Anaplan States Planning Is Dead, Focuses on the Era of Real-Time Decision

Recommended Reading for: Finance, Sales Operations, Supply Chain Management, IT Management, and Enterprise Strategy Personnel
Companies Mentioned: Anaplan, IBM, SAP, Oracle, Microstrategy, Tableau, DataRobot, TROVE Data, Louis Vuitton, Premji Invest, Salesforce Ventures, Top Tier Capital Partners, Baillie Gifford, Granite Ventures, Industry Ventures, Meritech Capital, Constellation Research, Ventana Research, IDC, Mint Jutras, ISG, Gartner, Apps Run the World, TechVentive

On March 6th and 7th, 2018, Amalgam Insights attended Anaplan Hub 18. Anaplan has been on Amalgam analysts’ radar for several years, as we consider Anaplan’s Hyperblock foundation and ability to serve multi-departmental planning in enterprises without a year or more of setup to be fundamental advantages. As we have covered this company, we have been waiting for Anaplan to reach its breakthrough moment where it takes its place as one of the true market leaders in enterprise applications. It is in this context that we attended Anaplan Hub and judged our interactions with Anaplan executives, customers, and partners.

This report provides updates on Anaplan’s key business metrics, executive insights from an analyst-only panel, keynote and product announcements, a 2018 perspective on customer success stories with Anaplan, and Amalgam’s expectations for Anaplan in 2018 and beyond as both a real-time planning application and a Platform as a Service.

Anaplan Key Business Updates
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Why Enterprise Gamification is Broken (The Psychological Science of Motivation and Effort)

Motivation-Effort Relationship

Gamification entered the enterprise world in the mid-2000s. At the time, a number of startup companies (e.g., Bunchball, Gigya, Badgeville, Foursquare and SCVNGR, to name a few) entered the market with the promise of increased employee engagement through point, badge and similar compensation and incentivization schemes. These are collectively referred to as gamification. The underlying assumption was that people would complete tasks and goals more quickly and more accurately because the incentives were present.

These solutions targeted customer loyalty, sales enablement and some marketing initiatives, but the most successful applications were in sales. Despite raising significant capital, the majority of these companies folded because client’s internal adoption was low, and in many cases, these offering were no more effective than simply posting current sales results or sales metrics on the wall.
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MindBridge AI Opens Up The Audit with Natural Language Processing and Integrations with NetSuite and Intacct

Note: this blog consists of excerpts of the Market Milestone written on this topic. For the full report, go to our Research section

On February 21, 2018, MindBridge Ai announced updates to its Ai Auditor platform, which is designed to analyze financial data with machine learning and artificial intelligence tools for financial audits. These updates include
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Blockchain! What is it Good For?

Diamond - Immutable and Hardened
Tom Petrocelli, Amalgam Insights Contributing Analyst

Blockchain looks to be one of those up and coming technologies that is constantly being talked about. Many of the largest IT companies – IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle to name few – plus a not-for-profit or two are heavily promoting blockchain. Clearly, there is intense interest, much of it fueled by exotic-sounding cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The big question I get asked – and analysts are supposed to be able to answer the big questions – is “What can I use blockchain for?”
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Market Milestone: Red Hat Acquires CoreOS Changing the Container Landscape

Red Hat Acquires CoreOS

We have just published a new document from Tom Petrocelli analyzing Red Hat’s $250 million acquisition of CoreOS and why it matters for DevOps and Systems Architecture managers.

This report is recommended for CIOs, System Architects, IT Managers, System Administrators, and Operations Managers who are evaluating CoreOS and Red Hat as container solutions to support their private and hybrid cloud solutions. In this document, Tom provides both the upside and concerns that your organization needs to consider in evaluating CoreOS.

This document includes:
A summary of Red Hat’s Acquisition of CoreOS
Why It Matters
Top Takeaways
Contextualizing CoreOS within Red Hat’s private and hybrid cloud portfolio
Alternatives to Red Hat CoreOS
Positive and negative aspects fcr current Red Hat and CoreOS customers

To download this report, please go to our Research section.

