Look Beyond The Simple Facts of the Cimpl Acquisition

(Note: This blog was co-written by Hyoun Park and Larry Foster, an Enterprise Technology Management Association Hall of Famer and an executive who has shape the Technology Expense Management industry. Please welcome Larry’s first contribution to Amalgam Insights!)

On August 22, 2019, Upland Software announced the acquisition of Cimpl (f.k.a. Etelesolv), a Montreal-based telecom expense management platform that was the market leader in the Canadian market and had expanded into the United States market. With this acquisition, Cimpl will become a part of Upland’s Project & Financial Management Solution Suite and add approximate $8 million in annual revenue.

Context for the Acquisition

The TEM (Technology Expense Management) industry has experienced a continual series of ebb-and-flow acquisitions/mergers over the past twelve years. The typical TEM acquisition/merger encompasses two or more independent entities within the realm of TEM, WEM (Wireless Expense Management) or MMS (Managed Mobility Services) merging to create a more comprehensive expense management solution portfolio with superior global delivery capabilities.

The reality is that many of these mergers are driven by economic reasons where one or both entities can reduce overhead by eliminating duplicate services. Overhead is eliminated by unifying back-office operations and amalgamating technology platforms. These types of consolidation mergers are typical in a maturing industry that is eventually dominated by a few leading solution providers representing the majority of market share. All of the leading TEM solution providers including Tangoe, MDSL and Calero encompass a long history of multiple “like-minded mergers”.

Cimpl as an outlier in the TEM market

Until this recent acquisition, Cimpl has maintained the persona of the independent dark horse of the TEM industry quietly residing in Quebec, Canada refining its multi-tenant cloud platform and progressively building its market share.

Unlike most TEM managed service solution providers, Cimpl has decided to focus on being mainly a pure software company and providing a white-label technology platform for its delivery partners. In early 2018 CIMPL stealthily started to expand its physical presence into the United States. Since its inception, Cimpl has continued to progressively achieve conservative incremental success and stay profitable in contrast to a number of TEM vendors that have gone through boom-or-bust cycles driven by external funding (or the lack thereof).

The Challenge for TEM

The traditional acquisition playbook is preventing the TEM industry from being recognized as a strategic asset by organizations. Nonetheless, the TEM industry is experiencing a dramatic paradigm shift as organizations continue to replace legacy communication services with the ever-growing spectrum of cloud-based services. Traditionally, TEM solutions have focused on validating the integrity of invoice charges across multiple vendors prior to payment and allocating expenses to the respective cost centers leveraging the leased service. Enterprises derive value from TEM solutions by enabling a centralized ICT (Information and Communications Technology) shared service to automate the lifecycle from provisioning through payment and managing the resolution of disputed invoice charges for essentially static services.

However, as organizations adopt more ephemeral cloud services that encompass multi-vendor private, public and hybrid leased environments for compute, storage, API-enabled integrations, connectivity, input/output, and telecommunications, the purpose of the centralized ICT business operation is being transformed from managing daily operations to a fiduciary broker focused on optimizing technology investments. Unlike the recurring charges that represent the majority of traditional telecom charges, cloud services are consumption-based, meaning that it’s the responsibility of the client user to deactivate and manage the appropriate configuration of contracted services based on statistical analysis and forecast of the actual usage.

In the world of cloud, the provisioning activities such as activations, changes, and deactivations are done “on-demand,” completely independent from the ICT operation. The primary focus of ITEM solutions is to manage recurring and non-recurring invoice charges in arrears. As ICT operations evolve into technology brokers, they need real-time insight underpinned by ML and AI algorithms that make cost optimization recommendations to add, consolidate, change or deactivate services based on usage trends.

Why the CIMPL acquisition will help Upland

This context brings us to the real ingenuousness of the Cimpl acquisition. In the typical quiet financial days of August when everyone is away on vacation, Upland Software announced an accretive acquisition of Cimpl with a purchase price of $23.1M in cash and a $2.6M cash holdback payable in 12 months. Upland expects the acquisition to generate annual revenue of approximately $8M, of which $7.4M is recurring. The keyword buried within all of those financial statistics is “accretive” which means their strategy is to help increase natural growth.

