The Village View

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

SAP CEO says happy for firm to remain independent

"We are independent and we are pretty strong so there's no reason why we should not continue," Chief Executive Henning Kagermann told journalists

Kagermann made these comments as the European SAPPHIRE (SAP's annual conference) was about to kick off. During the US version of SAPPHIRE in Orlando co-founder and supervisory board chairman Hasso Plattner had indicated that SAP might be open to an acquisition/merger.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Consolidation in on demand CRM

...RightNow, which is known more for its call center solution than its sales force automation offering, acquired Salesnet to better position itself against the market leader and NetSuite. The price was reportedly $9 million in cash.

With all the noise coming out of these days (I've got some SFdC posts perculating), I almost missed this. I played around with Salesnet a few months ago; and even blogged about getting called by a Salesnet sales rep who was interested in learning how their product could help my organization. They seem to have decent traction (40k subscribers) but aren't on the radar screen much. It will be interesting to see what marketing/messaging will come out of RightNow as a result of this acquisition. Salesnet used to have a "No bull" motiff all over their website (red circle with slash and all) seems sent their lawyers after them to make them stop. Maybe now with a deeper solution, RightNow will crank up the marketing machine again.

(Would be negligent if I didn't mention that Salesnet CEO Jonathan Tang graduated from my alma mater, Tufts. Nice to see as high tech senior management is not flooded with Tufts alumni. Go Jumbos!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Intacct raises $7 million; promises guerrilla campaign against SAP/Oracle

Intacct is a company trying to undercut the big boys, SAP and Oracle, by selling cheaper Web-based financial applications.

Intacct is a partner, essentially providing, by way of AppExchange, the finance, supply chain and HR functionalities for SFdC customers. I actually wonder if SFdC shouldn't pick them up to better compete with NetSuite. No hard data, but I doubt we (or Oracle) have lost many, if any deals, to Intacct.
If I'm wrong, I'm happy to hear of examples.

Monday, May 22, 2006

SAP continues China push

SAP AG, the world's largest maker of business-management software, plans to double its business in China over the next three years, helped by partnerships and a focus on smaller clients, the chief executive officer said...
To spur growth, SAP today entered a partnership with Chinese software provider Neusoft....

Once again, SAP is pushing into China. Oracle, of course, is doing the same thing.

The SAP partnership with Neusoft(think the German name had anything to do with it?) includes an investment of €10 million for a 3% stake.

Sexy customer chooses SAP over Oracle

A growing line of bras, panties and sleepwear is forcing Fort Myers, Fla.-based Chico's FAS Inc. to implement SAP for Retail to support its growth strategy.
The company chose SAP over Oracle after a lengthy evaluation process....

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Freakanomics article, soccer and consulting

I emailed this article from the NY Times to myself over a week ago because it was written by the Freakanomics guys and because it deals with the sport I'm passionate about, soccer. Just read it now and had some random thoughts I figured I'd share:

If you were to examine the birth certificates of every soccer player in next month's World Cup tournament, you would most likely find a noteworthy quirk: elite soccer players are more likely to have been born in the earlier months of the year than in the later months.
- I was born in March; I should be a much better soccer player.

Ericsson's research suggests a third cliché as well: when it comes to choosing a life path, you should do what you love — because if you don't love it, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good.
- I really like my current job; I didn't feel the same way about consulting (the process of consulting I'm referring to, I think very highly of my former colleagues, as well as the firm at which I worked). I think I'm much better at this job than I was at consulting. (Note to any of my management that is reading this: I still think I can get better at my job, so no worries this is NOT as good as it gets). I know this is not earth-shaking insight, but it sure is nice to have some university professor back you up on this.

