Archive for the ‘SuccessFactors’ Category

Conformity and Ping announce cloud identity partnership

February 2, 2010

We are excited to announce today a new partnership with Ping Identity, which will provide joint customers comprehensive visibility and control of user access and usage of SaaS and cloud-based applications. Ping Identity’s solutions provide a single control point for enterprise users accessing hundreds of leading cloud services. Deployed together, the Ping and Conformity solutions provide enterprise customers the ability to manage and control user access and authorizations to cloud applications and resources across the employee lifecycle.

We wholeheartedly agree with Tom Fisher, Vice President of Cloud Computing at SuccessFactors, who comments that “access and identity management issues are becoming more prevalent and painful as enterprises transition to SaaS and cloud-based applications. Ping and Conformity together help to take the issues off the table.” We’re looking forward to working with Ping in helping our joint enterprise customers address the identity management challenges as they migrate applications and resources to the cloud.

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Recap: The Enterprise SaaS Working Group

October 1, 2009

It’s been an exciting few days here at Conformity after our recent GA announcement and the kickoff of the Enterprise SaaS Working Group yesterday.  We had a very lively, engaging debate on the key issues the group believes need to be addressed for SaaS and cloud applications to become ‘mainstream’ technologies in the enterprises.  The group featured a diverse set of executive perspectives from cloud vendors, thought leaders and practitioners, and included:

A quick highlight of some of the discussion yesterday:

  • PaaS/SaaS – which model ‘wins’ in the enterprise? While opinions differed, a common sentiment shared by the panel was that there’s not going to be ‘right answer’ for all organizations.  Depending on the industry vertical, business process or IT management model PaaS or SaaS could be the ‘right answer’, and in many situations organizations could have PaaS and SaaS offerings sitting side by side.   
  • Private clouds – part of the answer or indicative of SaaS market immaturity? As with the PaaS/SaaS discussion a common theme was ‘it depends’.  The core advantage to SaaS and cloud delivery models is the ability to share resources – what part of the stack organizations decide they’d like to share will likely be driven primarily by security concerns and issues.  A likely scenario, as with PaaS/SaaS, is that different models will likely be adopted by different types of organizations depending on security and operational requirements.
  • Enterprise SaaS adoption – when does it overtake on-premise? Two different perspectives were discussed around when SaaS will overtake on-premise apps in the enterprise.   A common belief of the group was that SaaS is winning in a majority of new deals in the enterprise today, with the perspective shared that 50-75% of enterprises would ‘flip the switch’ on cloud in some manner by approximately 2012.  Peter Coffee of Salesforce also shared his belief that total installed base for SaaS would outnumber on-premise apps by 2020, though there would also likely be 1-2% of the market that would be ‘holdouts’.
  • Any applications that SaaS/cloud won’t be able to penetrate? If architected and deployed correctly, there are no perceived areas in which SaaS and cloud application models could not be leveraged with Peter Coffee of Salesforce , Tom Fisher of SuccessFactors and Ryan Nichols of Appirio all providing compelling examples of large scale, transaction intensive customer deployments.

The full recording of the webinar is available and can be access by clicking here.  Also, Ryan Nichols at Appirio had a great post on their perspective on our discussion topics here.

Please drop us an email as eswg@conformity-inc.com to be added to our mailing list, and to be notified of future Enterprise SaaS Working Group news and events.

Conformity Announces GA Release of First Enterprise-Class Management Platform for SaaS and Cloud Apps

September 30, 2009

We’re excited to announce today the general availability of the Conformity solution, which provides customers the first enterprise-class management platform for cloud applications and users.  The Conformity solution is designed to arm enterprises with the same level of visibility and control over on-demand applications as they’ve come to expect with traditional packaged apps.  With our solution, enterprises can now be confident bringing new cloud applications into their business environments, knowing there will no longer be compromises made in the areas of management processes, insight and control.  With today’s GA, enterprises can:

  • Increase data security and reduce compliance risks
  • Optimize license allocation and expenses
  • Automate and streamline administration
  • Expand and extend enterprise usage of SaaS and cloud applications

Specific capabilities of the Conformity solution include:

  • User provisioning – provides centralized point of provisioning and deprovisioning of users accounts within cloud applications, and ongoing management of user permissions and authorizations.
  • Role and profile management – enables organizations to centrally manage cloud application roles, profiles and permissions through normalized permission models, and maps policies to users and roles.
  • Approval workflows – provides auditable cross-functional approval processes for users requiring new or amended access permissions, or role and profile changes.
  • Directory integration – enables organizations to seamlessly synchronize Conformity’s user repository with on-premise directory services.
  • Compliance reporting – provides reports required for effective preparation for audits for SOX, HIPAA, PCI and other regulatory mandates and standards.
  • Usage analytics – provides visibility, analytics and reporting on cloud application and license utilization.
  • Change management – enables archiving, management and recovery of application configurations and role models.

