DXC Acquires System Partners – Finally joins the Salesforce Ecosystem

At Dreamforce 2018 today, DXC announced the acquisition of Australian based Salesforce Platinum partner, System Partners. System Partners is one of the leading integrators in Australia, with a focus on Financial Services and the Public Sector. Firstly, congratulations to both parties. Acquisitions are a tough, but ultimately and hopefully worthwhile exercise for all parties.

The acquisition is not a surprise. It was industry knowledge that the founders of System Partners were looking for an exit strategy, and DXC has had a longterm acquisition strategy in Australia, both as DXC and previously with CSC, most significantly acquiring UXC.

The acquisition provides DXC with the first significant foray into the Salesforce ecosystem. Despite only having offices in Australia, according to data in the Salesforce App Exchange, System Partners will double the number of certified consultants. Salesforce capability has long been a significant hole for DXC. The lack of a SaaS/Cloud practice has been a critical issue in limiting the power of DXC to offer clients an end to end capability. Inside the Australian market, the deal makes good sense. It is in alignment with the former UXC businesses and has a complimentary industry coverage with the focus on public and financial services sectors.

There will be a transition issue for the team at System Partners, and this will need to be addressed with a suitable incentive to stay in the firm. capioIT has identified that the more substantial consolidations in the Salesforce ecosystem have been marked by a loss of skills from the acquired firm as the reality of being part of a significant global entity takes hold. DXC will hope that the UXC experience will be the key benchmark in this regard.

From a global perspective, DXC is still going to be significantly underweight in the Salesforce ecosystem. It hasn’t been able to replicate the DXC Australian model, underpinned by the UXC model. Unfortunately for DXC, due to the lack of a mid-sized Solution providers market the scale race is going to take time, and need substantial organic investment. The lack of momentum to date may be challenging to ignite given this track record.

It is also worth commentating on the Australian market, and the broader Asia Pacific Solutions and SI market for Salesforce. Consolidation is accelerating. In August Cognizant acquired SaaSFocus, an Australian and Indian based integrator. capioIT is confident that the scramble for scale by larger providers will continue throughout 2018 and beyond. That is excellent news for the smaller integrators, but it cannot be seen as an easy way out. The larger SI’s are not naive. They will acquire for quality and the best people. Valuations certainly have come down from the heady days of the acquisition of Cloud Sherpas by Accenture.

Capture Point
DXC has finally entered the Salesforce ecosystem through the acquisition of System Partners in Australia. This is significant globally and in the Australian context for DXC. It is very complimentary for Australia and provides the opportunity for DXC to launch a global SaaS/Cloud ecosystem. The critical issue will be skills retention and scaling up. Success in these factors will be the measurement of success for the deal in the long term.

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Customer Perspectives on the Salesforce Ecosystem

As part of the Capture Share process – see – https://capioit.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/1828/ capioIT conducted extensive qualitative interviews with Salesforce clients to understand their experience with both the Salesforce platform and the integration provider. here is some of the feedback 

Salesforce has had a rapidly increasing strategic and operational impact on clients. Not surprisingly this has accelerated as the scope and breadth of the platform has expanded organically and through acquisitions.

As part of the Capture Share validation process, we interviewed over 30 clients of Salesforce. These clients were global in geography, crossed a range of industries and ranged from leading auto manufacturers and financial institutions to regional government agencies and retailers. Due to time and geographical constraints, interviews were conducted over the phone by this report’s author.

Naturally, there were variances across each of the respondents in their usage, satisfaction and outcomes from Salesforce. Note, the primary objective of the interviews was to understand the usage of third-party solution providers, but naturally, the overall impact of Salesforce was a key underlying theme about which, customers were more than willing to talk.

From a Salesforce perspective, there were several critical outcomes from the standpoint of the customer. Overall, satisfaction is high. There is a reason why Salesforce is the largest CRM provider, has a real position of strength in crucial customer-focused cloud platforms and is regularly ranked as one of, if not the most innovative firm globally.