Deliberate practice entails more than simply repeating a task — playing a C-minor scale 100 times, for instance, or hitting tennis serves until your shoulder pops out of its socket. Rather, it involves setting specific goals, obtaining immediate feedback and concentrating as much on technique as on outcome.
- One of the things I really appreciated about my experience in consulting (yes, now I feel compelled to say something nice) was the valuable feedback I got. The Firm is the master of this. Even if you excelled on your project, you always were told where you could improve. This idea was recently reinforced to me when I heard Jack Welch speak about candor. He radically changed the review process at GE to make sure employees heard accurately about their performance. I believe it is truly difficult to grow as a professional, and as a person, without honest, sometimes difficult hear (and to give) feedback. I hope my bosses and colleagues realize they have an open invitation to tell me what I'm doing well and where I could improve.

U.S. firms press Congress to open door to technology workers

We have a couple thousand open technical spots that we cannot find people to fill," said Jack Krumholtz, managing director of government affairs for Microsoft, the world's largest software maker. If that situation persists, he added, "we're going to have to do more of our development work abroad.".....U.S. companies are now limited to hiring 65,000 skilled immigrant workers annually under the H-1B program.
Because of the visa cap, Intel has begun placing some foreign engineers in countries with more lenient immigration rules, like Canada, Ireland and Israel,

This is unbelievable to me; really a no-brainer. Do we really want to lose these folks to Canada et al? Nothing against Canada, but I would prefer to have the "best-and-brightest" from around the world come here and instead of go there. I have a hard time understanding why we'd turn down an engineering or computer science grad from one of the IITs whom Intel, Microsoft or SAP wants to hire because we reached the ridicously low number of 65,000. What if Einstein, Fermi or Teller were trying to come in today? Well, better line up early because this year all the H1-Bs were gone in November of 2005.

In 2005, the head of the National Academy of Engineering tesified before Congress on The Importance of Foreign-born Scientists and Engineers to the Security of The United States. He mentioned a couple of points that our home-grown geniuses in Congress may want to keep in mind as they debate whether to increase the number of skilled workers they will allow into the US. Among those I found interesting:
- One fourth of the engineering faculty members at U.S. universities were born abroad.
- Between 1990 and 2004, over one third of Nobel Prizes in the United States were awarded to foreign-born scientists.
- One third of all U.S. Ph.D.s in science and engineering are now awarded to foreign born graduate students.

Microsoft, Intel and other technology companies are warning that they may be forced to move more work overseas unless Congress increases the number of U.S. visas available for such workers

My sense is that if we educate these folks and then don't let them stay here, and allow US-based companies to take advantage of that education, we're really just paying to educate Canada, Ireland, India and China's future scientist. Again, not something I'm interested in doing.

Increasing the number of visas for skilled workers faces opposition in the House of Representatives, where lawmakers favor enforcing current immigration laws and tightening border security before creating new ways for more immigrants to enter the country.

I'd be willing to bet that some of the same Senators and Representatives who are howling over American jobs moving overseas are also among those who are opposed to "loosening" the restraints on skilled workers. If some of these guys would spend more time in the private sector instead of making careers out of government service, maybe they'd understand this. Of course, I doubt many of them have PhDs like the folks they're trying to keep out.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


SAP's SAPPHIRE conference is this week in Orlando. We've invited a group of enterprise software bloggers to attend and given them essentially the same access that the press corps is given. Here's a more in-depth post about the why and how of this.

And because this is being pushed by SAP's Apollo group, and we really can't get enough of social media, we've also set up a wiki for the bloggers to use. You can see what the SAPPHIRE bloggers will be up to, read their posts (the feeds are incorporated right into the wiki - how cool is that?) as well as just generally check out a cool way to use a wiki. It is, of course, a Socialtext wiki.

Oracle's misleading math

Oracle released a new attack ad yesterday that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. While I won't do them the honor of reprinting here, essentially they made three claims (all Q3-05 to Q3-06):

- Oracle grew application revenue 82%, including acquisitions
- Oracle grew application revenue 31% excluding acquisitions
- SAP grew application revenue 14% (they didn't point it out, of course, but this is organic)

Let me address the SAP number first: 14% is the correct, constant currency number. Not adjusted for exchange fluctuations SAP grew app revenue 22%. This is over a very large base as well. SAP US software revenue grew at 25% (15% constant currency); 14 consecutive quarters of software license growth in the US.

