Tag Archives: relevant

SAP partner program strives for long-term relationship with customers

The SAP partner program has undergone a transformation that the company believes makes it more relevant for today’s business and technology environment.

Partners have played a significant role in building the SAP ecosystem by reselling SAP products, providing strategic consulting, system design, application integration and other services. In the on-premises world, partners’ main focus was on selling and implementing SAP systems. However, as SAP’s product portfolio has broadened and the cloud has become critical to SAP’s future, the role of the SAP partner program is shifting away from sales to “customer success.”

SAP still wants its partners to sell SAP products, but in the cloud-centric world, it is pushing them to also build successful applications for customers and to continue that relationship long after an implementation. The new partner model is needed to drive the intelligent enterprise, which SAP defines as an organization that uses next-generation technology to transform processes and business models.

In this Q&A, Karl Fahrbach, SAP chief partner officer, discusses the recent changes in the SAP partner program and its priorities going forward. In March, SAP’s board of directors appointed Fahrbach as SAP’s first chief partner officer, a role designed to formalize SAP’s intentions to be a partner-focused company.

Why has the SAP partner program changed its focus from sales and implementation to ‘customer success?’

Karl Fahrbach: The main model for the partners was implementation, but things have changed a lot in the past 10 years at SAP. We have acquired many companies and have a different vision. We don’t just have one ERP product, we now have the intelligent enterprise with ERP at the core, and we have line-of-business solutions that we run on top of the SAP Cloud Platform.

Karl FahrbachKarl Fahrbach

All of this means that the opportunities for partners have changed. A study we did with IDC said the partner economy will double in the next five years from $100 billion to $200 billion because SAP offers a much bigger portfolio now … but we questioned if our partner program was ready to support that growth and change. So we have created a new, next generation partnering initiative that focuses on making sure that our partners have better access to innovation, a better experience and better economics to be profitable in this new reality.

What does the next generation partner initiative do differently than previous initiatives?

Fahrbach: We still have the PartnerEdge program, where we put the partners in boxes — SIs [systems integrators], VARs [value-added resellers], ISVs [independent software vendors] or startups. But in this new next generation evolution, we’re moving away from putting partners in boxes and looking more at the value that the partner adds to the customer. The new initiative looks at the customer lifecycle and the value that the partner adds in each of those steps. Before, we looked at partners from a sales cycle perspective, which helped us to sell and helped us implement what we sold, but then it stopped. Now in the cloud, the most relevant [key performance indicator] that we have is looking at customer success. 

Will the next generation partner initiative help smaller partners that are often the leaders in innovation?

Fahrbach: If you look at yesterday’s program, the best partner was the one that sold the most. Now we want to look not only at the quantity of the business, but the quality. One big change in the new partner program is that it will benefit the smaller firms. If you have a small boutique partner that does a fantastic job helping customers with fast adoption of SAP products, we want to reward it accordingly, even if it’s not selling the products. In the past, this partner was maybe not as relevant for us because it wasn’t selling, but now we’re looking at different metrics.

How are you tracking these new metrics?

Fahrbach: We’ve changed the way that we get feedback from partners, and we’ve also established a partner advisory council, with everyone from the big SIs to small boutique partners. We’re working on ways to provide a better partner experience and better access to innovation technologies.

Why did the SAP board create the role of chief partner officer, which is fairly unique in the software industry?

Fahrbach: The board considered the partner business as something that was going to be the innovation driver for SAP. If you look at SAP in the last 10 years, we have developed many innovative products. But when you look at the speed of innovation, we need to do something different to keep up with this pace without adding more developers. So we decided the key driver for innovation will be to work with partners. The board realized this and decided that we need to double down on the partner focus in the ecosystem. So they created the role of chief partner officer. It sends a very strong message to the market that we are a partner-led company, and we want the partners to be successful.

Will this new partner model continue given the changes in the SAP board and executive leadership this year?