The Conformity platform provides templates, tools and workflow needed to manage all cloud applications in a customer’s environment.  Conformity also provides additional analytics, reporting and provisioning automation through integrations with the following leading cloud applications:

The Conformity platform also supports directory integration for Microsoft Active Directory, and is compatible with industry standards such as SPML, SAML and WS-Federation.

Please click here to read the full announcement, and stay tuned for more upcoming news!!!

Conformity and SuccessFactors Announce Technology Partnership

September 10, 2009

We’re very excited to announce our participation in the SuccessFactor’s new SuccessCloud™ program, which was introduced earlier today.  Conformity’s AppConnect integration with SuccessFactors’ Business Execution Software Suite will enable customers to synchronize critical employee information across 3rd party applications and on-premise directory services.  Customers will be able to ensure Cloud application access and permissions are consistent with organizational roles, and to automate service provisioning and change management across the employee lifecycle.  With Conformity, SuccessFactors’ customers will be able to reduce data security and compliance risks as well as streamline costly, time-intensive activities associated with management of cloud applications and associated users.  Click here to read the full announcement and to learn more about the partnership…

Mark your calendar – Enterprise SaaS Working Group webinar

August 28, 2009

We’re excited to announce that on September 30th at 11:00am PDT / 2:00pm EDT we’ll be holding the first event in our Best Practices webinar series, featuring a roundtable discussion with the Enterprise SaaS Working Group. Comprised of recognized thought leaders and visionaries in SaaS and cloud computing, the group will discuss the challenges and issues that need to be overcome for SaaS and cloud applications to become truly ‘enterprise-ready’. Participants in the session will include:

The discussion will focus on critical issues and corresponding best practices in the areas of management, governance, security and compliance, and will include a Q&A session open to all attendees. Click here for more information and to register for this exciting event!

SaaS and the Great Recession – the early results

February 13, 2009

Conventional wisdom has held that the current ‘Great Recession’ would help to actually accelerate SaaS adoption, due to the fact that SaaS offers a ‘right-sized, zero-CAPEX alternative to on-premise applications’ as IDC describes it.  Many believe it could be the tipping point that finally drives SaaS into the mainstream – this in fact could become a reality if SaaS draws significant new customers to the model, and customer sat rates maintain their current lofty levels.  Now that we have a full quarter of  market and economic meltdown under our belt so to speak after the September 15th collapse of Lehman, we thought we’d take a look at some of the data to see how the thesis is holding up.  First are the announcements from the major publicly traded SaaS vendors that have reported calendar Q4 2008 results to date:

  • RightNow announced 25% growth in Q4 revenue year-over-year, with the highest total bookings in any quarter in the last two years.
  • Concur reported 19% Q4 revenue growth over 2007, with new customer additions up more than 50% year-over year.
  • SuccessFactors achieved profitability for the first time in the quarter, growing revenue 77% over 2007 and growing their user base to 4.5 million unique, paying customers.
  • NetSuite reported a Q408 revenue that was a 31% increase over 2007.  International revenue actually grew 51% year over year.

This all in an environment where NetSuite notes business spending on equipment and software fell nearly 28%.  While granted these results reflect the impact of sales cycles that likely began much earlier than Q4, the fact that this much business actually closed (instead of getting cancelled or deferred) is notable.

The post-crash news from the analyst world is reinforcing what we’re seeing from the vendors and hearing anecdotally as well.  IDC has boosted their 2009 growth projection for the SaaS market to 40% from 36% previously, and is now actually estimating that by the end of 2009, 76% of US organizations will have deployed at least one SaaS app.

The caveats? 

