Dreamforce Winners for 2017

Another Dreamforce is over for 2017. Overall this year was a more successful event than 2016 from my perspective. Salesforce was less about big product announcements and more about improving existing capabilities and increasing the ease of customer deployment, training and engagement through the democratisation of Salesforce.

Winners within Salesforce

Overall Salesforce came out of the event with definite and measurable progress across a range of metrics. The entire event reflects the culture of Salesforce and the genuine focus on diversity and inclusion. There were more Female, African American presenters on stage than I have ever seen. In all likelihood, there were more on stage presenting and facilitating this year than I have seen in such a forum across my entire career. It reflects positively on Salesforce and that inclusion is real and merit focused.

Product wise, there were several winners within Salesforce. The overall theme of the event was personalisation and democratisation of Salesforce. That was made clear. It is more than just putting “My” in front of every offering. Trailhead has accelerated in both functionality and importance.

Overall the most prominent growth has been with Einstein the AI tool for Salesforce. I had a degree of cynicism on the reality of Einstein prior to the event. When it was launched at Dreamforce in 2016, I took the view that it would, like Analytics and IOT announcements in events prior, be all talk and a long way from maturity. Both those offerings had struggled to find their footing and functionality.

The opposite has happened. It has progressed quickly, and from a use case perspective, is clearly dragging IOT and Analytics along with it. The customer service and support functionality for clients comes to the fore with the combination of Einstein and IOT and an alignment with Service Cloud. Thi highlights what Salesforce has to do to become a $20B company. Instead of selling products, it needs to sell integrated solutions that are implemented easily by partners. Einstein can drive this.

From an external vendor point of view, IBM was the winner. The connection of Einstein to Watson has been smart for both parties. The acquisition of Bluewolf has provided strong momentum for Salesforce within IBM. Prior to the acquisition, IBM was out in the cold in terms of Salesforce with no relationship at all. Now the relationship is positive from a functional and revenue perspective from the respective CEO’s mutual warmth, down through the depths of each organisation. It is the most rapid and successful new partnership offering that I have experienced from IBM in the 17 years that I have been an analyst. It proves IBM can change and evolve.

Wipro Is another partner and integrator with a significantly improved salesforce functionality and positioning over the past 12 months, again driven by acquisition. The acquisition of Appirio is a year old. In this time Wipro has leapt from no depth of capability in the Salesforce ecosystem to being a clear and differentiated top 5 Salesforce integrator.

Wipro has been sensible and learnt from IBM and Accenture with their acquisitions. Like IBM it has kept the brand, albeit, capioIT believes that it will be folded in to Wipro in the next 12-24 months.

It has realised what it can achieve with acquisitions. It also provides a gap between it and the rest of the Indian providers. TCS in particular was notable for the lack of presence at Dreamforce. If TCS, as the self-appointed leader of the Indian Services firms, is serious about the next generation of services it has to be front and centre with the like of Salesforce, ServiceNow and of course AWS and Google. Right now it isn’t.

With the App Exchange and Salesforce Ventures, Salesforce has created several ISV partners that have grown progressively over the past several years. The likes of Apptus, Financial Force and Mapanything have gone from strength to strength. Now vendors such as Conga and Vlocity (Backed by Accenture and Salesforce) have also increased their presence and functionality in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Finally the tie up between Google Cloud and Salesforce is of note. I am generally lukewarm about such partnerships. Microsoft and Salesforce were all happy families two years ago, only for Microsoft to turn straight on at Salesforce revitalising Dynanics in the meantime. It gives access to Google Cloud locations. It will help both firms in their goal to be genuinely global. Equally importantly, it gives Salesforce access to Google Docs customers. The impact on Google CRM favourite Prosperworks will be challenging for it to work through. Overall it is smart for both players, but as mentioned, with any partnership the proof is in the execution.

Capture Point

Another Dreamforce is behind us. Salesforce showed greater maturity this year than in the past from a product maturity perspective. It is walking its own talk. This augers well for the future. The ISV and Integrator ecosystem is prospering and investment is increasing in particularly outside of the US. This all needs to accelerate for Salesforce to double revenue and become a fully integrated customer experience, knowledge and outcome focused vendor.

