Gartner


Today is my last day at Gartner.

The last 5 1/2 years have flown by. I have learnt more than I imagined I could, and probably forgotten more too. I’ve done over 3000 inquiries, written over 100 research notes, led several magic quadrants, attended 100s of Research communities, spoke at numerous conferences and strategy days.  I’ve worked with fascinating colleagues, users and vendors from around the world.  I consider many of them to be friends, even though we have met so rarely in person.

It has been a blast, and I will look upon my time at Gartner with a deep fondness.  The way Gartner has handled my departure only increases my respect for the organization.  I expect to see Gartner’s HCM research grow from strength to strength.

photo

5 years of conferences.
So if it has been so good, why change?  As an analyst, you advise, you can suggest and you may even influence markets. That influence gave me a tremendous sense of satisfaction and respect for the responsibility that the role brings. But for the past few months I’d begun to wonder whether I wanted to remain an analyst for the rest of my career or not. I wasn’t really sure, but I felt a nagging itch. It took a while, but I have figured out what that itch is. It is the itch to build something.
This weekend I will be getting on a plane to Sapphire, the SAP annual conference,  not as a Gartner analyst, but as a SuccessFactors employee. I’m going to be the product manager for Employee Central. You can see the welcoming press release here.
I’m nervous, as I will need to learn a whole new raft of skills. I’m excited for the very same reasons.
Some of you reading this will know that I worked for SAP before joining Gartner, so you may be wondering why join SuccessFactors, which is part of SAP?  Here are my reasons.
  1. I reckon this is the most exciting job at the most exciting company  in HCM technology today.
  2. More broadly, HCM technology is the most dynamic place in application software now. What happens in HCM today will shape enterprise applications for the next 20 years. The investment, focus and market landscape is fundamentally different from where it was 5 years ago.
  3. Successfactors very rapidly developed a market leadership position in Talent Management software, and they have the opportunity to do the same in cloud core HRMS. Combining SAP’s deep experience and massive presence  in core HRMS and Successfactors will make for a powerful combination.  I think I can help make them work better together.  I understand  some of SAP’s strengths and weaknesses, its culture and how to get things done.
  4. There is no better salesforce in enterprise software. When aligned, is remarkable.
  5. The leadership team at SuccessFactors and SAP have very clear idea of what they would like me to do. I have seen too many analysts be hired into strategy roles, and then whither on the vine of large vendor politics. It is crystal clear that my fundamental job is to lead the team building Employee Central. This will be a massive challenge. I look forward to the learning curve.
  6.  In the 1995 Klaus Tschira, one of the SAP founders, impressed me so much with his vision for HR technology that  I convinced my wife that we needed to move to Germany. There is much in that vision that still needs to be built, so in a sense I have unfinished business with SAP.
My day today is tinged with feelings of farewell, but I can’t wait to start my new role .
To my colleagues at Gartner, I’ll reiterate my thanks for 5 fabulous years.
To my new colleagues at SuccessFactors and  SAP, thanks for the lovely welcome.

cross posted on my Gartner blog.

At Gartner, we have a regular cycle of changing the lead analyst role every 2 –3 years, so it is time for me to hand the SAP lead baton. 

It has been fun and challenging, I have learnt a tremendous amount about SAP, even though I’d worked there for ages. It has given me insight into Gartner too. I couldn’t  have wished for a better start at Gartner.

SAP has changed a lot in the two years, and it has probably been SAP’s most challenging period in its history. Coordinating the efforts of over 100 analysts that cover SAP has been eye opening.  Gartner’s breath and depth of SAP coverage is without peer, and has been a privilege to lead that effort.

Donald Feinberg will be taking over from me. He knows more about Database theory, DBMS and Data Warehousing than anyone I have ever met, and this is rather appropriate with SAP’s strategic plans for ICE, the in-memory computing engine, aka newDB, the juicy inside bit of HANA. He brings wealth of experience to the role. With Donald our SAP research agenda is in good hands.

I’ll not move away from SAP entirely, as I still cover them as part of my ERP / HCM agenda. I’ll be working closely with Don as he gets to know SAP’s inner workings. I’ll still take client inquiry on SAP, and I’ll be part of our SAP research community. However, I’ll now have more time to focus on other research interests such as social software in the enterprise, workforce analytics,  data protection law, design/hybrid thinking, usability and pattern based strategy. There is a world beyond SAP and I need to broaden my focus. 

I’ll take this opportunity to thank our clients, all the folks at SAP, Gartner, the SAP ecosystem, press and broader analyst community that I’ve worked with in the role. I’ll see some of you at CEBIT this week.

(photo of the view-master reel from excellent flickr stream of cgines, thanks)

I’m starting to get settled into my new job here at Gartner,  researching the HR-HCM technology space.  The support and peer network has been brilliant, the job is everything I’d hoped for.  I’m having fun. I’m learning every day.  Jim is keeping  me busy.

I’m conscious that most of my working career has been SAP and SAP ecosystem focused, and so I need to broaden my perspectives.  Step out from my SAP comfort zone.   

I hoping that my readers can help.  Point me to HR and HCM stuff you think I should be researching.  I’ll be heading to some HR-HCM related conferences, and some enterprise 2.0 events here in Europe.  Let me know the ones you think I should attend. (They can be in English or German) 

thomasdototteratgartnerdotcom  or please  leave me a comment here.

I plan to be over in the  Bay Area on the US west coast for the last week of April,  so if you are based there, let’s try to meet up.  Over the course of the year I’ll be in a number of European cities, and I even have a trip down to South Africa planned. 

A lot of my time in this job needs to be spent listening.

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photo from ThijsFr’s brilliant flickrstream

At the end of January,  I’ll be leaving SAP.

It hasn’t been an easy decision, but I’ve been offered an opportunity that I simply can’t ignore.

I’m grateful to SAP for the opportunities it has provided for me for more than a decade. I’ve made many friends, and working at SAP has shaped much of my working experience. Through SAP I’ve met and worked with some of the leading companies in the world. I’ve had the pleasure of getting smarter through the osmosis effect of hanging out with clever and open people. Without SAP, we would have not learnt German, nor felt as at home in this formerly strange land as we now do.   It has been far more than just an employer to me and my family.

My valedictory sentiments echo Jeff Nolan’s, especially with regards to blogging.  I could write of many incidents and memories, some happy, some sad, but that would fill a book, not just a blog post. I’ve much to thank SAP for.

Stepping through the door.

I’m joining Gartner, where I’ll be researching and covering the HCM-HR space.  I’ll be working closely with Jim Holincheck.  There is a world of innovation beyond SAP, and I’m determined to learn more about it.  Feel it is time for me  to view the software world through a different lens.  Gartner will be ideal  for me to do just that. During the epic interview process I’ve met many of my new colleagues, and it is a place where curiosity thrives.  Curiosity is my oxygen.

This blog, the conversations I’ve had in the blogosphere, and enterprise irregulars board made me realise that I enjoy writing and thinking about the industry a lot.   When Gartner called, it just seemed to be a great fit.  In making the decision to leave SAP and join Gartner,  I’ve relied on the advice of several friends, some of whom I met via the blog.  My wife  has been a rock of rationality.

We plan to stay in Germany, and I’ll have a broad European and global focus. There is a lot of innovative HR technology in Europe and beyond that I’d like to pick up on, and enterprise 2.0 / social media hold huge potential to impact HR.  I should also be able to expand my PhD work in compliance / CSR  and data protection law.

I’m excited about the change, I’m nervous but somehow confident.  I’m bringing experience and an open mind. It will be a blast.

Robert Frost said it best.`

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that, the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I marked the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

From  photobunny.

 

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