Robert Desisto

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Robert P. Desisto
VP Distinguished Analyst
14 years at Gartner
24 years IT industry

Robert Desisto is a Vice President and Distinguished Analyst in Gartner Research. He is responsible for managing the software as a service (SaaS) research agenda. His research focuses primarily on the use of SaaS as a delivery model for applications. Read Full Bio

Survey Shows High Importance of Mobility for Sales Organizations

by Robert Desisto  |  September 29, 2014  |  Comments Off

At a July 2014 Webinar on Mobile Selling attended by more than 80 IT and sales force automation (SFA) application managers, Gartner asked several questions about the use of smartphones and tablets with sales organizations. The questions involved device adoption, mobile OS preferences and business results achieved through mobility. The questions polled are among the “top of mind” concerns of sales application managers who are trying to determine the role of mobile devices for SFA projects as well as the timing of initiatives. In a just published research note, Assess the Importance and Value of Mobility for Sales Force Automation, we provide analysis of the poll responses, as well as data received through Gartner client inquiries for each question, and discuss the potential impacts on SFA mobile strategies.

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Category: mobile mobile sales salesforce automation     Tags: ,

Off the Grid … Much Harder Than You Think

by Robert Desisto  |  September 4, 2014  |  Comments Off

Many of us wonder what it is like to be without our mobile smartphone for an extended period of time. Recently on a trip to the Bahamas I had the experience with my family and it was much harder than we expected. We did not want to pay international rates on the phones so we were basically off the grid for most of the vacation unless we were in a wifi hot spot. We talked about it before we went on vacation and we all thought it wouldn’t be that bad.  I found out within the first few of hours of the vacation being off the grid was going to be harder than expected.

My first encounter was going for a run. Normally I use an App on my phone that provides real-time information on mile pace, miles run, etc.  This obviously would not work so I had to log my run the old fashion way. This meant remembering the streets I ran on (including on the right and left turns), use my watch to measure the time and then log my information later.

I also found family meetings were not that easy to coordinate.  We had to carefully set meeting places and times. Of course, in a family of four someone would be late then you start thinking did I tell them the right place or time to meet.  My first impulse was to text, but texting was not an option.

Then once we do meet we want to figure out where to eat.  I would like to just look up restaurant menus on the web and call for a reservation. Again not an option when you are off the grid. So we just walked around seeing what was not crowded and looked at menus posted on the outside of restaurants.  Once we found a restaurant as we waited to be seated, we were forced to actually talk to each other not check are phones for latest tweet or Facebook post . Actually I considered that a more of a positive development.

On way home from the restaurant, I wanted to check the Redsox score (they were actuallly still in the race when we went on vacation).  Usually I would get the nice alerts to give me realtime updates during the game. Now I had to actually wait to go back to the room and find out the score on the TV. Not a huge deal, but something I had to explain to my sons that when I was their age that was  the way it was done all time.

Overall, the vacation was great. However, there is no doubt being off the grid for a week really shows how much smartphones are really so much  a part of our everyday life. Something we all know, but until you actually go a week without it you don’t realize how much smartphones impact your life and why mobile applications will continue to gain in importance.

If you interested on the impact of mobility on customer enagement processes come see my presentation at US Symposium in October, How Mobility Will Transform Customer Engagement Processes. 



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Category: mobile     Tags: ,

2014 Gartner CRM Sales Magic Quadrant Published

by Robert Desisto  |  July 18, 2014  |  2 Comments

The 2014 Gartner CRM Sales Magic Quadrant is now pubished.  Sales application managers will find that improvements in the viability of SAP and Oracle cloud offerings underscore the evolution of traditional on-premises vendors to SaaS, but still leads the market. The magic quadrant evaluates vendors based on their ability to deliver Sales force automation (SFA) applications. SFA applications  support the automation of sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for B2B organizations’ sales professionals. Core functionalities include account, contact and opportunity management. Additional add-on capabilities focus on improving the sales effectiveness of salespeople. Among those capabilities are sales configuration, guided selling, proposal generation and content management, and sales performance management support, including incentive compensation, quota, sales coaching and territory management.


