Weekly Business Review: Salesforce.com, Oracle, MarkLogic, Socialware

Lots happened the past week in the social media, social business, big data and business intelligence world. Read below a review of the most interesting happenings and developments that caught my particular attention. What news did you find the most interesting?

Social media and social business

London marketers see online and social media channels as effective channels

An emphatic 56% of respondents now select either online or social media channels as their most effective routes to target audiences. Only face-to-face events are valued as approaching the effectiveness of digital channels (19%).

Crimson Hexagon’s survey polled 114 London-based technology and marketing professionals to gather opinions on the most and least effective communication channels for engaging with consumers.

The following key findings were revealed in survey analysis:

  • Nearly half of respondents agree that cold calling is the least effective channel for communicating with customers. Given the same options, 40% agree cold calling is least effective.
  • BBC, Virgin, Sky, Tesco and Innocent Smoothies are named influential UK brands. Survey respondents rank these five brands as the most followed and influential UK brands on Twitter.
  • One fifth of survey participants rank Twitter as effective channel of complaint. Exactly 20% of survey respondents say Twitter is now one of the most effective routes by which to contact organisations to submit complaints. The telephone is the only channel that ranks higher, with 27%.

The platform recently surpassed 260 billion social media posts in its database – a major industry milestone – and continues to add an additional one billion posts every two days.

Socialware launches latest release of its social business platform

Socialware, the social business solution provider for financial services, announced a new release of the Socialware platform. Socialware has a themed release each quarter, with a particular target audience in mind and set of capabilities built for that target audience. The Q1 2013 release theme is “Brand Protection and 1:Many Marketing” and includes new features to enhance capabilities for corporate and field marketers. All new capabilities are immediately available to all customers.

Chad Bockius, CEO of Socialware said:

“We recognize that one of the key roles of the marketer on social is to add value to other people’s networks, making it critical for marketers at financial services firms to have the tools they need to do effective content marketing. This is why our new release adds rich capabilities for this audience.”

Features and enhancements in the new release include:

  • Marketing teams now can extend their campaigns to include distribution through social channels.Marketers can define a campaign and associate content to it.
  • Marketing teams can set a date for when specific content will be available to advisors for posting to their social networks.
  • Firms can establish a review and approval workflow to ensure content meets compliance requirements.
  • Marketers now can create content within built-in review workflow.

These new enhancements allow marketers to automate and flexibly manage messaging for social media campaigns, making it easy for financial services advisors to share content and engage with second and third level contacts across their social networks.

Big data

Big Data platform provider MarkLogic raises $25M

MarkLogic Corporation, the provider of the enterprise NoSQL database platform, announced that it has closed a $25 million round of growth capital led by Sequoia Capital and Tenaya Capital, with participation from Northgate Capital. MarkLogic CEO and former Oracle executive Gary Bloom also made a personal investment in this financing round.

The company will use the capital to increase go-to-market capacity to meet the growing demand for enterprise NoSQL (Not Only SQL) technology from Fortune 500 companies, other large enterprises and government agencies.

“Today, MarkLogic® Server is the only NoSQL database with the enterprise features that CIOs require. For organizations that want to build, deploy and manage applications for dynamically changing enterprise data, MarkLogic is faster and more affordable than traditional relational databases while maintaining the same standard of trust in performance.”

MarkLogic Server can ingest, manage and search structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data allowing organizations to provide holistic access to all data through information applications and analytics tools. MarkLogic can run directly on the Apache* Hadoop Distributed File System, and this week demonstrated new innovative functionality for dynamic provisioning, rebalancing, tiered storage and semantics at its annual MarkLogic World User Conference in Las Vegas.

In recent weeks, applications built on MarkLogic Server have gone live at Dow Jones, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which implemented the first phase of the Healthcare Information Exchange, and one of the world’s leading commercial banks.

“MarkLogic provides the schema-agnostic and scale out architecture of NoSQL with the same proven and trusted enterprise capabilities that CIOs and CTOs require in enterprise software.”

  • Investors include Sequoia Capital, Tenaya Capital, Northgate Capital, Gary Bloom and other members of the MarkLogic executive team.
  • $25 Million in new capital brings the total raised to $71.2 Million.

Companies plan to boost investments in big data technologies

While most companies intend to invest in big data technologies, a lack of human resources and know-how keeps them from gaining deeper insights. Thirty-eight percent of the respondents associated big data with Teradata and Teradata Aster, placing the company among the most popular vendors.

The BARC Big Data survey was conducted in the second half of 2012 with companies in major European software markets in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Great Britain. Only seven percent saw no urgent need for action with regard to big data.

According to the survey, European companies not only have identified their big data issues, but are also willing to invest substantially in the new technologies that will allow for in-depth analysis.Interestingly, the companies who stated they make more efficient use of their data compared to competitors were not among those with the highest expenditure for big data technologies. The companies considered as “laggards” with regard to their big data usage plan to make investments for big data in all areas above average.

