Tag Archives: Cloud

Seven Key Takeaways from Workday Rising

What is Happening?          

Earlier this week, Saugatuck attended Workday Rising 2015 at the Mandelay Bay in Las Vegas. Compared to last year, the event has grown dramatically – from approximately 3500 attendees last year to over 5500 this year, including more than 3000 customers, 400+ prospects, and nearly 1,000 partners (according to Workday). This reflects that fact that not only is the business and customer base growing rapidly, but so is their partner ecosystem.

The core of the event showcased the growth in their product on many fronts, with improvements and new capabilities added across their existing products and platform. Additionally, Workday seems committed to taking on not just HCM and Finance, but also vertically-focused applications that play to their strengths. It is clear that they are moving toward more and more ERP functionality, starting with the industries least served by current options, or industries where the Cloud is of particular benefit.

Overall, we took away seven major points from this year’s event:

  1. Workday Planning – Though Workday already has strong relationships with Tidemark, Anaplan, and Adaptive Insights (including direct investments in Tidemark and Anaplan), they are now working on a planning application inside their core application environment, that is deeply integrated within their HCM and Finance solution sets.
    The new planning capabilities take advantage of their acquisition of Gridcraft to deliver a planning application inside of the familiar spreadsheet interface, which borrows heavily from the look of Google Sheets or Excel. While this planning application is a nascent feature for Workday we expect this to become a core area for them, as it will likely benefit in the future from Workday’s expertise in machine learning and predictive analytics.
    In the future, we expect Workday’s planning capabilities will be bolstered by Insight Applications. While there was little mention of new Insight Applications this year the concept is not one that Workday has abandoned, but instead one that has necessarily been slowed as they worked on performance improvements in the platform to enable these capabilities. However, the launch of the Planning application does raise some questions for the future. This is an area where Workday has build many strong partnerships, and we are uncertain how Workday plans to chart the balance between developing new capabilities, and competing with existing partners.

Continue reading Seven Key Takeaways from Workday Rising

Managed Services: The Cloud Catalyst

What is Happening?           

On 15 September, Accenture announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire Cloud Sherpas, a cloud advisory and technology services firm that had specialized services related to Google, Salesforce and ServiceNow. According to the press, the 1,100+ professionals acquired from Cloud Sherpas will join a newly created Accenture Cloud First Applications team. Accenture hopes that the acquisition will strengthen Accenture as an enterprise cloud services provider and enhance its ability to provide cloud strategy, technology consulting, and cloud application implementation, integration and management services.

Saugatuck views Accenture’s acquisition of Cloud Sherpas as being another indicator that the importance of Managed Services is increasing as enterprises transition to various forms of Cloud-based infrastructure. This Research Alert focuses on the increasing importance of Managed Services and offers some factors to consider during evaluation and selection of Managed Services.

Why is it Happening?

In early April Saugatuck published the findings from its 2015 Cloud Infrastructure Survey. The survey results clearly show that:

  1. IT infrastructures are transitioning rapidly from traditional On-premises resources to alternatives that include various forms of Cloud-based resources;
  2. The infrastructure transition results from and enables both the migration of conventional application workloads to the Cloud, and the deployment of new application workloads designed for Cloud; and
  3. Enterprise executives are focusing on increasing the value of their IT organizations.

These are a few of the findings from our global web survey of 327 IT execs spanning major geos and business sizes. (For more information about the survey, go to Saugatuck’s 73-page Strategic Report 2015 Infrastructure Survey: Next-gen IT – Cloud on the March, 1553SSR, 01Apr2015). Continue reading Managed Services: The Cloud Catalyst

Cloud-driven “Leapfrogging” Alters Linear Nature of Business IT Change

What is Happening?           

Over the last several years, many companies have been transitioning various processes, workloads, and applications to the Cloud. During that time, many have also been systematically modernizing their applications using newer generations of technologies. In large part due to the speed, cost, and utility of Cloud-based IaaS, PaaS and SaaS capabilities, more and more are deciding that, rather than modernize, they will instead migrate to one or more Cloud-based alternatives.

With this as a backdrop, though, it has been easy to overlook another important change in today’s IT environment: the accelerating decline, and potential demise, of the linear progression of business IT change. In an increasing number of cases, it is simply easier, and more enabling for the business, to leapfrog multiple stages of IT change to an entirely new state of competitive capabilities, without losing the necessary functionality, interconnectivity, or data.

Why is it Happening?

It used to be that organizations were locked into certain technology stacks, which progressed version by version ad infinitum. The result of this, was that innovation was stifled in the face of the continuous progression of incremental change.

There is nothing wrong with incremental improvement, but it is also true that with limited resources in IT departments, and shrinking IT budgets, which have only recently started to recover, the opportunity cost in time and organizational focus was heavily diverted away from innovation. Traditionally, this led to an unofficial 80/20 rule, where 80 percent (or more) of the IT budget was spent in day-to-day operations, maintaining and managing continuous, incremental change, while 20 percent (or less) was spent on new activities, innovations etc.

