Posts tagged "forrester"

Oracle Q3 Results Up 17%, Sun Is Performing, SAP Bashed

Oracle_logo_2010.jpg If Oracle’s results for the third quarter are anything to go by, the IT sector may well have turned the corner on the recession. In figures released last night, profits for Q3 hit US $1.2 billion, with revenues up to US $6.4 billion from US $5.5 a year ago, beating analysts' forecast of US $6.3 billion.

The 17% increase in revenue is the second consecutive quarter of growth after a series of declines during the recession even though net profits fell in the quarter because of the acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

Sun Performs For Oracle

Oracle's revenue of US $6.4 billion includes an additional 10% that can be attributed to one month of Sun revenue as the deal closed on January 26, and Oracle's third fiscal quarter ended Feb. 28.

Contained within that figure is US $458 million in Sun hardware sales as of now, although the company says that this could rise to US $1.2 bn when the final figure is in.

However, Oracle said its new baby had performed beyond expectations and contributed handsomely to Oracle’s strong growth with predictions of growth of between 31% and 36% for this quarter.

The Sun integration is going even better than we expected. We believe that Sun will make a significant contribution to our fourth quarter earnings per share as well as meet the profitability goals we set for next year,” Oracle President, Safra Catz said in a statement.

Oracle Revenue Streams

One of the most important indicators of the health of the software markets is licenses and Oracle’s figures weren’t disappointing. Sales rose by 13% to US $3.3 bn — 10% excluding Sun — performing better than Oracle itself had expected. Application sales also did well with an increase of 21% to US $1.7 bn.

Oracle’s data warehousing machine Exadata is also performing well and with only one month in the fourth quarter gone there are US $100 million in bookings so far.

Exadata is the fastest growing product in Oracle’s history. Introduced a little over a year ago, the Exadata pipeline is now approaching $400 million …This strengthens both sales growth and profitability in our Sun server and storage businesses,” Oracle President, Charles Phillips said.

SAP Bashing

In keeping with tradition though, CEO Larry Ellison took time to bash SAP. Predicting that they would continue to grab “huge chunks of market share” from SAP, Ellison taunted the world’s largest software company by suggesting the only thing SAP was beating Oracle in was in the number of CEOs it has had.

SAP’s most recent quarter was the best quarter of their year, only down 15%, while Oracle’s application sales were up 21%. But SAP is well ahead of us in the number of CEOs for this year, announcing their third and fourth, while we only had one," Ellison said

However good the sound bite, more significant is his assertion that Oracle expects to continue its charge on the market with Fusion Applications due to be released later in the year.

He said Fusion Applications, when released, will be sold as on-premises software, integrated appliances and in on-demand form.

Brighter 2010?

All posturing aside, Oracle’s results should give heart to an industry that has, like many others, taken quite a beating in the past 12 months. In 2009, tech spending dropped 9% compared with a decline in nominal gross domestic product of around 1%, according to Forrester Research.

However, things are looking up. On the same day that Oracle released its results, IDC also released research that shows that while spending on IT will not return to previous levels until at least next year, it will return to growth this year.

The research also shows that the recession hit business IT spending harder than anyone had anticipated so that annual growth will remain at 5.5% annually, much lower than previously expected. If nothing else, things seem to be moving in the right direction.

Is Cloud-Based SharePoint 2010 a Viable Enterprise Option?

A recent paper released by Forrester Research (site) entitled SharePoint 2010: A More Viable Cloud Option argues that if you are looking at deploying SharePoint off the premises, with the introduction of SharePoint 2010 (site),  now is a good time to do it.

The problem with SharePoint Online until now, report author Rob Koplowitz says, is that cloud-based SharePoint, either standalone or as part of Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), demonstrates a number of limitations compared to an on-premise version. However, SharePoint 2010 closes the gap in functionality between the deployment options and opens up SharePoint Online to a wider range of applications.

And while there may be still some differences between SharePoint 2010 Online and the on-premise version, the report foresees Microsoft continuing to revisit the viability of including those missing features over time.

SharePoint Environment Improvements

In January, when we talked about SharePoint 2010 and the version of SharePoint Online that would run with it , we noted that the principal improvements would be the result of the multi-tenancy features that would see the online version coming a lot closer to the on-premise version  than the online version based on SharePoint 2007 did.

While the new version is unlikely to reach parity with this release, Koplowitz says, there are key improvements to the environment that will make SharePoint Online more viable for more organizations.