Fahrbach: Yes, this will continue and the board is committed to the partner business. Both of the co-CEOs, Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein, really care about the partner business and want to make sure that the partners contribute even more to the SAP business. Adaire Fox-Martin [head of SAP global customer operations], who I report to on the board, runs the partner business and the customer business, and she really cares as well about the partner business. Even though there have been changes, we see more commitment in the board for the partner business. It’s good to change the mindset and that’s something that needs to happen as well in SAP. Ten years ago we were direct, and would leverage the partners to implement systems or serve markets that were new for us or we couldn’t really touch, like the SME segment. Now the partner business is where the partner will be always involved in creating value for the customer. That’s the mindset that we’re trying to shift to.

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Oracle BI platform on the comeback trail

The Oracle BI platform remains a relevant, vibrant suite of analytics products after all these years.

Oracle is one of the legacy business intelligence vendors — one of the companies that began producing tools for data analysis long before terms like augmented intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing were born. But while many of its long-ago competitors have disappeared and some that remain struggle to keep up with the pace of innovation, the Oracle BI platform is going strong.

“They’ve generally been followers, but they’re keeping up,” said Rick Sherman, founder and managing partner of Athena IT Solutions. “They’ve done an extremely good job.”

The company was in danger of becoming one of the legacy vendors that time passed by.

The vendor reacted. It met with customers and heard their complaints. It invested in innovation to include more AI and machine learning. It simplified its product suite. And it changed its management team to help take the Oracle BI platform forward.

“They had a leading traditional semantic-based platform, but when the industry transitioned to user-based visualizations, Oracle didn’t respond quickly,” said Rita Sallam, data and analytics analyst at Gartner. “Over the last three to four years, they’ve invested heavily in new capabilities … and their new products are well-positioned to compete with the rest of the market.”

They had a leading traditional semantic-based platform, but when the industry transitioned to user-based visualizations Oracle didn’t respond quickly. Over the last three to four years they’ve invested heavily in new capabilities … and their new products are well-positioned to compete with the rest of the market.
Rita SallamData and analytics analyst, Gartner

From 18 BI products to three

The Oracle BI platform, operating in the umbrella name Oracle Analytics, currently consists of Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC), Oracle Analytics Server (OAS) and Oracle Analytics for Applications.

OAC is a platform delivered as a cloud service; OAS is an option that can be deployed on premises or through a third-party cloud vendor and allows users the option of migrating to Oracle’s cloud at their own pace; and Oracle Analytics for Applications is aimed at SaaS users.

“They’ve done a nice job of weaving augmented analytics capabilities into OAC, with its natural language generation and natural language query and interaction options being particularly strong,” said Doug Henschen, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

He added, however, that it remains to be seen just how actively Oracle will facilitate multi-cloud deployment and the extent to which AI capabilities will be featured in OAS.

Before being pared down to three products, the Oracle BI platform consisted of a mind-boggling 18.

“The first thing we heard from customers was, ‘Make it easier for me to deploy Oracle Analytics,'” said Bruno Aziza, vice president of Oracle Analytics. “The first aspect of that was to simplify our product lineup. It’s a lot easier for customers to understand how to consume the value from Oracle.”

Despite being pared down from 18 to three products, capabilities that users relied on weren’t eliminated. The Oracle BI platform still supports the first-generation tools that IT departments and data developers used to make semantic models and reports, along with the data visualizations popularized in the second-generation products, as well as the machine learning, natural language processing and AI features that make up the next generation.

“We believe that these three waves of analytics are net additive,” said T.K. Anand, senior vice president of Oracle Analytics. “They do not replace previous waves — they build on top of the other. … We don’t believe that IT reports and dashboards are going to go away in the future. At the same time, we believe that analytics can reach an order of magnitude made available through mobile devices, through natural language, automatic insights that are revealed through AI algorithms.

“Our strategy is to provide all of these capabilities in a single integrated platform.”

