Archive for May, 2010

Treasury puts freeze on all new IT spend over £1m

May 26th, 2010

The UK government has imposed an immediate freeze on all new IT spending above £1m, and reviews of the biggest IT projects are being set up to see which can be stopped. A new group, the Efficiency and Reform Group, has been set up by the Treasury and Cabinet Office, with the power to enforce spending cuts across Whitehall. The group was formed as part of the drive to cut £6.2bn from government spending. It will also start renegotiating contracts with major suppliers across government. Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said, “We have got to get an immediate grip on Whitehall waste if we are going to tackle this unprecedented £156bn deficit quickly. By joining forces and concentrating our efforts where the money actually gets spent, we can make sure the maximum amount gets taken out of government overheads.” And about time too! The UK Government has wasted hundreds of millions of pounds of tax payers money on useless IT projects over the last 10 years. And the good news for private sector buyers is the fact that when vendors can’t dip into the governments trough, then they will become even more desperate to win any private sector deals; so that should mean more negotiation leverage for IT buyers. So our recommendation at Silver Bullet Associates is for IT Buyers to ‘make hay while the (Government) sun doesn’t shine’.

Oracle CRM, SaaS and where in the ‘cloud’ is your data?

May 8th, 2010

The resumption of construction by Oracle at their huge data centre in Salt Lake City, Utah is a telling indicator of the scope of Oracle’s plans for on-demand software, as it comes even after the acquisition of Sun Microsystems and all its data centers.

So far, Oracle has just a handful of SaaS (software as a service) business applications, among them its CRM on Demand. It reported US$779 million in on-demand revenue during its fiscal 2009, a small fraction of overall sales. But Oracle’s SaaS strategy is set to ramp up this year, with the long-awaited launch of Fusion Applications, a next-generation suite that is supposed to combine the best attributes from its various product lines and feature a BI (business intelligence)-laden user interface. Oracle’s go-to-market strategy for Fusion Applications is carefully crafted to avoid alienating its large installed base of customers on legacy applications. These users won’t be placed on an immediate forced march to Fusion Apps, which will be available in on-premises form but is being developed as “SaaS-ready.”

The company realizes that customers have a “huge investment and commitment” tied to Oracle-acquired applications such as Siebel and PeopleSoft, CEO Larry Ellison said at last year’s OpenWorld conference. Oracle will continue to enhance those product lines “for the next decade and beyond,” Ellison said. Therefore, the Fusion Apps strategy is supposed to appeal not only to customers who desire the latest and greatest Oracle products, but also to these legacy users, who might want to consume Fusion a little at a time, perhaps in SaaS form.

Oracle’s CRM (customer relationship management) business is providing key evidence that increased customer demand for SaaS will follow. According to a US-based analyst company (Altimeter) ninety-two percent of the new Oracle CRM deals they have seen since January are for the on-demand version.

Footnote: when buying any hosted SaaS/Cloud solution, always confirm where your data will be held. Some businesses are uncomfortable if data is to be held off-shore.