The evolution of the resource-on-demand model in the Cloud has been the driver of this shift. The widespread, instantaneous access to resources has made experimentation at scale and speed possible, even in budget-constrained environments. The Cloud in turn kicked off increasing waves of development in automation, and new programming frameworks and languages that were designed to make development and deployment at scale easier. Continue reading Cloud-driven “Leapfrogging” Alters Linear Nature of Business IT Change

Making Threat Intelligence, Intelligent

The old joke about military intelligence is that the term is an oxymoron. This came into being not because people serving in the military were unintelligent, but from the experience of many who served in the military witnessed orders that appeared unintelligent, but which had to be followed. The fact that many military orders start with policy initiated by politicians may put the phrase into a different context had it been politician intelligence.

In fact, military intelligence is a discipline with a very long history that collects a lot of data and information, analyzes the data and provides guidance to commanders who need to make decisions. This places it close to the reality of where the average enterprise finds itself today: at war with smart cyber-attackers who are hired by competitors and criminal gangs, or battling well-equipped and superbly-trained State actors with very different motives, and from an onset of hacktivists and terrorists.

Current cyber threat intelligence services are in their infancy and childhood. Some of the Cloud-based services are delivering raw data masquerading under the rubric intelligence, while others are delivering data that has been evaluated and analyzed by human intelligence analysts. Continue reading Making Threat Intelligence, Intelligent

Survey Says: Workloads Are Moving to Cloud Infrastructures

In 1Q2015 Saugatuck executed a global Web-based Cloud Infrastructure Survey and compiled the responses from 327 IT executives spanning major geographies and business sizes. The survey results appear in a summary 73-page report published in April. Ongoing, in-depth analyses of the survey responses reveal insights into how IT executives are planning to evolve their IT infrastructures. Infrastructure transition requires consideration of where to deploy specific workloads, both existing and new. This Strategic Perspective focuses on our assessment that not only new but also existing workloads are moving to the Cloud in most organizations and the migration will accelerate into 2017. Continue reading Survey Says: Workloads Are Moving to Cloud Infrastructures

Legacy’s Big Little Secret

The legacy problem has often been viewed as being mainly about the hundreds of millions of lines of COBOL code operating on back room systems of financial institutions, health care facilities, and government agencies. While the legacy problem rose to particular importance with the millennium crisis, in which dating in old code resulted in flaws, the secret of legacy is that it will never go away. Legacy is not just about COBOL, it is an inherent issue of information technology. In areas of early computer use, such as the USA and Japan, legacy may be about COBOL. In other countries, it might be about Visual Basic. In either case, a number of problems are likely to occur:

  • Potential for incompatibilities and difficulties in upgrades,
  • Security issues, since upgrades may be difficult or impossible, particularly if the code is heavily customized,
  • Inability to optimize operation and performance of hardware and software due to legacy components,
  • Problems in maintenance, in understanding of the code and the reasons for various operations which have been put into place, and,
  • Difficulties in locating expertise and hiring to maintain systems.

Over time, software and hardware can become black boxes. Companies no longer wish to provide resources for updates, no longer have access to certified engineers, or no longer understand how the software was developed or what it was intended to do. The software keeps running; the procedures keep being performed; and all is fine until something changes in the environment that brings the whole mechanism to its knees. That was of course the millennium crisis which required updating of software to incorporate a new dating scheme. This created panic, but it was nothing compared to what it would have entailed had it occurred some years later, when many fewer experienced COBOL programmers were available. Continue reading Legacy’s Big Little Secret

Esri Plans to Save the World, One Map at a Time

What is Happening?           

Saugatuck attended the Esri User Conference this week in San Diego. The venerable GIS company touted its wares in the form of customer success stories. In the map business, people want maps. And maps they got – example after example from drought assessment to building management. Yet the company’s primary messaging went beyond the eye-catching visuals. Esri believes geography’s automation in GIS is essential to solving the world’s biggest problems. As an example, Bill Gates appeared virtually, asserting the progress in mapping and championing the Gates Foundation’s experiences using GIS for its work to improve health services and agricultural production.

Why is it Happening?

“We are entering a period of geographic enlightenment,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri’s founder and CEO, in his opening presentation. “GIS is the system of understanding that will alter the evolution of our planet.” The conference theme was Applying Geography Everywhere. Esri says GIS provides the framework and process to help people make smarter decisions. This is truly lofty positioning for a technology company.