Where Salesforce has succeeded with customers

  • Constant and long-term Innovation in product and execution
  • Customers have noted improvement in the integration of the product family, with Marketing Cloud an exception to this. More integration is needed structurally and from a product roadmap
  • Momentum and growth in the market generated by Salesforce is a definite benefit. The energy enables clients to sell Salesforce, and often CRM investments in their leadership and C-Suite.
  • Ease of use of the product. Training for most users is minimal at the entry level, early speed to business value does occur.
  • Investing in local data centres, most notably from the interviews capioIT undertook. Canada and Australia. Migration to these centres had been slightly slower than anticipated, but acceleration was noted.
  • Investing in, and managing the ICV ecosystem, creating a genuine differentiation across the ecosystem and encouraging large cross-investment, e.g. Solution providers investing in ISV’s alongside Salesforce Ventures.
  • Training and skill development. Trailhead is a crucial tool for training platforms, both from a content and experience perspective and is clearly the benchmark across the technology and business services sector.

 

Where Salesforce needs further investment  

  • Dev Ops and Automation – The failings of this was a very consistent pain point for clients. Progress is too slow, and it is not considered a priority for Salesforce, or for the solution providers. There is too much “buck passing” between Salesforce, the SI and the customer.
  • Industry Solutions have been too slow to develop, and the integration of the solutions is either problematic or does not provide the business outcomes required.
  • Lightning is typically too hard and expensive to integrate. Further refinement is required for Salesforce to optimise this.
  • Data privacy and overall importance and awareness lacks particularly in light of the strength of issues around this in 2018
  • Analytics across integrated platforms requires a platform perspective and investment. It is considered the lost child by some customers.
  • Business customers need more support for the integration of Salesforce into the IT department. There cannot be a barrier between the two groups, and Salesforce needs to be actively looking to overcome this.

Capture Point

Satisfaction with both Salesforce and the broader ecosystem is high. Clients are not naive, they know what works and what doesn’t from the Salesforce ecosystem perspective. Radical change is not required, but an incremental and systemic improvement.

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Google Maps is now a GIS platform – Consumers and Enterprise win

 

Google held their Enterprise Cloud meeting in San Francisco in July. While there was plenty to hear from them regarding investment in the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), the announcements were not limited to the cloud. For me, as a “former” GIS practitioner and active participant and observer of the GIS and location services market, some of the most exciting announcements came from Google Maps.

Google Maps is without a doubt now a GIS platform. It has been identified as such by Google. The announcement is significant as Google has long been loath to call itself a GIS platform. That has changed. Some purists will also feel that it is not a real GIS platform, but it is the number one mapping platform in the world. It has mastered crowdsourcing and use cases alike. Definitions don’t matter, user intent and outcome is in place alongside capability.

What does this mean? It is a not unexpected development in the platform or the broader location industry. Google is a default consumer tool and the richness of the experience on the platform is not going to be missed particularly from a consumer engagement. It doesn’t mean that Google Maps is going to be a significant force from a traditional environmental GIS perspective, except to be a communications platform for example in natural disaster management. Use cases in government and education will be slower than commercial realms. Most importantly, it means that GIS and location analysis can be democratised. This is a natural and greatly appreciated outcome.

For incumbents – This is a threat to both legacy traditional providers such as ESRI and the burgeoning open source community. While they have worked together in the past, this will change the dynamic somewhat. Smaller vendors such as MapInfo that rely on the commercial sector are more at risk from the two platforms that surround it, e.g. ESRI and now GoogleMaps.

What use cases will suit it? The most obvious use cases remain the same for Google Maps. Route optimisation, gaming, demographic analysis, market optimisation all work. What is going to be an increasingly critical use case is that of IOT related outcomes, for example, asset tracking. It is an easily justifiable use case. You cannot do IOT without GIS.

What will Google need to change? Users are familiar with Google Maps. The cost of enterprise deployment can be a challenge, so this will need to be managed by Google and provides the opportunities. Increased training and certification, while flying in the face of democratisation in some respects is also going to be a pivotal outcome to build the ecosystem.

Capture Point

It is not a shock that Google Maps now considers itself a GIS platform. The evolution is no surprise. It will continue to be the default platform for consumer use cases, and as it continues investment, enterprise outcomes are going to be even more clearly defined. The progression is great. We need competition and revolution in the GIS ecosystem. If nothing else, this will be driven with further and more aggressive Google Maps growth.

