Cloud – Is there a Killer App? #SaaS #Paas

interstellar-that-ain_t-no-mountain (2)“That Isn’t Mountains, it’s a Wave. And it’s coming right at us!”

Anybody who has seen the film Interstellar should remember that line.  “That isn’t a Mountains it’s a wave!”  Apologies, I’ve used changed it slightly to fit this blog, but the context is the same.

If you haven’t seen the film, the “two stars” land on a planet and they see this beautiful calm sea, stretching out before them.  On the horizon it looks like wonderful mountains, they have a job to do, removing some debris and they can take their time.  It is then they realise (too late), the mountains are actually a wave, so high, it will engulf them.

I remember watching it and realising it made a great analogy to the parts of the technology industry which are ignoring cloud or hoping it will go way.  Somebody recently said to me “Cloud wont happen as the cost of hardware will reduce so much, you won’t need to go Cloud”.  But like the “mountains” in this film, Cloud / SaaS, is coming and coming fast!

(Great film if you haven’t seen it.)

This blog, covers what I define as Cloud; (yes, we have seen this all before;) but why this time it’s different.

 Is the move to Cloud Just Managed Services 2.0?

Everybody is talking about Cloud right now.  Cloud, some people are saying, is just like going back in time.  You put your thirty year old software in somebody else’s data centre and it’s cloud, right?  Sounds like what we have being doing for years.  I always called it Managed Services or Outsourcing.  Is this the age of Cloud or are we really in the age of Managed Services 2.0?

With the arrival of SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud) there is also major software change taking place.  People now expect to access their applications on their mobile; Social and the ability to collaborate should be standard (like on Facebook) and people expect report writing should be built in and not some after thought.

lipstick on a pigWhat Did We Learn Last Time There was Major Software Disruption?

Back in the day when we moved from “Green Screens” to GUI (Graphical User Interfaces), companies took legacy systems and then built a “screen scraper” GUI on the front end.  Will people be duped again?  If you put Lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig!

So be careful some people are saying they are Cloud, but it is still the same old, same old.

Cost of OP vs SaaSWhy Are Things Different This Time Round?

When I post the diagram on the left on Twitter, it always creates debate.

The great thing about Cloud, is you no longer have to buy hardware and you no longer have to worry about “feed and Watering” the systems.  At this point it all sounds like traditional Outsourcing contacts – just like I say above, Managed Service 2.0.

killer_appCloud – The Secret Ingredient / “Killer App”

BUT Cloud should also offer you upgrades within the cost of the monthly subscription.  This is the “Killer App“.  Imagine you have an Enterprise grade application such as SAP and still get the system fed and watered (as you did with any Outsourcing contract) but no longer need to pay for upgrades?  The Cloud vendor will take care of the hardware upgrade, operating system upgrade, the database upgrade and the Application upgrade with the subscription charge.

So while we can argue about the diagram above about the Cost of running On Premise(S) Vs Cloud, if you didn’t have to pay for another upgrade again, now that would impact massively on your budget. Right?

Cloud – This Time The Software Has Moved on Too?

Business users make decisions about software now, not IT.  They buy software that has been written for the Cloud.  There is also the expectation that (as I mention above) that the applications we use at work, will, look and feel like the applications we use at home.

This is the change taking place right now!  Applications should no longer look “clunky” and cost you significant money to upgrade.  This must be a win for companies and end users alike.  You save money, but more importantly the software moves from Transaction Process (TP) to Process Processing (PP).


Really keen for your comments and opinion below.

Tim Hughes is a speaker and a blogger.  He is also the #2 Global Social Seller and is recognised as a pioneer and innovator in the area of #Socialselling.  Tim can be contacted at @timothy_hughes



From Facebook to Purchase Order – How Enterprises Can use #SocialMedia #SocialEnterprise

Recently spoke at an event called “From Facebook to Purchase Order” organised by Oracle‘s Purchasing partners Enrich @EnrichTweet

The following blog covers an introduction; my slides from the day and notes to those slides.

Social Media Supply Chain

Procurement was once a very tactical and reactionary function, predominantly focused on driving cost reduction. Today, procurement has a seat at the table creating corporate strategy and helping tap into innovation in the supply chain, and is  becoming a platform for strategic value.