Today, 27 percent of the companies’ data are updated for reporting, monitoring and analysis once in a month, 45 percent are updated on a daily basis. In the future, the interrogated companies plan to integrate 17 percent of their data in less than a minute – up from eight percent today.

“The survey shows that beyond the current hype, big data has already become a reality in today’s data-driven enterprises,” said Andreas Geissler, country manager for Germany, Teradata.

Teradata just recently introduced its Unified Data Architecture™ (UDA). This simple architecture provides business analysts with access to the complementary value of Teradata, Teradata Aster and open source Hadoop.

For over ten years, BARC has specialized in core research areas including Data Management, Business Intelligence and Enterprise Content Management. In April 2011, BARC merged with Le Centre d’expertise des Progiciels (CXP), France’s largest business software analyst to form one group of companies.

Business intelligence

Oracle expanding on the data sources for business intelligence software

Oracle has revised two of its business intelligence products, giving users the ability to wrest intelligence from a wider range of data sources, including spreadsheets, social media sites and Hadoop deployments.

“Organizations want to use analytics more and more, and that drives demand from all kinds of different users in the organization to [ingest] new data sources,” said Paul Rodwick, the vice president of product management for Oracle business intelligence.

The company has updated both Oracle Endeca Information Discovery and the Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite, releasing new versions of the software in conjunction with Collaborate, an independent conference for Oracle software users this week in Denver.

The newly released Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.0 is the first major product update for the software since Oracle acquired Endeca in October 2011, Rodwick said. The Endeca software allows users to analyze unstructured data, or data that has not been captured in a database or data warehouse.

A new driver allows Endeca users to pull data from Oracle Business Intelligence Server, a component of the Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite.

In addition to connectivity to additional data sources, the newly released Endeca software also comes with a new user interface.

University of Konstanz collaborate with Yellowfin to deliver self-service data analysis

The University of Konstanz has announced a partnership with global Business Intelligence (BI) vendor, Yellowfin, which will deliver self-service data analysis to its department heads and Central Administration Board.

The German based university, situated in the city of Konstanz in Baden-Württemberg, will utilize Yellowfin’s BI solution to uncover insights within its broad range of operational, financial, student, human resources, research and comparative rankings data.

Chief Information Officer at the University of Konstanz, Prof. Dr. Marc H. Scholl, said that Yellowfin’s intuitive BI solution would enable academic and business decision-makers throughout the university to access and independently analyze a single trustworthy source of data to:

  • Compile the most efficient and effective government reports, rankings reports and research grant submissions possible
  • Improve the quality of teaching and student services whilst managing budgets in a fiscally sensitive climate
  • Aid interdisciplinary cooperation between departments and faculties
  • Underpin strategic planning and development

“Yellowfin combines a very sophisticated IT architecture with highly intuitive visualizations to break-down departmentalized information stores and make widespread independent data analysis a reality,” said Dr. Scholl. “With Yellowfin, it’s easy for large numbers of users, with a variety of technical skills, to quickly access data through a uniform interface, via the device of their choice, no matter their location.”

Cloud computing

Salesforce.com launched for mobile application development

Salesforce.com is giving customers and partners access to a new set of tools and services for building mobile applications on its cloud platform. Mobile development has posed something of a dilemma for both software vendors and end-user companies, because while native applications written specially for iOS, Android and other OSes can be more powerful than ones developed in HTML5, the latter can be deployed across multiple platforms, saving time and cost.

Salesforce.com is hoping to preserve customers’ choice of development styles while making mobile application development faster and easier, said Scott Holden, vice president of platform marketing, in an interview. In June, version 2.0 of Salesforce.com’s mobile SDK (software development kit) will be generally available. The update will make it possible for developers to link business system data such as a Salesforce.com CRM (customer relationship management) system to mobile applications, whether native, HTML5 or hybrid, according to Salesforce.com.

Salesforce.com doesn’t see a convergence point for mobile application development just yet.

MTN launches cloud services for SMEs

Mobile telecommunications operator MTN went live in Ghana and Nigeria on Wednesday with a range of cloud computing services for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), with launches in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and Uganda to follow later this year. “There is great appetite for ICT solutions that are relevant, customised and affordable. SMEs are looking to technology service providers such as MTN to bring them world-class tools that improve their business efficiencies. MTN Cloud offers exactly that.”

“MTN is optimistic about the uptake of MTN Cloud,” Khan said.

MTN said that business customers would receive a 30-day trial of MTN Cloud. Customers who subscribed to MTN Cloud through MTN Business would also be able to pay for services using airtime. “Plans are also under way to enable businesses to use MTN Mobile Money to pay for MTN Cloud services, with payment being effected in the local currency of the participating market,” the company said.