451 Research - Biography

Alan Pelz-Sharpe
Research Director, Social Business

Alan Pelz-Sharpe is the Research Director for Social Business at 451 Research. Alan has overall responsibility for the coverage of Social Business technology and trends, including social/collaboration, compliance and legal, marketing and sales automation and integration. Alan's own primary area of focus is on the emergence of next generation collaborative business applications that leverage the power of the crowd and cloud.

Alan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry, working with a wide variety of end-user organisations and suppliers around the world. Alan was formerly a Partner at The Real Story Group, ECM Consulting Director at Indian Services firm Wipro, and VP for North America at industry analyst firm Ovum. He is regularly quoted in the press including the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian and has appeared on the BBC, CNBC, ABC as an expert guest.

Reports by this Analyst

The end or the beginning? Drupal 8 saga nears a conclusion
MIS Impact Report - September, 2015
This important open source project is finally nearing the candidate release of its much-delayed version 8 – what does this mean for not only the Drupal community, but also its commercial spinoff Acquia and the broader SaaS and software world?
Google Apps for Work: growing, but limited in vision
MIS Impact Report - September, 2015
The company continues to grow, but unlike the Google mother ship, it appears to lack direction. One would expect Google for Work to have much bigger ambitions; we think the Google at Work team does, but it is struggling to get the attention of the Google core.
Field Nation locates and manages qualified contractors for real-world contingent work
MIS Impact Report - September, 2015
IT talks a lot about the cloud, but the human cloud represents one of its biggest market opportunities for growth. Field Nation focuses on hard-to-source technical freelancers who are required at short notice to undertake specialist installations and maintenance work.
Actiance has new funding to bring order to social media chaos
MIS Impact Report - September, 2015
The company is a compliance veteran that has recently taken on $28m in new funding. It will be interesting to see how it spends the money and whether the company can take itself to an exit.
Reboot: SaaS vs. on-premises costs for business applications
MIS Spotlight - September, 2015
Although cloud computing as a whole is growing, many enterprises remain reluctant to move their core applications there. We examine the basic costs, and then take a generic business application, running both on-premises and in the cloud, and compare the relative costs over a 10-year period.
Symphony to challenge the Bloomberg hegemony
MIS Impact Report - August, 2015
In financial markets, Bloomberg terminals have long held sway when it comes to secure communication and collaboration. Controversial newcomer Symphony plans to change that.
Is Rackspace a unifier for the digital marketing world?
MIS Impact Report - August, 2015
Cloud vendor Rackspace is jumping into the WCM and digital marketing world with plans to offer a stack of managed digital platforms for higher-end vendors and enterprises. The goal is to reduce the complexity of deploying and managing these complex applications, and to appeal to the digital agencies and systems integrators often tasked with the work.
Accellion further secures the mobile EFSS perimeter
MIS Impact Report - August, 2015
The vendor is not the best-known in the EFSS market, but Accellion is one of the few doing well in a rapidly commodifying and changing landscape. It has recently released new governance and security features to bolster its claims to be the leading vendor for secure mobile EFSS.
Autotask acquires Soonr rather than later
TDM Deal Analysis - July, 2015
Soonr is the latest but certainly not the last enterprise file-sync/share vendor to find an exit in an increasingly commoditized market. The company has been acquired by IT business management specialist AutoTask, which has a similar focus on selling to service providers.
Oh my darling Clementine: collaboration vendor finds a home with Dropbox
TDM Deal Analysis - July, 2015
Enterprise file-sync/share leader Dropbox has acquired business communications vendor Clementine Labs. The move is something of a game changer in the rapidly commoditizing EFSS space as players struggle to add functionality.
ECM supplier iManage leaves the HP fold
TDM Deal Analysis - July, 2015
Enterprise content management veteran iManage is spinning off from HP via a management buyout. It's been an interesting ride for iManage – from a startup to a public company to an acquisition target by Autonomy to a home at HP, and now back to an independent entity.
VMware: capitalizing on its collaboration plays
MIS Impact Report - July, 2015
The company is pulling its collaboration products together under one umbrella. We look at the various pieces in the VMware portfolio; how it may piece them together in a coherent fashion; and whether now, with rival Syncplicity dumped from the EMC fold, these products may finally come to the fore.
