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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Steve Singh, CEO of Concur (Part 2)

Posted on Thursday, May 10th 2012

SM: A personalized commerce opportunity, yes.

SS: Completely personalized. It’s personalized down to the individual level. It’s not a company level. It’s down to the individual person. It says I know about you. I know how to meet your needs, and I know how to make your trip a better experience. So, what we see happening is we see all these applications companies, and they will take all this rich data and deliver it back to the customer and to the end user and to the supplier in a way that makes it a more efficient supply chain for the supplier and frankly, a better experience for the traveler.

Imagine a LinkedIn in that model. How might work? Well, you’ve got an incredible eco-system where people are trying to figure out how to make connections for the purposes of networking and job searching. Imagine LinkedIn one day – and I’m not saying they’re going to do this – [ends up] owning a talent management company, an HR talent management application company and integrating that in such a way that you could not only provide a robust set of tools to help you understand your internal needs within in a company but then also to link it up against all the available people who might fit that need.  There’re real commerce opportunities.

SM: I think it makes a lot of sense for LinkedIn to get into that sector, the talent management sector. That’s a very astute observation.

SS: It’s just one example.

SM: Another example that we talked about in commerce, one of the companies in your space, Rearden Commerce, came out more on that commerce side and got into more enterprise applications, coming at it from the commerce side. Right?

SS: They actually started out on the enterprise applications side. They tend to re-position the company a fair bit. They came at it from the enterprise applications side the same as we did. Then they went over to the commerce side. The thing that’s important here is that neither one of these things works on its own. You have to be great on the application side in order to be on the content side in order to be great on the commerce side.

SM: And the data.

SS: And on the data side. None of this works without the other components. In fact, that’s why when we look at global and mobile and local and social and cloud, it’s not that one works independently of the others. They, in fact, are tightly intertwined, and you won’t be able to separate them out over the next five years. They’re completely and utterly intertwined and interdependent, and they actually build value upon each other so that you have a much richer experience as an individual using these products.

SM: Yes. You guys have been around for a while now. You do have a ton of data in your system, at various instances of your system, what are you doing on the big data side to take advantage of that and provide this kind of personalized experience?

SS: On our last journeys call, we just started out learning our big data plans. The very first place that industries think about when they think about big data is in terms of business and growth intelligence. They think about it in terms of a Cognos or Business Objects where a company might buy a set of tools to analyze all the information that exists within its various systems. I would argue that that’s about 10% of the opportunity. If you think about it, 90% of the world’s electronic data has only been formed in the last couple of years. And most of that is not sitting within typical financial systems and HR systems. It’s actually being created on mobile devices and social networks and being deployed and used within mobile devices. So, imagine creating links between that information and the internal systems that exist within companies … at least within the enterprise sector. We think that big data applications will exist within [other] applications, within a sales force cloud or within an HR cloud. That’s where the big data applications will really start to materialize. It won’t be in the context of a replacement cycle to Cognos or Business Objects.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Steve Singh, CEO of Concur
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