Daily traffic volume for the Washington, D.C., area is displayed on an Oracle Analytics dashboard.
An Oracle Analytics dashboard shows the traffic volume per day for the Washington, D.C., area.

Beyond the complexity of 18 products, according to Aziza, customers complained about the complicated nature of Oracle’s pricing. The response was to change it to two plans — payment on a per-user basis or on a per-server basis.

Finally, he said, customers wanted more transparency. As a result, in June, Oracle held an Oracle Analytics Summit at which it unveiled the pared-down product lineup and even went so far as to publish its roadmap.

Beyond the three products that make up the current Oracle BI platform, an addition will be unveiled next week at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.

“Their technological prowess is much brighter than [other legacy vendors],” Sherman said. “They’ve spawned off adept entrepreneurs, and they’ve impressed with their survival capabilities.”

Despite all Oracle has done to respond to customer concerns and improve the Oracle BI platform, according to Sallam, there are challenges that remain. In particular, while Oracle has taken steps to appease its existing customer base, attracting new clients could be a challenge.

“Will they attract new customers who are looking at Tableau, ThoughtSpot, Qlik, Power BI?” she asked. “They’re doing everything they can, but it’s easier to change a product than it is to change hearts and minds. … The pieces are in place, but the market just has to believe them and give them a chance.”

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Talend CEO discusses importance of mining relevant data

Business intelligence only exists by mining relevant data.

Without the ability to find the right data, there’s no actual BI to base decisions upon.

Mining relevant data, however, is no simple task.

Given the organizational complexity of today’s big enterprises — many are multinational with offices around the world, others amalgams of companies sewn together over the years by mergers and acquisitions with product lines that go beyond one small niche — the amount of available data amassed over decades can be overwhelming and disorganized.

To help organizations curate their data and gain meaningful insights, vendors such as cloud Talend, founded in 2005 and based in Redwood City, Calif., along with others such as cloud data integration provider Informatica and MuleSoft, recently acquired by Salesforce, have risen and become specialists in data integration.

In a two-part Q&A, Talend CEO Mike Tuchen discusses in depth the difficulty companies face in mining relevant data.

In part one, Tuchen talks about the general challenges that have developed over the last 10 to 15 years as organizations digitize and pool their data, while in part two he discusses differences large corporations face compared with their small and midsize brethren, as well as Talend’s own strategy in helping organizations deal with their sudden abundance of data.

In terms of mining relevant data, what are the challenges organizations face?

Mike Tuchen, CEO of TalendMike Tuchen

Mike Tuchen: The biggest challenge that every company has is that their data is all over the place. It’s in a lot of different systems. They’re in a lot of different formats — some of them you might know about, but most of them you don’t know about. Where is all the relevant info, and how does it relate to each other? Once you start finding all of this data, you quickly start realizing that you’ve going from not knowing where it is to suddenly seeing you’ve got 10 different versions of everything, and they’re all inconsistent and overlapping. How do you start? Where do you go to find the right information? How do you get all that stuff consistent? Those are the core problems every single company faces.

How has it developed to this point — what has happened in the last 10 to 15 years to lead us to this point where mining relevant data is so difficult?

Tuchen: It was more simple 10 to 15 years ago, but that wasn’t necessarily a benefit. It was simpler because many companies simply hadn’t digitized. They had a whole lot of manual processes, so the data simply wasn’t available in any electronic system. The first part of a digital transformation is digitizing, getting everything in the system and now having electronic workflows, and that’s a huge step forward. But it brings that second step, which is that now you’ve created electronic information which you can start to harness and analyze. That’s a huge opportunity that’s just now starting to be tapped, but it leads to exactly the problems we just discussed. Where is all the data that’s relevant, how does it relate to each other, what’s the correct info, how do I make it consistent and correct and find that information and start there and use that to drive my analysis? That’s where value comes from.

