For GoodData, SaaS Changes The Channel Model Too

Last time I mentioned GoodData, it was in passing, as I discussed YouCalc and other SaaS BI players. In the ensuing year, many other toes have been dipped into the water. I sat down with GoodData CEO and founder Roman Stanek and Marketing VP Sam Boonin this week to catch up on how it’s all going, and from where they sit, the news seems to look pretty good. With 40 employees, 25 customers since last November, and a funding round from the likes of Marc Andreesen and Tim O’Reilly, GoodData seems to be off to a GoodStart. And now it has a new initiative: free analytics for other SaaS players to expand its presence. Read more of this post

Informatica Re-Factors the Value Chain for the Cloud

Informatica’s cloud ambitions continue and deepen with each new release. In the years since its 2006 launch, Informatica Cloud, the strategic initiative launched to bring Informatica’s data integration assets to the cloud,  has won salesforce.com’s Best of AppExchange award for 2008 and 2009, added other cloud-based applications as targets, and most significant, signed up 650 clients. Customers like Qualcomm and Toshiba are syncing their SaaS apps with on-premise data, enhancing compliance, and extending their BI capabilities.  In a recent conversation, Darren Cunningham, Vice President, Cloud Marketing told me that Informatica is processing over 30,000 jobs per day, involving over 6.5B rows of data per month. Read more of this post

Is Microsoft the New Safe Harbor?

The following is a guest post from Ray Wang of Altimeter Group. I wrote a different title, but otherwise this is as it appears on his blog.

Clients Now See Microsoft As The Neutral Vendor, Hence All The Questions

Just less than 3 years ago, Microsoft was still perceived as part of the “evil” empire.  Business leaders worried about the complicated and expensive licensing and pricing structures.  IT leaders bemoaned the lock-in and proprietary and often buggy software.  But in a reversal of fortune, customers now worry about Google lock-in, fret over Oracle’s quest to dominate IT through M&A, wonder how hardware vendors will become software providers and vice versa, and remain in shock as Apple’s proprietary and closed approach over takes Microsoft’s market cap.

In conversations with 71 business and IT leaders, the perception on Microsoft has definitively shifted.  In fact, more than 74.6% (53/71) see Microsoft as the neutral and trusted supplier.  With an aging and retiring workforce that grew up on IBM and SAP, the next generation of IT leaders increasingly will exert their leadership and run to their comfort zone of Microsoft and Oracle.  (Note: Don’t expect this to last as the next generation of IT leadership comprises of millennials and digital natives who will try to move everything to open source and the cloud.)  Consequently, Microsoft’s technology offerings receive a renewed interest and reinvestment among customers, partners, and critical OEM’s.  Among this group, many are attending TechEd 2010 in New Orleans, LA.  Key questions they will be asking include: Read more of this post

SAP Signals Changes At Insider Event – Vaguely

SAP took the wraps off planned updates to its data warehousing, data integration and on-demand BI plans a bit at the  SAP Insider BI and Portals event in Orlando in late March. There were some modest surprises: the unexpected absence of Marge Breya, who was in Walldorf apparently getting a broader set of responsibilities (a week later, still no official word about that); a delay in the release schedule and changed naming of the next Business Warehouse release; and a strong (and thus encouraging) Data Services message that reaffirmed Business Objects openness. Read more of this post

Does Informatica get a place at the head table?

From  Judith Hurwitz, president, Hurwitz & Associates (http://jshurwitz.wordpress.com).

Informatica might be thought of as the last independent data management company standing. In fact, that used to be Informatica’s main positioning in the market. That has begun to change over the last few years as Informatica can continued to make strategic acquisitions. Over the past two years Informatica has purchased five companies  — the most recent was Siperian, a significant player in Master Data Management solutions. These acquisitions have paid off. Today Informatica has past the $500 million revenue mark with about 4,000 customers. It has deepened its strategic partnerships with HP, Ascenture, salesforce.com, and MicroStrategy.  In a nutshell, Informatica has made the transition from a focus on ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tools to support data warehouses to a company focused broadly on managing information. Merv Adrian did a great job of providing context for Informatica’s strategy and acquisitions. To transition itself in the market, Informatica has set its sights on data service management — a culmination of data integration, master data management and data transformation, predictive analytics in a holistic manner across departments, divisions, and business partners. Read more of this post

Informatica Passes Half-Billion Mark, Buys Siperian, Targets Cloud

Informatica has announced another, long-rumored acquisition: Siperian, thus continuing a steady march toward a comprehensive portfolio play. In 2009, its strong growth path made it the clear independent leader in data integration.  With Release 9, its vision of a data integration platform grew to providing a comprehensive approach to everything from data discovery services to data quality. While growth slowed during a tough year for the economy overall, Informatica grew revenue in every quarter, and made key acquisitions in 3 successive quarters (Applimation, AddressDoctor and Agent Logic) and began to make significant moves into the cloud via partnerships with Amazon, salesforce.com and others. Agent Logic added event detection and processing to support real-time alerting and response. As 2010 begins, this latest move is synergistic from the outset; Rob Karel points out in his excellent blog post that “Siperian MDM technology…already is deeply integrated with Informatica’s identity resolution and postal address technology. In addition…Siperian MDM customers [are] using Informatica for data integration and data quality, meaning there is a lot of existing experience and know-how on integrating Informatica’s portfolio with Siperian.” Read more of this post

