TEC Industry Watch: Enterprise Software News for the Week of April 16th, 2012

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Miami-based flower distributor selects Sage ERP X3
Industry tags: Distribution
"Sage’s customer, Gems Group, reports that this ERP system was selected primarily because of its strong functionality set, Web enablement, graphical dashboard capabilities, embedded forecasting features, and full availability in Spanish. Flexibility was also important, as its users often need to access the software via the Web."– Aleksey Osintsev, TEC analyst

Desigual rolls out Oracle ATG Web Commerce to e-commerce segment
Industry tags: Retail
"Today’s brand owners must be able to manage their sale channels in an integrated manner, as it's too easy to find yourself multiplying efforts when coordinating multiple brands, sites, and partner initiatives—more so when you factor in both B2B and B2C. The ATG Web Commerce solution provides the means to centralize these efforts while integrating social and mobile merchandising."—Philippe Reney, TEC SCM Analyst


Vista Equity Partners completes acquisition of CDC Software
Industry tags: Cross-industry, ERP, SCM CRM
"There should a sigh of relief among CDC Software's staff, partners, and customers now that the protracted ordeal with a bankrupt parent is over. Certainly, there will be some transitional growing pains and inevitable scars from the recent past, but CDC Software has a number of great IT assets, such as Ross ERP, Pivotal CRM, CDC Factory, TradeBeam, etc. The new owners are trying to get their management team together and then I assume they’ll rebuild marketing and add new media/analyst relationship personnel. For the short term, they have reportedly hired a branding agency who will help them rebrand the company."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

SAP acquires Syclo
Industry tags: Asset-intensive organizations, utilities, EAM, field service management
"SAP is asserting its mobility platform and application leadership, for both consumer- and employee-centered mobile apps. Syclo brings a wealth of experience in asset-intensive industries, with about 600 SAP ERP and IBM Maximo EAM customers. While Syclo has its own Agentry mobility platform and apps, it has also been developing apps on SAP's Sybase Unified Platform. The idea is to converge the platforms, and also in compliance with the Afaria mobile device management and security platform. I cannot think of any other enterprise software vendor having all these capabilities."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

"Syclo provides a diversified offering of apps for industries where SAP is very strong, such as manufacturing, utilities, life sciences or government. It’s interesting to note that the platform is already used by some of SAP’s major competitors (i.e., Oracle and IBM) to create mobile apps for their solutions. In conjunction with the Sybase acquisition in 2011, this deal strengthens SAP's position in the mobile apps market for the both employees and consumers."—Gabriel Gheorghiu, TEC Research Analyst

IBM acquires Varicent Software
Industry tags: Financial and HR performance management, BI, sales performance management (SPM), enterprise incentive & compensation management (EI&CM)
"There are a couple of reasons why IBM went for Varicent in the sales performance management (SPM)/incentive & compensation management (I&CM) market. For one, there has reportedly been a tight connection between IBM and Varicent’s board (the same person was on the former Cognos board before IBM acquired them). In addition, Varicent has long been certified for IBM’s Cognos TM1 analytic server. Finally, Varicent’s strength in financial management of sales compensations (as opposed to the HR or CRM orientation of other SPM products) should mesh well with IBM's prior acquisitions, including Algorithmics, Clarity Systems, OpenPages, Cognos, and SPSS.

This move validates the high value of compensation data, which can be used for analytics and sales performance improvements. It is interesting to note that, as in the case of Emptoris (which is a private cloud offering like Varicent), where IBM passed on the market leader Ariba, IBM passed here on Callidus Software and Xactly Corporation. Why? My guess is the lower price for one, although it is not like IBM could not afford a price tag of even a few billion dollars. The bigger reason, to my mind, is IBM's hunger to provide professional services and consulting engagements, and these on-premise and hosted/customized solutions are perfect in that regard. I think both Emptoris in spend management and Varicent in SPM still go for large ("elephant hunting") deals.