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capioIT releases the 2018 Global Salesforce Solution Providers Capture Share Report – Accenture still leads the way, but competition is catching up.

The constant growth of Salesforce has proven to be on of the critical success stories for the SaaS market, if not the most outstanding success. In 2018 it passed US$10B in revenue and is on track to be the fastest software vendor to $20B. This growth has not been on its own. It has worked closely with customers and a growing solution ecosystem to ensure the mantle as the world’s largest SaaS vendor.

As a result, capioIT has taken the time to produce the third bi-annual Capture Share Report for the Global Salesforce Solution Providers market. As per the Capture Share methodology, we have undertaken comprehensive research on 13 leading vendors in the Salesforce solution ecosystem. To support this, we have conducted extensive customer interviews and looked at the market from all perspectives.

While the Salesforce solution market was once differentiated by the emergence of independent solutions leaders such as Cloud Sherpas and Bluewolf, acquisitions have made that a historical footnote. Growth has come across the market scale wise. This growth has been primarily at the global SI and advisory end of the market.

This rise has been most evident in the Big 4 audit firms and Indian based SI’s. Importantly, the Indian based SI’s (TCS, Wipro and Infosys) present a unique challenge for Salesforce. Salesforce has historically treated them on a level below the nominated Global SI’s of Accenture, Deloitte, PwC, IBM and Capgemini. This approach has become increasingly out of touch with the reality of the engagement of the noted Indian based providers. It will change, the results of the Capture Share reflect that requirement.

Six vendors were ranked as Market Makers in 2018. (In alphabetical order)

  • Accenture
  • Wipro-Appirio
  • Bluewolf, an IBM Company
  • Deloitte
  • PwC
  • TCS

Accenture has first place in the rankings. This leadership follows up from 2016 and 2014 and reflects a long-term vision and investment path. It sets the benchmark. However, the fact that the likes of IBM and PwC are now much closer in capability to Accenture is a very positive outcome. capioIT stridently believes that this competition can only drive innovation which is essential for Salesforce, its customers and the broader ecosystem. While the market is crowded at the top, the gap between the leaders and the challengers is only growing. It may get too late for some challengers.

capioIT included 13 vendors in the study. This is a similar number of vendors involved in the 2014 and 2016 research and is reflective of the consolidation that has occurred and the slow emergence of new providers. What is of note is the highly tiered nature to the partnering environment for Salesforce. Both the market and Salesforce must do more to establish a robust tier of mid-sized solution providers. A mid-market will reemerge through acquisitions and mergers and is critical if the solution capability is to mirror that of SAP and Oracle concerning scope and influence. It is particularly relevant for the emerging markets for Salesforce. Salesforce cannot grow geographically without partners to support and enable.

The following vendors were included in the report.

  • Accenture
  • Acumen Solutions
  • Bluewolf, an IBM Company
  • Capgemini
  • Cognizant
  • Deloitte
  • Fujitsu
  • Infosys
  • NTT
  • PwC
  • TCS
  • TechMahindra
  • Wipro Appirio

For more information, details on the full report or clarification, please contact Phil Hassey, email phil@capioit.com.

Capture Share reports are based on the analysis of 17 critical capabilities and attributes of services providers. These attributes are focused in two key areas, Transform and Leverage. 

To ensure the appropriate level of analysis and data integrity, the individual attributes are weighted in percentage terms on the basis of the overall influence for the Transform and Leverage capabilities.

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AlibabaCloud has the chance to own the ASEAN Cloud Market

The cloud in the Asia Pacific region has had considerable build up in the past two years. In the major markets, all of the hyper-scale providers are present or have announced intentions. As a result, Australia, India, Japan, Korea and Singapore are well covered. Multiple delivery models exist, hybrid and multi clouds are the delivery offering of choice. AWS and Azure have clear leadership, Google has promised to invest more heavily.