 

If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, CEO of capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology as the world becomes Digital. Phil may be contacted easily in the digital and real world.

phil@capioit.com

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Michelle Obama Inspires at Dreamforce

Every year Salesforce and Mark Benioff have a Dreamforce guest list that is inspiring. in 2017 the highlight without a doubt was Michelle Obama.

When the guest gets a standing ovation before they have even entered the room, you know there is something special to come. Her passion for children was genuine and in full view from the start. This passion was joined by her passion for women as individuals and part of the community. What was clear was that she achieved on her own merit, as much as part of a formidable husband and wife team

Overall it was an excellent opportunity to hear from someone who is as universally admired as any political spouse could dream to be. It certainly fits into the theme of Dreamforce, and it will take a significant to outdo her as a guest speaker in 2018. 23316310_10155918511602990_1255890607874327240_n

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A Post Workhop Selfie Snapshots a Happy Client

Great to have delivered a positive workshop for a leading HCM and ERP cloud provider in Hong Kong helping them understand the ins and outs of the Asia Pacific market for Cloud, SaaS HCM and ERP and what they need to do to realise their potential in the market

Nothing better than ending a session with a group selfie.
Thanks for a great session

HK Workshop

 

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Amazon Go – Taking Retailing to the next level

Seattle is an incredibly fortunate city to be home to both Amazon and Microsoft critical yardsticks for technology. Before the rise of technology, it had a very strong retail history. Starbucks, Costco and Nordstrom are all Seattle based there as is outdoors and recreation favourite R.E.I. Seattle also acts as a “test lab” for all of these companies.

To highlight the impact of Amazon on Seattle, particularly the downtown core, at last count it has 35 buildings in the CBD of alone. This clearly justifies the search for a second HQ, which is now in the site evaluation stage.

One of the latest Amazon innovations in Seattle is Amazon GO located in the CBD. I was fortunate to visit the store in October of this year. If you do not know Amazon Go, it simply is a checkout and cash free convenience store. Time to consider the implications of a 100% technology-enabled experience.

Since opening late last year it has been in a restricted Beta mode before opening to the world. Work for Amazon, download the app, wander the store, choose your lunch or weekly groceries and walk out. The bill and payment comes to your app.

There is no checkout. This takes a bit of getting used to. It is a strange sensation in the first instance. Until you get the bill, it does feel like you are shoplifting. Amazon knows you aren’t. Cameras and Sensors take care of this.

There were a number of issues that this experience raised with me.

How does it work? – In simple terms is a combination of technology, sensors and cameras. People try to trick it, but Go appears to have an incredible level of accuracy. In fact, it is a scarily accurate experience. The issue it does have is with scale. More than 20 people shopping at once does appear to be an issue. This has been part of the reason why it is still in beta and not open to all.

Economics and Pricing – This is a challenging aspect. One may expect that it will be expensive due to the high cost of the technology. This will be offset by the changing labor dynamics. Which is cheaper is, of course, part of the Beta process.

Amazon has priced it to the local market. Amazon looks to reduce prices as part of the culture. Amazon, of course, owns Whole Foods and immediately on closing lowered pricing. Never pay $15 for activated mountain cucumber water again. It is not a premium price retailer. Expect the same approach. Ask the US mid-market retail ecosystem what that means.

What about the people? – The labor dynamic does change significantly. There are of course no checkout operators. There are still, in the beta at least stocking requirements that require human labor. There is food preparation, (it is focused on fresh food/meals and lunch given the location in the centre of the Amazon ecosystem and CBD centre). On floor resources have the chance to play a more proactive role. They can upsell; they can advise on food selection, what is new, what is fresh. This is a changing role for retail.

