Tag Archives: Cloud

IBM Cloud: Transforming the Tractor into a Roadster

What is Happening?          

Saugatuck CEO and Founder, Bill McNee, and Research VP Charlie Burns recently attended IBM’s Cloud Analyst Summit at the new headquarters for the IBM Watson and Cloud business units in New York City. From the get-go, it was clear that IBM wanted to put forth a new vision and image for the company (down to the use of a new color blue) – and for the most part they succeeded. This Research Alert highlights some of the key takeaways from the event.

Robert LeBlanc (IBM SVP of Cloud) kicked the day off, emphasizing some of the key forces helping to shape the new business computing focus at IBM, and more broadly in the Cloud market. IBM called it Cloud 2.0. While we agree that the Cloud infrastructure and related markets are clearly shifting beyond their early focus on efficiency and cheap compute cycles, to a focus on business transformation and enabling innovative new data-driven business strategies – the name sounds so 1998 to us, and does an injustice to the strong and comprehensive vision that IBM unveiled.

Don Rippert, GM Cloud Strategy then provided a very insightful and practical overview of IBM’s emergent vision and strategy, which is best captured in the following 1-liner: “Our job is not to invent the future, but to integrate the future.” While follow-on speakers emphasized how innovative IBM continues to be, Rippert netted it down nicely in our opinion. At the end of the day, IBM will offer amazing choice to customers – with a wide range of Cloud Infrastructure, Integration, DevOps and Analytic offerings based on where the client is at in their journey to the Cloud. Additional speakers such as Danny Sabbah (CTO & GM, Next-Gen Platform) and Jim Comfort (GM, Cloud Services), among others, provided follow-on vision and detail that fleshed this out. Continue reading IBM Cloud: Transforming the Tractor into a Roadster

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

Salesforce Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth?

Last week, Saugatuck attended the Salesforce World Tour in Washington, DC. According to Salesforce.com representatives, attendance was higher than expected, with 5,000 registered for this regional event. It seems like yesterday when the company was only a fledgling upstart focused on Cloud CRM; today the company beileves it is the 6th largest software company in the world.

The Tour is travelling to large cities worldwide, touting not only CRM solutions but what Salesforce.com calls its “customer success platform.” The event reflected that Salesforce.com sees itself as a peer of the large tech players. Dozens of partners shared the exhibit hall. Big-name clients discussed their successes live and via video.

Key messages emphasized by Salesforce.com at the event:

  • Salesforce.com is offering more than management of sales on a cloud-based platform
  • A supporting development platform allows faster building, tighter integration, and improved reliability of applications
  • Mobile is the most important deployment platform
  • The partner ecosystem is strong
  • Government is transforming using technology to better engage citizens
  • Social responsibility is core to the company’s mission

As we have written for several years now, Salesforce.com has extended from its roots into a broad range of solutions related to service management, marketing, analytics, and community management. The Salesforce1 Platform technologies were central to its messaging, with Mobile First a key theme – with a variety of live demonstrations showing how “easy” it is to run a multibillion dollar operation from your smartphone. Vivek Kundra (former CIO of the U.S. Government) is now Salesforce’s EVP, Salesforce Industries, Public Sector. In his keynote Kundra mentioned Q1 highlights including the Salesforce.com solutions handling 3.4 B transactions daily. Continue reading Salesforce Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth?

Cloud Finance Adoption – in Context

“How real are the Cloud Finance numbers that we see?”

It’s a fair question, one that we get regularly from CFOs and also from those selling management software to those CFOs. Looking strictly at data from Saugatuck’s recently conducted Cloud surveys and other sources (see Research Report “Cloud Financials – The Third Wave Emerges” (17Dec2014) – or a brief summary of the report on Lens360 “Financials in the Cloud – New Survey Insights”), it’s easy to get confused about the current state of Cloud adoption and use, let alone looking a year or more into the future.

Some data suggest widespread adoption and use; other data indicate that it may be years before Cloud is fully embraced in some or many aspects of Finance. A new Strategic Perspective for clients of Saugatuck’s CRS subscription research service reviews and positions Saugatuck Cloud Finance adoption survey data in context that further improves the utility of the data – and improves the ability of clients to plan using that data.