Unlike Varicent, however, Xactly has always believed that SaaS will fuel the market and be the dominant model moving forward. SaaS enables companies of all sizes to take advantage of incentive compensation technology, without the prohibitive price tag of an on-premise solution."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

Ariba partners with Microsoft
Industry tags: Cross-industry, procurement, supplier network
"This should be a mutually beneficial and validating alliance. Certainly, we need more details on pricing and go-to-market (the product availability is slated for later in2012), but contrary to the previous Ariba Network (AN) deals with SAP and Oracle, this time Microsoft Dynamics VARs will sell the AN, and will be integrated with Dynamics AX ERP via a Dell Boomi pre-packaged tool (no integration tweaking, etc.). SAP (with its alliance with Hubwoo) and Oracle (with its own Oracle Supplier Network) were not really keen on promoting the Ariba Network (unless requested by customers).

While I am loath to speculate, I cannot help but wonder whether Microsoft should simply acquire Ariba, as there is certainly more value here than spending $40 billion or so for Yahoo (as intended long ago). I'm thinking here of the Microsoft parent acquiring Ariba, and not necessarily Dynamics, given that Ariba extends the value of ERP via inter-company collaboration. Some of you might recall that in 2003 or so, Microsoft had a product called Microsoft Business Network (MBN), developed at first for a Great Plains retailer customer and its suppliers in Mexico. It was a neat product that dealt with EDI and using Office documents for purchase orders, advance shipping notices, etc.

But, it was a bit ahead of its time (at that time Microsoft was not yet buying into the cloud imperative), and when the company realized how painful all these industry-specific vernaculars, language translations, tax codes, etc., would be, Microsoft pulled the plug, and the functionality was just rolled back to Dynamics GP and local Americas market use.

Now, Ariba has all but conquered the network translator thing (the AN members do not need to worry about the supplier invoice types, payment terms, tax codes, etc.), and MS could this way become a B2B Amazon of sorts (they do not particularly like Amazon because of AWS eating the Azure cloud lunch). The only issue is that Ariba is in Java, and lots of customers are still on-premise on Oracle DB, etc., but that would not be too severe a challenge to overcome."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

Kronos acquires SMART
Industry tags: Cross-industry
"Kronos continues its M&A activity (its second this year) with the acquisition of UK-based SMART Computer Holdings and Spanish affiliate SMART Human Logistics (a provider of workforce management solution). Kronos is working quite aggressively to strengthen its presence in some key European markets."—Sherry Fox, TEC HR Analyst

IBM acquires Varicent to expand its Analytics portfolio
Industry tags: Business Intelligence/Business Analytics
"IBM has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Varicent Software Incorporated, a provider of analytics software for compensation and sales performance management. Toronto-based Varicent will provide IBM with a strong portfolio of business analytics to reinforce its Smarter Analytics portfolio, filling another space within its existing stack." –Jorge García, TEC BI Analyst

Heiler Software AG partners with SAP
Industry tags: Cross-industry
"This is a significant alliance for both vendors: Heiler will benefit from a greater customer base, and SAP will be able to offer to its retail customers a set of functionality from a well-known vendor that will help them syndicate their product information. Multichannel retailers will be able to look forward to a more powerful back office to support their time-to-market strategies and competitive responsiveness."—Philippe Reney, TEC SCM Analyst

Siemens PLM Software launches Active Workspace
Industry tags: cross-industry, PLM, 3D CAD, BI
"This new product in the Siemens Teamcenter software portfolio is called Active Workspace, an intuitive, visual, and personalized environment for instantly accessing intelligent 3D information. Ensuring that each participant in the product lifecycle has the right information at the right time to make the right decisions should enhance the value of PLM systems. Active Workspace also demonstrates Siemens PLM Software’s commitment to delivering on its HD-PLM vision, which was established to help decision makers make better informed decisions more efficiently and with a higher level of confidence.

In addition to Active Workspace, HD-PLM also entails HD3D, which is the Siemens NX CAD instantiation of the HD-PLM framework. For its part, Siemens Tecnomatix is pursuing its own part of the HD-PLM framework for digital manufacturing. Siemens' HD-PLM somewhat corresponds to Dassault Systemes' 3DLive and SAP’s Visual Enterprise frameworks. It will be interesting to watch whether Active Workspace can work on top of two or more independent Teamcenter (and other PLM) databases. If yes, it will offer similar PLM discovery and analytics capabilities to what Inforbix offers. Otherwise it will just be yet another slick PLM user interface."—P.J. Jakovljevic, Principal TEC Analyst