The Brain Science that Drives Corporate “Training for Retention”

Iterative Targeted Retention

Companies Mentioned: Axonify, Degreed, EdCast, Fivel, Grovo, Pathgather, Percipio, and Qstream

A recent study by Deloitte suggests that the #1 problem facing companies revolves around employee engagement, turnover, and the corporate culture, with 87% of companies rating these as important imperatives, and 50% rating them as urgent. Learning may be the key, with companies utilizing effective Learning & Development (L&D) environments showing higher levels of engagement, reduced turnover, and positive corporate cultures.

The operative term here is “effective” L&D. Stale textbook and slide show training is obsolete and ineffective. Effective learning content is compelling and engaging, is available in multiple media (text, video, audio), and is available 24/7 on multiple platforms (mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop). Effective learning content is readily available in short bursts to address a specific question without disrupting the workflow, or as a series of short bursts for a deeper dive. Many Learning Management Systems (LMS) are embracing these properties and are showing improvements in initial learning and proficiency.
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How does Zylo’s Series A Funding Round Affect the SaaS Optimization Market?

Note: This blog contains excerpts from an Amalgam Insights Market Milestone covering this funding round in greater detail. To get the full story, please download the report.

On January 23, 2018, Zylo, a SaaS (Software as a Service) Optimization platform based in Indianapolis, Indiana, announced a $9.3 million funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from Salesforce Ventures and the Slack Fund. In addition, previous investors High Alpha Capital, GGV, SV Angel, and Hyde Park Venture Partners also participated in this round. Zylo has previously been covered by Amalgam Insights in multiple reports and webinars as a market leader in the SaaS Optimization space and this funding round marks Zylo as an early leader in the battle to manage enterprise SaaS spend.
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Providing a Rapid Response to Meltdown and Spectre for Hybrid IT

Tom Petrocelli, Amalgam Insights Contributing Analyst

I have a new paper out called “Providing a Rapid Response to Meltdown and Spectre for Hybrid IT.” It’s sponsored by CloudPassage, and the paper is free from them.

This paper is designed to help key stakeholders mitigate the risk of Meltdown and Spectre, which will be especially difficult in hybrid or mixed systems.

There are billions of PCs and mobile devices affected by Meltdown and Spectre. That’s a big problem for OS vendors. For enterprise IT, there is also the need to deal with hundreds of millions of host servers and the virtual machines running on them. Meltdown and Spectre highlight just how difficult it is to update and patch hybrid systems with hosts, virtual machines, containers, and cloud servers in the mix. Don’t despair! There are solutions.

Take action by downloading my paper, underwritten by CloudPassage: “Providing a Rapid Response to Meltdown and Spectre for Hybrid IT.”

Calero Purchases European TEM Leader A&B Groep: What to Expect?

Note: This blog contains excerpts from Amalgam’s Due Diligence Dossier on Calero. To get the full report, click here.

In January 2018, Calero announced two acquisitions, Comview and A&B Groep. These acquisitions have increased Calero’s headcount by over 70 employees, added geographic footprint, demonstrated a specific profile for acquisition, and demonstrates the willingness for new owners, Riverside Partners, to quickly take action within 120 days of acquiring Calero. This combination of acquisition, execution, and stated focus result in the need to re-evaluate Calero in context of these significant changes. Continue reading “Calero Purchases European TEM Leader A&B Groep: What to Expect?”

The Brain Science of Effective Corporate Soft Skills Training

Cognitive and Behavior Systems of Learning

Companies Mentioned: Deloitte, Salesforce, SAP, Cornerstone, Saba, Skillsoft, Fivel, PageUp, PeopleFluent, Talentsoft, Oracle, SilkRoad, IBM, Lumesse, Litmos, D2L, LearnCore, and Lessonly

Soft skills are “people skills”, and they are extremely important in the commercial sector. They involve showing and feeling empathy, embracing diversity, and understanding that we all have biases that we need to be aware of and keep in check. They involve effective interpersonal interactions and real-time communication skills and are relevant at all corporate levels. Whether office staff who interface with clients, office managers who interface with employees and their superiors, or the C-suite who provide the leadership and vision for the company, effective soft skills matter. An individual with strong soft skills can be an effective collaborator, leader, and “good” citizen. They not only know “what” behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate, but they know “how” to generate those behaviors and do so in a highly effective manner.