These include:

  • SharePoint Online Dedicated: Microsoft is to introduce a review process that will make code customization far more straightforward and accessible. Additionally, customizations that fall within the new “sandbox” definition will not require review at all.
  • SharePoint Online Standard: This edition will better align with the new server offering. The result is that users will be able to benefit from new capabilities including: My Sites, tagging, tag clouds, activity feeds, Office Web Apps, business intelligence, records management, forms amongst others.

Some functionality will continue to require an on-premise implementation. Microsoft (site)  has said it will be looking this over time. Also, easier integration with other internal applications often requires on-premise deployment.

SharePoint Online Deployment?

In light of the improvements, and because of remaining short-comings, the report has four recommendations for companies that might be considering taking advantage of the relatively low cost of online deployment.

These are:

  • Security and Compliance: Work with you legal and HR departments to determine if it is feasible to store data outside the enterprises on-site information store as there may be issues with compliance or security. However, even if the event that there are such issues, SP Online Dedicated may still be possible, while multi-tenant probably won’t.
  • SharePoint 2010 Online functionality: If you have not already deployed an on-premise version but considering SharePoint, then the costs for an online version might be worth looking at, including the costs of hiring or retracing staff as SharePoint particularly as functionality with SP 2010 is greatly enhanced.
  • SharePoint On-Premise and Online: Companies that already have SharePoint may take advantage of cloud-based services to augment an existing on-premise deployment (if only for reasons of cost). Common scenarios would include storing sensitive data on-premise while less sensitive business content could be stored in the cloud.
  • Partial Deployment: Another scenario is deploying a small on-premise SharePoint implementation to take advantage of advanced capabilities, while the majority of more commoditized capabilities like workspaces and portal content could be provisioned in the cloud.

If the principal reasons for not opting for SharePoint Online have been its limitations, then now is the time to rethink your options. While SharePoint Online based on SP 2010 is not the equivalent of its on-premise relative, it is close and Microsoft promise to keep looking at it.

If you are interested in reading more on this the report is available to buy from Forrester for US US$ 499.

Forrester: Most U.S. Internet Consumers Using Multiple Channels

Your website is your primary communication tool, so you give it plenty of love. However, research says this is not sufficient as more than 70% of U.S. Internet consumers are now using multiple channels.

Examples include:

  • Call centers
  • Direct mail
  • Mobile apps and interfaces
  • Social networks
  • In-store displays

Today's ruthless consumers expect a seamless cross-channel experience. Unfortunately, consumers often report that their cross-channel experience are poor — A.K.A., you have work to do.

With this problem in mind Forrester Research is teaming with CoreMedia this Thursday at 11am EST/4pm GMT to present a webinar titled: The Role Of WCM In Cross-Channel Customer Relations.

Forrester analyst Tim Walters says you can maximize your online presence to create the optimal cross-channel user experience. And further, that your web content management system can play a key role in the process.

If you're responsible for optimizing your customers' cross-channel experience this webinar may be just what you need. Skip on over and register here.

SMB Tech Roll-up: Social Media Is Good And Bad For Business, With Security Top of Mind

We have a mixed bag of news for SMBs with conflicting views on whether social media is good or bad for business. There was a lot of other research published this week giving a considerable amount to think about for companies in, or thinking about entering the tech fray.

Social Media is good for Business?

American SMBs are turning to social media in an effort to boost their customer base, according to the recently released, Small Business Success Index.

Sponsored by Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business, the report shows that over the past year alone social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12% to 24%.

The research showed that nearly one out of five small business owners is actively using social media in their business with many of them investing in social media applications, including blogs, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

The biggest expectation small business owners have from social media is expanding external marketing and engagement with 61% of the respondents indicating that they use social media to identify and attract new customers.

Amongst the findings:

  • 75% surveyed have a company page on a social networking site
  • 61% use social media for identifying and attracting new customers
  • 57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn
  • 45% expect social media to be profitable in the next twelve months
  • 72% have found ways to operate more efficiently

However, it also showed that there were still some concerns about using social media with:

  • 50% saying it takes more time than expected
  • 17% saying it gives people a chance to criticize their business in a public forum

Only 6% felt that social media use has hurt the image of the business more than helped it.

Download a copy of the Small Business Success Index and also find out how your business scores on the six key dimensions of small business success from the growsmartbusiness.com website.

Social Media Is Bad For Business?

The flip side of the Small Business Success Index is the report from Webroot, which was also published this week showing that IT managers in small and medium-sized organizations believe malware spread through social networks, Web 2.0 applications and other Web-based vectors will pose the most serious risk to information security in 2010.

