Managing Complexity in the Cloud: DevOps + Non-Functional Testing

What is Happening?          

Complexity in the Cloud is growing significantly beyond simple hybrids of Cloud-to-Cloud or Cloud-to-On-Premises integrations. Cloud integration and loosely-coupled systems can create management challenges, particularly in an era of continuous deployment. As Figure 1 illustrates, interfaces to business processes and external APIs proliferate, new challenges arise for IT security, quality assurance and for IT management.

Figure 1: The Growing Challenges of Cloud Complexity

Cloud Complexity

source: Austrian Science Fund FWF

Moreover, as complexity increases, so does risk, particularly in two areas: One, security breaches; and Two, systems failure or degradation of performance – both potentially costly and undesirable outcomes, but both manageable by a pair of emergent approaches: a strong DevOps regimen, and “non-functional” testing techniques. Continue reading

Nominate an Innovative Company Today

Know any businesses that have adopted and adapted Cloud, Mobility, Analytics, or Social IT more into new offerings, new ways of doing business, and new opportunities?

Perhaps your firm, or a customer, or a business partner has improved its ability to do business, do anticipate and respond, to satisfy customers, to meet regulatory needs, or more?

Nominate them for a 2014 Beacon Award. Click here, or go to http://cloudbusinesssummit.com/beacon-awards.html.

Among many types of business improvements, past winners have implemented creative mobility strategies that improve customer engagement, cultivated new software development approaches that improve business operations, and developed software+services that productize internal operations into industry-beneficial solutions. Continue reading

Cloud Storage: More than just 1’s and 0’s

In a recently published Strategic Perspective, Saugatuck offers guidance to Enterprise IT organizations considering Cloud Storage. As a result of ongoing discussions with IT managers and providers of Cloud Storage, Saugatuck has identified a fundamental challenge for most IT organizations: managing, backing up, maintaining, and securing a rapidly expanding volume of data. We found that within the arena of Cloud Storage, while the economics and other attractions are compelling, concerns and risks are being mitigated.

Saugatuck characterizes four basic factors that make Cloud Storage attractive to typical enterprise IT organizations: Continue reading

IBM Needs to Learn the “Other” Software Business

A recent IBM briefing for Saugatuck helped to clarify the breadth and depth of IBM’s Cloud / SaaS portfolio, business strategy, approach, and results. We came away with two key net takeaways:

I.         IBM certainly has a broad, deep, useful, and valuable SaaS portfolio. Almost quietly, it’s long-standing positioning as a provider of software, but not applications, has shifted. Mostly through SaaS acquisitions, IBM today is a very significant and competitive business applications provider. One big example: the $1.3 billion acquisition of HCM / Talent Management SaaS provider Kenexa in 2012 (see Forbes article).

According to our recent briefing, IBM’s SaaS portfolio now includes over 120 busienss applications – across a range of functional roles (e.g., customer service, finance, human resources, marketing, procurement, sales) and solution categories (e.g., advanced analytics, BPaaS, Smarter Cities, Watson). By our estimates, IBM is already realizing more than $1B in annual revenues from this portfolio, and we expect Big Blue to at least double their current SaaS revenues within the next 18 months as this portfolio continues to grow (by acquisition and internal development) reach 150-200 by YE2015.

II.         But given the acquired nature of much of that portfolio, IBM still faces substantial needs for, and challenges in, organization, coordination, integration, and go-to-market approaches for the assembled Continue reading

BYOD II

BYOD is dead! Long live.. CYOD (Choose Your Own Device), COPE (Company Issued, Personally Enabled), BYOA (Bring Your Own App), BYOC (Bring Your Own Cloud), and BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology). The growing importance of mobile devices within the corporation has created a need to control the technology. At the same time, companies are loathe to manage personal activities. Since smartphones and tablets often enter the business as employees’ devices, this creates significant problems that cannot be adequately controlled by mobile device management software alone. Companies need to establish policies that include issues of security and device usage, along with who pays for devices and their connections.

We are coming to the end of the laissez-faire era of BYOD, and moving into a time in which greater control will be required. This is similar to what happened when transportable personal computers started going home with employees. Businesses need to ensure that incoming devices are secure, do not compromise the company or its systems, and do not create an unwanted financial burden for employees or for the company. Continue reading

OpenStack heading for Maturity in the Private Cloud

What is Happening?

Recently several large infrastructure providers have announced acquisitions or strategic directions. Saugatuck perceives these announcements from two perspectives: they underscore the commitment of multiple large vendors to OpenStack; and they suggest a question about the functionality and/or the maturity of OpenStack. The announcements that Saugatuck views as significant are:

  1. HP Buys Eucalyptus. On September 11, 2014, HP announced that they would be acquiring long-time AWS emulator Eucalyptus. Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus and long an OpenStack holdout will now be HP’s SVP of their Cloud division. Eucalyptus’ expertise with AWS APIs makes them especially attractive to HP’s Cloud efforts as it will likely bring HP the ability to offer AWS compatible, OpenStack based Cloud which could be a boon, as usage of hybrid Cloud environments increases. However, Saugatuck also sees this acquisition as suggesting that OpenStack is lacking in a key area – which can be solved using selected functionality from Eucalyptus. Saugatuck’s assessment is that area is most likely in accurately billing for high volumes of provisioning changes that occur in a Cloud supporting numerous users.
  2. Rackspace remains an independent company. Rackspace, one of the early adopters and main contributors to OpenStack, has been looking for a buyer for quite some time, but gave up on that vision this week with the promise to become the top player in the “Managed Cloud” space. Though Rackspace continues to be an OpenStack shop, they have recently changed their positioning – reflecting a service and support focused strategy, rather than try to compete with the hyper-scale commodity vendors like AWS, Google, and Microsoft Azure. It is likely that they will face competition in the enterprise OpenStack space from HP and IBM, both companies with significant professional services and hosting experience.
  3. Cisco buys Metacloud. Cisco acquired private-cloud enabled Metacloud to help flesh out their complete Intercloud offering, which depends on interoperability with multiple vendors, based on an OpenStack backbone. Cisco has been a long-time contributor to OpenStack and was a founding member of the OpenStack Foundation in 2012.
  4. Canonical and AMD create “OpenStack in a Rack.” Canonical, the maker of Ubuntu (the most popular OS on OpenStack) and chip maker AMD have teamed up to create a pre-built OpenStack Cloud in a rack. The cloud, already completely operational is targeted at those who want to deploy an OpenStack private Cloud without the significant effort required to order and install and integrate the components.