As suggested by Deloitte, the movement toward increased automation and artificial intelligence in the workplace has led many in the C-suite to suggest that soft skills are going to become increasingly important in the workplace. The #metoo movement makes glaringly clear that effective soft skills training is lacking in many workplace environments, and in society in general.

Corporate approaches to soft skills training do a good job of teaching employees how to identify and define appropriate and inappropriate behavior, and even offering suggestions for how to behave appropriately, but they are lacking in the use of tools for effective behavior change.

Brain science suggests specific solutions to this problem and can drive innovation and success in the commercial sector. As applied to soft skills training the science is highly suggestive. Training tools targeted directly at behavior change and the systems in the brain that drive behavior are required.

Brain Science of Soft Skills Learning

The human brain has evolved in such a way that there exist two distinct learning systems. One system focuses on learning the “what”, and is referred to as the cognitive skills learning system in the brain. The cognitive skills learning system in the brain learns through passive observation, studying and mental repetition, and recruits the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal lobes. The second system focuses on learning the “how”, and is referred to as the behavioral skills learning system in the brain. Learning in the behavioral skills system in the brain is active, it involves learning by doing, and physical repetitions, and recruits the basal ganglia. A more detailed discussion of these two systems can be found here.

The most common approach to corporate soft skills training involves having learners read text, view slideshows, and watch videos of appropriate and inappropriate soft skills behaviors. Learners are trained on definitions, how to identify appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, and are given strategies for incorporating appropriate soft skills behavior into their repertoire. This is focused on the “what” and is an important first step in soft skills training.

Unfortunately, most soft skills training programs stop here. It is assumed that the learner will somehow take this “what” information and will convert this into behavior (the “how”). The brain science makes clear that this is highly unlikely, and our own experience reinforces this claim. As anyone who has ever tried to change their own behavior knows, it is much easier to know “what” to do, than it is to learn behaviorally “how” to do it.

Once the learner is well versed on definitions and has strategies in place for effective soft skills, the next step is to train behavior (the “how”). Behavior change occurs when the learner’s behavior is following in real-time, literally within 100s of milliseconds, by feedback that rewards correct behaviors and punishes incorrect behaviors. Thus, the training scenarios must be interactive. Although the detailed neurochemistry is beyond the scope of this article, suffice it to say that behavioral skills are learned gradually and incrementally via dopamine-mediated, error-correction learning in the basal ganglia of the brain. When rewarded, behaviors are more likely to occur in the future, and when punished behaviors are less likely to occur in the future.

Interactive Training Platforms

Traditional approaches train a cognitive understanding of soft skills. These need to be supplemented with interactive approaches that train behavior. Interactive computer-based training platforms, as well as immersive virtual reality (VR) platforms, are available and should be used to complement traditional soft skills training procedures.

The learner can be placed in situations in which they must interact with an individual or avatar who is poor in soft skills so that they learn how to deal with situations like those, or they can be placed in situations in which their behavior is responded to in a negative manner. In other words, they can learn how to affect change in another, or affect change in themselves. Regardless of the platform, whether VR or computer-based, the key is to target the behavioral skills learning system with realistic interpersonal interactions and real-time communication. Behavior change will follow.

Buyers Beware

Corporate training professions need to beware of platforms that claim interactivity that is not truly interactive. From a brain science of learning perspective, behavior change will only be effective if interactivity involves real-time feedback—that is, rewards and punishments that occur within a few hundred milliseconds of the behavior in question. Providing feedback even several seconds following the behavior will not lead to effective behavior change. Interactivity must occur in real time or it won’t be effective.

Corporate Training Platforms

A number of vendors offer corporate training including Salesforce, SAP, Cornerstone, Saba, Skillsoft, PageUp, PeopleFluent, Talentsoft, Oracle, SilkRoad, IBM, Lumesse, Fivel, Litmos, D2L, LearnCore, and Lessonly, to name a few.

All of these vendors offer soft skills training focused on the cognitive skills learning system in the brain. These vendors are urged to complement their current training platform with real-time interactive training that targets the behavioral skills learning system in the brain. In the end, effective soft skills are effective behaviors that are only learned by engaging the behavioral skills learning system in the brain.