I liken it to the barista. 15 years ago, a person made you coffee. Overnight, again, thanks in part to a Seattle firm, that changed and the Barista was (re)born. Skills didn’t change, but the perception did, and it became a premium retail role. I see the same thing potentially happening in Amazon Go. It highlights the importance of training and reskilling for any role, let alone retail

AI and automation will take jobs, but it will transform all, and create more. I am increasingly frustrated by headline-grabbing, end of the world predictions for employment in the AI age. The lack of training and skilling is a greater problem if the machines take over. If they do, it will reflect a lack of employee skilling and vision, alongside public policy more than anything else.

Traditional retailers are doing similar things on a scale or two down from Amazon Go. I have written before about Waitrose in the UK. There are still human elements, but they are automating the retail experience, albeit in a way that uses less technology and requires more honesty at this stage than Amazon Go.

The point has to be made that the ambition is strong but, as with most radical innovations, real-time deployment has been more difficult. It struggles with large numbers in the store, but that is why you have a beta. Traditional retail struggles with queues in many situations, so that is not new. Once the improvements are made, expect a roll out to key inner-city markets in the US. Whether it goes global or not is a worthwhile discussion, but do not be surprised if Alibaba has a similar plan for China.

Capture Point

As it likes to prove constantly, Amazon is again on the cutting edge of the consumer world. When Amazon Go comes to a local city near you, it will transform at speed the retail environment will not change. Skills and training will be important, but as with all of these innovations, it is the customer that will make the decision as to how they want to shop.

If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, CEO of capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology as the world becomes Digital. Phil may be contacted easily in the digital and real world.

phil@capioit.com

+61422231793

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Indian Vendors need to look to DXC to understand their future.

In 2008,  you could easily have been run out of town to suggest that within 10 years, CSC, EDS and HP Services would be one company. In 2017 we have DXC, and a onetime online bookseller is the dominant force in infrastructure management globally.  DXC is still working to redefine, re-engage and renew itself internally, let alone from a customer and market facing perspective. It is two steps forward, one step back at the moment, DXC believes it will shift to forward march in the near future. The shift, job losses and disengagement with the core customer base over the last 10 years have been extremely dramatic and incredibly difficult for employees, past and present. At the same time, the likes of Cisco, IBM and remaining parts of Hewlett Packard are struggling to find the revenue to replace what has been lost to the cloud, and more nimble proactive competitors.

This must serve as a warning for the Indian IT services vendors, particularly the big four of Wipro, TCS, HCL and Infosys. Alongside the likes of CapGemini, Genpact, Atos and others, they, and their business model are next in the firing line.

The direction that technology and application services is heading with the shift toward cloud, automation, self-service, AI etc simply means that the demand for commodity offshore leveraged services and solutions will fall dramatically. This is not a passing trend. It is the present and future.

We are seeing it already. capioIT believes that the technology and business services market will rapidly shift to a model that will look like the model below. This is the most transformative issue to face the services market since the rise of offshore outsourcing starting about 20 years ago. It is not about adding people anymore it is about automation. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 2.32.35 am

The structural weakness for the Indian vendors and the many that followed their once disruptive model is that they followed a business model whereby resources increased in lockstep with revenue. An increase of 15% in revenue was matched by a similar 15% headcount raise. Revenue per headcount didn’t shift, nor did labour flexibility. The model is unsustainable. Resources are not available to sustain it, retention, recruitment and training cannot cope. This is without regard to the challenges for the client of a business that can put limited training resources on site, or more likely, out of site in a delivery centre.

Some of the vendors have started to answer this challenge. HCL has had significant success in transforming to a more automated business model alongside developing strong partnerships with the likes of AWS. Accenture has had similar success. Infosys have had a significant focus on AI based innovation. This success proves that the technology required is not about job loss after job loss. Handled correctly it is about job transformation and retraining. 

Two questions come from this. When will the consolidation happen and who will drive it. It will start more quickly than most people will consider. capioIT believes that by 2019, there will be moves to merge or acquire from one or more of the top 4 Indian providers, with the likes of CapGemini at risk of being caught up in it, given their business model is almost identical. Genpact is at risk as so much of what they do for the financial services sector will be driven by Machine Learning and Cognitive solutions. Of the big four Indian providers, whilst all have their strengths and weaknesses, it is likely that the most pressure will come towards Wipro. They have to be a first mover acquirer or they will be swallowed up.

