The annual CIO roll-call of companies, both established market leaders and young pretenders, which are likely to make a mark during 2013.
The list has been compiled by CIO UK’s contributors and analysts:
Actual Experience http://www.actual-experience.com/
The business services model emerges... Bath based Actual Experience was launched in 2009 by David Page with co-founder Professor Jonathan Pitts from Queen Mary College, London. At its core is an understanding of how users respond to on-line services. This is gained by using analytics to extract meaningful data which can then allow an operator to best respond to real user needs. The key lies in identifying and so addressing user’s perceptual issues about their experience, rather than concentrating effort on purely technical measures of performance. If service providers are to win the competitive battle for service quality, here is a young company providing some useful firepower.
CIO’s observers have mixed views about America’s almost largest corporation. Apple has dominated mobile in recent years and it certainly encapsulates what BYOD is about; Users love Apple products and many CIOs are also impressed with their product’s security. And of course, historically, the company has been good at refreshing itself. Nonetheless, Apple has missed a couple of beats with lacklustre iPhone 5 and iPad Mini launches. The next couple of devices they release will either claw back a leadership product position or prove that Steve Jobs is irreplaceable as Apple’s technical visionary.
This is a young venture (recently floated on AIM) which provides a growing series of specialist services exchange platforms online. So far the company has set up exchanges in design, marketing, content, art, innovation technology, legal and accounting markets. Each of these exchanges is designed to provide a marketplace and then speed the commerce process (from a customer’s original requirements through proposition, sorting and selecting, pitching and so through to a closed deal) in its chosen business sector.
Not strictly a company, but this government initiative and associated vendor will creates an open marketplace for government procurement through its G-Cloud ‘product’. Our observers think this could have a huge impact on IT sourcing. Of course the first aim of G-Cloud is to begin to change buying patterns (and vendor pricing) in the public sector. But beyond that perhaps it will start to influence commercial vendor pricing models as well?
Established since 2009 this is an emerging participant in the Big Data analytics field. Datameer has built an offering from the ground up, unlike other traditional BI and analytic vendors. The company marries its advanced analytics and data visualisation against big data stored on the Hadoop platform. It is one of the first vendors to help make Hadoop more accessible and usable to a broader base of business analysts, thanks to the native BI tools specifically designed for it.
Ffasfill is an established financial software and services venture which delivers SaaS services to derivatives trading and associated risk management services. Its purpose is to automate these organisations processes across the board: in front, middle and back offices. Ffastfil’s core capability lies in its market understanding. Professional staff combine a deep understanding of the derivatives trading market with expertise in the technologies that can deliver trading processes through their managed software.
Fluxx started life in the US non-profit sector and is now bringing its collaborative CRM engine software product to commercial organisations big and small. For large companies the product draws in data from enterprise applications and feeds, presenting it through a single multi-platform intuitive front end. Smaller companies can use the same technology to roll up Salesforce, Linkedin Mailchimp and other social apps into a single, easy to use front end.
Could this finally be the year of Google Apps? It’s certainly clear that the era of all in one application suites in the enterprise is well and truly over. Some of our recent discussions suggest that CIOs will embrace Google Apps where it fits the needs of users. It’s also worth remembering that Google Apps are already in unofficial use in many companies for document sharing, email, calendaring and cloud storage. This is set to be another significant year for Google.
GT Nexus http://www.gtnexus.com/
Recent recalls by those kings of car reliability, Toyota; Horse meat found in Findus Lasagne and Tesco burgers. Its bad news stories like this which reveal the strains and demands made on the modern global supply chain. Could cloud computing enable organisations to gain greater control and yet drive down costs across complex and geographically remote groups of suppliers ? GT Nexus thinks so and is automating supply chain processes to create what is refers to as a ‘community of logistics service providers, carriers, trading partners and banks’ using its cloud based collaboration platform.