Figure 1: Expectations of Primarily Cloud-based Finance Management Systems by Type and Year

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Source: Saugatuck Technology Inc. “Finance in the Cloud” (CFO/CIO) survey, N=317, North America (Dec. 2014) Continue reading Cloud Finance Adoption – in Context

Cloud Finance Answers Begin with Six Questions

Being the repository of the majority of company business data, Finance is becoming one of two de facto “data centers” for most companies in the 21st century (the other “data center” being Marketing). The use of Cloud-based systems by and for Finance will have – is having – the effect of making more business data available to more entities and will therefore engender more business change, and therefore cost, than has previously been expected or experienced. As they become more complex and costly, and as they affect more aspects of companies, Cloud-based solutions and services increasingly require solid business cases to support their acquisition. A new Strategic Perspective for subscribers of Saugatuck Technology’s Continuous Research Service offers six key questions that successful CFOs ask and answer as they begin to build bullet-proof Cloud acquisition business cases. Continue reading Cloud Finance Answers Begin with Six Questions

AWS Summit 2015: Public Cloud and Microservices

What is Happening?

Yesterday, Saugatuck attended the AWS Summit 2015 in San Francisco, where Amazon gave an update on their business, and released several new products to the nearly 10,000 attendees at the Moscone Center and the 7,000 who watched the livestream. Andy Jassy, SVP of Web Services at Amazon kicked off the keynote by highlighting some key statistics about the business: from 4Q13 to 4Q14 they experienced 103 percent year-over-year growth in the amount of Data transferred into and out of S3 (Simple Storage Service) and 93 percent growth in the use of their compute service EC2. They now have over 1 million active users who have used the service in the last month.

Jassy brought several companies out to discuss the value of the AWS Cloud infrastructure. Jason Kilar, the founding CEO of Hulu, and now CEO of Vessel, a startup focused on video sharing and consumption, highlighted the ability to keep his team small, and focus on the business without having to build infrastructure. Wilf Russel, VP of Digital Technology Development at Nike described how the Cloud has fundamentally changed their application architecture and described their shift toward DevOps and Microservices. Valentini Volonghi, CTO at AdRoll discussed how the Cloud gave their business the reach to reduce latency by distributing their app around the globe. And Colin Bodell, CTO & EVP at Time Inc. who is migrating all of Time’s datacenters to AWS, citing that in the UK, they took their datacenter monthly run rate from $70,000 to $17,000.

Finally, Jassy used the opportunity to make several product announcements:

  1. Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) – a fully managed filesystem that can span multiple EC2 instances to enable multiple concurrent and scalable connections to a single file directory.
  2. Amazon Machine Learning Service – A one-size-fits all service that enables non-experts to implement Machine Learning algorithms on their data sets, or within their applications. This offers a simple API for training and modeling calculations which can then be called to perform specific machine learning tasks.
  3. Amazon Workspaces and AWS Marketplace for Desktop Apps – an Amazon VDI product to enable companies to create virtual desktops, as well as purchase, manage and provision the software for those desktop applications.
  4. The GA release of the Amazon EC2 Container Service – The Amazon tool for deploying, managing, updating, and running Docker clusters.
  5. The GA release of AWS Lambda – a Service designed to perform trigger / event driven compute in small doses. Provides a way to perform small, scripted tasks in real-time when triggers are initiated. Amazon highlighted its use in sending notifications, indexing, IoT, and as a serverless mobile backend. At present, Lambda only supports Node.js, but is adding support for Java in the coming weeks.

Continue reading AWS Summit 2015: Public Cloud and Microservices

Net Neutrality – Enjoy the Media Circus, Hurry Up and Wait for Real Change

What is Happening?

Earlier this month in a Wired article, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed stronger government regulation of the Internet. Chairman Tom Wheeler suggested that Internet service providers (ISPs) should not give preferential treatment to some users by blocking content or creating “fast lanes.” Wheeler suggested regulating the ISPs by changing their status to be under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. Title II status means the government would regulate the Internet as a public utility.