In smaller Asia Pacific markets the depth, scope and maturity of offerings are less consistent. For some markets, this is not an impediment, New Zealand, in particular, is thriving across all cloud models despite not having any hyper-scale presence on the ground. Hong Kong has good choices, often as a proxy to China access. For other markets, there is no presence and the option to have one of the US hyper-scale providers invest is limited. capioIT first wrote about this in 2017. ASEAN leads the opportunity for redefining Cloud Infrastructure Locations

Countries such as Indonesia and Thailand are due for more cloud platform investment. The consumer-driven opportunity in ASEAN should be enough to drive further investment, despite some troubles that exist. They are keen to move to the cloud to enjoy the benefits of the platform but have limited scale and secure option. It does not look like a business model will come from Microsoft, AWS or Google to meet there needs. That leaves Alibaba to be the saviour. It recently announced a second node in Malaysia; it already has a fledgeling Indonesian presence. The Philippines and Thailand are not far behind. It would not surprise that the likes of Vietnam are on the roadmap as well.

This early mover advantage from a geographic perspective is going to drive success for AlibabaCloud. There is not the market opportunity in the current demand and delivery models for more than two hyper-scale providers in these markets, so the advantage of the first mover is amplified.

It also reflects a growing investment from Chinese firms in these markets. China is Indonesia’s largest trading partner and is the third largest FDI contributor after Singapore and Japan. Thailand, although lagging as an FDI source, is a crucial trading partner. While there is some resentment in parts of the countries to the growth in Chinese investment, they have pragmatism, and the broader role of the likes of Alibaba make it difficult to stop. AlibabaCloud should not stop at ASEAN, globally there are many potential markets to enable it to develop scale in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe.

It is also worth noting how few people fully understand the size scope and scale of Alibaba and Tencent. AliPay and WeChat are dominant platforms in China, and they will continue to stretch that domination globally. While the Chinese experience will not be immediately replicated, the scale and growth are spectacular.

Capture Point

Mid-sized economies have struggled to get hyper-scale investment in cloud odes and location despite growing interest in the cloud. AlibabaCloud has the scale and capital support from China to undertake early mover investment, particularly in the ASEAN region. This will enable it to support Chinese and domestic organisations as they shift to cloud and will force the US-based hyper-vendors to change their business model to be agiler and suited to emerging markets. If it plays out, then the customer is the winner.

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IBM Think 2018 – What will drive IBM toward the future

 

IBM held their think conference in March 2018. As with all vendor conferences, the content comes fast, it is varied and takes a while to digest.

Think was the first time that IBM integrated all their business units into the one event. If it is to be an integrated enterprise, it had no choice. As a result, coverage was broad and sessions numerous. Key focus areas from both a session and an exhibition perspective were:
* Cloud – IBM has started to understand what it wants to do in the cloud, execution is the challenge
* AI and Analytics – Watson, Watson and more Watson
* Security – IBM has a robust security functionality, but needs to do a better job of integrating it back into both IBM’s business and that of clients and partners
* Systems, Services and Software – Yes, this still exists with varying degrees of growth and visibility

Overall it was a successful event from an IBM perspective, more Oracle Open World, than Dreamforce, but that is to be expected. It is clear however that IBM has been to, and learnt from Salesforce, so expect more from that.

There are a few key areas that capioIT is talking about after the event.

Walmart Case Study on Blockchain and the Humble Mango
IBM had an excellent case study in Walmart. Walmart has a supply chain scale that is not matched by any other traditional retailer globally. That is not to say it is perfect. The humble Mango and subsequent deployment of Blockchain may help change that. Blockchain is successfully being used to check the mango from farm to plate. This leads to increased supply chain visibility and effectiveness as well as massive improvements in the ability to react as required, for example, if there was a product recall due to food safety issues. Pre Blockchain, it could take weeks to comb myriad pieces of paper, now it takes 2.3 seconds. This is a startling number, and when you see the IBM investment in blockchain, the potential for it to be the cornerstone of IBM in the future alongside Watson and cloud is clear.

IBM Approach to Data Integrity and Respecting Customer Privacy
It is unsure if it was a blessing or a curse, but as the event unfolded in Las Vegas, so to the controversy over Facebook’s use of customer data and Cambridge Analytics came to the fore. IBM, and any other enterprise that directly or indirectly (through Watson for example) manages customer data had to be very sure about their response, particularly given the changing information.
IBM chose to handle it directly and honestly. They went for a high-level approach to respecting data integrity and customer privacy. If IBM can maintain this, it may find that a more conservative approach to data will win it friends from users and enterprises alike.