Salesforce.com has yet to weigh in yet with their Q4 2008 results (currently scheduled to be announced February 25th), which obviously is the most watched bellwether in the SaaS industry.  Also, all the vendors above cautioned about their outlook going forward, with several providing downward guidance to prior 2009 earnings forecasts.  And finally the unpleasant reality that the Great Recession may have only just begun…

Managing SaaS ‘silos’

February 18, 2008

In organizations we’re working with here at Conformity, the need to manage and administer users independently for each SaaS application deployed in their environment is creating some interesting challenges. The impact of SaaS application ‘silos’ can be easily seen by envisioning the onboarding of a new sales rep, whose role requires they have access for example to Salesforce.com for CRM, Xactly for commission management, Webex for collaboration, Concur for expense management and SuccessFactors for performance evaluation / management.

Silos

In today’s world this requires admins to independently login to five different administration consoles to set-up, administer and manage the new employee. The problems this creates?

  • Cross-functional coordination – with SaaS apps typically deployed at the departmental or functional level, the processes for cross-application user provisioning and ongoing management can quickly get time-consuming and complex for even small organizations. In the example above, we typically see Sales Ops providing support for CRM, commission management and collaboration, but also see operations or finance supporting expense or spend management applications and HR managing talent/benefits management application. In this world a sales rep above would be supported for their applicable apps across three separate admins across different functional areas. Is this the optimal approach? Should all admin/support activities be centrally managed by IT? By HR? The answer for the organizations we’re working with isn’t yet clear, but they do know that current siloed approaches won’t be sustainable.
  • User profiles and roles – every SaaS application differs in how they define organizational ‘profiles’ and ‘roles’, making it difficult if not impossible to create generic, cross-application roles. Creating a standard definition for example of a ‘sales rep’ across the five applications above , including applicable access privileges within each, requires the manual definition, management and maintenance of the profile outside of any of the applicable SaaS applications.

There’s also the analogous problem on the user side, with each application requiring our hypothetical sales rep to login to five separate sites each with different credentials. Federated identity management vendors such as Ping Identity though are starting to address the SaaS ‘single sign-on’ (SSO) issue with SAML / WS-Federation based-approaches.

While cross-application user provisioning and management isn’t a ‘show-stopper’ for SaaS adoption yet, it is creating some significant speed bumps for those who are attempting to leverage the SaaS model as broadly across their organizations as possible.

SaaS – What’s in store for 2008?

January 5, 2008

Over the Holidays we saw a number of interesting articles and posts predicting that in 2008 SaaS will begin to go ‘mainstream’, resulting in a surge of demand for SaaS and On-Demand applications (for two of the better commentaries see Phil Wainewright’s great post on the Eight reasons SaaS will surge in 2008 and Jeff Kaplan’s Top Ten Reasons Why On-Demand Services will Soar in 2008). Some of the more compelling drivers of a potential breakout year (in terms of adoption and awareness) for SaaS in 2008?

  • Macroeconomic backdrop – the prospects of recession (which appear to be higher by the day) could actually drive increased demand for SaaS applications. The lower cost, more flexible SaaS subscription model will become even more attractive to organizations as capital budgets are cut and cost pressures increase. If organizations also accelerate office virtualization efforts in face of increasing cost pressures, SaaS will demand will benefit.
  • The heavyweights appear – 2007 saw not only large on-premise incumbents such as SAP, Oracle and others diving into the SaaS market, but also the introduction of major utility computing services from Amazon (EC2), IBM and Google, increasing the overall momentum towards SaaS that is sure to spill over into 2008.
  • Enterprise adoption – data from Salesforce.com and other SaaS vendors (as well as our own anecdotal evidence) suggests that enterprises are becoming increasingly accepting of the SaaS model, due both to the traditional cost and support benefits of the model over on-premise software and to the increasing push towards SOA and web services models. Enterprise adoption, if it follows the mid-market pattern, will accelerate significantly over the next 12-18 months.
  • Wall Street takes notice – with successful IPOs from NetSuite and SuccessFactors (and several more in the pipeline), initiation of M&A activity in the SaaS space with Cisco’s acquisition of Webex, and valuations that reflect substantially higher multiples than traditional on-premise software vendors, investors are quickly taking notice of the SaaS opportunity.

We believe that 2008 may also be the year that ‘the other shoe drops’ for SaaS – when offerings and adoption proliferates to a point where management of SaaS applications becomes a challenge at both the organizational and departmental level…