Spam in my WordPress comments… “wot is point are you acheeving thankly”

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uf007810We have spam filters on email and WordPress does a good job of eliminating much of the worst. But still some gets through.But you have to wonder exactly what they think they are achieving when you get comments like this:

Paragraph writing is also a excitement, if you be acquainted with afterward you can write if not it is difficult to write

or

Hi Dear, are you in fact visiting this site daily, if so afterward you will without doubt take nice knowledge.

or this classic

Display on towards all of the tragedy of hard for that cause of your levels
and characters.

 

I cannot believe this is the work of some automated robot, but it is the appalling lack of English and business acumen of someone with a keyboard and an internet account.  And clearly more time than sense.

The internet is a wonderful thing, and it warms my heart to know that my blog is read and appreciated by people like this. To the other 80,000 visitors – thank you for visiting – even if you are automated robots phishing for email addresses.

QR codes and iPad drag exhibitors out of the dark ages @eventprodshow #eps13 #ipad

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The Event Production Show, which kicks off today at Olympia in London, is the exhibition for exhibitors, so you’d expect it to be at the cutting edge of event technology. But this is a world first.

“Can I scan your badge,  Sir?”  Doh!!

Traditionally the “badge and lead retrieval” systems provided by the event organisers are stuck in the dark ages. It is normally a bar code on a plastic badge and then each exhibitor has to rent a bar code scanner. When a delegate wanders onto a stand, their barcode is scanned and if any notes are taken they are laboriously pecked out on the miniature keyboard. At the end of each day they return the barcode reader to the event organizer to get the leads off it.  Whilst this is a profit center for the event organizer it is a horrible experience for the delegate and exhibitor, and labor intensive for the event organizer. Don’t want to pay? No problem. The alternative is paper.

Result; Unprofessional, inaccurate lead information, poorly followed up leads, wasted paper.  An expensive way to waste 2 days standing around. And no way of quantifying the benefit.

“80% of leads gathered at a show are not followed up.”  -Center for Exhibition Industry Research (ceir.org)

Which is why the Event Production Show has embraced the latest technologies. 

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 10.18.50As delegates arrive they have their badge printed with a QR code that encodes their name, company, job title and a host of other information. No wasted badges for no shows, or handwritten ones for walk-ups. Before the show starts, exhibitors can download and install Marketpoint Tradeshow iPad app. They can create a centralized set of customized questions for their show workers. When a delegate walks onto the stand a show worker scans the QR code on the badge with the camera. The app interprets the data and creates a lead record and then steps through the pre-defined questions. Once finished the record is sync’d to the cloud and is shared with the other iPads on the stand.

What is even more powerful is that the app can also hold marketing brochures as PDFs which can be presented to the delegate and then emailed directly from the app to the delegate. This eliminates printing brochures, flyers and datasheets that will never be read and that often fill the waste bins outside Olympia, or are junked after the show.

Finally, there are some great analytics that can be gleaned from the app as it syncs data from all the iPads on the stand; busiest times on the stand, most popular marketing materials, most effective person on the stand…..

Result: effective lead follow up and a true assessment of the effectiveness of the show

Overkill – we only have 3 people working our stand

Now most of the stands at the Event Production Show have fewer than 10 show workers so some of these analytics may seem overkill. But some of Marketpoint’s customers, such as Caterpillar, have shows where they have over 100 staff working the stand for 5 days. For them the analytics are gold dust.

No matter what the size of the exhibition  or the exhibitor’s stand, leveraging the QR code technology with the Marketpoint Tradeshow iPad lead retrieval system is just a better way. Cleaner, slicker and more professional.

Welcome to the future of exhibitions.

Online purchases www.crapbuyingexperience.com

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I bumped into this fantastic video by Google who shows the online checkout experience in real life. How many websites have you visited buying Christmas presents that are this bad. Your answer is probably “most”.

