Monday, September 26, 2011

Study Finds Shared Services Executives Accelerate C-Suite Visibility; Get Closer to Customer to Deliver End-to-End Services

Executives who lead shared services organizations, designed to reduce overhead costs by consolidating administrative or support functions in areas such as finance, human resources and information technology, are increasingly accountable to the corporate C-suite, according to a new Accenture study
In fact, 59 percent of the shared services executives polled report to C-suite level officers, including their company’s top finance, operations, human resources and information technology officers. And, 17 percent of them report directly to the CEO. In a similar study completed by Accenture two years ago, only 8 percent of the shared services executives reported to the CEO.

Currently, information technology is the type of service most frequently offered through shared services organizations, according to 75 percent of the executives. More than half (58 percent) said their organizations also deliver finance services, client-facing services such as billing and collections (51 percent) and human resources (50 percent).

In the future, 42 percent of the executives said that computing technologies, such as cloud, will have the greatest impact on their organizations. As their clients’ service needs evolve, cloud computing may provide a platform for shared services organizations to scale quickly to meet business needs and still manage their risk mitigation responsibilities in a cost-effective, virtual manner.

Eighty percent of the executives said they are proposing flexible work arrangements for shared services employees who support their global organizations. These arrangements typically allow shared services employees to work from home, which provides these organizations a way to tap into skilled labor pools in a cost-effective way.

As shared services programs continue to evolve, the study shows many of these organizations are struggling with the fundamentals of achieving process excellence while elevating the quality of their service delivery to meet the demands associated with assuming a more strategic role as an IBS organization. Just under half (49 percent) of the executives surveyed reported that their shared services organization had standardized its policies, processes and supporting systems; 26 percent had standardized the policies but not the processes and supporting systems; and 25 percent lacked the supporting systems.

Looking ahead, social media is expected have an impact on shared services, according to 90 percent of the executives surveyed, with 57 percent suggesting it may offer them the opportunity for greater collaboration among employees and greater productivity. Nearly as many (56 percent) expect it to lead to improved client collaboration and service delivery and 43 percent said it may increase satisfaction among shared services employees. However, the executives are generally taking a “wait and see” approach, as they evaluate how to use the social media most effectively in a time of rapid technology change and varying levels of social media adoption.

More information on managing customers can be found at

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

By End of 2014 at Least 10 Percent of Enterprise Email Seats Will Be Based on a Cloud or Software-as-a-Service Model

By the end of 2014, penetration of cloud email and collaboration services (CECS) will stand at 10 percent and will have passed the "tipping point" with broad-scale adoption under way, according to Gartner, Inc.

Although Gartner believes that the time is right for some enterprises -- particularly smaller ones and those in industries with long underserved populations such as retail, hospitality and manufacturing -- to move at least some users to CECS during the next two years, analysts warned that readiness varies by service provider and urged caution.

Consequently, Gartner is lowering its short-term projected adoption rate for CECS. Analysts predict that most enterprises will not begin the move to CECS until 2014 when growth in the market will take off, before leveling off in 2020 as it exceeds 55 percent.

Gartner has pushed out the point at which it believes that 10 percent of the enterprise market will use cloud-based or software-as-a-service (SaaS) email from year-end 2012 to year-end 2014. Analysts said organizations are moving more slowly than anticipated for three primary reasons.

While most enterprises that have adopted CECS appear to have moved everyone to CECS, closer investigation reveals that they often retain small, dedicated, on-premises systems to maintain greater control over the content created and consumed by C-level executives -- whose communications are almost always subject to legal and regulatory scrutiny at semi-regular intervals.

More information on SaaS can be found at

Monday, September 19, 2011

North America to Account for 64 Percent of SaaS Revenue in 2011

Worldwide software as a service (SaaS) revenue is on pace to reach $12.1 billion in 2011, a 20.7 percent increase from 2010 of $10 billion, according to Gartner, Inc. The North American region is forecast to account for 63.6 percent of worldwide SaaS revenue in 2011. By the end of 2015, North America's share will represent 60.8 percent of worldwide SaaS revenue.
The top issues encountered when deploying SaaS also vary by region. Limited flexibility of customization is a top issue in EMEA, while limited integration to existing systems is the primary reason in North America and Asia/Pacific.

