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SIIA OnDemand Europe Conference – Notes from an SVP


By John McDowell – SVP of Global Sales for Astadia Consulting

I was half tempted to title this blog post “Notes from an SVP on a Small Island”! Yes, I’m in the UK visiting our EMEA team and as luck would have it I’ve chosen the coldest October week on record – what joy! Along with running from warm cab to rainy street and back again I was also invited to attend the SIIA OnDemand Europe Conference at London’s Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, as a speaker for one of the panels. The conference is attended by executives from ISVs, SaaS, Web and Enterprise companies from across Europe, gathered to explore, debate and discuss all aspects of SaaS and Cloud Computing.

The overriding theme of the conference was that SaaS and Cloud Computing are here to stay and will continue to change the way we consume IT services in the future. However, with this change, Systems Integrators (SI) are faced with an ever-changing environment in which to grow, gain business and profit. My panel slot discussed how SIs can achieve this and what customers should be looking for when selecting an SI for a SaaS or Cloud-based project.

The ‘big boys’, the likes of Cap Gemini, Steria, Accenture and Deloitte, still reign king at the top of the tree, but what is becoming increasing apparent is the growth of new, smaller, more specialist SIs with real expertise in the SaaS and Cloud market space. In my role as Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Astadia Consulting, I have learnt there is more to being a profitable SI in today’s hi-tech market than we traditionally thought. Here’s a snippet from some of the panel questions and what my thoughts were:

Q: Why do you think there has been such growth in the smaller SIs for Cloud & Saas?

In todays cloud space it’s about being focused on one area of business; for Astadia we like to see ourselves as our customer’s first port of call for all things cloud. So when a company looks to step into the cloud space, we can help with the initial move and then look at what additional infrastructure can be leveraged once they’ve made the first step. Astadia are Salesforce.com largest implementation partner worldwide. Why has Salesforce taken off at such speed? Because, traditionally CRM is the easiest place to start the migration of your application infrastructure into the cloud; the nice part about Salesforce is the license model, as well as the integrated bolt-ons that are part of the Salesforce AppExchange.

The sheer nature of smaller SIs makes them more adept at partnering with the many cloud vendors in order to provide holistic solutions for the Cloud. A nice example of this is the Astadia Front-Office; where customers can quickly leverage a package of applications that help with Marketing Automation, lead generation and lead nurture through to Salesforce Automation, targeting and commission structures.

Q: What advice would you give to smaller start ups in this market?

You can’t be half-hearted in your approach to the Cloud. That’s why so many smaller SIs are making such big changes and growth spurts in this game; they focus solely on the Cloud. They are experts in their fields who have a range of applications, technical expertise and best practise knowledge designed specifically for the Cloud. That really is Astadia’s strong point.

You should also realise that one size SaaS vendor does not fit all. Certain products will fit well in some cases and not in others; the successful SI will be the one that knows how to place these products specifically for the customer’s requirements.

SIs also need to focus on what they want to achieve. Astadia is a Services company, not a product company. We don’t compete on selling products; we compete on the services we provide from an industry best practice standpoint.

Q: What industry verticals do you see growing the most in this market?

So far the fast movers have been the Telcos, Media, Not-for-Profit and Financial Services sectors. The laggards are healthcare and the public sector, which I’m sure, will change as they have the most to benefit from SaaS and Cloud computing. Particularly from a cost saving point-of-view; which I see is at the forefront of the British Government’s agenda of late; I was looking at the news this morning re the pending government cost cuts.

Q: How much of the work to migrate to the Cloud requires integration – Getting the data into one place?

As far as we see it, all projects start and end with data. This underpins the success of any Cloud project and that’s why we partner with a number of integration providers. There’s no point having a whiz-popping Cloud application that can be used mobile, at home, offline and so on, if it doesn’t have the relevant data stored in it. Data drives end user adoption and buy in; without this your project is doomed.