Web designers seem to forget 2 things:

1. Their job is to remove as much friction from the process as possible

2. Customers can and will go elsewhere.

Sit back and enjoy:

Who wants my iPad? Samsung answers my dreams (but too late) #samsung #apple #ipad

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Exactly 2 years today I wrote an article having got my new iPad. Is it really only 2 years ago th iPad was released!! It was called “Who wants my iPad

In summary, the article highlighted the key weaknesses of tablets.

“At work I am a ‘power user’. I write books and white papers, I give presentations, I tweet and blog   So the bluetooth keyboard has made like immeasurably better.  But I cannot review and update that MSWord document I was emailed. I cannot quickly develop a presentation pulling pictures from my huge library of images.”

The iPad experience had made me realise what I REALLY, REALLY wanted.

“Tablet 3.0 : It is a tablet with the same form function as the iPad with a high-definition touch screen that rotates.  But one with a ‘proper’ OS so I can run business apps, a large solid state hard disk, a couple of USB ports, a separate bluetooth keyboard and mouse, ….  oh and a battery life of 8+ hours.”

At the Gartner Symposium, I stopped by the IT Expo and the Samsung stand. And they showed me a Tablet 3.0.  It looks like a laptop, but the keyboard is detachable and it operates like a tablet, but running Windows8.

The key question “Is this too late?”  or maybe this is Microsoft’s chance to leapfrog Apple and their hold over the business-oriented iPad users. It maybe for many users. Sadly it is too late. I have left Microsoft and gone to the dark side. I LOVE my Macbook Air.

Standing in the fire hose of data: drowning or refreshing?

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Big Data is a great topic.

Everyone recognises the rise the volumes of data being generated by individuals, systems and devices. There are some fabulous headline figures about data. It is the journalists, analyst and bloggers dream.

IT vendors are jumping onto the bandwagon and any analysis and reporting capability they have is being rapidly rearchitected to be able to cope with the dramatic increase in data volumes. Some of this is still marketing-ware. Others are already shipping. But this is reactive. A cynical response to “sell more stuff”.

Big Data – so what

What is far more interesting is the discussion that was a major part of the keynote of the TUCON TIBCO User Conference;  “What opportunities does Big Data open up?”

The strapline of the conference is “Everything is different” and the walls of the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas are littered with some compelling statistics about the exponential rise in data volumes.  The ideas is ‘whilst you were sleeping’, but of course we’re in Las Vegas, so sleep is a secondary item!!

However, some of the numbers are staggering, Whilst you were sleeping….

  • 294 billions emails were sent
  • 35 millions apps were downloaded
  • more iPhones were bought than babies born
  • 250 millions photos uploaded to Facebook
  • 2 million blog posts were written
  • information consumed on the internet would fill 168 millions DVDs

Big Data goes to work

The numbers are almost incomprehensible and they require different approaches to drive any value out of the stream of data.  There is simply too much to capture, store in a database and later run reports.  That is 20th century thinking.

The exponential rise in data requires different approaches and thinking. We need to analyst the “data in motion”, on the fly, in real time.  We need to glean some insights as it passes and much if it is only valuable  ‘in the moment’.

Real companies real examples

I have had the pleasure at TUCON of interviewing each of the keynote speakers for some video case studies. Whilst they covered different industries and a wide range of sizes of company, there has been a common theme.  They are harnessing the stream of data, making sense of it, and using the insights from the data to be able to transform their company’s products and services.  They are able to offer what Vivek Ranadive, TIBCOs’s founder and CEO, calls “extreme value”; something that differentiates the star performers from the also-rans.

Here are just 2 examples

Rick Welts, Golden State Warriors 

Rick Welts is President and COO of Golden State Warriors, the Bay Area basketball team. His entire career has been in the NBA and he is focused on using the different streams of customer data to dramatically improve the experience of going to a game. Interestingly, the enjoyment of the experience is not tied to the result of the game. Which is lucky because in the past the Warriors lost more than they won. But that is changing.

They look at the entire end to end process, from when you leave your house , park at the ground, watch the game, get refreshments, leave the ground and get home. The question they are asking is ”How can we improve every facet of that end to end experience”.

