In the Valley of the Blind, Autonomy is King

As Big Data continues to develop as a force shaping the enterprise, we can expect to see changes in business processes. Saugatuck has been monitoring the intersection between Big Data and intelligent business processes for the past several years. Developments in Big Data and advanced analytics have already had a substantial impact upon concepts of Business Process Management (BPM) including linkages with Internet of Things (IOT) and the industrial Internet; and the application of advanced analytics to analytic processes themselves. This contributes to a Big Data/Process convergence that is likely to have a continuing effect within the enterprise environment.

The application of Big Data directly to business processes such as manufacturing, finance, and supply chain processes, combined with autonomous operations enabled by real time evaluation and prediction, creates a new fabric for business operations. While much of this area has been focused upon manufacturing and is now being studied by governments and businesses, the digital business surround means that processes created within one domain are easily transferred to others. So, as rapid advances occur in linking processes to the Internet of Things through the Industrial Internet, we can expect rapid application of these ideas to other business areas such as human resources, healthcare, professional services, and the like. Continue reading In the Valley of the Blind, Autonomy is King

Containers for App Dev

Earlier this year Saugatuck executed a global Web-based Cloud Infrastructure Survey of 327 IT executives spanning major geographies and business sizes. The survey results are summarized in a recently published report (see Saugatuck’s 73-page Strategic Report 2015 Infrastructure Survey: Next-gen IT – Cloud on the March, 1553SSR, 01Apr2015). Subsequent, in-depth analysis of the survey responses is yielding additional insights in areas such as executive-level perceptions of the impact of new technologies. A just published Strategic Perspective focuses on our assessment that respondents are underestimating the likely impact of a key new technology: containers.

Almost all IT organizations are facing five simultaneous challenges:

  1. Increasing user demand both for new functionality and for new application solutions;
  2. User dissatisfaction over the protracted time and high costs required for new application development;
  3. Increasing costs for maintaining a continually growing inventory of production workloads and infrastructure;
  4. Budgets constraints; and
  5. Diminishing or exhausted “payback” from major infrastructure initiatives in centralization/consolidation, and virtualization.

Continue reading Containers for App Dev

Oracle Cloud Moves are an Aggressive Play in Late Innings

What is Happening?

On Monday June 22 – on the heels of its latest quarterly financial reports indicating small-but-fast-growing Cloud-related revenues – Oracle announced expansion of the Oracle Cloud Platform, basically outlining its rapid and extensive shift toward enterprise Cloud-first IT.

Oracle’s Cloud services are broad, and include SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. The most notable new services are for database, storage, integration, and mobility. And company leader Larry Ellison put the competition on notice, saying, “Oracle is the only company on the planet that can deliver a complete, integrated, standards-based suite of services at every layer of the Cloud. Those technology advantages enable us to be much more cost-effective than our competitors.”

Saugatuck’s position is:

  1. Oracle has a broad and deep portfolio of Cloud and Cloud-enabled offerings, yet it faces more significant competition than it seems to be acknowledging.
  2. Oracle has a huge installed base to sell into, but having a broad portfolio is not necessarily going to drive Cloud sales fast enough to counter the established and growing power of Cloud-first Master Brands like Amazon, or the re-emergent, traditional-to-Cloud Master Brands like Microsoft.
  3. Oracle knows this, and is turning into a “Cloud-aggressive” enterprise IT provider as a result.

Continue reading Oracle Cloud Moves are an Aggressive Play in Late Innings

Identity and Access Management as a Service

The identity management systems of the future are already being used today, look nothing like the corporate networks of yesterday, rely of published APIs and protocols, are being integrated into existing corporate networks, will be driven by the need of each enterprise to solidify the presence of its brand as a provider in the new world order of Digital Business, and will eventually become webs of trust across multiple interconnected value chains. Continue reading Identity and Access Management as a Service

Uber Case Spotlights How “Boundary-free” Needs Rethinking

The recent California labor ruling defining Uber as an employer rather than as a service provider for independent contractors has implications far beyond one Cloud services provider in one U.S. state. The case shines a bright spotlight on how fundamental business assumptions and practices by all types of digital businesses can be tripped up by traditional and evolving business “boundaries” like labor definitions. A new Strategic Perspective for clients of Saugatuck technology’s CRS subscroiption research service looks at how such boundary / definition shifts have the potential for creating – or more likely, requiring – more, and likely continual, rethinking and restructuring of digital business regardless of founder / owner / investor intent and assumptions.

Uber, for example, has pointed out via press release and emails that the CA Labor ruling only applies to one driver. In Saugatuck’s view, that equates to someone saying to look only at one small crack of many in a very large dam. As Cloud-engendered business capabilities, and businesses, emerge and adapt, and as marketplaces adapt to them, new boundaries will be drawn and re-drawn; old boundaries will be re-examined, and some will be re-imposed. Business models will change, leading to disruption in strategies, revenue streams, relationships, valuation, and so on.