Upland already has an impressive complementary portfolio of profitable software solutions. A closer look at the acquisition of Cimpl shows how Upland is formulating a solution strategy to manage all aspects of the Information and Communication Technology business operations.

The strategic value of the Cimpl acquisition becomes very clear when you recognize that Upland is the first company to combine an IT Financial Management platform (ITFM), ComSci, with an IT Expense Management-based solution (ITEM), Cimpl. Upland already owns additional complementary solutions such as a document and workflow automation, a BI platform, customer engagement platform, and a knowledge-based platform. With these components, Upland is working to create an industry-leading ERP-type solution framework to automate, manage, & rationalize all aspects of ICT business operations.

Although both ITFM and ITEM support the ICT business operations, they focus on different aspects. ITFM is predominately used on the front end to manage budgets and on a monthly basis to support internal billing/chargeback activities and leveraged by the IT CFO office whereas ITEM solutions like Cimpl are used by analysts and operational managers because they focus on managing the high volumes of transactional operations and data throughout the month, including provisioning and payment of leased services such as both landline and mobile communication services and now the ever-expanding array of cloud services.

Looking Forward: Our Recommendations

In this context, take the following recommendations into account based on this acquisition.

Expect other leading TEM, ITFM, CEM/CMP (Cloud Expense Management and Cloud Management Platform) solution providers to develop competitive solution frameworks that bring multiple IT categories together from a finance and expense management perspective.

ICT managers need to evolve and transform their solution to due diligence approach beyond pursuing and leveraging independent ITFM, ITEM, CEM/CMP solutions to choosing solutions with comprehensive IT management frameworks. As IT continues to become increasingly based on subscriptions, project-based spend, and on-demand peak usage across a variety of categories, ICT managers should aim towards having a single management control plane for finance and expenses rather than depend on a variety of management solutions

Real-time management is the future of IT expense management. The next levels of operational efficacy will be underpinned by more comprehensive real-time insight that helps organizations understand the most optimal way to acquire, configure and consume inter-related cloud services and pay their invoices. This will require insights on usage, project management, service management and real-time status updates associated with expense and finance. By combining financial and operational data, ICT managers will have greater insights into the current and ongoing ROI of technology under management.

The Amalgam Insiders have 5 Key Questions for VMworld

(Editor’s Note: This week, Tom Petrocelli and Hyoun Park will be blogging and tweeting on key topics at VMworld at a time when multi-cloud management is a key issue for IT departments and Dell is spending billions of dollars. Please follow our blog and our twitter accounts TomPetrocelli, Hyounpark, and AmalgamInsights for more details this week as we cover VMworld!)

As Amalgam Insights prepares to attend VMworld, it is an especially interesting time from both an M&A and a strategic perspective as VMware completes acquisitions of its sibling company Pivotal and end-user security startup Carbon Black. As these acquisitions are in progress and Amalgam Insights has the opportunity to question executives at the top of Dell Technologies, including Pat Gelsinger and Michael Dell, Amalgam Insights will be looking forward to answers to the following questions:

1. How will VMware accelerate Pivotal’s growth post-acquisition? Back in 2013 when Pivotal was first founded, I stated in an interview that

“Pivotal is the first application platform that combines cloud, Big Data, and rapid application development and it represents a fundamental shift in enterprise IT. By creating an enterprise-grade Big Data application platform, Pivotal has the opportunity to quickly unlock value from transactional data that has traditionally been archived and ignored without requiring a long period of up training, integration, and upfront development time.”

 

The potential for Pivotal was immense. Even in light of The Death of Big Data, Pivotal still has both the toolkits and methodology to support intelligent analytic and algorithm-based application architectures at a time when VMware needs to increase its support there in light of the capabilities of IBM-Red Hat, Oracle, and other competitors. We’re looking forward to getting some answers!

2. How will the Carbon Black acquisition be integrated into VMware’s security and end-user computing offerings? Carbon Black is a Boston-area security startup focused on discovering malicious activity on endpoints and will be a strong contributor to WorkspaceONE as VMware seeks to manage and secure the mobile-cloud ecosystem. And along with NSX Cloud for networking and CloudHealth Technologies for multi-cloud management, Carbon Black will help VMware to tell a stronger end-to-end cloud story. But the potential and timeline for integration will end up defining the success of this 2 billion+ dollar acquisition.