Technology has a vital role to play and TIBCO is helping them with analysis of the data and also the development of a mobile app that will enhance the fan’s connection with the team and enjoyment at the game.

Rick’s passion and enthusiasm for basketball and the potential opportunities to leverage data and technology were infectious. I hope that comes over in the video footage.

Tom Siebel, C3   www.c3energy.com  

Tom Siebel is best known in technology circles as the founder and CEO of Siebel Systems that was sold to Oracle in 2006 for $5.9 billion. He made enough that finding work was no longer necessary. But like most entrepreneurs he is driven and in 2009 he launched C3, an energy management company. He saw the opportunity to capture all the data being generated by sensors in companies and homes. C3 offers a family of software solutions that help companies to understand, optimize, and report on their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, in order to reduce cost, risk, and environmental impact.

A visionary Big Data company, considering it was launched years before the term Big Data was coined.

C3’s SaaS based software is driving incredible savings for companies such Constellation Energy and GE and the recent deal announced with Pacific Gas and Electric.

“We see significant value for our commercial and industrial customers from using C3′s energy and emissions management solution. With C3, customers can not only better understand the details of their use, but PG&E can also identify the most appropriate high value mitigation projects for rapid energy savings.”  Saul Zambrano,  Sr. Director, Products Group, Customer Energy Solutions PG&E

As Tom said, no longer do you need huge financial backing to be able to launch a software company, unlike the days when he founded Siebel Systems. With SaaS technology platforms available which are paid based on consumption the start-up costs can be low. The challenge is the integration of multiple streams of data from systems both inside his clients but also from 3rd party systems. That is where his long relationship with TIBCO comes in. Siebel Systems and TIBCO had a long relationship, and so Tom again turned to TIBCO for help on the really tough integration issues he faced with his clients.

What was refreshing was that Tom’s vision was to build a significant company over the next decade. He recognizes that value takes time to build. He and the other panelists at TUCON, (Vivek Ranadivé , Scott McNealy, K.R. Sridhar) were wonderfully dismissive of over-hyped social media companies with sky high but rapidly dropping valuations.

Big Data opens up new opportunities

So Big Data is allowing existing companies to deliver “extreme value”. It is a massive competitive differentiator, but it does require discontinuous, visionary thinking. The technology is available from TIBCO to make sense of the data, but the new opportunities will require reshaping their companies. That means process redesign and  reengineering. But the technology is also available to do that from TIBCO.

For startups there are huge opportunities to exploit Big Data, enter the market and side-step the incumbent players. And with cloud based applications paid on a consumption basis the barriers to entry have never been lower.

We live in exciting times. Let’s dive in.

Business is Social – the script according to Salesforce.com’s Benioff

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If you were one of the 90,000 who attended Dreamforce you would have been swept away in the energy and euphoria that is the Salesforce.com machine. Who couldn’t be. It is now the largest tech conference with 800 sessions, 350 partners and big name bands. And now Salesforce.com has a run rate of $3bn per year.  Impressive stuff.

Woooooooowwwwwww!!?!! I’m reaaaaaaaaaallly pumped.

For those who missed it, below is the first 17 minutes of Marc’s keynote. Make sure you have lots of room so you can jump around and punch the air.

But all that said, there are some very important messages here. Every year Salesforce.com extends its vision for the socially enabled enterprise and more importantly it is showing a road map for clients to follow. This is critical because the vast gulf between the “socially enabled enterprises” and the laggards is growing daily at a ferocious rate.

Luckily social is not relevant to us

And don’t think it only applies to retailers or B2C companies. The same rules apply for B2B companies dealing with their partners and customers and every company in terms of getting the best from their employees.

The social revolution is now upon us – well, most of us. 4.5 billion social users. Now 70% of businesses use social to connect with customers and McKinsey estimate there is $1.3trn of value to be gained by better use of social.

IDC estimate that the annual growth of social is 47%, and there is 123% growth in social customer interaction and at the last count there were 150m customer social transactions per day. That, ladies and gentlemen is the “customer revolution”.