IBM and Desire2Learn launch platform for K-12 and higher education
Industry tags: Higher education, K-12
"Desire2Learn's expertise in the area of learning, and IBM's robust analytics capabilities, make this partnership a perfect solution for the higher education industry. It will help to improve education outcomes as well as allow instructors and educators to obtain more actionable data on their students, in order for them to develop more personalized learning paths."—Sherry Fox, TEC HR Analyst

Oracle launches Oracle User Productivity Kit 11.1
Industry tags: Media & Entertainment /Analytics
"Oracle has introduce its Oracle User Productivity Kit 11.1, in both standard and professional versions. The Oracle UPK will help users expedite content creation, collaboration, and testing, in a more agile fashion. Oracle's productivity suites are intended to provide the necessary tools for speeding the content creation cycle, especially by reducing test cycles and encouraging collaboration." –Jorge García, TEC BI Analyst

Information Builders adds sentiment analysis capabilities to its BI platform
Industry tags: Business Intelligence/Business Analytics
"Information Builders is adding sophisticated sentiment analysis features to its WebFOCUS Magnify enterprise search platform. This movement will boost WebFOCUS, letting users perform advanced sentiment analysis (powered by Wand Taxonomy, a structured multilingual analysis provider)." –Jorge García, TEC BI Analyst

AWS announces Amazon CloudSearch
Industry tags: Cloud Computing
"Amazon CloudSearch is a search service in the cloud that will allow customers to add search capabilities to their existing applications. AWS is aiming to provide an easy-to-install yet powerful search engine with a rich set of features." –Jorge García, TEC BI Analyst

Rackspace launches production-ready cloud services
Industry tags: Cloud Computing
"Rackspace has launched its large-scale production-ready cloud product portfolio. Powered by Openstack, the portfolio incorporates solutions like cloud servers, cloud databases, cloud block storage, and cloud networks to cover a wide spectrum of computing services. Rackspace is bringing corporate solutions to a wide range of organizations with an open cloud computing service strategy." –Jorge García, TEC BI Analyst

Microsoft launches Windows Azure Media Services
Industry tags: Cloud Computing
"Windows will be incorporating a new set of services within its Windows Azure platform. According to Microsoft, Windows Azure Media Services will aim to simplify the creation, management, and delivery of media for any device, from PCs to mobile devices. Users will be able to publish media from their device of choice." –Jorge García, TEC BI Analyst

IBM launches PureSystems
Industry tags: Cross-industry
"PureSystems (part of a new category that IBM brands as "expert integrated systems") offers its users a new computer model approach, integrating both hardware and software elements into one system to speed all deployment and production processes. IBM's offer aims to generate important cost savings as well as increase computer system performance by creating solutions that are easier to configure, deploy, scale, and maintain." –Jorge García, TEC BI Analyst

Consona launches new release of Encompix ERP
Industry tags: ETO Manufacturing
"This new release, version 9.50, reflects further development of an ERP system that is primarily oriented toward project-based and engineer-to-order manufacturing. According to the vendor, over 110 new features were included into the release. What’s notable is that Consona collaborates closely with its customers regarding new development—clients participate in on-line feature teams and provide their opinions during development."—Aleksey Osintsev, TEC analyst

New release of 3DSwYm, Dassault’s social innovation solution
Industry tags: PLM
"Social innovation is not new, and the fact that Dassault is taking it seriously is not surprising. What does surprise me is the fact that their social innovation initiative still focuses on the internal players of a company, and does not leverage social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Maybe this will change with the recent acquisition of Netvibes, a dashboard solution for monitoring social media."—Gabriel Gheorghiu, TEC Research Analyst

Workstream rebrands as HRsoft
Industry tags: cross-industry
"A whole new look—and tagline—for Workstream, with the same solid solution and services. Its cloud-based solution will provide organizations with the much needed talent capabilities to thrive in today’s fierce human capital marketplace."—Sherry Fox, TEC HR Analyst

SAP completes pilot project with Rheinenergie with 30,000 smart meters in Cologne
Industry tags: Utilities/Analytics
"Rheinenergie, the energy provider based in Cologne (Germany) and SAP have concluded a major pilot project that involves installing and monitoring over 30,000 smart meters in Cologne homes. This advanced metering infrastructure will allow customers to monitor their own energy consumption and will provide Rheinenergie with an important base of energy consumption analysis and optimization. Nothing more encouraging than applying technology toward a better life." –Jorge García, TEC BI Analyst
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