3. Where does CloudHealth Technologies fit into VMware’s multi-cloud management story? Although this 500 million dollar acquisition looked promising when it occurred last year, the Dell family previously invested in Enstratius to manage multi-cloud environments and that acquisition ended up going nowhere. What did VMware learn from the last time around and how will CloudHealth Technologies stay top of mind with all these other acquisitions going on?

4. Where is VMware going with its machine learning and AI capabilities for data center management? I can’t take credit for this one, as the great Maribel Lopez brought this up (go ahead and follow her on LinkedIn!). But VMware needs to continue advancing the Software-Defined Data Center and to ease client challenges in supporting hybrid cloud environments.

5. How is VMware bringing virtualization and Kubernetes together? With VMware’s acquisitions of Heptio and Bitnami, VMware has put itself right in the middle of the Kubernetes universe. But virtualization and Kubernetes are the application support equivalent of data center and cloud, two axes on the spectrum of what is possible. How will VMware simplify this componentization for clients who are seeking hybrid cloud help?

We’ll be looking for answers to these questions and more as we roam the halls of Moscone and put VMware and Dell executives to the test! Stay tuned for more!

Amalgam Insights Analysis: Incorta Raises $30 Million C Round

On August 15, 2019, Incorta announced the closing of a $30 million Series C round led by Sorenson Capital and including participation from existing investors GV, Kleiner Perkins, M12 (formerly known as Microsoft Ventures), Telstra Ventures, & Ron Wohl. Incorta has raised $75 million in funding since its founding.

Incorta is an innovator in the enterprise analytics space because of its Direct Data  Mapping capabilities that allow organizations to build data warehouse-like organizational capabilities without having to create ETL jobs or data models. This allows organizations to massively accelerate their time to incorporate new data into analytic environments and represents one of the new paradigms in data and analytics that is getting organizations closer to the Holy Grail of supporting ubiquitous analytics. This approach also provides performance benefits associated with analytic queries compared to traditional database approaches to organizing large stores of data for analytic usage, such as columnar data queries.

This round of funding was validated by Incorta’s rapid recent growth, including 284% growth in revenue year-over year (including key deals in verticals such as financial services, retail, and manufacturing), 200 new employees added over the last six months with new offices in Chicago, Dubai, and Bangalore, and a strengthened marketing and sales partnership with Microsoft

Incorta is expected to use this funding to acquire top technical, sales, marketing, and operational talent, continue investing in current technologies, and work with  public cloud providers on supporting effective and efficient deployments.

Why It Matters

Enterprise analytics have gone through several generations of evolution, starting with the initial development of reporting on structured databases and ETL with the likes of Business Objects, Cognos, and Microstrategy , then continuing with the growth of self-service and data discovery driven by Qlik and Tableau, and then a variety of Big Data solutions including Hadoop, MongoDB, Oracle Exadata, and SAP HANA. We also saw a set of cloud BI solutions that accelerated the ability to create data models and star schemas, such as Birst, Power BI, and Oracle Analytics Cloud.

Although many of these technologies continue to be valid and effective ways to manage analytic access, we are entering a new era of analytics solutions seeking to accelerate analytic access and ubiquity not by simply improving current paradigms of data querying, modeling, and integration, but by fundamentally changing the way we access and structure analytic data by taking advantage of the cloud and modern methods of supporting complex data. Amalgam Insights believes that Incorta is an emerging game changer in the current era of analytics in its approach that actively avoids traditional data modeling and ETL in favor of a more direct approach of bringing data sources together and conducting analytics on the data. This approach is fundamentally important because it practically allows businesses to bring in new data sources as trusted analytic data without having to figure out the complexities of Kimball-esque data warehouse mapping.

With this round of funding, Amalgam Insights believes that Incorta is equipped to sell its unique approach to analytics to a larger audience. However, if the recent funding rounds of Looker, Thoughtspot, and Sisense are any indication, Incorta will likely look for at least one more round of funding either to support global marketing and selling efforts or to prepare for IPO. Either way, Amalgam Insights expects Incorta to continue its success as enterprise IT organizations seek a faster and more efficient way to continue bringing more data sources into their analytic environments. Amalgam Insights highly recommends Incorta as a solution for enterprise analytics departments struggling to keep up with the pace of readying new data sources for analytics. In addition, we recommend Incorta as a solution that is worth an initial free trial and sandbox installation even in mature and stable analytic environments to ensure that analytics teams are up to date with the Art of the Possible with modern analytic tools.