And speaking of change: Uber has also pointed out that the latest ruling contradicts a 2012 ruling by the same commission that a driver “performed services as an independent contractor, and not as a bona fide employee.” To Saugatuck, this also points out how much Uber’s own business model and approach(es) have changed over the past few years. Digital business creates and fosters very dynamic markets, which over time become only more so. Continue reading Uber Case Spotlights How “Boundary-free” Needs Rethinking

Oracle Financials – Tougher Than You Think

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) issued its quarterly and fiscal year-end financial report this week, and the blogosphere is abuzz with quotes, assertions, and counter-arguments regarding the company’s future and viability. On the one side, we have company leadership asserting that all is well, and that the notable decline in traditional software, hardware, and services business will be more than offset by the continued increase in Cloud-based business. On the other side, we have pundits proclaiming the beginning of the end for Oracle.

Here’s what Saugatuck sees: A very traditional, old-style IT Master Brand in the throes of re-inventing itself, and suffering financially as a result (just like all other traditional IT Master Brands). That doesn’t mean that Oracle is failing, or will fail, just that it, like HP, IBM, and other traditional old-line MBs, is suffering as their businesses and traditional customers and partners turn, almost groaningly slowly, toward Cloud-first approaches.

A radar-style chart helps to show not only how slowly this is happening, but how tough it is to accomplish. Figure 1 uses data aggregated from Oracle’s SEC filings in 2013 and 2015 to illustrate. I combined Oracle’s reported “New Software License” revenue and its “Software License Updates and Product Support” revenue into the “Traditional Software Business” category in Figure 1. Oracle’s reported “Cloud Software as a Service and Platform as a Service” is combined with its “Cloud Infrastructure as a Service” revenues to create “Cloud-based business” in Figure 1. “Traditional Hardware Business” includes the company’s reported “Hardware Systems products” and “Hardware Systems Support” revenues. “Traditional Services Business” in Figure 1 is simply Oracle’s reported “Services Revenues.”

Figure 1: Oracle Revenue Shifts (Almost Imperceptibly) Toward Cloud, 2013-2015

1595LENS_figure1

Source: Saugatuck Technology Inc.; figures are in millions of US $

See the little bit of pink/red to the left of center? That’s how much / how little Oracle’s Cloud-based revenue has grown in two years. Continue reading Oracle Financials – Tougher Than You Think

Facial Recognition Raises Major Concerns for Big Data Privacy Regulation

What is Happening?          

It was recently reported that privacy campaigners had walked out of talks aimed at creating a code of conduct for use of facial recognition technology. The talks, brokered by the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) included the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), among others. The groups were concerned over refusal to accept a need for prior permission from people being identified.

For those watching development of Big Data initiatives, this raises a number of warning flags. Privacy issues in data collection have raged for the past decade, but much of the talk has been theoretical and generalized. Facial recognition, however is very practical, concerns specific technologies, and is about practices that are not only possible, but are in use today. The issues raised by facial recognition are also relevant to a wide variety of other sensor-related items such as geolocation, audio sentiment analysis, M2M data logs, other image analysis, and even some forms of social media analytics. Continue reading Facial Recognition Raises Major Concerns for Big Data Privacy Regulation

Are Smart Watches a Viable Enterprise App Platform?

Smartwatches are all the rage, with recent announcements and deliveries from Apple, Motorola, LG, Samsung, and others. Android Wear celebrates its first anniversary, and the Apple Watch reaches U.S. retail outlets for the first time next week. Saugatuck expects smartwatches to deliver notifications and alerts, and even track our steps. But their use in enterprise settings is less obvious.  Continue reading Are Smart Watches a Viable Enterprise App Platform?

Cisco Live 2015: Dream On, or Just Push Play?

What is Happening?

At the conclusion of this week’s Cisco Live event in San Diego, we walked away with a feeling that the company, while demonstrating the correct market vision and being well-positioned strategically, still has some way to go in order to make the vision into reality – and it’s less clear than before how, or even if, the strategy will be implemented.  Continue reading Cisco Live 2015: Dream On, or Just Push Play?

Connected Things in Regional Markets

As the Internet-of-Things (IoT) becomes increasingly important to business, it is important to understand the complexity of its effects. An important factor that will shape this area in the coming years is regional variation. There are substantial differences in opportunities and issues between territories, cultures, and economic statuses. The IoT touches individual behavior in the form of wearable devices; it involves communications and transportation infrastructure in sensor networks; and it will affect service efficiency in finance and healthcare. Attitudes and possibilities in each of these differ around the globe, and there are numerous other affected areas that differ around the globe.

Regional differences are found not only in the types of technology deployed and society’s needs; but also in the level of local funding and government encouragement. For example, Asia and Europe are committing substantial funds to IoT ventures, and both currently surpass North America in rollout of machine-to-machine communications. Many factors feed these differences, but the direct association with the items and services that directly affect the public will make IoT rollouts substantially different from other IT advances. Continue reading Connected Things in Regional Markets