A recent IBM Global CEO Study conducted face-to-face interviews with 1,709 CEOs, general managers and senior public sector leaders around the globe. These leaders confirmed that our new connected era is changing how people engage. How are CEOs responding to the complexity of increasingly interconnected organizations, markets, societies and governments? The key findings center on:

  • Employees. Empowering employees through values
  • Customers. Engaging customers as individuals
  • Partnering. Amplifying innovation with partnerships

Some really important things to consider here as I am about to fly to TUCON, TIBCO’s annual user conference.

The social revolution

So the question you need to ask yourself is, “Is your company going through a social revolution?

Cue the video

So the cloud changes everything? Doh! But not how you expected it to. #bpm

A recent question How do you think the cloud will change BPM? raised by eBizQ got a flurry of conflicting answers.

Part of the problem is back to the definition of BPM (process discovery vs process automation vs operations platform). Some of it is possibly a theoretical perspective on  the cloud – the “It is just technology” view.

But at Nimbus we have had a cloud offering for 5 years, so my comments are based on real world experience for over enterprise 100 clients in every industry including Nestlé, SAP, Novartis, BP, BestBuy Europe and Toyota.

And what is surprising is that the behaviour is not as expected.  Yes, 90% of new clients use the Nimbus Cloud for reduced speed, risk and cost reasons. But they do not necessarily see the cloud platform (currently) as a long term answer.  This is not a reflection on the robustness or quality of the Nimbus Cloud service.

Let me explain:

The Cloud for business users speeds up implementation, reduces cost and risk.

Business users have a transformation project and they want to start mapping to understand/optimise their processes and want to then provide the mapped content as the operations guide / manual / platform to all business users, to the auditors and also to IT to reconfigure the back end applications (SAP, Oracle, Salesforce.com) or build a new workflow application (BPMS).

Previously the options for the business users were

- get IT to find a server and install Nimbus Control (ie wait 3-6 months)

- be forced to use an “inappropriate” IT modelling tool (System Architect, ARIS, CaseWise, Provision)

- just start using MSOffice (Visio, Powerpoint) with the obvious limitations of lack of central management, collaboration and governance.

With the Nimbus Cloud users can get going immediately using the right tool for the job, purchase from OpEx rather than CapEx, and also prove the business case for wider rollout with reduced risk. Then after 6-18 months we are seeing many (but not all) clients decide to install the Nimbus Control application on premise.  As we offer both options clients have choice.

We are hearing the migration on-premise is for several reasons

- the tight integration with the core systems (Active Directory, email, document management, business intelligence, enterprise applications). This is possible with a cloud app (as Salesforce.com has proven), but it is easier on-premise

- the security of critical IP – the DNA of the business – processes, metrics, documents, policies, collaboration

- the scale of the roll-outs – 10,000-300,000 users – means it is a core centrally managed application

- and IT Departments exist to install and run applications, so the cloud is stealth outsourcing which takes jobs away.

A couple of quotes that bring it to life:

“Using the Nimbus hosted services helped us quickly get a pilot project underway and prove that our lean operations initiative was working”  Toyota

“We met the CFBA’s compliance requirements on time thanks to the rapid implementation made possible with Nimbus hosting capability”   ING Bank

“The project has been aided in a huge way because it was hosted by Nimbus”  Carphone Warehouse

Enough said.  Or maybe not.  Let the debate continue.

The Stealth Cloud has crashed #cloud #cio

At some point the cloud services will be as reliable at the electricity into our homes and offices. But I remember as a child in the UK in the winter expecting to have power cuts.  We took candles and matches or flashlights to bed. Wood was stockpiled to burn to heat the house.  Now, that is unheard of.  Ironically, as I write this the local electricity company Pacific Gas and electric (PG&E) have cut the power for planned maintenance work from 9:30am to 5:30pm. No electricity means no fridge, cooker, internet, telephone, music.  Luckily my laptop is fully charged and my smartphone has a signal. But I can always fall back to the trusty pen and paper.