Is IBM tone deaf to non-enterprise customers?
This was the biggest disappointment of the day. CEO Ginni Rometty gave an energetic keynote outlining IBM’s vision until the customers hit the stage. At the Interconnect event in 2017, a precursor to Think, the opportunity was largely missed to have new industries. In 2017, we had Telco, Bank and on a positive note, Everledger, an Australian startup focused on using blockchain to circumvent the illegal diamond trade. Alongside this, we had Girls Who Code. This showed promise and diversity even if the banks, telco and tax planning customers were mega enterprise and very limited. 2018 took this and removed the startup and diversity angle. We got a Bank, Telco and logistics company that IBM is in a JV with. No start-ups, just CEO’s of some of the largest enterprises on the planet. It was very tone deaf to the needs of IBM’s non-enterprise customers and partners. It was incredibly underwhelming. IBM needs to address the mid-market and startup community with a lot more vigour and credibility if it is to reach the levels of growth again that it requires. It won’t have another chance if it retakes a limited view.

Salesforce is IBM new best friend

For years IBM and Salesforce had and wanted nothing to do with each other. One was the new model, the other the legacy world. Of course, times change. Now the two firms are intimately entwined. The first significant step was the acquisition of Bluewolf. This created a relationship that has built rapidly from this point. Einstien and Watson are now engaged, and will by definition learn from each other. IBM also acquired event inputs from Dreamforce. There were many subtle and otherwise nods toDreamforce at the event, although it still has a way to go to match the theatre of Salesforce. For the future, capioIT expects significant advances in the relationship. This will be driven by further activates in the machine learning space with Watson and Einstein, but also in Blockchain. This will make significant opportunities for both, and expect Bluewolf to be central to the advance of this relationship/

Capture Point
A couple of weeks post Think 2018, there are fundamental talking points. IBM has started to slowly rebound and has strong positions in Cognitive, Blockchain and digital services with a growing capability in Security. It needs to execute and integrate quickly on this to ensure that it can lead, and fill the vacuum that will come regarding enterprise data privacy and integrity. It also needs to reflect on customers and partners a commitment to them even if they are not Fortune 100. It has this capability; it fails to communicate it repeatedly.

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The Product Manager is Dead, long live the Outcome Manager

Product Managers are the central lifeblood of the technology firm regardless of what category of product is being sold. It is an unfortunate reality that the role itself should be retired. Why? Simply it is about the product, not the customer requirements. The role is designed to manage and shift product regardless of claims to customer centricity. Ask any product manager what they sell and they will give you a deeply detailed rundown of the features, form and acquisition of the product.  As an analyst, I meet with several product managers a week. I have been increasingly frustrated in recent years as it is clear that they all have the same failure. Selling product, not outcomes. This has to end.

Meet the Outcome Manager

The switch to outcome manager is essential and needs to happen now.  What outcomes are you providing the client? Which product provides the outcome it is less relevant than business success. The product design and capability is not what should be sold nor bought. The business benefit is all that matters

Don’t think that it is enough to just change the title. The mentality and functionality have to change. You have to understand how the product is being used, what is the measurement of success, what are the impediments, you then need to be able to articulate this in business language, not product or technology.

Instead of providing a CRM platform, you enable a client to communicate with verified prospects today, leading to accelerated sales. At the same time, the customer has to understand that instead of asking for a CRM platform, they need to understand their business requirements and outcomes. It is simple to say of course, but the history of the product manager means that it may become more difficult to migrate.

It is more than worth noting that the redundancy of the Product Manager is not just restricted to those firms that have struggled with the technology transition of the past few years. Some of the leading SaaS and IaaS vendors have caught the trap of the product manager even with the capability and brand acceptance to most readily provide outcomes to clients.

Capture Point

The redundancy of the Product Manager reflects the issues and challenges when IT meets business. It has to change, and even simple mind shifts such as the concept of the Outcomes Manager is a shift in the future required direction. It is an example when a simple name can actually transform and make a difference.

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