Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

What Every CEO Needs to Know About IT

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 16, 2012 12:04:20 PM

The business/IT divide is a barrier that prevents most companies from achieving their true performance potential. The divide has remained a constant impediment since the dawn of business computing six decades ago. It’s not necessary for a CEO of a company to be able to write Java code or master the intricacies of an ERP or sales compensation application. However, that CEO must master the basics of IT just as he must understand basic corporate finance, the production process and – at least at a high level – the technologies that support that process. Only a handful of business schools give prospective MBAs a good grounding in the practical elements of information technology or preach the necessity of mastering an understanding of IT as they would, say, the efficient market hypothesis.

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Topics: Big Data, Performance Management, Human Capital Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), competition, executive, CIO, Cloud Computing, In-memory, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), IT, Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), CEO, FPM

What a Bugatti Can Teach Us About Information Management

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 29, 2012 11:37:25 AM

One of the community groups to which I donate my time is an organization that puts on a Concours d’Élegance – a vintage car show. Such Concours date back to seventeenth-century France, when wealthy aristocrats gathered to see who had the best carriages and most beaudacious horses. Our Concours serves as the centerpiece to a broader mission of raising money for several charities. There a many such events in the United States and elsewhere, but this one, which has been held every year since 1956, has the distinction of being the longest continuously running Concours in the United States.

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Topics: Big Data, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, CIO, Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Talent Management, FPM

Good Data Stewardship Is Critical for Business Analytics

Posted by Robert Kugel on Aug 24, 2012 12:29:51 PM

Our research consistently finds that defects in data are the root cause of a wide range of problems encountered by modern corporations. The magnitude of the problem correlates with the size of the company: Big companies have bigger headaches than midsize ones. Data issues diminish productivity in every part of a business as people struggle to correct errors or find workarounds. Issues with data are a man-made phenomenon, yet companies seem to treat bad data as some sort of force of nature like a tornado or earthquake – something that’s beyond their control to fix. At best they look for one-off workarounds and Band-Aids without tackling the root causes or recognizing the need to keep data issues in check. Data stewardship can and should be a part of a disciplined approach to management in the same way organizations implement quality control, cash management and legal compliance.

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Topics: Big Data, Predictive Analytics, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, CIO, Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM), FPM

Keeping Big Data from Becoming Big GIGO

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jun 27, 2012 1:28:10 PM

Anyone who focuses on the practical uses of information technology, as I do, must consider the data aspects of adopting any new technology to achieve some business purpose. Reliable data must be readily available in the necessary form and format, or that shiny new IT bauble you want to deploy will fall short of expectations. Our research benchmarks cover a range of core business and IT processes, and they regularly demonstrate that data deficiencies are a root cause of issues organizations have in performing core functions; typically the larger the company, the more severe the data issues become.

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Topics: Social Media, GRC, Operational Performance Management (OPM), IBM Business Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, CIO, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Customer Performance Management (CPM), finance, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Some Ways To Get More Bang for Your IT Buck

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 25, 2012 10:09:24 AM

One of the major issues IT executives face is how to charge their departmental costs back to each part of the business according to their usage. It’s a touchy issue that can be the source of end-user disenchantment with the performance and contribution of the IT organization. Ultimately, charge-back friction can hobble IT’s ability to make necessary investments in new capabilities and become the primary cause of misallocated IT spending. The two risks are related: Unless an IT department can calculate the real costs of the services it provides to specific parts of the business and charge for them accordingly, it is almost impossible for line-of-business department managers to assign priorities to the “keep the lights on” part of the budget, so even low-priority maintenance or upgrade efforts can crowd out all but the most pressing needs. The issue of allocating IT department costs spills over to Finance, which typically handles the allocations in budgeting and profit calculations. As a first step toward establishing an effective means of funding the IT function, I believe the finance department must establish better methods of allocating IT costs. Eventually the proper allocation of IT costs also becomes an issue for senior corporate executives as well because it has a direct impact on how effectively a company uses information technology.

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Topics: Performance Management, Office of Finance, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Budgeting, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, CIO, Enterprise Software, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Financial Performance Management (FPM), CEO

With IT Departments, Companies Get What They Deserve

Posted by Robert Kugel on Mar 20, 2011 8:17:12 PM

One of the many interesting findings that came out of Ventana Research’s comprehensive benchmark research on business analytics was partly buried in an analysis of maturity groups. The Maturity Index of our research benchmarks classifies organizations at four maturity levels (from bottom to top, Tactical, Advanced, Strategic and Innovative) in each of four categories: People, Process, Information and Technology. We’ve conducted more than 100 benchmarks during the past seven years, covering thousands of organizations and gauging their maturity in performing important operations. We’ve consistently found an interrelationship among the people, process, information and technology dimensions in every major business issue. That is, companies that fall short in one dimension tend to fall short in others, and usually to the same degree, precisely because corporate pathologies are self-reinforcing.

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Topics: Social Media, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Business Technology, CIO, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Information Technology, Mobility, Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Infor’s Hospitality Applications Software Business

Posted by Ventana Research on Mar 17, 2011 7:18:07 PM

The hospitality industry has a complex structure. It is highly fragmented, with many small operations but also a significant number of global companies. Moreover, a property can be managed by one company (the brand name over the door) yet owned by another, which might be a one-off local real-estate partnership or a larger-scale owner of multiple sites. The consumer side of hospitality has its own challenges as well, resulting from the dramatic shifts brought about by the Internet in how people worldwide buy travel and leisure services.

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Topics: Performance Management, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Hospitality, Analytics, Business Intelligence, CIO, Enterprise Software, Business Performance Management (BPM), Customer Performance Management (CPM), Infor, Information Management (IM), Sales Performance Management (SPM)

The Technology Stack and Innovation: SAP & The Rest

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 14, 2010 9:48:23 AM

Vishal Sikka raised an important point about the software business during his remarks at the SAP Global Influencer Summit that my colleague just assessed (See: “SAP Elevates Technology Strategy for Enterprise Software and Solutions“). He contrasted the business strategy of consolidation that other companies are pursuing with his view of SAP’s strategy of innovation. In one sense, this assertion is an attempt to disparage Oracle’s and to some extent IBM’s approach to constructing an IT business portfolio, even though SAP itself has been a consolidator in recent years. (Business Objects and Sybase, for example, are significant components of SAP’s product universe and go-forward strategy.) However, I believe consolidation vs. innovation is an important point to consider as we enter the second decade of the 21st century because it points to the potential for a basic shift in the dynamics of the software business.

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Topics: SAP, Analytics, CIO, Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Mobility, Uncategorized

Happy BIRT Day

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 27, 2010 12:04:07 PM

Actuate held its annual customer day in San Francisco amid the happy chaos of the World Series champion Giants’ ticker-tape celebration, and on that day the company’s ticker symbol changed from ACTU to BIRT (a shift, incidentally, botched by NASDAQ). There was a great deal of focus on its ActuateOne platform (which my colleague reviewed here) and the advancements in using open source software like BIRT with now over ten million downloads, but the aspect I want to highlight is the BIRT spreadsheet (originally Actuate’s e.Spreadsheet).

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Topics: Microsoft, Open Source Software, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, CIO, Information Management (IM), Microsoft Excel, Spreadsheets