The data is part of a new survey of 803 IT professionals in companies with 100 to 5,000 employees in the United States, the UK and Australia.

The vast majority of respondents (80%) say Web 2.0-based malware will be a problem in 2010. In fact, seven out of 10 (73%) said Web-based threats are more difficult to manage than email-based threats. Survey respondents also identified data security and confidentiality, data loss prevention and securing mobile and laptop users as the top three priorities for Web security in 2010.

Webroot commissioned the survey to identify the threats security professionals most anticipate in 2010, the weakest links in Web security and how companies are addressing these issues.

Key findings include the fact that nearly one quarter of those surveyed believe their company is very or extremely vulnerable to threats from:

  • Microsoft operating system vulnerabilities (25%)
  • Unpatched client-side software (24%)
  • Browser vulnerabilities (24%)
  • Web 2.0 applications (23%)

The majority (73%) of respondents agree that managing Web-based threats is more challenging than managing email-based threats.

And while many believe they are under threat, many others have already been compromised. These included:

  • 23% compromised by employees who accessed personal Webmail accounts
  • 24% used social networking sites
  • 25% used P2P networking
  • 32% downloaded media

If you’re interested in more check it out on the Webroot blog.

SMBs Maintaining Not Upgrading Software

SMBs are spending more than half their budgets on maintaining existing software than they are on new or upgraded software, according to the latest Forrester's Enterprise And SMB Software Survey.

The survey of nearly 2,200 IT executives and technology decision-makers at enterprise and small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) in North America and Europe is part of Forrester's Business Data Services (BDS) series, which helps Vendor Strategy professionals profile their target market's budget allocation and technology adoption.

The survey shows that the poor economic environment has created a backlog of business application software upgrade activities for firms, and many plan to address the issue this year.

Amongst the areas companies will be spending on are:

  • 21 percent of SMBs plan to upgrade existing finance and accounting software,
  • 19 percent of SMBs plan to upgrade their customer relationship management (CRM) applications,
  • 18 percent of SMBs plan to upgrade industry-specific software.

In addition, more than 20 percent of all SMBs have concrete plans to implement CRM or information and knowledge management (I&KM) software in 2010 or later, representing the fastest-growing SMB software markets in 2010.

While cloud computing has many enterprises interested, growth of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications is driving the market more, and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is still slow, the report also shows.

More information about Forrester's Business Data Services is available at the Forrester website.

UK SMBs Save By Not Using WiFi

Instead of relying on Wi-Fi hotspots, small enterprises’ employees should use mobile broadband USB sticks and datacards when traveling to save their businesses an average of UK£ 2145 (US$ 3368) each year depending on the number of employees on the road, according to research by UK telecoms, technology and media consultancy Analysys Mason.

Entitled Small Enterprises Save Money With Mobile broadband, published ahead of Mobile World Congress 2010 just finishing in Barcelona, it shows that each employee who travels throughout the year can accumulate Wi-Fi hotspot charges of up to UK£ 700 (US$ 1099).

All in all, the quality of service, simplicity and performance of mobile broadband in the UK is very good. SMEs can choose highly competitive offerings, with or without contracts from different providers.

This short report is part of Analysys Mason’s Research Enterprise program on the global enterprise and SME sectors.

If you’re interested in more, details of the report can be found on the website.

CoreMedia and Forrester: Cross Channel User Experiences Must Improve

Demanding modern consumers want not only rich, engaging online experiences, but, according to Forrester's research, they also expect these experiences to extend transparently across multiple channels — from the web to call centers, to direct mail, mobile, social networks and in-store displays. In fact, recent research says that more than 70% of U.S. consumers use the Web plus another channel when making purchase decisions.

We've said it before, 2010 is shaping up to be a year where experience management needs drive the Web CMS sector in new, and in our opinion, interesting directions.

On Thursday February 25 at 8am Pacific, 11am Eastern and 4pm GMT CoreMedia and Forrester are holding a webinar entitled The Role of Web CMS in Cross-Channel Customer Relations.

The live event will be presented by Forrester's Tim Walters and aims to:

  • Review the emerging trends in cross-channel communications and experience management
  • Explore how Web Content Management solutions can a play key role in driving customer responsiveness
  • Demonstrate that synchronizing, updating and optimizing your digital content for a wide variety of consumer end points can quickly increase your customer engagement

If you're tasked with optimizing your customer communication and interaction channels, then this event might be just what you need. Inquiring minds can register here.