Category: CRM salesforce automation     Tags:

The Future of Enterprise Applications is Mobility

by Robert Desisto  |  July 14, 2014  |  2 Comments

The digital enterprise is increasingly a mobile enterprise. Business users and customers are showing a sharp interest in mobile devices and mobile applications. The future of enterprise applications, both for enterprise workers and consumers, is mobility. We have brought together IT perspectives regarding mobile from across Gartner Research in this comprehensive special report, The Future of Enteprise Applications in Mobility.


Category: Applications CRM ERP mobile     Tags: ,

Come See My Mobile Webinar on Using Mobility as a Strategic Selling Weapon

by Robert Desisto  |  July 9, 2014  |  1 Comment

Mobile technology will have the greatest impact on sales organizations since the introduction of the laptop more than 25 years ago. Mobile devices will increase sales force automation adoption and enable new value-added selling processes to improve sales effectiveness. The result will be an easier pathway for sales leaders to achieve revenue and business targets.

On Thursday, July 9th, at 9:00 AM EDT and 12:00 PM EDT, I will be conducting a webinar,  Mobile Sales: Strategic Weapon for Meeting Sales Targets. 

Key Discussion Topics Include:

  • How mobile technology will impact sales force automation over the next three years
  • How sales organizations will maximize the business value of mobility
  • How mobility will drive sales force automation project planning and implementation

If you have interest in how mobility can reshape your selling organization this is a must see Webinar. Looking forward to seeing you there.

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Category: CRM mobile sales     Tags:

Has SaaS become the next Client/Server?

by Robert Desisto  |  June 23, 2014  |  2 Comments

I am not saying that  SaaS or cloud computing resembles client/server technically but as it relates to maturity, SaaS is not a big deal anymore. Just like client/server, SaaS has gotten to the point where you can find multiple vendors in almost every application category . The cloud is no longer the “great” differentiator vendors would like you to believe it is, because it has become pervasive everywhere. I am not saying there are not business or architectural vendor variations, some of which may have real implications but generally those differences are very difficult for a customer to understand and evaluate.  I even thought about not doing the SaaS Hype Cycle this year simply because it has gotten to the point where there are so many technology profiles that could qualify.

There are still some obvious cases such as large scale ERP deployments that are likely not good candidates for SaaS but generally speaking on premises only applications have become more the exception than the rule. This does not imply on premises is a dead delivery model. Issues such as data location, privacy, long-term TCO, and real-time integration performance all still lead many companies to on premises delivery. However, it is a fact that the shininess or glow of SaaS is fading as becomes more ubiquitous as an application delivery model.


Category: Cloud SaaS Software as a Service     Tags:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Offers Improved Usability, Some Mobility

by Robert Desisto  |  March 4, 2014  |  3 Comments

Microsoft released its latest core CRM offering, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, in September 2013. After discussions with customers who have now had a few months to absorb the release  the most impactful elements of the release are:

  • Improved user experience
  • The addition of more process capabilities
  • The launch of the first Microsoft Dynamics CRM mobile application
  • New pricing structures

Other updates include improved visualization of reports; platform improvements to improve extensibility, such as real-time workflow and actions designed to extend business process flows; announced server-side integration with Microsoft Exchange (available on-premises to on-premises only; online syncing to Microsoft Exchange is targeted for 2Q14).   Microsoft announced new pricing with this release, moving from a flat $44 per user per month to a tiered pricing model ranging from $15 to $65 users per month dependent on usage type (e.g., full read-write access to all objects, read-only access for a subset of CRM-related objects, etc.).

I just published Gartner research, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Offers Improved Usability, Some Mobility, we analyze the most impactful parts of the Microsoft Dyanamics CRM core 2013 release including the new pricing structures for both on premises and SaaS.