Oracle bought app revenue growth; they are comparing Q3-06 revenue which includes Siebel revenue against Q3-05 revenue which doesn't. Globally, Oracle posted applications revenues of $269 million, representing an increase of 77% over last year Q3 2005. To accurately portray the true increase in revenue, the calculation must include Siebel’s numbers posted from last year. When these revenues are applied, the app revenue growth becomes 19% (not constant currency).

I honestly have no idea where the 31% number comes from. I spent a bit of time yesterday looking through their 10Q and couldn't find it. This is likely to be EBS growth and as such over small base. Difficult to tell as Oracle doesn't break out app revenue by product. Here's what I do know: Oracle application revenue is lower then it was two years ago. Oracle’s stated Q3 06 application license revenue is 35% less than the Q3 04 combined application license revenues of Oracle, PeopleSoft, Retek and Siebel prior to any Oracle acquisition.

While I give them an "A" for misleading advertising, they earn a "F" in mathematics.

UPDATE: It was pointed out to me that there is an amended 10Q in which Peoplesoft is broken out. This sheds some light on the organic app revenue growth:

-Q3 06 Oracle reported $269 million in app revenue. Of this Siebel accounted for $21 million ($0 in Q3 05), Retek accounted for $20 million ($0 in Q3 05), and Peoplesoft $73 million ($31 million in Q3 05). This gives us organic Oracle revenue of $155 million in Q3 06.
-For a year on year comparison using Q3 05, we start with total app license revenue of $152 and subract the $31 million of Peoplesoft app license revenue, giving us $121 million.
-Organic app license growth = ($155 million/$121 million)/$121 million = 28%. Not too shabby on the growth, admittedly, but over a small base. For comparision purposes, SAP US software revenues were $200 million in the comparable quarter (Q1 06) and global software revenues were $639 million.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Why you picking on us Woody?

I listened to a Webcast entitled, "What If On-Demand CRM
Integration Was Easy?" put on by Line56. It was sponsored by Above All Software and was focused on

Liz Herbert of Forrester also made some general comments. I always find her perspectives insightful. (Which is one reason why I was in favor of my team's one analyst firm being Forrester. I'm looking forward to speaking with her today about open source CRM, particularly SugarCRM). A couple of interesting points from Liz:
- Reducing total cost of software still front-and-center for IT execs
- Usability matters: a bad UI can cost your company money (This one hits close to home for us, IMHO. Advantage:, for CRM in the call center, cutting two to three seconds per call could save well over a $1M per year.

Deborah Scharfetter of AboveAll Software spoke. I hadn't heard of her firm before and was surprised to learn that it was founded by Roger Sippl. Since I just finished the history of Informix book, I immeditately recognized the name. AboveAll is creating composite apps for customers (they are also and Oracle and SAP partner). She gave examples of how they had created composite apps that combined SFdC functionality with SAP, Oracle etc while keeping the user in the environment they are familiar with (SFdC in this case).

Also speaking, and the genesis of the title of this postings title was, Woodson Martin, VP of Product Mgt at Now he gave a nice little talk on the "Business Web," but what really impressed me is that in his 5-6 minute chat he took 2 digs at SAP (and none at Oracle). He mentioned twice that other vendors (SAP and Microsoft) are "closed" and "monolithic" and want you to get all your apps from a single source. C'mon Woody, have you loooked at SAP's partner list? Did you see the number of complementary products they are offering? Did you notice that we have more than just a couple of 3rd parties developing on our platform? (Don't get me wrong, I love AppExchange, but you guys are still developing the vast majority of solutions being offered there).
Must say I was bit confused that Woody went after just SAP & Microsoft and left Oracle in peace. Maybe it's because Larry is still a SFdC shareholder(just under 4% of the company).

Things getting nasty in O-town

I'm feeling lazy this week and not very quick on the draw, so i'll reference another posting from Jeff that I wish I would have posted about first.
Also, since Orlando is my hometown and I'm back here now, I couldn't resist not sharing. Interesting, I didn't see any of Oracle or our ads when I arrived at MCO last night.