So it was interesting today to read that Amazon’s EC2 cloud crashed overnight.  Twitter this morning was a blaze with “disruption to FourSquare “ For me it was a welcome relief not to have postings to tell me “Peter James has just gone into Victoria’s Secret in Las Vegas” or “Robert has checked into Marriott, London”.

But there are number of applications that run on the Amazon Cloud, probably snuck in without the knowledge, support or blessing of the CIO or IT Department, and have become core applications inside corporations. These I have been calling The Stealth Cloud.

If the CIO has no knowledge of these apps, there is no backup or contingency plan. No work around. So how do corporations assess the risk or impact of an outage? Will it simply mean that an internal department is less productive, or will it hit your customers? Does that cloud app have customer data, support cases, order data or financial information? When it comes back on line what are the processes for re-entering the backlog of data you’ve amassed manually whilst it wasn’t available.

Suddenly (possibly) the business can now understand the value of all those boring, laborious activities which IT does behind the scenes. The vendor assessments. The contingency planning. The backup, DR and restore processes. The things you don’t miss until they’re gone.

Like electricity.

To see a list of some of the apps that suffered read the blog Amazon’s Cloud Crashed Overnight, And Brought Several Companies That Rely On It Down Too

Let’s toast the new world of work. Make mine a Martini.

In the 1970s and 80s the drinks company made famous the phrase

“Any time, any place, any where – it’s a wonderful drink you can share, Martini”

For the last 40 years the Martini stripes have been on motor racing winners, from Formula 1 to World Rallying.

They have now moved on and their marketing dollars are spent on George Clooney. He is very good as you can see from this ad, but it is not the same as a Lancia Stratos snorting through the Welsh woods on the RAC Rally. Yep, I’m a petrol head.

But that is not the point of this post.  Have you noticed that the term I am at work does not mean anything for a huge swathe of the workforce.  The self employed, the road warriers (sales and consultants) and senior executives with responsibilities  that span the globe.  At work used to mean a place, not an activity.  Any time, any place, any where.

Technology is making work more portable for lots of people. It is blurring the distinction between work and non-work.  Before work life balance was about leaving the office earlier. Now there is no office to leave. So work-life balance is even more important to get a grip on which is why this TED video is so insightful.

The new world of work is also blurring corporate boundaries. Outsourcing, shared services and sub-contracting arrangements are now possible -  work mash-ups – enabled by technology. Suppliers become a critical part of the supply chain. A point that UPS  makes clearly in their recent ad campaign We love logistics. But we need to make sure that these artificial boundaries are not visible to the customers, who themselves are becoming part of the supply chain. Just this week I was a grocery store check-out operator, a book retailer order entry clerk and an airline check in and baggage handler. All unpaid and untrained self-service.

Business leaders need to recognise these changes and think about how to redesign businesses to make the most of our most valuable resource; people.  But equally they need to consider how they measure them. They cannot be lazy and use the old metrics of ‘hours in the  office’. They need to really understand what they want people to do so that they can choose measures that motivate and reinforce the behaviours they need. And that again starts with a true end to end understanding of the process.

This sounds like change and change is hard. But the benefits of this new world of work are huge;

  • greener; Why travel to work when you don’t need to?
  • gives control back to people; Can work make your life work as parent, carer, part-time student?
  • happier  staff are more productive; Fact

We need to embrace the new world of work.  I’ll drink to that.

Who was conceived first – Lotus Notes or Mark Zuckerberg? #facebook #ibm #notes #salesforce

Mark Benioff came up with a great quote at Dreamforce – “Lotus Notes was conceived before Mark Zuckerberg was”.  Great sound byte.  Really makes an impact.  But before I used it I thought I’d check out the facts, which are below.

So Marc B was wrong by about 5 years.  But let’s not let fact get in the way of a great and entertaining presentation style.

Social marketing = engagement Doh! #vw #stellaartois #fun #social

I remember when TV was worth watching.  But it was expensive to make “good-telly”.  Then came game shows which were cheap but lacked audience pull.  Then reality TV arrived which was the perfect answer;  cheap and more addictive than game shows. Some simply naff, some fun, some highbrow – Big Brother, So you think you can dance, Opera Star

The advertisers have latched onto social marketing. Some of the more switched on are realising that it is about engaging with the audience rather than just a cheaper form of direct email.  And it is FUN.

