October 6th and brings experiences from EnterpriseDB, Composite Software, and webMethods. As a direct report to Kevin Parker, Garland will manage the global customer support operations.

Klaus Kreplin, the head of SAP’s NetWeaver Product and Technology Unit retired from SAP in October.

Allen Lovett joins Compiere as EVP of Field Operations. Allen will drive go-to-market stratgy for global expansion in sales and professional services. Lovett comes from senior experiences at Sawis Communications, Oracle, Siebel Systems, and Upshot.

John Papandrea joins SAP as a SVP of the Healthcare IBU from Deloitte.

Hannah Smalltree became Editorial Director, Enterprise Applications Media Group at TechTarget in July 2008.

Sergio Segal became a consultant in Competitive Intelligence at SuccessFactors in June 2008.

Borys Stokalski, VP at Infovide-Matrix has become President, Mazovian Chapter at PTI (Polish Information Processing Society) in October.

Michael Van der Breggen has been promoted from Operations Director to Vice President at Atos Origin. He will lead the company’s ERP services in North America as of October 29th.

Ben Wan became Board of Advisor at Motally in August 2008.



Got a scoop or something to share? Please post or send on to and we’ll keep your anonymity.

  1. Heatlhcare Information Systems are still all the buzz. The VC’s I’m talking to hint that a big name like a McKesson, Cerner, Epic, or Medi-tech may make the move or be the target. One could even expect the acquirer to be a Big 4 vendor.
  2. SaaS Integration vendors may be the next big area for M&A. As customers struggle for seamless hybrid integration, vendors are looking for the best integration tools.

Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday’s Tip: Vendor Selection - Deciphering Vendor Provided Customer References

As competition intensifies for new license deals and users are under pressure to be cautious with new spending, all parties should expect increasing pressure for quality customer references. Customers seeking references should focus on the following areas of relevance:

  • Industry - expect to get down to the micro vertical level

  • Market size - focus on number of employees and revenues
  • Geographical - address local as well as global requirements
  • Role - consider individuals in similar roles or account for different roles for a different perspective

Its customary for the vendor to provide their reference lists. Keep in mind, many of these references are receiving monetary and non-monetary favors for their time. For vendor supplied references, customers should ask seven key questions to gauge the motive and incentives of these references:

  1. Did your organization conduct an open vendor selection process?
  2. If you were not representing this vendor, which product would your organization have purchased?
  3. Is your organization part of a vendor specific reference program?
  4. Are you earning points or credits for other vendor related services such as training, conference passes, professional services, etc.?
  5. Does your organization receive prioritized functionality requests?
  6. Who is your executive sponsor? Is that person available to regular customers?
  7. Have you received travel compensation for today’s activities?

The bottom line.

As an industry analyst, we often encounter vendor references that are genuine. However, from time to time, we have had to deal with vendor provided customer references who have vested and biased interests. In one MDM related example, 3 out of 5 of the vendor’s references did not conduct an open vendor selection process. 2 out of 5 vendors told us that the product was working well even though we had received inquiries to the contrary from other parts of their organization. It pays to do your due diligence. Make sure you understand what incentives and motivations are driving the reference to spend time talking with you.

Your POV.

Have you had a great vendor reference only to find out that the reference had stretched the truth? Feel free to share with me your experience. You can post here or send me a private email to

Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 3, 2008

BLOG UPDATE: Change your links to

Hello! Starting in January 2009, A Software Insiders Point of View will be moving to a new home. As we are in beta, look forward to new ways of sharing and reaching out. Look forward to your suggestions!

Here's the new blog link:


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Event Report: IBM Unveils the Information Agenda at IOD 2008

(Photo: The show floor from IBM IOD 2008 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.)

IBM’s third annual Information On Demand event emerges as part of the “Must Attend” list of Enterprise Software pow wows. More than 7000 attendees were treated to 600 technical skill building sessions and 120 business leadership sessions. This year’s theme focused on the need to create an Information Agenda to sustain a competitive advantage and achieve business optimization. Some interesting perspectives from the event:

  • Business optimization growth is twice as fast than business automation growth. IBM makes the case that workforce productivity, customer profitability, financial risk insight, and other optimization applications gain more traction than automation apps like ERP, HR, Financials, and CRM.
    POV: The era of automation emphasis is coming to an end. After years of depositing data into systems, enterprises seek value from all the information in their ERP, CRM, or HR system. Users expect more than automation from systems and want actionable insight designed for roles that are proactively delivered.
  • IBM is positioned for business optimization via its acquisitions in Information On Demand. The thesis - IBM is delivering information assets via DB2, FileNet, and Informix. Business value in this trusted information can be unlocked via InfoSphere and then realize optimized business performance via business intelligence (i.e. Cognos)
    : Delivering an Information Agenda requires a tightly integrated stack. This requires significant integration of canonical data models, business processes, meta data, and semantic information. While IBM has made progress in bringing together its acquisitions, at this point in time no vendor has truly delivered on this from a software basis. Considerable amounts of professional services help is still required for success.

Customers See Value In an Information Agenda, now that they know what to call it

As I was there to give talks on integrated data management strategies - Track 2787: The ROI of Instance Consolidation and Track 2792: The Business Value of Integrated Data Management, it was refreshing to find an information focused audience. Here are some interesting conversation snippets and observations:

  • Customers desperately seeking access to “real-time” and “near-time” data from legacy apps.
  • Everyone wants more device delivery choices.
  • The stack war will be Blue vs Red in the next 3 to 5 years.
  • Operational business intelligence critical for actionable insight.
  • BI is not a luxury during a downturn but a necessity for success.
  • Data archiving plays an interesting role in data optimization and meeting compliance requirements
  • MDM continues to gain traction as deal volumes have picked up in Q3 and Q4. This could be the “last big spend” before 2009 as a VP of Apps at a large CPG firm expressed.

Your POV

Have you created your own information agenda? Does this term resonate with you? Has your organization shifted from treating data as a commodity to valuing information as an asset? Post a comment or privately reach out to me at .

(Photo: View from Mix @ THE Hotel during the IBM Cognos reception - IOD 2008
Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.)

Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.