Continue reading

SAP Concur Acquisition Illustrates the New Digital Business Enterprise Model 

SAP has agreed to acquire Cloud-based travel and expense management provider Concur Technologies.  When completed, the deal will be the most expensive acquisition ever for SAP, ranking above SAP’s 2010 $7.1 billion acquisition of Sybase Inc. It will also be a Top 10 all-time software or Cloud / SaaS acquisition in terms of total price paid. Concur shareholders will receive $129 per share, a 20 percent premium over Wednesday’s closing price of $107.80. The 21-year-old, Bellevue, WA-based Concur had been known to be shopping for a buyer, with most rumors indicating SAP or Oracle as the most likely acquirers. The publicly-traded firm posted fiscal-year 2013 losses of $24.4 million on revenue of $546 million.

Saugatuck’s first take is that, while buying Concur may not improve bottom-line profits immediately, SAP does get another significant stream of Cloud-driven revenue; Cloud-based providers’ revenues are growing increasingly faster than traditional software providers. SAP also adds more Cloud expertise and presence overall, especially expertise in marketing and supporting Cloud-based financial software. With 23,000 clients and 25 million users through 150 countries, SAP also gains a business transaction network similar to its 2012 acquisition of Ariba. According to SAP CEO Bill McDermott, the addition of Concur would mean Continue reading

HR, HCM, Millennials, and Red Herrings

This year’s SuccessConnect event in Las Vegas brought the release of Workforce 2020, a summary of two global research studies by Oxford Economics and sponsored by SuccessFactors parent firm SAP. Oxford Economics surveyed more than 5,400 employees and executives, and interviewed 29 executives, in 27 countries, regarding key workplace/workforce management challenges, the factors driving or enabling these, and how all would affect the composition of the typical workforce by 2020.

The Oxford study confirms that the workforce is changing rapidly and dramatically – but not in ways that most have expected. What’s most important, and challenging to managing HR – and HR systems/solutions – is not that there’s a younger workforce with different ideas coming in. In fact, the research indicates that Millennials are very much like the rest of the workforce when it comes to motivation, attitudes, compensation expectations, and more. So much has been written – and believed – about how Millennials are so different from previous generations, that such preconceptions have become a red herring, pulling our attention away from what’s really changing – and what’s really challenging HR and HCM management, solutions, and providers. Continue reading

The Future of Mobile Payments is Now

Mobile payments are a form of monetization that has not yet gained significant traction, despite years of attempts and dozens of startups. According to multiple sources, growth of mobile payments could contribute over $100B in U.S. retail sales alone by 2017, only a part of total business-to-consumer (B2C) revenues, and that’s not counting its potential in business-to-business (B2B) markets.

Some sources say that B2B e-commerce has now more than doubled B2C, with $559 billion in 2013 sales. And while currently less than 5 percent of B2B revenues come from mobile payments, more than 75 percent of B2B vendors will support mobile payments by YE 2015, up from nearly 60 percent in 2014. Going forward, any Digital Business, whether B2C or B2B, will leave significant money on the table without support for mobile payments. It is, then, important to understand the drivers and dynamics of mobile payments for any Digital Business to compete successfully.

Figure 1: Three Key Mobile Payments PlayersMobile_payments

Source: Saugatuck Technology Inc.

Ultimately, mobile payments as a form of monetization, is about the customer experience, convenience, in a word. If customers Continue reading

Who’s Innovating? Tell Us Today!

On November 12 2014, Saugatuck Technology Inc. will recognize leading-edge firms that have developed, and profited from, innovative adaptations and applications of Cloud, mobile, social, and advanced analytics.

The 3rd annual Beacon Awards for business innovation are an integral aspect of Saugatuck’s annual Cloud Business Summit. Each year, we identify and recognize select firms that have developed creative and innovative means of adapting and applying digital business technologies to improve existing operations, enable new ways of doing business, or create entirely new businesses. The typical gains include current and future monetary savings, improvements in company organization and management, and creation or enablement of opportunities that would otherwise have been impossible – or even unimagined.

We know that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of firms trying and applying these technologies to enable and create competitive advantage. If your firm is one, or if you know of any firm making such efforts, let us know so that we can recognize them with the 2014 Beacon Awards.

Now through September 30, 2014, you can nominate your firm, your customers, or your partners. Click HERE for more information and for details on how to submit a nomination.

Nominations must be submitted via email to Saugatuck at Chris.MacGregor@SaugatuckTechnology.com, and should include the following information:

  • Nominated Company: Please provide the name of the company and executive being nominated, along with their full contact information (including phone and email).
  • Submitted By: Please provide the name of the person and company who is submitting the nomination, along with their full contact information (including phone and email).
  • Nomination Submission: In 500 words or less, please provide a summary description of the nominated company’s digital business efforts and results for the Beacon Award committee to consider. If you have supporting evidence that you would like the committee to review, such as a case study, or a video, please attach or provide links.

Continue reading