North America, specifically the U.S., represents the largest opportunity for SaaS, and it is the most mature of the regional markets. SaaS revenue in North America is projected to total $7.7 billion in 2011, an 18.7 percent increase from 2010 revenue of $6.5 billion. North American SaaS revenue is forecast to reach $12.9 billion in 2015.

In Western Europe, SaaS revenue is on pace to reach $2.7 billion, up 23.3 percent from 2010 revenue of $2.2 billion. SaaS revenue is projected to reach $4.8 billion in 2015. In Eastern Europe, SaaS revenue is expected to reach $131.4 million in 2011, a 29.8 percent increase from 2010 revenue of $101.2 million. Eastern Europe SaaS revenue is forecast to total $270.1 million in 2015.

SaaS revenue in Asia/Pacific is forecast to total $768.3 million in 2011, a 27.7 percent increase from 2010 revenue of $601.8 million. By the end of 2015, SaaS revenue in Asia/Pacific will reach $1.7 billion.

In Japan, SaaS revenue is projected to reach $379 million in 2011, up 20.2 percent from 2010 revenue of $315.3 million. By the end of 2015, SaaS revenue is expected to reach $629.1 million.

SaaS revenue in Latin America is on pace to total $328.4 million in 2011, a 23.5 percent increase from 2010 revenue of $266 million. Gartner analysts said that while in general the SaaS market in Latin America can be considered embryonic, many Latin American CIOs see the strategic importance of SaaS and Gartner expects overall software revenue for SaaS in Latin America to rise to $694.2 million in 2015.

More information on SaaS can be found at

Friday, September 9, 2011

Social Media Now a Source for IT Decision Making

UBM TechWeb has released its annual "Social Media at Work" research, which studies the social media consumption habits and preferences of almost 650 business technology decision makers. 
Study highlights include:

LinkedIn and Twitter are the best places for IT decision makers to talk shop:

-- 69% are using LinkedIn for professional purposes
-- 44% are using Twitter for professional purposes

IT decision makers are using social media to share information about technology vendors, products and services:

-- 66% use social media to stay connected with colleagues and co-workers
-- 59% use social media to learn about new products, services and technologies
-- 47% use social media to seek advice from peers about technology purchases

Social media helps drive IT purchase decisions:

--58% use social media to obtain information for a technology purchase

More information about social media and IT can be found at

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

7 Signs That Your Enterprise Suffers from "Cloud in a Corner" Syndrome

Unisys Corporation has advice for CIOs seeking to get the most out of their investment in cloud computing: before plunging in, consider how the proposed cloud solution can best be integrated with the organization's existing mission-critical systems and IT processes.

This analytical approach, Unisys says, is the surest defense against "cloud in a corner" syndrome, where new cloud solutions become isolated from the rest of the IT environment and don't contribute the business value they should.

Unisys advises IT organizations to look out for telltale signs that they have fallen prey to "cloud in a corner" syndrome:

1 - Your team is evaluating a "cloud stack" solution without first putting in place a comprehensive strategy and framework for integrating it with your existing IT environment;

2 - You lack clearly articulated criteria and metrics for cloud success from both IT and end-user perspectives;

3 - You're well into implementation before all stakeholders agree on use cases, roadmaps and expected changes to IT and business processes;

4 - The technology underlying your cloud is so new, none of your IT people know how to operate it and you have no readiness plan in place so they can learn to do so;

5 - You need to create duplicate service, security and risk management processes because your new cloud environment won't accommodate those you already have;

6 - You have not defined and communicated how your team's roles and responsibilities will change with a cloud service delivery model; and

7 - You're already developing a second cloud solution because the first one didn't meet the organization's needs.

The way to avoid "cloud in a corner" syndrome in the first place - or to approach follow-on cloud initiatives - is to raise the focus above the technology and instead create a comprehensive blueprint for cloud success. The first step in this process is to look at cloud delivery models in the context of the total IT infrastructure.

More information on cloud computing can be found at