Of the big four Indian providers, whilst all have their strengths and weaknesses, it is likely that the most pressure will come towards Wipro. They have to be a first mover acquirer or they will be swallowed up.

This perspective is based on financial factors such as their margin and Market Cap, which lags most of their Indian colleagues but most importantly from numerous discussions with partners and the ecosystem. HCL has already made good progress towards automation and has the strongest infrastructure capability. TCS, are TCS, so whilst not immune, have a unique position in the local market. Infosys is going through a leadership transition, but if it can navigate that successfully it should be able to be an aggressive player and drive its own future.

Capture Point

The IT and business services market is at an inflexion point that will completely redefine the industry. Cloud, Automation and other technologies, as well as increased client expectations, are working to ensure that the CSC, HP Services merger creating DXC is only the beginning of the consolidation in the sector. 

The Indian vendors are the next to face the global spotlight. First mover advantage in both automation and acquisition will ensure that the winners can compete in the new ecosystem with models focused on client intimacy and automation. Failure to do so will leave vendors in very vulnerable positions. Given the speed in which the market is moving, there is not the time to wait and let it ride. Proactivity is required.

 

If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, CEO of capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology as the world becomes Digital. Phil may be contacted easily in the digital and real world.

phil@capioit.com

+61422231793

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Can Malaysia lead the ASEAN innovation race?

Asia is the powerhouse of the global economy, from enterprise to consumer. 4.5 billion people and some of the most innovative enterprises in the world are testament to the innovation and potential. Malaysia has been a country that for some has slipped under the radar in the overall growth of Asia.

Economically it remains solid. Since the GFC it has annual GDP growth has been consistently around 5%. Average incomes for consumers are growing, reflected by strong retail sales growth. In spite of these metrics, Malaysia faces a number of challenges. It’s old frenemy Singapore takes so much of the investment as the city-state wrings every piece of economic, political and innovation from the magic of its location, social makeup and benevolent dictatorship. It also suffers from a level of corruption that is unheard of in Singapore. According to the Transparency Index benchmark, it is ranked in the mid 50’s well behind Singapore and Hong Kong amongst others.

More broadly in ASEAN, with 31 million people, it does not have the population and thereby, consumers and related investment that is enjoyed by Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand. There is also an over-reliance on Petronas (state oil provider), that represents almost 30% of GDP, and an economy, particularly in Kuala Lumpur that commonly measures success in the number of skyscrapers it can build.

As a veteran of the commercial property market, the skyline is impressive but typifying Malaysia, cannot meet the likes of Shanghai, Dubai, Singapore or of course, Hong Kong.  The economy is dominated by the Klang Valley Metropolis, with limited exposure to the rest of the country politically, or economically (To be fair, capital city primacy is an issue faced globally, Thailand suffers from it, but also France and the UK have particularly dominant political, social and economic capitals)  It seems to fall between a few of these cracks to be in a middle economy limbo.

Subsequently, it struggles for innovation. The government has made long-term investments in Cyberjaya, but transformational digital innovation is lacking throughout the economy. When one looks at the banking, retail and telco sector, there is very few formats and dynamic customer experiences that are developed by Malaysian based enterprises. It is “follow the leader” from the likes of Singapore, Dubai etc. There is no Malaysian stamp. Education needs to improve as well. Education offshore needs to be balanced with growing a skillset locally that wants to remain, and one that wants to return to work locally in their home country rather than Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia or other markets.

The agencies charged with creating an innovative and digital leading Malaysia are not doing enough to create a great leap forward for the economy. It is all words and talk, but not enough differentiation to enable innovation to be homegrown, rather than imported. It must turn this around, take leadership from diverse countries such as Singapore, China, the UAE, Estonia and Korea and find a way to lead with digital outcomes and innovation that is for the Malaysian experience.