Wrike: putting the control back into collaboration
MIS Impact Report - July, 2015
The company recently took on a further $15m in funding, bringing its total take to $26m, and the task management vendor is looking to build on an international footprint that has come to it organically, to provide local support in Europe.
Outcome-centric collaboration from ThinkTank enters the limelight
MIS Impact Report - July, 2015
ThinkTank's time may be at hand as enterprise crowds and idea management begin to come to the fore. It just released version 5.5 to help facilitate decision-making via consensus. In practical terms, this means brainstorming, ideation and anonymous decision input.
Brainshark bridges gap between marketing and sales teams
MIS Impact Report - July, 2015
Industry veteran Brainshark has jumped onto the salesforce.com train to help bridge the marketing and sales gap in CRM. In the past six months, Sales Accelerator has turned out to be an important product for the tech veteran, potentially changing the direction of its strategy.
EMC says goodbye to Syncplicity
TDM Deal Analysis - July, 2015
EMC has sold its thriving enterprise file-sync/share division, Syncplicity, to private equity firm Skyview Capital. It's the first PE deal in the EFSS world, and follows BlackBerry's acquisition of WatchDox. No doubt more deals are to come in this rapidly maturing sector.
Redbooth driving a unified approach to collaboration
MIS Impact Report - June, 2015
'If you can't beat them, join them,' is a good motto, and for Redbooth that means bringing social collaboration to the world of unified communications. Redbooth could potentially tap into a rich seam of opportunity providing modern and refreshed upsell opportunities to incumbent players.
IBM and Box form an intriguing partnership for industry-specific cloud and mobile apps
MIS Impact Report - June, 2015
In its most significant move to date, post-IPO Box has entered a strategic partnership with IBM to build cloud-based collaboration and work applications. This is potentially transformational for Box. It goes beyond a simple reseller or basic integration announcement and states that the two firms will jointly develop applications for specific industry verticals.
Oracle's cloud strategy - making up for lost time
MIS Impact Report - June, 2015
Whether Oracle was late to the cloud or not, 2015 is the year it's going big, and it is seeing some impressive early success. The company has thrown its full weight behind not just developing a credible cloud story, but in some areas, challenging for pole position.
Our latest survey says: It's a mixed outlook for EFSS vendors
MIS Spotlight - June, 2015
Enterprise file sync and share is maturing and the future landscape and current challenges are becoming much clearer than just a year ago. Simply sharing files and collaborating at the business level, separate from core business applications, may become a permanent fixture in the IT landscape.
EMC Documentum pivots toward a new 'Horizon'
MIS Impact Report - June, 2015
Enterprise content management stalwart EMC Documentum has been around since the earliest days of ECM and has long seemed to be an awkward fit within EMC. Yet it recently made its biggest shift in many years when it hooked up with Pivotal to rethink the ECM platform.
Alfresco moves upmarket with techniques to attract larger enterprises and bigger deals
MIS Impact Report - June, 2015
The company continues its metamorphosis from a traditional ECM vendor into an enterprise-class BPM application-development platform complete with rich content management, extended collaboration and execution analytics.
Witkit takes a Bitcoin-style approach to collaboration
MIS Impact Report - May, 2015
The Canadian company is yet another 'secure collaboration' vendor coming to market - with the rationale that it is the most secure option to date, taking advantage of Bitcoin-like security methods.
Enterprise IT Spotlight: Should you put cloud-service code into escrow?
MIS Spotlight - May, 2015
Some buyers are now asking for cloud software code to be placed in escrow, a process historically restricted to on-premises systems. We examine the value of escrowing cloud-application code.
Igloo Software needs a plan to come in from the cold
MIS Impact Report - May, 2015
The enterprise collaboration vendor launched with huge potential and solid backing some years ago – it's now time for it to truly take things to the next level. We look at what the prospects are for Igloo in a fast-growing but increasingly competitive market.
Adding proximity to the Duby experience
MIS Impact Report - May, 2015
The cannabis industry has long been a clandestine one, but as states in the US and countries around the world legalize or decriminalize its use, big money is moving in. Duby is a social media/networking service dedicated to cannabis users; it's still early for the startup, but its business model and approach contain lessons for marketers far beyond this industry.