Category: Cloud CRM Microsoft Dynamics CRM SaaS salesforce automation     Tags: ,

When, and When Not, to Pay the Premium

by Robert Desisto  |  February 21, 2014  |  1 Comment

One of the top questions Gartner receives from clients evaluating is, why are services so expensive versus the competition? With the recent introduction of’s Performance Edition (see “ Announces New Comprehensive CRM Edition”), customers who would have purchased Unlimited Edition (no longer available) are paying 25% to 35% higher prices than they would have with Performance Edition. does offer more functionality in Performance Edition, but not all customers need those capabilities.

Gartner has seen customer evaluations that indicate that can be as much as three times the subscription price versus that of the competition. In some cases, customers assume that if is that much more expensive it must be better. Gartner suggests that customers avoid equating price with value, a trait inherited from consumer buying habits. Functional differences between editions may be minor for particular customer solutions; has continued to hold their premium, particularly for larger enterprises. Over the course of hundreds of evaluations, we asked clients why they would pay such a premium for, and we have come up with five basic conclusions that we will explore in a just published research note (see When, and When Not, to Pay the Premium). It was clear the customers who did not choose did not place enough importance on these reasons to justify’s price premium. This is research is a must read if your in the vendor selection or contract procurement process with

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Category: CRM salesforce automation Uncategorized     Tags: , ,

Current SaaS Vendors Could Become Legacy Dinosaurs Quicker Than You Think

by Robert Desisto  |  December 2, 2013  |  19 Comments

It has been popular to discuss the impending doom of on premise software business models. You often hear the on premise vendor’s dependency on large capital purchases make it difficult to transition to the smoother SaaS subscription revenue stream.  There is no dispute there is an issue with on premise vendors looking to make the transition to SaaS. The real question is: Are the current crop of enterprise SaaS vendors vulnerable themselves?

The short is answer is, yes. The reason is the vast majority of vendors who offer SaaS in the enterprise market do so with a fixed term subscription basis. This means there is no ability for a SaaS customer to pay for what they use, something we commonly see with infrastructure as a service or in many lower end consumer or SOHO applications.  This was supposed to be one of the foundational tenants of SaaS but has rarely been offered because SaaS vendors want large contract lock in.  SaaS vendors were also supposed to be agnostic to the end of quarter or end of year deals. Clearly, in my experience of reviewing 100s of contracts a year, SaaS vendor salespeople behave just like their on premise ancestors.

The bottomline is SaaS vendors will resist to the move to “pay as you go” because it will have a very big impact on their business model predictability. However, all it takes is one viable vendor to figure out the “pay as you go” formula for applications in a market. Once it happens, we will begin talking about those legacy SaaS vendors tied to a dinosaur business model and the whole replacement cycle will start over again.


Category: Cloud SaaS Software as a Service     Tags:

Do Not Assume SaaS is Pay As You Go

by Robert Desisto  |  October 16, 2013  |  1 Comment

In recent conversations with Gartner clients I was surprised to see clients are stunned that SaaS vendors do not provide “Pay as You Go” contracts.  SaaS contracts are typically per user per month price with a minimum annual or multi-year volume commitment with no ability to reduce users. In other words, if a you sign contract with a vendor for a 1000 users for a three year term, you will pay for those 1000 users over the term of the contract regardless of actual usage. In addition, clients are also surprised that a vendor often requires a pre-annual cash payment (again not all vendors but most).

I am not taking the vendors side but I clearly understand the vendor’s  motivation. A SaaS vendor needs predictability in their revenue and want cash to fund future capacity expansion in front of demand. The fact is vendors are driven by maximizing shareholder value.   Cloud purists like to site vendor examples where there is “Pay as You Go” and state vendors who don’t conform to this are not true cloud providers. Really? So does that mean and their billions of revenue is not cloud? I am not willing to go that far, in fact, if you look at most enterprise SaaS providers they do not do “Pay as You Go”. 

The fact that the vast majority of enterprise class SaaS vendors don’t provide “Pay as You Go” is  no reason not to use them. There are other benefits from SaaS such as time to market and agility. The point is one should not base their decision to move to SaaS because they believe they will gain flexibility that for the most part is not available.

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Category: Cloud SaaS     Tags: