Today is my last day at 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.

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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.
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Welcoming Ron to Gartner.

Two  months ago, after 10 years here, Jim Holincheck decided leave Gartner.  I wish him well. He will be missed; as a colleague and mentor.

Jim, Jeff Freyermuth,  Sunil Padmanabh, Chris Pang, Koji Motoyoshi  and I worked  to provide what we believe is the deepest and broadest coverage in the industry. With that in mind, it was essential to fill the gap left by Jim’s departure and I’m very pleased to announce today that Ron Hanscome is now with Gartner.

Ron has heaps of experience, as an analyst, consultant, practioner and in product management.  He has worked with several of my colleagues and management  in the past, when he was with Meta group.  He is well known to many in the industry.  I’ll be working with Ron and the team to shape the research agenda for  remainder of 2012 and into 2013.  I’m really looking forward to having Ron contributing to Gartner’s thought leadership in HCM. I’d encourage vendors to set up briefings with Ron.

You can follow him on twitter here.

 (cross posted on my work blog)

Moving off the lead SAP analyst role.

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.