(Note: Amalgam Insights currently recommends Incorta, Looker, Microstrategy, Sisense, and Thoughtspot as analytic vendors with novel approaches for developing ubiquitous analytics.)

Mobile Solutions Launches New Robotic Process Automation Capabilities

[Edited July 25th to reflect Mobile Solutions’ current public-facing offerings]

Key Takeaway: Mobile Solutions is providing Robotic Process Automation for Managed Mobility Services with a focus on mid-market enterprises and organizations. This capability provides Mobile Solutions with a starting point for handling basic service orders.

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Understanding Microsoft’s Investment in OpenAI

On July 22, Microsoft announced a $1 billion investment in OpenAI, a lab focused on “artificial general intelligence,” or the goal of creating artificial intelligence with human-like observation and learning capabilities. With this announcement,  Microsoft becomes the “exclusive” cloud computing provider for OpenAI and will have access to productizing OpenAI capabilities as they come to market.

Key Takeaways: Microsoft makes a long-term investment in “general intelligence” to start on the next generation of AIs that will be coming to market in five-to-ten years and will be able to recoup some costs back as OpenAI’s cloud provider and monetizer of OpenAI technologies.

Continue reading “Understanding Microsoft’s Investment in OpenAI”

The Second Half of 2019 Has Already Begun! Amalgam Insights Highlights

We’ve reached July 1, 2019. It has been an amazing first half of the year both for Amalgam Insights and the tech world in general! From our perspective, it has been a good half as we’ve written 53 blogs, published 13 reports, and grown bookings 66% over the second half of 2018. Special Thanks to our corporate clients for your financial support that allows us to continue being a voice for changing the future of technology.:

And this gives you an idea of the companies that align with our perspective of technology being more global, usable, efficient, and financially sustainable in the here and now.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer hype of tech news cycles, but the past few months have been part of a fundamental shift in the world of IT that seems to happen once a decade. However, our audience has shown broad interest in topics across data management, cloud management, the future of finance, the neuroscience of learning, and enterprise-grade data science over the last six months. Heres a quick summary of the topics that Amalgam’s audience found most compelling in the first half of this year.

Amalgam Insights’ Top 10 for the First Half of 2019

  1. The Death of Big Data and the Emergence of the Multi-Cloud Era – Author: Hyoun Park

    Just as we saw the emergence of the Internet as a powerful business enabler around 2000 and saw the rise of Big Data and Analytics in 2010, we now face the emergence of Multi-cloud replacing CapEx as a fundamental basis for tech this year as we enter the 2020s.Based on that, it was no surprise that The Death of Big Data and the Emergence of the Multi-Cloud Era has been the most popular piece on Amalgam Insights in the first half of 2019.

  2. Docker Enterprise 3.0 is the Docker We’ve Been Waiting For – Author: Tom Petrocelli

    DevOps Research Fellow Tom Petrocelli describes in this research piece how Docker has been moving away from the commodity business of container infrastructure and reinventing itself as a developer tools company. It provides context to the DevOps community on why Docker 3.0 addresses one of the largest problems in DevOps, today.

  3. Microsoft “Early Adopts” New ASC 606 Revenue Recognition Standard – Author: Hyoun Park

    This piece continues to provide guidance to companies on how businesses prepared for ASC 606 accounting and has been a starting point for some of you to ask us about the likes of Zuora, Aria, Oracle BRM, SAP Hybris Billing, Sage Intacct, FinancialForce, Flexera Software Monetization Platform, Gemalto On-Demand Subscription Manager, and other subscription business platforms.

  4. Analyst Insight: 7 Key Technology Expense Management Predictions for 2019 – Author: Hyoun Park

    This report, published at the beginning of this year, provides7 predictions to help financially-minded technology managers gain 30% savings on operational cloud, network, and telecom expenses while gaining the visibility and governance needed to responsibly manage digital change and technology as a competitive advantage. This report, which comes with free analyst inquiry time, served as a strategic kickstart for enterprise IT and procurement teams in 2019.