Capture Point

Malaysia is a country that can fall in the middle of the pack, whether it is economically, socially or population wise. It needs to drive digital and innovation outcomes within the local market to avoid this fate for the Digital economy of the future. It needs to develop local solutions, diversify the economy, remove corruption and encourage educated professionals to remain or return in the country. It needs to do this whilst at the same time decentralise the economy to ensure that solutions meet the needs of the entire country, not just Kuala Lumpur. This is a considerable challenge and requires the public and private sector to have more focus on real outcomes rather than just talkfests.

 

If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, CEO of capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology as the world becomes Digital. Phil may be contacted easily in the digital and real world.

phil@capioit.com

+61422231793

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Want to be a Digital Leader. Don’t be Corrupt.

Every country and enterprise globally aspires to be a digital leader. Digital is hard to define and measure and is far from mature. As a result, potential has not been fulfilled for both the public and private sector. Of course, there have been some brilliant examples of digital engagement for citizens, and the public and private sector. The likes of Estonia, Singapore, Amazon, Burberry and others set a high bar that many are working to raise.

What makes a digital economy? There are of course as many opinions as there are opinion pieces on this. There are many innovation measures such as education, access to investment capital, broadband investment, private-public partnership that contribute to the success of digital at a national government level.

One factor that has been surprisingly overlooked is the link between the levels of corruption and Digital. Corrupt countries are not digital leaders. Non-corrupt countries are digital leaders. It is as simple as that. 

One of my favourite pieces of regular analysis is the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. It looks at global levels of corruption from the least corrupt to the most. Not surprisingly, North Korea is at the tail of the rankings. It is also no surprise that Denmark and New Zealand lead the list of the least corrupt countries.

The top 10 ranking for corruption according to TI is as follows. (Note – Scandanavia dominates, aside from weather, they have societal wellbeing sorted on most measures)

  • Denmark and New Zealand
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Norway
  • Singapore
  • Netherlands
  • Canada
  • Germany, Luxembourg, United Kingdom

There is no real surprise with the ranking for these countries. For the record, Australia is 13th, Hong Kong 15, the US 18th, and Japan 20th.

Whilst measures of digital excellence are more subjective, and unlike the Transparency Index obviously do not have a strong historical quantitative analysis available, even at first glance, it is obvious that there is a positive correlation between digital and economic excellence and freedom and corruption. Correlation, of course, needs to be fully understood. Not all positive correlations are cause or effect. They can be a coincidence of course (see http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations – never swim and watch Nicholas Cage films).

So which countries have digital excellence? In order to have some similar credibility to the analysis, lets use the United Nations ranking of E-Government Development from 2016. (https://publicadministration.un.org/egovkb/en-us/Reports/UN-E-Government-Survey-2016)

The top 10 ranked countries for E-Government Development are

  • United Kingdom
  • Australia
  • South Korea
  • Singapore
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Denmark
  • France

Six nations appear in the top 10 for both lists. The remaining 4 are all ranked in the top 23 (France), highly with the exception of South Korea. Other measures have Singapore at number one, or Estonia. It is obvious at a qualitative and quantitative level that the corruption in a country is a key indicator of digital performance at the citizen,  public and private sector level.

South Korea is an anomaly. It ranks at number 52 in the TI index. The business structure is one that is tied to both very successful economic development, but also significant corruption. The former head of Samsung is serving a prison term for corruption and the former president is set to join him. 

Of course, it is churlish, almost offensive, to mark down countries that face significant corruption for their level of digital services. Provision of basic services for citizens is a challenge for these countries, let alone investments in Digital services delivery. This is a real issue. Digital solutions, particularly around payments, mobility and services access provide significant benefits in countries with marginal economic strength. Unfortunately the levels of corruption from contracting to construction ensure that this is unable to successfully reach citizen service delivery.

Capture Point

Simply if you want to be a digital economy do not be a corrupt country. Economic transparency also dictates that if you want to be a country relatively free from corruption be a digital one. There is no other choice.

 

If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, CEO of capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology as the world becomes Digital. Phil may be contacted easily in the digital and real world.

phil@capioit.com

+61422231793

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