Incentive raises seed funding, takes on the future of intranets
MIS Impact Report - May, 2015
The company has been around for a few years now, and is proving to be quite popular as an enterprise collaboration/intranet alternative. It recently raised a new round of funding to continue its expansion plans in the US.
Social business applications revenue projected to hit $37bn by 2019
MIS Spotlight - May, 2015
The social business applications market will increase by over 2.5x between 2014 and 2019, according to Market Monitor: Social Business, a new market sizing and forecasting service from 451 Research.
By no means a slacker, Slack is living up to the hype with its productivity app
MIS Impact Report - May, 2015
Slack is more than a social messaging service – it is at least three stories told at once. First, it is yet another enterprise social vendor in a crowded market; second, it is a ballsy David gearing up to take on Goliath(s); third, it's actually pretty good.
Under-the-radar Interact-Intranet posts steady growth, retains a loyal following
MIS Impact Report - April, 2015
As it prepares to potentially go its own way, Interact-Intranet is gearing up for further US expansion. Though not particularly well-known in the tech sector, the company has been growing steadily over the past couple of years and has a loyal following.
ownCloud: providing control of the files
MIS Impact Report - April, 2015
In an era of heightened interest in control and governance issues, ownCloud thinks it has the answer to file sync and share's viral enterprise growth. We take a look at the company and its prospects of profiting from a heightened need to gain control of corporate files.
Collaboration approach from Samepage is contextually different
MIS Impact Report - April, 2015
On the surface, the player is yet another collaboration vendor, but Samepage's contextual approach is subtly novel. The firm likely needs more funding to take things to the next level, and if marketed properly, may appeal to small and midsized distributed workforces.
Huddle working out its next play
MIS Impact Report - April, 2015
The UK-based collaboration darling is making major efforts to raise its profile and move to the next level. Huddle is now entering a critical phase as it hopes to transition from being essentially a startup to a bona fide long-term player.
BlackBerry buys WatchDox - the start of a file-sync consolidation?
TDM Deal Analysis - April, 2015
BlackBerry has been reinventing itself as a software firm since its mobile device business hit the skids. The pickup of WatchDox is an interesting move by the company, and one that may presage more consolidation in the file-sharing space.
Glip sees window of opportunity on the coattails of Slack
MIS Impact Report - April, 2015
The company's eponymous product is now at a point where it can be considered v2.0, and the cyclical topic of an email successor is back on the agenda, driven in large part by investor interest in heavily funded and functionally similar competitor Slack.
Enterprise IT Spotlight: Consumer apps in the enterprise - Don't forget the EUCAs
MIS Spotlight - April, 2015
Probably the last thing the world of business and IT needs right now is another acronym; then again, it needs another end-user-computing concern to add to the list even less. End-user computing applications are any technology applications running in the enterprise that are built by nonprogramming experts or are unsanctioned. Think of it as 'do-it-yourself shadow IT.'
Qumram seeks to provide compliant customer insights
MIS Impact Report - April, 2015
The Swiss vendor reckons that the white space between legal compliance and business imperatives gives organizations a 'blind spot' that is detrimental to the top line. Qumram seeks to shift from being a Web-archiving solution to providing customer insights in a compliant manner.
Enterprise IT Spotlight: Getting the IT procurement process right
MIS Spotlight - March, 2015
IT, business and procurement teams must work together to acquire the right technology, at the right time and the right price, to meet the overall business goals. Here we outline a collaborative end-to-end IT acquisition process that organizations can use to build better use cases, identify the best possible vendors, and finalize technology decisions with confidence.
Lexmark's $1bn pickup of Kofax doubles its software business
TDM Deal Analysis - March, 2015
Lexmark's highly acquisitive Perceptive division has added Kofax to its ever-bulging portfolio. This is the most significant acquisition to date for the firm, doubling not only the size of its software business but also its M&A spending.
AvePoint leverages Microsoft investments in building out public-sector platforms
MIS Impact Report - March, 2015
Despite its prominence in global government departments, Microsoft was late to the game when it came to offering integrated offerings to meet public-sector needs. Now, in partnership with AvePoint, it hopes to close the gap on the earlier movers.