  5. Technical Guide: A Service Mesh Primer – Author: Author: Tom Petrocelli 

    This groundbreaking Amalgam Insights Technical Guide on the Service Mesh provides enterprise architects, CTOs, and developer teams with the guidance they need to understand the microservices architecture, service mesh architecture, and OSI model context necessary to conceptualize Service Mesh.

  6. 2019 Top 6 Trends in Learning & Development and Talent Management – Author: W. Todd Maddox Ph.D. 

    Our resident Neuroscientist of Technology, Todd Maddox, provided Chief Learning Officers and enterprise training organizations with a headstart to 2019 with this overview of the six major trends that Amalgam Insights’ research suggests will dominate the Learning & Development and Talent Management landscape including: the Impact of Psychology and Brain Science, AI and machine learning as innovation drivers, the Emphasis on Empathy, the need for Scenario-enhanced Microlearning, best practices for using immersive and augmented reality, and the Power of Personality.

  7. SmartList Market Guide on Service Mesh and Building Out Microservices Networking – Author: Tom Petrocelli

    This piece, a companion to the Technical Guide for Service Mesh, is a comprehensive guide to the roles that top technology vendors play in the world of microservices and service mesh in 2019 including their roles in Istio vs. Linkerd, modern microservice architecture considerations, and the three segments of the service mesh market: Control Plane, Data Plane, and Value-Add.

  8. Amazon Aurora Serverless vs. Oracle Autonomous Database: A Microcosm for The Future of IT – Author: Hyoun Park

    This research document continues to provide guidance on the fundamental decision that IT departments need to choose in the world of cloud. Ease-of-Use vs. Granular Management continues to be a key IT struggle as the need for business agility creates conflict between the need for speed of implementation and management vs. the demand for individualized and customized business model construction.

  9. Amazon Expands Toolkit of Machine Learning Services at AWS re:Invent – Author: Lynne Baer

    The interest for data science and machine learning analyst Lynne Baer’s piece on Amazon re:Invent was driven by the interest in Amazon Textract, a service that extracts text and data from scanned documents, without requiring manual data entry or custom code. The promise of Textract in providing Role-based Expert Enhancement by automating manual work continues to be of interest for our enterprise IT audience.

  10. The CLAIRE-ion Call at Informatica World 2019: AI Needs Managed Data and Data Management Needs AI – Author: Lynne BaerThis research note reflects the synergy between modern data management strategies and evolution of artificial intelligence and Amalgam Insights’ recommendations for the data managers, executives, and enterprises in the Informatica ecosystem trying to figure out what to do next in preparing for the exponentially expanding challenge of billions of daily interactions, billions of daily searches, billions of devices and sensors – combined with a shortage of over 800,000 data science professionals.

As you prepare for the second half of 2019, please keep a look out for our upcoming research and review any of our top pieces that have been influencing technology decisions for our subscribers and advisory clients over the first part of 2019. If you are seeking guidance on the Finance of Tech, the Neuroscience of Tech, or the current state of ITOps and DevOps, please send us a note at info@amalgaminsights.com to set up a discussion. We look forward to supporting a better future for managing technology with you.

3 Big 2019 Trends and 4 Strategic Tips for Managing the Transforming Cost of Technology

Amalgam Insights estimates that the total technology spend formally and centrally managed by enterprises with over $1 billion in revenue from telecom, network, mobility, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service will double from June of 2019 by the end of 2021 driven by the massive growth of cloud computing and the need to manage a variety of “shadow IT” costs that grow to the size that formal management is required.. By “formally and centrally managed,” Amalgam Insights assumes full visibility of inventory, contracts, billing, and service orders across all vendors with active usage and supplier optimization efforts.

In 2019, Amalgam Insights notes several key trends in the world of technology expense management that IT organizations should be aware of.

First, every IT expense management solution is increasingly focused on cloud-based expenses, either in terms of Software as a Service or Infrastructure as a Service. Established Software Asset Management (SAM) companies are working on their SaaS expense capabilities including Aspera, Flexera, ServiceNow, and Snow Software and a variety of standalone vendors including Alpin, Binadox, Cleanshelf, Intello, Torii, and Zylo are emerging. Amalgam Insights is planning a SmartList for November 2019 to focus on key vendors to manage SaaS across the SaaS expense, SAM, and Technology Expense markets.

