There are a 100 days until the General election in the UK……..

As the political parties start their campaigns in earnest what is probably the most unpredictable Election campaign in the history of the UK is just 100 days away. In the last election, 5 years ago, Social Media had just started and the first iPhones and iPads were in use.

So how will technology be used in this election? Well without doubt it will be a mainstay of the political parties attempts to bombard each and every one of us with “facts” designed to steer us one way or another, but it seems to me that in this era of “Apps” we are missing one that allows us to filter the huge amounts of data out there. There are multiple organisations offering us ways of compare providers of insurance, energy etc. So why can’t we have a an independent provider to give us “” or “politicians4u”?

All the data exists – such as the number of times they have attended parliament, how often they have voted, what they have voted for, what expenses they have claimed, what real-life experience other than politics they have. For parties we could have economic performance, tax rates, education performance, health service stats, crime stats and so on.

And with bio-metrics in passports and driving licences, and smartphones with contactless payment, as well as debit cards, why do we use bits of paper to vote still?

It all seems rather strange that this area is still behaving like this but perhaps this is a reflection of the politicians themselves, still living in a time long past and within an environment that is rapidly being bypassed by the social media. Politicians are losing their power through the power of mass independent campaigns initiated simply and easily by like-minded individuals.

So perhaps technology is actually bringing the power back to the people and traditional politicians are under threat like never before. Let’s hope that we can actually filter the facts and hence truth from the mass of “data”.

We shall see in 100 days time.



Today is Remembrance Sunday – we will remember them



It is so important we do not forget the sacrifices of servicemen and women and civilians in times of conflict. It is even more important that we make sure the younger do not forget either, parts of the world that have not witnessed conflict of this size can never understand. Conflict must cease, it is such a waste.

Ex SAP CTO becomes CEO of Infosys

So how often does a CTO become CEO? Well not often it would seem in the case of SAP.

On 4 May 2014 Dr. Vishal Sikka, Executive Board Member for Products and Innovation, announced his departure from the Executive Board for personal reasons, effective immediately….and just 39 days later it was announced that Vishal becomes CEO of Infosys from August 1st.  It had been mooted that Vishal was a future SAP CEO in the making.

Back in 2007 another rising star Shai Agassi, also responsible for technology and execution at SAP and also mooted to be next in line to head SAP  departed suddenly following the extension of the then current CEO  Henning Kaggerman.

So the moral of the story is …if you want to be CEO of SAP don’t come through the technology and innovation route!


Driving licenses: why software licensing need to be more flexible as IT becomes more complex

New technologies such as in-memory computing and virtualisation together with new ways of accessing and exploiting that technology (e.g. cloud or mobile computing) are changing the way that IT is bought and used.   A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is no longer suitable in today’s increasingly mobile and on-demand world, as today’s organisations are wanting greater flexibility from their licensing terms.

Currently the battle that many organisations face when it comes to licensing is that original license terms were agreed at a time when workforces were larger and the vast majority of deployments were on premise.  But in today’s business climate many organisations are now looking to re-negotiate their licensing terms.  As organisations’ IT needs change, licensing can vary in terms of length, cost per user and associated support costs.  In addition, there is the need to ensure that every element of the IT the business uses is covered by a license.

For their part users need to keep a tight rein on licenses.  However, many are doing so with one hand tied behind their back due to a lack of vendor flexibility when it comes to licensing and associated maintenance fees.

Indeed, the greatest responsibility for reducing the complexity and increasing the accessibility of licenses lies with the vendors themselves. There are many actions that they could take. For example, licenses should be made transferrable or easily replaceable when users up- or side-grade across their products. Licensing should also be consistent across the product range regardless of how it is delivered: whether software is accessed on-premise or as a service, users getting the same capability should be on comparable licenses. Yet vendors should make sure that their license costs and conditions are transparent and flexible so that customers can make more informed decisions.

Vendors should not see this as a call to reduce costs or otherwise hamper their business: ideally, by making licensing as flexible, consistent and open as possible they can reap the benefits of a customer base that understands exactly what they are paying for. Neither IT users nor vendors exist in a vacuum: each needs the other to survive. By simplifying and opening up licensing on one hand, and keeping a tight rein on it on the other, both can ensure that they are getting the maximum benefit from their relationship.

In the next few weeks, we will be releasing the results of our member survey which looks at their views on licensing – so watch this space!

SAP Successfully Succeeds in SuccessFactors Offer: What’s Next?

It seems that SAP’s acquisition plans are moving ahead: last week its offer for SuccessFactors was accepted in full.  As a result, and as mentioned previously, we should expect to see SAP’s cloud credentials rise.

Of course, there has already been reaction to this “new transatlantic special relationship”. While there is still work to be done in integrating SuccessFactors into SAP, we should be optimistic about what this might mean for us as users.

SuccessFactors’ CEO Lars Dalgaard has certainly put out a positive message, calling it an “opportunity of a lifetime”. His belief that SAP will “turbocharge” the business is certainly excellent news if true: not just for SucccessFactors and SAP, but for us SAP users who will be able to take advantage of new capabilities.

Admittedly, others have been a little more cynical, pointing out that now that the deal is out of the way the real hard work will begin. While this may be true, it should still be well within the capabilities of SAP and SuccessFactors to turn this into a benefit for everyone.

For our side, the best advice for users is still to wait and see exactly what effect the deal with have on us. Who knows, in time we may well be inviting SuccessFactors customers into the SAP User Group fold!

Will SAP’s merger move have the X Factor for success?

In December last year, SAP moved to acquire SuccessFactors, which it claims will “significantly accelerate” its momentum as a provider of cloud applications, platforms and infrastructure. Asuming all goes as planned, this looks like good news for SAP: it would certainly be good news for SuccessFactors’ shareholders. But what about for us, SAP’s customers?

Reaction has so far been generally positive: for example, ZDNet stated that any eventual acquisition would provide “genuine innovation” to users immediately, rather than as a pipe dream. At the same time, the changes to the structure and increased sales pressure could create challenges. Others have questioned whether SAP should be concentrating on cloud scale or on humanising IT. Ultimately, it may be too early to tell.

From the wider business perspective, venture capital publications saw the proposed acquisition as a canny move that would strengthen SAP against its competitors. Other business press, and those they questioned, stated that it was a good day for the cloud. From this side, anything that makes SAP stronger would be good news for those of us that rely on its products and the same goes for the technology market in general.

Other publications linked the acquisition to the “relatively slow uptake” of Business by Design: it will certainly be interesting to see whether uptake changes in the wake of this news, and how. One thing’s for sure: the acquisition is certainly pushing ahead, as recent news shows.

Assuming the SuccessFactors acquisition goes ahead, the true judgement of its eventual impact will not be immediate. Essentially, this should be a positive move and we’d expect it to bolster SAP’s cloud credentials. However, we will need to wait and see what effect it might have on SAP’s future roadmap as well as the impact it has on new and existing customers before we reach any firm conclusion.

So proud of my old team…..

I’m not there now but really proud to be associated with my former team at the Training and Development Agency for Schools. Well done to them and their partner Redweb!