What can a company do to find the data it needs?

Tuchen: One of the first steps a company takes is to start cataloging their data. There are companies like us that provide a data catalog that allows you to understand where all your data is and now get to the point where you have a common definition. When I talk about annual recurring revenue, what’s the actual definition, and how am I defining that here? There’s no accounting standard that says here’s what ARR [annual recurring revenue] means, so you need to define it somewhere, so how do I define that and say here are the source tables where all that kind of stuff is going to form. So you start with cataloging it, and now you start driving that cleaning and governance process, you start pulling the data together, automating the cleanup steps to start making it consistent and correct. And then, as you’ve built out those two core capabilities, you now are at the point where your data is consistent and correct and you know what it is. You’ve defined the most important definitions, and your team knows where to go to analyze it.

Are there potential pitfalls that can arise while mining relevant data?

Tuchen: The secondary problem that’s been created that we’re now starting to touch on is that different analytical teams, without having a catalog to go find the data, are going to start recreating it themselves — you not only have duplicate work being created but in some cases inconsistent work, which is even worse. It’s not just that they’re wasting time that could have been saved, it’s that they’re coming to different results by creating different definitions or different flows that result in different answers. It’s creating more confusion. By creating a catalog, understanding where your data is, and now driving convergence and consistency, you’re starting with the right data and everyone is starting in the same place and maximizing use.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

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Use the new Activity Plans to organize your Skype in the Classroom experiences |

Skype in the Classroom has always been one of my favorite resources for engaging students in real-life, relevant learning experiences. I recently learned that using Skype in the Classroom has become even easier for teachers with the addition of FREE activity plans! These are activity plans written by educators for educators.

5 Reasons to get excited about the launch of these helpful new resources:

Teachers always have a long to-do list. Want to engage your students with a Skype in the Classroom experience but short on time? These activity plans will help make it happen! The plans are free and easy to download in just a few seconds. Each one includes objectives (GREAT to share with parents and administrators), activities to activate background knowledge, research, brainstorming, preparing students for the call, assessment, reflection and more.

  • Easy to adapt

Each activity plan can be followed step-by-step or easily adjusted to best fit your students’ needs. Once you download, each plan is fully editable, making any adjustments quick, seamless and easy. This is also a great way to save any changes after the Skype experience, so you will be able to remember how you adapted the lesson for the next time you use it with students.

  • Aligned to ISTE Standards

Not only are objectives listed for each activity, they are also aligned to ISTE standards. This is a nice way to keep the big picture in mind. It’s a valuable resource to share with students, parents, administrators and colleagues.

  • Help other teachers

Do you know other teachers who are curious about using Skype in the Classroom with their students but are unsure how or where to start? This handy resource will give them a step-by-step guide, including question prompts, research and assessment ideas, and more.

  • Deep(er) learning

Each activity plan includes ideas to launch the lesson, research, prepare students, reflect and assess. These ideas help teachers plan intentionally for each aspect of the learning experience and provide a framework of ideas for before, during and after the Skype experience.

Whether you are looking to launch a new school year with an exciting Skype call, planning for Skype experiences throughout the year, dreaming of Skype-a-Thon connections, or whatever your Skype in the Classroom goals may be, be sure to check out and download the free activity plans to support and enhance the experience for you and your students.

For Sale – MSI Geforce GTX 980Ti 6GD5T OC

Closed for now till I review in the morning.

Whilst threads are constantly checked by all relevant mods, some do get missed so until such time as a report is made.

@ghrh – your comments are not required and are not helpful. Please refrain from any further posts if not interested in the deal. Mods spent alot of time reviewing many hundreds/thousands of posts and threads a day so it can be a few hours before things get picked up.

@sutek89 – As above – please use the report function if you feel that there has been a rule violation instead of posting in the thread.

I’ll review tomorrow with regards a few offers/withdrawals. Anything useful to add to the thread in the meantime – pm me.