In Wine Making and Cloud Computing Choose the Right Service Levels To Achieve Your Goals

Cross posted from my blog at the SAP Community Network.

I’m one of the few people in the cloud marketing team at SAP who’s been involved in supporting nearly all categories of SAP’s cloud offerings in the last couple of years: from virtualization and public cloud support to the software service offerings to our platform service offerings. These different offerings can help you migrate your on premise SAP software into cloud environments, deliver configured software as a service via the web, and develop and deliver custom software in the cloud. Which you might choose boils down to whether you want to retrofit what you have, take new capabilities via the Web, or need to build your own solution. I’ve commented on these as components of a cloud program extensively in my blog series “Turning Cloudy Chaos into an IT Strategy – Part I.”  Part II, and Part III. For an excellent discussion of IT as a Service, see SAP Mentor Sina Moatamed’s blog “The Era of Demand Supply IT Begins”.

If Wine Making Were Like IT

If you read my recent Blog It Forward blog, you’ll know that I’m an amateur wine maker. I’m also a user of Wine making as a Service (WMaaS) offerings.  Ok, that sounds really geeky, but I do find an analogy in how I engage in my hobby and how customers use the various cloud services I’m in charge of marketing at SAP  – we marketing people think in analogies all the time.

When I first started wine making I did it in house. In the analogy, this would be the equivalent to writing my own software and deploying it to servers I manage in a server room. I literally implemented my own winery in my garage with hardware I purchased and leased – fermented the grapes in a primary fermenter, pressed them, racked the wine into 5 gallon glass storage containers, and let them bulk age in storage in my garage until it was time to bottle some number of months later.

Image

My former garage winery – table is the winery lab, to the right are 5 gallon glass jars of chardonnay and petite syrah in bulk aging.  [Source – © Greg Chase, under creative commons license, use w/ attribution]

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The Real Disruption Behind Social, Mobile, Cloud, and Big Data Lies in Decentralization

Cross posted from my blog at the SAP Community Network…

This blog is the result of a debate with my colleague Rahul Asthana, who asked, which of the four forces in Gartner’s Nexus of Forces: social enterprise, mobile devices, cloud computing, and big data, is really truly disruptive to the IT industry and practice today.

Replatforming to Mobile Devices

The evolution of mobile phones to smart phones over the last decade.
[SOURCE]

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Interesting Feedback from SAP Customers About Hybrid Cloud in Recent Webinar

Cross posted from my blog at SAP Community Network

Yesterday I had the pleasure to speak at an SAP webinar covering IT strategy for cloud computing and how customers are evolving a hybrid approach. This is a topic I’ve been working on since SAPPHIRE NOW Orlando this May, and I am gratified to find there is still a lot of interest in the subject. Since you can watch the recording of the webinar yourself I won’t repeat too much here.  However, the attendees were very generous with their participation by asking several good questions and sharing their opinions in two interesting polls.

Adoption of Cloud Computing

In the first poll we asked attendees a multiple answer question about which ways their company has adopted cloud computing. As a result, some responders answered in more than one category, so each answer is a % of total respondents clicking that category, and percentages to the question will add up to more than 100%. To my surprise almost 30% of respondents said their company is not leveraging cloud computing. That seems very high for me, even for the most conservative SAP customers. I suspect if the IT department did an audit of the different systems their lines of business used, they’d find at least a few software services – and this doesn’t include services brought in virally by employees on their own. Also interesting is that 15% of attendees reported that they are already supporting their developers through a platform as a service. This isn’t far off from a recent IBM survey that finds 16% of their respondents use PaaS and see strategic potential, while an additional 33% use PaaS incidentally. Not included in either poll is any indication as to what each respondent considers to be the definition of “platform as a service.”

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Adding on New Capabilities with SaaS – Part III of Turning Cloudy Chaos into an IT Strategy

Cross posted from my blog at the SAP Community Network

This blog continues the discussion started in Part I of Turning Cloudy Chaos into an IT Strategy and Part II – Retreading Existing Systems to Leverage Cloud Technology.  In this blog we examine how Software as a Service fits into a hybrid IT Strategy for cloud computing.

If your company has extensive investments in on premise ERP such as SAP Business Suite, then pursuing an add-on approach with Software as a Service can be an agile way for your company’s departments to roll out new systems of engagement to users. Such a strategy should consider the business needs being solved in relation to other needs within the company such as information management and integration of business processes.

Figure 1: SAP’s vision of end-to-end business processes supported by both on premise and cloud-based applications.

[Source: SAP]

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Is “Customer Experience” the Only Business Value Measure That Matters?

Cross posted from my blog at SAP Community Network…

Is “Customer Experience” the Only Business Value Measure That Matters?

If you attended the recent SAP Customer Experience Workshop or were following the tweets from #SAPcx, you might get the impression that this is what Lior Arussy of Strativity Group was asserting.

Focusing on customer experience sounds nice, you say, but is it really the most important? Lior points out that one of the biggest problems any company faces is the commoditization of its offerings. It’s a matter of time before some competitor comes along that can provide a similar or substitute product or service at a lower cost, eroding your company’s margins. In the end, a superior customer experience is the only long term way to differentiate your brand from your customers.

Indeed, focusing only on enhancing customer experience is a transformative way of thinking: if an initiative or activity by the company or an employee is not directly contributing to improving the experience of customers, then why are we doing it?

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Turning Cloudy Chaos into an IT Strategy Part I

Cross posted from my blog at the SAP Community Network…

Yep, cloud computing is here. In fact, the cloud is probably all over the place if your company is like many.

Now, your CEO sends you an email saying, “I need you to give a presentation to the board about our corporate strategy for moving to the cloud.” You think, “Uhh, Ma’am, we’re kind of already in the cloud. I guess we need a strategy now.”Your CFO is notes a significant rise in employee expense claims for Amazon, “Wow, they sure are reading a lot of books!” Each department head has their favorite software as a service application. You have no idea what server the HR’s department’s new custom employee vacation request application is running on. Already, the marketing department is complaining about out of synch customer data again after you cleaned up the on premise CRM system last year.

Get in front of the cloud mob and turn it into a
parade. [PHOTO SOURCE]

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Three Obvious, Frequently Forgotten Axioms of Business Innovation

Cross posted from SAP on the Cloud

Innovation has become one of the most overused words in the corporate-speak lexicon. In fact, many of us have stopped understanding what it really means. Being in the IT industry or trade, you probably receive promotional content from enterprise tech companies with exciting headlines such as “Achieve Business Innovation Now!” It might seem that marketers are grasping for new adjectives to modify the world innovation to make it more impactful, but business innovation has an important meaning that many executives, product engineers, and IT folks don’t pay enough attention to in their work.

Business innovation is adding new unique abilities to a company’s business practices to deliver competitively differentiating value to customers. What follows are three obvious axioms for achieving business innovation that people often fail to remember.

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Nine Ways The Human Resources Department Should Be Connected to a Cloud IT Strategy

Cross posted from my blog at SAP Community Network…

hr.jpgA brief twitter chat session with Jarret Pazahanick, an HCM consultant and SAP Mentor with an interest in better HR processes, had me pondering how an HR department’s business strategy would relate to a comprehensive IT cloud strategy.  Developing a cloud-centered IT strategy is the subject of an ASUG pre-conference event that I’m helping organize the day before the ASUG 2012 / SAPPHIRE NOW conference on May 13.  Seats are still available if you are interested in signing up.