3 trends are changing the complexion of marketing; cloud, social and mobile.  Some brands are starting to embrace this and understand what it means.

One thing I am now seeing is reality advertising. Big brands are getting creative and engaging by running ‘competitions’.  Here are 2 examples:

TheFunTheory from VW in Sweden, which is both clever and put sometning back into society.  WELL worth a look at their ideas.  The Infinitely deep dustbin.  The Piano Stairs.  ….. And the winner  : Speed Cameras that pay you

Stella Artois who are looking to get people to send film clips and audition to be in a film, called Casting Call.  So get your phone out and start rehearsing.

Makes me think what clever, fun stuff we can do with Nimbus around the theme  “Making work esier, faster and more valuable for millions of people”.

We are an SMB business. BPM is an expensive unnecessary overhead. #bpm #iso27001 #salesforce.com

An interesting question on the eBizQ website this morning got me thinking.

“If BPM is so necessary, how come so many 100 to 300 people organizations do fine without it?”

There is a process maturity curve which starts at the bottom end with low process (BPM) maturity which is a stage called Heroics.


Many of you work in companies like this. Staff heroics day in day out make up for poorly defined processes.  Inefficient, but it gets the job done.  But at what cost?  Financial: Wasted time and cost  Reputation: Client errors & security Emotional: Staff morale & burnout

The question said these companies are “fine”.  They are, but only by the definition of FINE from the last Italian Job film.

F= f*cked up
I= Insecure
N= Neuroitic
E= Emotional

The challenge is making clearly defined and govenered processes easy enough to achieve and maintain for SMB organisations. That requires Board level commitment, and funding, to first get the processes defined and then funding a FULL TIME Business Excellence / Quality /Compliance role to support the continuous improvement.

This requires a leap of faith by SMBs, but the results are worth it. Whilst you can calculate the costs of documenting your processes, or even in the marketing effort to get  them used and adopted by end users, sometimes it is tremendously hard to calculate the benefits – as my blog Harry Potter and the Leap of Faith suggested. But the results can be measured in efficiency, ability to grow, to punch above your weight, and the human cost of all those heroics.

Let’s put this is real terms.  Nimbus is an SMB and needed to get ISO27001 to give our global clients confidence of our Nimbus BPM Cloud service. Because we have implemented BPM (Nimbus Control + Salesforce.com) we have saved huge amounts just in the ISO27001 audit process.  But Security comes free with a well run business as we have discovered.

But to finish on a quote from the auditors:

“It should be noted that in our extensive experience with a range of client ISO Gap Analysis projects, of those at a similar stage of ISMS development, Nimbus have demonstrated one of the highest levels of compliance we have seen.”

That is why BPM is important to an SMB.  You need it to play on the global stage, and Nimbus does not intend to stay an SMB for much longer.

SocialBPM software will not change behaviour #bpm #social #noss

At last some solid, researched advice Social Media: It’s About New Behaviors Not New Technologies [link for Gartner clients] from  Anthony J. Bradley at Gartner which is not social media / bubble hype.  For those of you who are not Gartner clients and cannot see the full report the summary is:

After examining over 200 cases of social media collaboration success, Gartner have identified a set of collective behaviors that underlie almost all successful efforts. They are collective intelligence, expertise location, emergent structures, interest cultivation, mass coordination, and relationship leverage. See a recent Gartner press release for descriptions of each.

However, it will probably take more that this to stop VC’s pouring money into social  media companies as the blog  Bubblicious shows.  Staggering amounts.

However there is a fascinating graph (oppostite) which shows how fast companies reached $1 bn of revenue. BTW Groupon started as a WordPress blog in 2008!!

On a more positive note, it is raising the importance of the collaborative capabilities of existing products which is something I blogged about in Social BPM – New and Improved and it is making all of us think about how the user interface should change to engage users.