On the IaaS side, every major global Technology Expense Management solution has launched IaaS management capabilities, also known as FinOps or Cloud FinOps, including Asignet, Calero, Cass Information Systems, Cimpl, Dimension Data, MDSL, Sakon, and Tangoe. In addition, this market has been an area of rapid acquisition over the past couple of years including Microsoft’s acquisition of Cloudyn, Apptio’s acquisition of Cloudability (which calls this practice “FinOps”), and VMware’s acquisition of CloudHealth Technologies. And there are still standalone players such as Cloudcheckr in this space as well. This crowded market seeking to manage the next $100 billion of public cloud spend represents an interesting set of choices for IT departments in choosing how to aggregate and manage IT spend.

(As an aside, Amalgam Insights finds the use of the term “FinOps” by Apptio and Cloudability to be an interesting way to coordinate multiple departments and provide guidance on how to manage cloud expenses. At the same time, FinOps seems to be recreating the wheel to some extent in rebuilding a set of practices and cross-departmental teams that already have been managing telecom expenses for a number of years. Amalgam Insights is quite interested in seeing how this duplication of effort within IT departments will sort itself either by the establishment of separate Cloud FinOps departments, integration of Cloud FinOps and “Telecom FinOps” a.k.a. Telecom Expense Management, or the integration of both cloud and telecom into a larger IT expense or finance role. This is an interesting transitional period for IT expense as more spend moves to subscription, usage, feature, user, department, and project-based spend and chargeback models. )

A third key trend is the move to Europe. European IT is being targeted as an area that has traditionally been informally managed or managed in geographic silos that prevent strong global management and alignment with strategic enterprise efforts. To solve this problem, there has been a variety of acquisitions and office launches across Europe as the likes of Calero, MDSL, Tangoe, Flexera, Snow Software, Cloudcheckr, ServiceNow, VMware, and others. Amalgam Insights notes that European IT management challenges have been poorly supported in the past by global vendors that have not adequately accounted for the differences in managing data, connectivity, and compliance in each European country and the relative lack of geographic footprint to support services. In light of this, Amalgam Insights has been tracking European IT management successes and provides guidance on this topic for end user, investor, and vendor advisory clients.

To prepare for this evolution in technology expense management, Amalgam Insights provides the following guidance for Chief Information Officers, Chief Procurement Officers, Chief Accounting Officers, and related IT procurement, finance, and expense managers to prepare for the second half of 2019 and beyond based on prior guidance and research.

$100K and 30% are key benchmarks for specialized IT spend categories. Once an IT spend management category exceeds $100,000 per month, organizations start having the potential to save at least one employee’s worth of payroll through optimization by pursuing the 30% savings that typically exist in a previously unmanaged environment that has not been formally managed or audited over the last five years. At this point, your company should start looking for a dedicated solution for expense management, whether it be manual support from an in-house employee with telecom experience, a software platform to support management, or managed services to support contract, invoice, inventory, and usage management. These rules of thumb are especially true in SaaS and IaaS management, which are currently rife with poor governance, duplicate spending, and unmonitored usage patterns associated with decentralized cloud computing purchases.

Enterprise buyers at Global 2000 companies should review their current strategy for IT spend categories with the goal of supporting all cloud, software, hardware, network, and mobility spend from a usage and subscription-based perspective. IT is moving to a subscription and usage-based paradigm that started by enterprise telecom and then evolved through the enterprise adoption of cloud computing. Firms currently considering new or replacement IT expense vendors, due diligence in understanding prospective vendors’ roadmap and experience for new technology categories is vital for futureproofing this investment. This is especially true in an “As-a-Service” world where all aspects of IT are increasingly being sourced and billed in a telecom-like function which shifts these vendor relationships from traditional asset-based approaches to subscription and relationship-based approaches. Look for depth in the following functional areas: inventory, invoice line-items, service orders, disputes, optimization, governance, and security.