Harmon is another collaboration tool, this time providing document collaboration through the idea of ‘social email’. It ties your email system (Notes or Outlook) to a document sharing platform such as SharePoint or Google Docs, to create a single user experience that allows you to distribute share, co-edit and track the progress of documents around your organisation. In the process it also addresses some of the usability issues and complexities of document sharing platforms like SharePoint .
Interact Intranet http://www.interact-intranet.com/
This fast-growing UK-based company is building on its experience in delivering intranets to a wide range of clients to provide a sophisticated socially enabled intranet platform as an out of the box solution. Features like tagging, crowdsourcing, micro blogs and corporate social networking are part of the core intranet package. The company’s easy to use USP seems to resonate with clients like Superdrug, Arriva, Waterstones, Admiral and the NHS…
Watchwords for Kaltura are the social enterprise and mobile agnostic capabilities. This time these are delivered through a social video platform, knowledge sharing and collaboration product. Like products such as Yammer, the concept is to use an external product to encourage business social interaction. It offers a social collaboration system using existing internal and external resources, a management console, video portal and public sharing tools via existing external social media vehicles like Twitter and Facebook.
Both Oracle and Adobe (and Salesforce, see our entry below) have launched Marketing Cloud offerings (or variants of the idea) in the last year or so. This trend is a bid by vendors to become more relevant to the marketing organisation within their customer bases by supporting them in marketing, selling, customer support and servicing efforts. This is more necessary than ever before because customers are becoming more powerful, connected and highly discerning.
Or to be more precise, Oriac’s venture SaaSinsure http://www.saasinsure.com/ . Oriac has deep expertise in the business processes and document management side of the insurance industry and its operations. SaaSinsure is a long proven and established document management software system It has now been reworked as SaaS, running on the Amazon Elastic Cloud. The business integrates the SaaSinsure service with Salesforce CRM services to provide front line insurance services. This is an operational model which should enable agility in delivering highly customer focused service.
RunRev is an Edinburgh-based company that’s been around for a while providing cross-platform development tools. Its core product, LiveCode, offers a plain English development platform for the barrage of desktop and mobile devices, operating systems and formats being rolled out at ever more rapid speeds. RunRev’s philosophy is to code once, deploy everywhere. The company is now using the kickstarter.com funding platform to try and raise the necessary money to take the product open source, which can only be a good thing. Whatever did happen to Apple’s HyperCard by the way?
This training company has turned to SaaS cloud based learning and talent management and is now a $100m company serving 30 million users. It uses social networking and collaboration products to allow links and content to be shared, and to provide the tools for online conferencing. Saba is also very keen on mobile learning on tablets and smartphones: “Learning doesn’t just happen in classrooms anymore” says Saba CEO Bobby Yazdani who rates streaming and social content above old-school static content for today’s learners.
Salesforce has also launched into the marketing cloud, and is worth watching for that alone. But the march of force.com as a platform is a second reason to keep them on your radar. More and more people are developing applications based on force.com and accessing the enormous Salesforce client base. force.com may also be seen as the real competitor to business process management systems (BPMS) , especially as people move to the cloud.
Just like nemesis Apple, Microsoft split our soothsayers into two camps. Sure it has problems hidden by its big revenue, but still has it all to play for in 2013. Can it make it in mobile? Is Windows 8 going to take off? Some trials suggest Windows 8 has eradicated much of the clunkiness that BYOD causes, enabling users to get the most from enterprise applications remotely. Organisations have also seen improvements in security. This will be an interesting year to watch how much Microsoft’s technology will appeal users and CIOs.
With analysts and marketers creating so much hype around the idea of ‘Big Data’, memory data analysis vendor Qlickview is bound to benefit . The product pulls in ERP, CRM, data warehouse, database, Excel and other data sources, mashes this into its social, collaborative, platform and delivers business information to location tagged clients. A growing number of CIOs are trialling or implementing Qlickview technology, and are reporting savings and the value of improved data analysis feeding back into their organisations.