Announcing Astadia’s Salesforce Performance + Support Program (SPS)


By Matt Finkelstein – Director of Sales Cloud – Astadia Consulting

CRM systems, such as Salesforce.com, are without doubt the forerunner in the migration of business applications to the cloud. If an organisation wants to realise some of that elusive cloud ROI, CRM is one of the first places they look to gain momentum. Not surprising when you consider the growth in this area; after all, the foundation of Salesforce.com rests on the early success of its CRM system. Why is that? Principally, because it is one of the easier applications to move into the cloud and one that yields the fastest ROI results.

Why then did Salesforce.com announce late last year that “73% of CRM users do not use 50% of the functionality available to them in their CRM systems?”

Is it the nature of the CRM adoption curve? At first, you start off full of energy and raring to go. Then, in time, your attention gets diverted until eventually you neglect your CRM system almost entirely. What then can you do you do combat this?

Surely it’s a simple case of continual employee training? Not necessarily.

What is really required is the expertise to continually adapt your CRM system to the changing needs of your business. After all, your business doesn’t stop changing.  Your hectic environment creates constant demands for new reporting and management insight, so surely your CRM system needs to grow in order to provide a CRM adoption that promotes continued improvement. Hence, the inception of the Astadia Salesforce Performance + Support Program (SPS).

SPS is comprised of a 10-point methodology to help you manage configuration change in your instance of Salesforce.com. Clients that benefit from outsourcing their Salesforce support to Astadia:

  • Face ever-changing business processes, key metrics, and reporting requirements
  • Would like to implement configuration changes on a more timely basis
  • Desire to take advantage of salesforce.com’s ever-expanding feature base
  • Experience low user adoption in part or all of the user base
  • Maintain complex data
  • Want to deliver more value to the company using additional capabilities over time

To find out how strong your CRM system is, why not take our short quiz.

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Inaugural Quarterly Newsletter from Astadia EMEA


Welcome to Cloudburst!

CloudBurst is Astadia EMEA’s new quarterly newsletter designed to keep you updated about what’s going on at Astadia, how our latest projects are going and what challenges we’ve met along the way, and how we’ve resolved them. The aim for CloudBurst is to bring interesting articles about the technology we work with, the industry and the people who help pull it all together.

Our inaugural edition highlights some of the important points to look for when evaluating a service solution and buzz acronyms, such as ROI for the cloud, and what that actually means. We also take a look at the changing shape of  Marketing Automation (MA), andnew developments on the services front within the Astadia Sales Cloud.  We also take a look at the recent Cloudforce event in London and what stood out most to us from the keynote.

We hope you’ll enjoy reading it and welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Happy reading!
The Astadia Team

Astadia Launches first-of-its-kind ROI Calculator for Cloud Computing


Inviting I.T. Pros to Take the ROI Challenge for Building Applications at Cloudforce 2010

Press Release News!

Today, at the Cloudforce London 2010 expo, we will be offically announcing the UK launch of the Cloud IT Transformation (ITX) ROI Calculator. Results are available in British Pounds Sterling and in US Dollars at www.astadia.com/roi .

Many I.T. professionals know that the business case for the Cloud is compelling. A 2010 report on I.T. spending priorities by Kaufman Bros. shows a strong trend of I.T. infrastructure consolidating or rationalising software applications, servers, data centres and back-office functions to cheaper web-based software applications.

Many I.T. leaders struggle to assess the Cloud platforms that are right for their needs. Others lack time or resources to build the business case to move specific technologies to the chosen platform. The ITX ROI Calculator gives a fast estimate of which pieces of an I.T. infrastructure and application portfolio will cost less and perform better when moved to the Cloud.

“This new tool shows how much money I.T. departments could be leaving on the table,” says Cory Vander Jagt, Director, Astadia ITX. “Premise based I.T. solutions leak money at three different inflection points whenever a company gets bigger or smaller. Standardising an application environment in the Cloud consistently provides elasticity at all three points.”