Customer satisfaction, geographic expertise, vertical expertise, and depth of managed and professional services are key differentiators. Amalgam recommends that companies looking at TEM solutions focus not only on the technical aspects of invoice and inventory management, but on the alignment between the vendor’s expertise and the potential buyer’s geographic footprint and business model. This alignment is often more important than the extremely granular Request for Proposals that Amalgam has seen in this industry. In 2019, there have been a number of specific trends in this regard, such as the telecom expense management market’s push towards aggregating European spend among market leaders, focus on providing additional managed services such as security and managed mobility, and vertical-specific cost management focuses that also include specific asset management and IT management strategies. Customer retention and satisfaction are also key metrics. For mature solutions, it is not uncommon to see annual customer retention metrics above 95% and to see an year-over-year increase in wallet share as new cloud and app spend is brought into a solution.

Rather than ask hundreds of questions where there is little to no differentiation, such as how invoices are processed and whether a specific type of inventory can be stored within the solution, focus on how the vendor supports the usage and management of value-added technology. The goal of IT is not to restrict the use of helpful technologies, but to increase the use of productivity-driving and outcome-improving technologies and then to providing that optimal level of utilization in a cost-effective manner. Spend management vendors that can help identify technology associated with revenue growth or customer satisfaction provide a competitive edge in understanding the cost-basis of strategic IT. By taking these steps, companies can start to better understand how to manage IT spend more practically.

(Note: This piece is an excerpt from Amalgam Insights’ upcoming SmartList for Technology Expense Management Market Leaders scheduled to publish in August 2019. If you would like more information about this topic, if you are considering a net-new or replacement purchase for IT expense management, or are interested in the upcoming report, please feel free to contact us at info@Amalgaminsights.com)

Strategic Presentation for the Amalgam Insights Community – 5G Context for the Strategic Enterprise

I’ve recently had the opportunity to present on the present and future of 5G as a business enabler. Based on the past 20 years I’ve spent around the carrier, reseller, IT management, and industry analyst sides of the business, I’m looking forward to sharing part of my presentation to the Amalgam Insights audience and show why 5G introduces a new Age of Mobility to follow the Age of Voice, the Age of Text, the Age of Apps, and the Age of Streaming!

If you’re interested in further discussing any aspect of this deck or the repercussions of 5G for your business, please feel free to get in contact with us at info@amalgaminsights.com! Please click on the link below to download the slide deck and learn more about what 5G practically means for the world of business over the next year or two.

Amalgam Insights – 5G Context for the Strategic Enterprise

The Death of Big Data and the Emergence of the Multi-Cloud Era

RIP Era of Big Data
April 1, 2006 – June 5, 2019

The Era of Big Data passed away on June 5, 2019 with the announcement of Tom Reilly’s upcoming resignation from Cloudera and subsequent market capitalization drop. Coupled with MapR’s recent announcement intending to shut down in late June, which will be dependent on whether MapR can find a buyer to continue operations, June of 2019 accentuated that the initial Era of Hadoop-driven Big Data has come to an end. Big Data will be remembered for its role in enabling the beginning of social media dominance, its role in fundamentally changing the mindset of enterprises in working with multiple orders of magnitude increases in data volume, and in clarifying the value of analytic data, data quality, and data governance for the ongoing valuation of data as an enterprise asset.

As I give a eulogy of sorts to the Era of Big Data, I do want to emphasize that Big Data technologies are not actually “dead,” but that the initial generation of Hadoop-based Big Data has reached a point of maturity where its role in enterprise data is established. Big Data is no longer part of the breathless hype cycle of infinite growth, but is now an established technology.
Continue reading “The Death of Big Data and the Emergence of the Multi-Cloud Era”

Inside our Slack Channel: A Conversation on Salesforce acquiring Tableau

As you may know, analysts typically only have the time to share a small fraction of the information that they have on any topic at any given time, with the majority of our time spent speaking with clients, technologists, and each other.

When Salesforce announced their acquisition of Tableau Monday morning, we at Amalgam Insights obviously started talking to each other about what this meant. Below is a edited excerpt of some of the topics we were going through as I was preparing for PTC LiveWorx in Boston, Data Science analyst Lynne Baer was in Nashville for Alteryx, and DevOps Research Fellow Tom Petrocelli was holding down the fort in Buffalo after several weeks of travel. Hope you enjoy a quick look behind the scenes of how we started informally thinking about this in the first hour or so after the announcement.

When the Salesforce-Tableau topic came up, Tom Petrocelli kicked it off.
Continue reading “Inside our Slack Channel: A Conversation on Salesforce acquiring Tableau”