As many of you know, our big SAPPHIRE event is next week in Orlando. It’s a big deal for us as it is the single largest event we host each year. Needless to say, Oracle will no doubt make an attempt at some competitive advertising at the event in an attempt to steal some of our thunder.Here’s what I know as of today, and I’m posting it because I continue to be fascinated by the things that advertising people think of (e.g. branded taxi receipts):

- 6 boards at the Orlando airport (we have 52)
- 60 taxi “tops”, and in addition to just having the taxi advertising they plan on parking 5-6 taxis in front of the convention center, at the hotels, and around the airport.
- They also have branded taxi receipts but only in the Oracle taxis, not in the SAP branded taxis (yeah, we have ‘em too).

Monday, May 08, 2006

Microsoft and Oracle on Duet

Jeff mentioned the Microsoft Business Solutions White Paper on how to "extend information access" sans Duet on our weekly call this morning and posted about it here.

Rob posted on our internal blogs about an Oracle-paid, tear-out advertisement in the May 1st issue of eWeek titled, "Oracle And Microsoft: Interoperability Pays Business Dividends". He points out that it was likely timed to counter the impact of the Duet annoucement.

Not again!?! security issues at Oracle

Seems like a story such as this comes out every couple of months.

"Overall, there are 130-140 open security issues if you tally everything found by different researchers," he said. "Oracle's code and product quality is getting better, but they still take way too long to fix vulnerabilities. In my view, a year-old flaw is unacceptable."

Alexander Kornbrust, database security researcher and business director at German firm Red-Database-Security GmbH, has been on their tail for a while now about these flaws. Kornbrust went public last year on several unpatched vulnerabilities after waiting over 700 days for Oracle to do anything about one of the issues.

SAP Bests Oracle at High Profile Mid-Market Account

Following a hotly contested battle that reflected both vendors' determination to dominate the growing enterprise application mid-market, SAP AG has been selected over Oracle Corp. to provide ERP software to Southco Inc., a Concordville, PA, maker of hinges and fasteners.

This is obviously great news for us given our (and Oracle's) increasing focus on the SME sector. And don't kid yourself both vendors went all out:
"The attention we got was equally strong from Oracle and SAP. We were amazed," Richter said. "They both made it clear that they were very serious about this account."
- Lutz Richter, vice president and CFO at Southco.

Seems the ConFusion over Oracle's plans for it's acquired apps played a role as well:
"We were a bit concerned about Fusion," Richter said. "We found it a bit nebulous, and we were concerned that we might have to go through another platform transition in three years because of Fusion."

It's interesting that this deal was a blow to Microsoft too and for a reason for which they usually are praised; their reseller channel:
In addition to the global reach it needed to support, Southco also wanted to license the enterprise software directly from the vendor, not from a reseller. "We were concerned that there might be a blame game if something went wrong," Richter said. That eliminated Microsoft, which, while focused on the mid-market, markets primarily through resellers.

Good stuff all around for SAP AG

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My second Wiki Wednesday

In my role as Uberwikimeister, I went to my second Wiki Wednesday tonight. Matt Mahoney of Socialtext hosted.
Just 5 of us there when I left. However, wanted to point out that I met the managing editor of ShopWiki, Michelle Paolillo. I just blogged about them a few days ago, so it was cool to meet someone from the company. I'm going to keep checking them out, and maybe even add something to their content, and would encourage you to do the same.

"Flash Blog" Experiment With The Boston Marathon

(I'm currently on jury duty and have therefore been slacking on the posting. Will write more when I'm done).

My colleague, Rob Halsey, did a pretty cool (or very geeky, depending on your perspective) experiment recently. He "live blogged" running the boston marathon. I blogged about it here.

Rob recently wrote a longer post about his experience; it's worth a read:

This year's Boston Marathon provided a good base for the experiment. Wouldn't someone rather read a blog from a runner actually running the course than a journalist covering the event? The morning of the race, I launched a new blog with one introductory post. I then ran the marathon as a non-qualified runner (e.g., "bandit") and wrote 8 posts from my blackberry before and during the race. The day after the race, I posted a race wrap-up entry