The ITX ROI Calculator is a free service from the Astadia I.T. Cloud Transformation (ITX) practice, which helps enterprise I.T. teams navigate Cloud implementations on every major Cloud computing platform: Amazon Web Services, Google and the Force.com.

Astadia helps business leaders and I.T. teams accurately estimate the financial returns of their cloud computing projects. Then, Astadia makes sure the projected ROI actually materialises. Astadia’s 4 step ITX process for doing this is described in more detail at www.astadia.com/itx.

Possible Change of Dates for Cloudforce London 2010


CLOUDFORCE LONDON – POSSIBLE CHANGE TO  WEDNESDAY 8TH

Due to planned tube strikes in the capital set to commence on Monday 6th September, Salesforce.com have the difficult decision to make of whether they should move the date for their Cloudforce 2010 tour to Wednesday 8th September.

The last thing any Marketing department wants on the eve of a Bank Holiday weekend is to start the mammoth task of changing plans for a conference the size of Cloudforce. However as news broke that Rail unions the RMT and TSSA would be commencing a 24 hour strike starting Monday 6th September at 17:00 until Tuesday 7th September 17:00, this was precisely the task that lay ahead of the Salesforce team and all its partners.

Similar action also set to start at the same time on Sunday October 3; Tuesday November 2, and Sunday November 28, which will no doubt bring the capital to a grinding halt yet again.

Members of both unions voted in favour of strike action over 800 proposed job cuts and reduced ticket office opening hours. Most of the proposed job losses are among ticket office staff, although 50 management and administrative posts could also be axed.

Safe to save, Salesforce and their partner network are resilient – The conference is still set to go ahead and whether it’s Tuesday 7th or Wednesday 8th we’ll still be there! To register to meet the Astadia team – Simply visit this site.

We know and understand the difficulty this late change may bring to anyone who was planning to attend, but we’ll still be there whether it’s the 7th or the 8th and we hope to see many you out in force.

Chatter – Adoption is the Key!


By Ron Goldman – Service Cloud Director

I read an interesting blog recently from Sam Diaz from ZD Net about Salesforce’s Chatter application.

As far as I see, adoption is the key to unlocking the Power of Chatter. It’s a different way of thinking about collaborating in the enterprise; not forgetting that you’re also replacing a deeply ingrained tool, email!

I run Astadia’s line of business focused on implementing cloud computing for the contact centre and as part of that role; I’ve been using Chatter since April of this year. I use Chatter to communicate the availability of new sales tools, industry trends and product updates. I’ve had great success in getting our 20+ person sales team and our management team to follow me on chatter, meaning they’re getting live updates from me throughout the day. I’ve gotten valuable feedback from the team through Chatter to refine and update my materials. They see value, I see value and so adoption is happening naturally. I also follow sales opportunities for my line of the business so I get immediate updates whenever something changes on the opportunity.

I also realized that it would be great to selectively post some of the materials I was sharing internally to Astadia’s external communities on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I had our development team put together a solution framework called ChatterConnect that is like a TweetDeck for Chatter so you can bi-directionally post between Chatter, Twitter and Facebook. You can also post to LinkedIn (their API is limited to only receiving posts). Bottom line is that we are finding Chatter extremely useful in its out-of-the-box state and even more powerful with the extensions we are building for our clients.

If you’d like to reach out to me directly please do at rgoldman@astadia.com. Thanks for reading, Ron Goldman!

Register NOW to Meet the Astadia Team at Cloudforce London 2010


Just a quick note to let you all know you can book now to meet with the Astadia Team at Cloudforce London 2010.

Cloudforce, hosted by Salesforce, is the industry’s leading Cloud expo and Astadia Consulting,  Salesforce’s #1 implementation partner worldwide will also be there. So, if you’re already operating in the Cloud or want to learn more about the Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud or custom application development for the Cloud this is the event to visit.

Register here to book your personal 30 minute meeting with one of our consultants at the event.


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