Esri also thinks it can change how businesses operate. At the conference, SAP announced new spatial intelligence capabilities, enhancing its HANA platform and Esri integration. But like other established software providers, technology changes such as mobile and the Cloud require heavy lifting. Also, as we have recently discussed, the ecosystem of location-based systems and services is changing (1606MKT, Location-based Solutions: Shifting from the Earth to the Cloud, 10Jul2015).

Esri is, without much dispute, the leading GIS software company. Its User Conference is in its 36th year. Esri solutions were originally deployed for natural resources planning. The company was early to commercially develop and deploy automation Continue reading Esri Plans to Save the World, One Map at a Time

WEE – Microsoft is Always On

Does it matter strategically if Microsoft offers smartphones? Probably not. Does it matter strategically if Microsoft offers tablets? Unlikely. Does it matter what Microsoft does as regards Mobility and mobile devices in general? Yes, but not in the way(s) that most believe it does.

A new Strategic Perspective for clients of Saugatuck’s CRS subscription research service looks at Mobility as part of Microsoft’s overall business and technology strategy, and comes to the following conclusion: “Mobility” is not Microsoft’s strategy. Mobility – including devices like smartphones and tablets – is a tactical means toward Microsoft’s overall strategic goal of being Always On, everywhere users and businesses may be. Understanding that is the key to making money with Microsoft, or by using Microsoft software and services.

A decade ago, Saugatuck wrote a long-term planning report for a global business management software provider that included our assessment of Microsoft’s long-term strategy, which I termed “Always On.”

“Always On” referred to what today is often termed “Windows Everywhere,” or more accurately, “Windows Experience Everywhere” (i.e., WEE – yes, pun intended). Given Cloud platform capabilities and browser utility, Microsoft can enable the WEE with very limited physical presence on any device anywhere. That gets them closer to their core strategic goal: Anywhere you are, anything you interact with, any action that you take utilizing any computing and communications device or application, Microsoft is Always On. And if Microsoft is Always On, Microsoft is always making more money.

Today, Always On requires having presence and utility in mobile environments – not just where the user and device are moving, but also including remote, location-specific needs enabled and supportable by location-independent services – all linked by the WEE. This is where competitors, partners, and buyers/users tend to get misdirected, because it is so easy to focus on the smartphone and/or the tablet as pillars of mobile/remote/location IT strategies. The important aspect is their relative interoperability with existing ways of doing business. That is a software issue – a language, eco-stack, tools, UI/UX, and OS issue. Continue reading WEE – Microsoft is Always On

How the Security Game of Whack-a-mole Changes

Vulnerability management is the area of security that can best be compared with playing
whack-o-mole, a world where rubber mole heads pop up and out at random from the holes in which they are hiding. Your job is to whack away at the head of each mole with a rubber mallet, thereby forcing the head of the mole back into the hole from which it came. You score points for each mole you force back into a hole and the more points you score in the allotted time of play the higher your total score.

In the game of vulnerability management, you are hitting the heads of the moles by applying patches and configuration changes to IT assets to eliminate or minimize the attack surfaces available to hackers. The problem is that hacker moles like to operate silently and you don’t know which ones are there and which holes they are operating in, unless of course you are constantly searching all the holes to determine if hacker-moles have enough space to get into and through the holes.

Determining where the holes are that will attract the moles is the job of vulnerability scanners, most of which are now operated as Cloud service subscriptions. And it’s not working. And the reason it’s not working has little to do with the scanning services and almost everything to do with the lack of the other tools and services you need to run your score up by smashing the moles faster and in less time. Having access to information about where the moles are, how many there are, where they are lurking and what their cycle-times are would make you invincible in the face of the onslaught of hacker-moles attacking the enterprise network. Continue reading How the Security Game of Whack-a-mole Changes

Set Your Digital Business Agenda at the 2015 Cloud Business Summit NYC

We’re pleased to announce the date for the 2015 Cloud Business Summit, which will be held on Wednesday, November 4, at The Yale Club of New York City. This CxO event brings together marketing, finance, innovation and IT executives for a content- and concept-packed day that will help you set the Digital Business agenda for your enterprise in 2016.

Now in its fifth year, the Cloud Business Summit will feature presentations, panels and fireside chats with the most Cloud- and Digital-experienced senior business and finance executives, marketing strategists and technology leaders and evangelists. These world-class experts will reveal how enterprises can, and are, realizing the most from the Cloud in all of its forms.

This one-of-a-kind event offers peer networking, one-on-one chats with top vendor evangelists and executive leadership and a conference track designed to stretch your mind and bring Cloud technologies and Digital Business strategies down to earth. This year we have our most practical and actionable agenda ever – a reflection of the mainstreaming of Cloud technologies, and the emergence of Digital Business as a top-tier boardroom priority.

Please join us!


What You’ll Learn at the 2015 Cloud Business Summit

Our agenda is taking shape and new speakers are being added each week as Continue reading Set Your Digital Business Agenda at the 2015 Cloud Business Summit NYC