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