President Obama had already chimed in, asserting that it’s essential to the economy to “keep the Internet free and open” by protecting net neutrality for everyone. He says there should be “no gatekeepers of content” and that we need to make net neutrality a “legal obligation” for ISPs. He goes on to ask the FCC to reclassify the Internet as Title II. The Internet, he says, is “an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life.” Consumers, not the ISPs, should decide what Web sites they want to access. Obama’s statement lists four main categories of rules:

  1. No blocking,
  2. No throttling,
  3. Increased transparency, and,
  4. No paid prioritization.

The five-person FCC panel will vote on the 332-page proposal for the order on Thursday, February 26. The FCC will not release the plan to public before the vote. According to those who have seen it, eight of the pages are regulations, 79 pages are details of the provisions, and the rest are references and comments. The expectation is for the FCC to adopt the proposal.

FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, made a statement on Feb. 10 saying that, “the American people are being misled.” In a counter to President Obama’s and Chairman Wheeler’s assertions, Pai sees “adverse consequences to the entire Internet economy” should the rules become law. He says these are “vast, yet vague regulations” with “exogenous political influences.” Pai emphasizes that the plan:

  • Regulates rates,
  • Claims no competition exists for the majority of Americans,
  • Scrutinizes all options but unlimited,
  • Tolerates the FCC micromanaging the Internet,
  • Allows class action lawsuits against providers,
  • Regulates ISPs utility-style, and,
  • Opens door to billions in new taxes on Internet.

Continue reading Net Neutrality – Enjoy the Media Circus, Hurry Up and Wait for Real Change

The Secret in the Clouds – Inconsistent Service Delivery

As a result of ongoing discussions with users and providers of Cloud infrastructure, Saugatuck has identified that Cloud infrastructures are not immune to the fundamental characteristic of any shared resource: resource sharing can result in variable service levels.

In a recently published Strategic Perspective, Saugatuck explains why Cloud infrastructures deliver inconsistent service. Saugatuck urges Cloud users to perform ongoing monitoring of performance of key Cloud-based workloads and offers some possible approaches for dealing with inconsistent service, including: Continue reading The Secret in the Clouds – Inconsistent Service Delivery

How Digital Business Shifts and Expands Finance Management Priorities

With the continuing shift toward boundary-free business, and the attendant shift toward creating and including more digital business, how are the roles, the influence, and the value of the CFO to the enterprise changing? A new Strategic Perspective from Saugatuck Technology examines how the scope of CFO involvement, influence, and value is not only changing, but expanding radically, and relatively quickly, into new areas – typically without adequate management resources.  Continue reading How Digital Business Shifts and Expands Finance Management Priorities

Entering The Digital Business Era: Takeaways From the Cloud Business Summit

What is Happening?

Earlier today, Saugatuck published its executive leadership report summarizing the key takeaways from its recent 2014 Cloud Business Summit, held in New York City on Nov. 12. As detailed in a previous Research Alert (entitled “Trip Report: Key Highlights from 2014 Cloud Business Summit”), more than 100 large enterprise CIOs / CTOs, CFOs and CMOs participated in the day-long, peer-level forum.

In this Research Alert, we highlight some of the key insights and best practice takeways from the report to help these executives develop, refine, and optimize new and better ways of doing business in the Cloud-first, Digital Business era. The 42-page report, entitled “2014 Cloud Business Summit Leadership Report: The Digital Business Era” is available via Saugatuck’s web site. Current subscription research clients may access the report by clicking here.

Sessions and discussions during the Summit centered on ways that Cloud and its related capabilities (e.g., Mobility, Social IT, Advanced Analytics/Big Data) are enabling significant innovation and improvement in how business is created, accomplished, and managed, as well as how these capabilities and innovations are secured and governed.

The bottom line? Rethinking and reinventing business and IT strategy, operations, management, engagement, and investment to enable digital business strategies has never been more advantageous to the enterprise – but it’s only a matter of time before that advantage turns to necessity. Continue reading Entering The Digital Business Era: Takeaways From the Cloud Business Summit