Has SAP gotten cloud religion?

When SAP pre-announced better-than-expected earnings, there was no mention of cloud computing. But, there is a feeling that the company, as it completes its buyout of SuccessFactors and closes more Business ByDesign deals, might be able to put its reputation of cloud cluelessness behind it.

Want to see your SaaS valuation skyrocket? Specialize

If you’re a Software-as-a-Service provider and want to wring the richest rewards out of what is already a lucrative gig, you should “verticalize” your services. That’s according to a newly published report from Forrester Research analyst Liz Herbert.

Who’s next on Oracle’s hit list?

So, what’s Oracle’s going to buy next? Here are five companies that might help the software giant fill in the check boxes on its public cloud, data analytics, management and infrastructure check list. Given Oracle’s bulging wallet, it doesn’t make sense to rule anything out.

The Cloud Enables an Agile Workforce

Running applications in the cloud will be an essential way to deliver software to a distributed workforce according to Zach Nelson, President and CEO, NetSuite who spoke today at the GigaOM Net:Work Event today in San Francisco.

Analyst Talks Apple Netbook, iPhones; Has Actual Source for Once


Normally, industry analysts are a talkative, confident bunch, but generally speaking, they are like old fisherman, spinning yarns and telling tales that have become exaggerated through constant retelling.

Recent comments by leading Apple (s aapl) analyst Toni Sacconaghi, however, actually came out of discussions with a very good source: Tim Cook, Apple COO and acting head honcho at Cupertino during Steve Jobs’ medical leave. Not only that, but CFO Pete Oppenheimer and head of marketing Phil Schiller were there, too.

Which is why this time, when he says Apple is likely still working toward producing a netbook, I didn’t just roll my eyes and go about turning my Eee PC into a hackintosh. Not that Sacconaghi provided any firm details, just the tantalizing info that Cook “hinted” that Apple was still turning over “ideas” surrounding a netbook. Not a lot to build hope on, but better than the usual “predictions” based on “market trends.”
Read More about Analyst Talks Apple Netbook, iPhones; Has Actual Source for Once

Recession Scorecard: DVDs Down, Hulu & The Pirate Bay Up

The accelerating economic downturn is taking its toll on the entertainment industry, with DVD sales lagging and Blu-ray sales disappointing, according to the New York Times. DVD sales are down 4 percent so far this year, the paper reports, citing data collected by Warner Brothers. The results for the third quarter are even worse, with a 9 percent drop overall and a steep 22 percent decline for new titles, according to numbers from Nielsen VideoScan quoted by the Times.

Meanwhile, free online content is doing better than ever. Hulu attracted 5.3 million unique visitors in October, a nearly 90 percent surge over the previous month. The Pirate Bay doubled the number of simultaneously connected users within the last six months, reaching a total of 25 million peers in November. The site’s admins apparently couldn’t quite believe their logs either, asking somewhat perplexed: “Wtf is going on(?)” The answer, in short, is this: We are in a recession.

Read More about Recession Scorecard: DVDs Down, Hulu & The Pirate Bay Up

F|R: What Startups Can Learn From Billy “Moneyball” Beane

If you’re a major league baseball fan, you’ve probably read “Moneyball,” the best-selling book by journalist Michael Lewis chronicling the successful statistics-driven management of Oakland Athletics General Manager, Billy Beane.

Baseball has long been a game of stats, but Beane’s philosophy gave the tradition a twist: Instead of tracking a player’s batting average or runs batted in, Beane tracked a player’s on base percentage. The unorthodox approach helped Beane build the A’s into a remarkably efficient team that has reached the American League playoffs five times in eight years with a payroll that’s consistently near the bottom third of all 30 MLB teams ($78.5 million in 2007).

Plenty of corporate executives have tried to apply Beane’s tactics to their own operations. NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson did one better: In 2007 he invited Billy Beane to join NetSuite’s board of directors. [digg=http://digg.com/business_finance/What_Startups_Can_Learn_From_Moneyball]

Nelson says tracking nonstandard performance stats has helped improve the efficiency of NetSuite’s sales process. Most CEOs track their marketing spend, lead generations and closed contracts independently; NetSuite tracks which marketing plans (players) turn into leads (walk ons) and which leads convert to sales (runs). If improving your company’s sales efficiency is the aim, then “walk ons” — or how you get to the sale — is the key stat, just as in baseball. Below Nelson offers a few tips from Beane’s play book to get you started “managing by the numbers.”

Read More about F|R: What Startups Can Learn From Billy “Moneyball” Beane