Programmers: Pervasive’s Parallelization Provides Punch, Profit

After 27 years of steady growth, Austin, Texas-based Pervasive (PVSW) has become a $47M annual run rate software provider. Its portfolio includes a “zero admin, light footprint database” (the former BTrieve, now PervasiveSQL), data integration software (for SaaS and on premises applications), and data synchronization products for such apps as salesforce.com, Quickbooks and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In 2009, it began leveraging its DataRush processing engine as a product, providing a solution for companies that want to take advantage of multicore architectures to drive dramatically enhanced performance on much smaller footprints, for programming data services tasks such as aggregation, de-duplication, cleansing, integration, matching and sorting, as well as data mining and predictive analytics. Read more of this post

SAP Promises Acceleration on a “Clear Path” – Will it Be Enough?

The economic slowdown was not kind to SAP in 2009, and as it launched the annual Influencer Summit on December 8th, change was in the air. Messages were shifting. “Sustainability” got a big push, and there was a ringing commitment to substantial, dramatic product change to be delivered in 2010. Different faces were on display: there was no Leo Apotheker or Bill McDermott on the stage, although Board members Jim Hagemann Snabe and John Schwarz held down the fort with new Marketing EVP Jonathan Becher and CTO Vishal Sikka in key speaking slots. Like the dances I went to in high school, the event was mostly date-free, but direct questions elicited some specific, though uncommitted, statements about deliveries in 2010, especially from Marge Breya. Read more of this post

PivotLink, Boomi Join to Break Down Barriers From SaaS BI To Enterprise Apps

Most people have heard the term NIMBY – “not in my backyard” – associated with a new factory, rehab facility or Walmart coming to their neighborhood. “Keep them away from here – let them stay over there.” The same phenomenon often applies to organizations that have adopted their first SaaS application when it comes time to integrate the content with other apps, or a BI environment. The notion of mixing on-premise with off-premise can be very daunting, with technical, cultural and resource issues throwing up barriers to effective integration. PivotLink, a SaaS BI provider approaching its 100th customer logo with some marquee names already on board, and Boomi, with successful integrations of cloud and on-premise applications for 250 clients since January 2008,  have joined forces to tackle this problem.  Read more of this post

Workday and Vertica: Cracking the 100 Customer Mark

Workday announced today that it has passed the 100-customer mark, and the milestone struck me as another important rite of passage. Such milestones are especially important in emerging markets that have not yet achieved mainstream recognition. In Workday’s case, this arguably represents a substantial step forward in the enterprise-class SaaS-based application market. Following in the successful footsteps of salesforce.com, NetSuite and others, Workday is extending the new SaaS paradigm into human resources and financial applications, with marquee customers such as Sony Pictures Entertainment and the Valspar Corporation  helping them get to this new level of customer success.

Workday is doing this by focusing on delivery; it touts a 120-day average phase-one implementation timeframe. The economic leverage of SaaS solutions, which turn the old “implementation is a multiple of acquisition cost” model on its head, works to Workday’s advantage, but only if it can deliver. In its press release, Workday points to a 38-day implementation cycle for Stone River as an example of its nimble deployment model. While it’s unlikely that this happens often, it’s an impressive benchmark nonetheless.

The note reminded me of recent conversations with Vertica, a firm attempting to help drive a similar mainstream status for the emerging ADBMS market. My conversations with Dave Menninger and others at Vertica have given me a perspective not unlike that of AMR’s Jeffrey Freyermuth, who recently concluded that Workday was about to crack the barrier. With its own big name wins like JP Morgan Chase and Verizon, and a steady cadence of product releases, Vertica has been on a roll. As Q3 began, they were approaching 90 customers, and I’m aware of several wins in recent weeks, which leads me to believe that they are rapidly approaching a similar moment in their growth. And the hill Vertica must climb is steeper: they are a more traditionally licensed, high-cost enterprise software platform without some of the built-in advantages of Workday’s SaaS approach.

I’ve talked elsewhere about Vertica’s technical innovations; its 3.5 release added substantially to a growing list of features. But the true test of credibility for a company in an emerging space is its ability to deliver those features to customers, and keep them happy. Vertica has invested steadily and wisely to ramp up sales and marketing efforts. Marketing is a critical component, but punchy campaigns and flashy web sites mean nothing unless companies buy and keep investing in a technology. As it approaches the 100-customer mark, Vertica has proven that it is delivering what enterprises want – fast database technology that solves real-world business problems. Like Workday, it may be following some larger pioneers, but it’s carving out a leadership role for itself at a rapid pace. I’m watching with interest to see how well it holds its momentum in Q4 and beyond.