So off to drive Nimbus to $1bn of revenue…..

Why the iPad is becoming a hit for business #iPad #BPM #cloud

Here is a story from this morning’s meeting at a client who is considering using Nimbus Control for process mapping , management and global deployment.  The client has over 250,000 employees and the meeting was with the SVP Operations who reports to the CEO, plus their team.  So a pretty important meeting.

Last week one of the Nimbus consultants had run a 1/2 day facilitated workshop with the team to map out some client process content which were on the Nimbus Cloud.

Back to today’s meeting. The client laptop that had web connectivity to be able to see Nimbus content needed to be restarted, so while everyone fiddled with that, I took my iPad over to the SVP and he and I navigated their hosted content on Safari.  He saw a great-resolution map, actions, drill downs, attachments, compliance links and we opened a linked pdf.  if we hadn’t got connected I could have used the Nimbus Mobile Player for iPad/iPhone. It was a great moment.

Point 1.  An SVP executive is interested enough in BPM to attend the meeting for 2 hours

Point 2. Deployment of governed process content is becoming a critical issue

Point 3. The iPad is a great device for deploying ‘content’ in an engaging format

So we may have sold the client on using Nimbus Control, but definitely on using the iPad.  Shame I didn’t get a chance to demonstrate the Nimbus 5 pencil iPad stand or my free non-tangle headphone gizmo!!

Garter: SaaS ERP reduces only part of implementation effort #NOSS #erp #crm #salesforce.com

Recent Gartner research by Christian Hestermann titled SaaS ERP Only Reduces Part of the Effort Needed to Implement and Operate Your ERP spells out what many of us involved in ERP implementations have known for a long time.  Hence the #NOSS tag (No Shit Sherlock)

Just because the application (ERP, CRM or other line of business app)  is Cloud or SaaS doesn’t mean that it can be implemented in days.  As the report says “Do not believe the hype about the ease of implementing a SaaS ERP” and more importantly “Do not confuse the implementation with installing a system, and recognize that most implementation activities are not eliminated by using a SaaS solution.”

This is welcome research from one of the respected analysts but it is enough to stem the tide of hype coming from the ERP/CRM Cloud vendors? Is it going to require some high profile Cloud implementation failures to make customers wary of the “It only takes  5 days to implement” bullshit.

But if you are a Cloud software vendor you need to sell seats quickly and in volume if you are going to be able to make the business model work, as I discussed in an earlier post Why software vendors should fear the Clouds. And that is going to drive a hard-nosed, pushy “just buy the software” sales technique.

What is most disappointing is that the Cloud ERP / CRM vendors have reinvented how software is delivered and configured, but they could also change the way it is implemented by embracing newer, but proven approaches. But they haven’t and have left the Systems Integrators to replicate the old, broken approaches as this recent example shows.

One of the leading vendors is salesforce.com with their Force.com platform. They have put the power into the hands of the business users. This has changed the nature of the custom development lifecycle as my blog Force.com  – a powerful force in enterprise computing and a new book explains.

Nimbus has been a customer of salesforce.com for the last 7 years and has used Force.com to extend the CRM application into HR, Procurement, Asset Management, Business Excellence and Finance. All this has been achieved by a business-focused team with just a little support from IT. We were runner’s up in the BCS IT Department of the Year for our innovative approach which I described in  How many people in the Nimbus IT department? I have no idea…

But as the Gartner research report points out, customisation is just one part of the implementation process. That part is far quicker as is the software installation/configuration.  But the other activities such as Requirements Capture, Business Design and User Training are still required and still take the same time.

However this is changing too.  The Nimbus Control Business Process Management application is now being used in on-premise and Cloud ERP /CRM implementations to make the capture of the business requirements, the configuration and the end user training quicker. It is a core focus of our software implementation practice. Which is why Nimbus is an SAP, Oracle and Salesforce.com partner with technology integrations and is workig on some of the largest implementations around.

But even we won’t claim you can implement in 5 days.  It is our #NOSS promise.