Procurement has always talked about wanting to be more strategic, spending time focused on working with suppliers, developing supply, capturing innovation, and driving long-year roadmaps. But it wasn’t easy because they couldn’t get beyond the basic blocking and tackling of negotiating agreements, managing suppliers, and executing orders. But automation technology has freed them up to eliminate those hassles … to automate their core sourcing-procurement-payables processes, to eliminate the paper costs, the burdens that really bog down the supply chain and largely consume most of the team’s time.

That is where the use of Social Media comes in, more on that in a moment.

Introduction to Social Media in Procurement

The day started with a presentation from Peter Smith, Managing Editor of Spend Matters Europe a website dedicated to Purchasing professionals.  Peter created context as to his view of Social Media in an easy to understand and humorous manner.

Peter also has written an article “Social Media and Why Procurement People Should Be Adopting It (part 1)” he can be contacted @spendmattersuk or for European Public Sector Procurement content at – follow @publicspendeu

Next to speak was Padraic Phelan of Enrich he discussed how he once put a Business case together for a company to buy an email system.  Would anybody build a business case to buy Email today?  Of course not.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 10.14.45He presented an interesting concept that the Business Case for email is exactly the same for Social Media.  See diagram. If people therefore want a Business Case to invest in Social Media, there is one in that slide ready to go.  Follow Padraic




Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 15.58.35 So how does Social Media fit into this?

In 2001, Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos announced that he was banning email by the end of 2013.  How we laughed, that will never happen we sniggered.

So what were the results?  In June 2014, Anthony Bradley  and Samantha Serale analysts at Gartner under took some research and found out that Atos had cut email volumes by 60% and the 76,000 employees now worked together more effectively.  Not sure about you but having my email reduced by that amount and working with my co-workers better, I think is a good thing.  One quote from the report is the most interesting “Move collaboration activities out of email and into a more suitable environment ….”

Now if we could do that and do this in relation to Purchasing, this be a good thing?

 Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 16.00.06What do the Industry Thought Leaders Think about this?

If you check out this report by McKinsey, the average worker spends 28% of working week responding to and replying to email.  Not saying that time is unproductive, but it’s a large part of the week and it probable feels unproductive.  In addition to this, the average worker spends 20% of the week tracking down information on the endless number of Portals that people have created.

But by using Social tools time dealt with email reduces by 25 – 30% and the time spent search reduces by 35%.

If you look at the table on the slide to the left the conclusion of the report was that using Social technologies you could raise productivity of knowledge workers by 20 – 25%.  The next paragraph discusses another case study.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 16.13.26

Enterprise Social Networks

My employer, Oracle, implemented something similar. Oracle Social Network (OSN) is an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) (the IT term for “Move collaboration activities out of email and into a more suitable environment ….”)

The problem, which many organisation is; the sheer weight of email.  Information is hidden in emails, that you cannot search on.  Data is lost when employees leave and the email chaos of “copy alls” and “reply alls”.

We implemented OSN across the Commercial Industries (CI) sales team and after a time to allow it to “bed in” we measured a change and found a number of benefits.

1. Shortened Meeting times, XLoB (Cross line of business engagement), collaboration around new starters, new product introductions (NPIs) and new starter productivity.  Based on our measurements our conclusion was similar to that of McKinsey, which is that implementing an ESN could increase work productivity by 25%.

In addition, OSN, unlike Facebook etc, our OSN implementation is within the Enterprise Firewall.  Corporations are therefore are to control roll out, usage and privacy.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 16.44.41

Typical Purchasing Process

In this slide (and it is not the best Purchasing process I admit, blame Google Images) we have tried to show the sort of areas where we would expect Social to be involved in the purchasing process.  If you can think of me, let me know.

Now a Demo!

The following slides are screenshots of my 5S and Oracle Social Network (OSN) being accessed.  The screen shots are as follows:-

1. My home screen

2. My followers and the people I follow.

3. Conversations I am part of.

4. Documents I can access

5. Opportunities I can access.  The Oracle CRM (Cx) is the only CRM system that has a Enterprise Services Network built in and accessible across sales teams.

6. A suggested purchasing conversation, which demonstrates how purchasing departments could use Social Media to “chat” with internal stakeholders and external suppliers through the procurement process.  All of these conversations are fully auditable, which current emails discussions are not.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 16.29.28Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 16.30.59Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 16.43.49Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 16.44.07



















Tim Hughes @timothy_hughes is a blogger and speaker on Social Media he works at Oracle, he can be contacted at @timothy_hughes