Tag Archives: Platform

Top Takeaways: IBM Software Group Analyst Meetings

Earlier this week, Saugatuck participated in IBM Software Group (SWG) ‘s annual analyst event held in Stamford, CT. Key takeaways from the two days of group meetings and 1-on-1 discussions are as follows:

The event provided several major impressions. Overall, the strategies and directions that IBM discussed are very solid – the company clearly understands where it needs to compete, and where it needs to create competitive advantage.  Specific ways that we see this happening include the following:

  1. IBM reinforces Cloud-centric option for enterprise software. This is not big news by itself, as IBM has been migrating toward a Cloud-centric/Cloud-leveraged software portfolio for quite some time. The presentations in this event basically reinforced that commitment Continue reading

Beyond the Glitter: Serious Business

During the week of 29 April through 3 May IBM hosted its annual Impact 2013 (subtitled “Business. In Motion”) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Befitting the location, Impact is a huge business conference (with 8,500 attendees this year) and has a definite Las Vegas flavor (the keynote opened with a car driven on stage and dubbed a “rolling data center”).

IBM’s market positioning and messaging continues to be a bellwether for large-enterprise IT trends overall. This year’s Impact emphasis on the combination of Cloud, Mobility, Social, and Analytics – plus the importance of native integrative capabilities – underscores the emergence and reality of the loosely-coupled, “elemental” IT and business architectures that are increasingly prevalent, that enable a variety of Boundary-free Enterprise™ configurations, and which are reshaping providers’ go-to-market positioning.

Note: Ongoing Saugatuck subscription clients can access this premium research piece (1216MKT) by clicking here, and inputting your ID and password. Non-clients can purchase and download this premium research piece by clicking here.

Best Practices Make Perfect: Managing Information in the BfE™

The Boundary-free Enterprise (BfE) enables delivery and use of information within business processes on demand, anyplace, anytime – but not without significant challenges to managing information for use in business decisions. Each of these seven important BfE trends (see Figure 1) presents a significant challenge with a requirement for managing information at its core.

Figure 1: Seven Trends and Challenges of Being Boundary-free
1171MKT Figure 1
Source: Saugatuck Technology Inc.

These 7 key trends set the stage for the urgency building around the need to manage information in a way that addresses the Boundary-free Enterprise.

While the Boundary-free Enterprise liberates data resources for more effective and leveraged uses, ensuring its potential value will require meeting several significant challenges of the realigned work organization, and meeting those challenges will be more successful with the use of these five proven best practices:

  1. Commit to (Cloud) Data Management
  2. Manage the Organizational Issues
  3. Partner with a Data Management Provider
  4. Manage Both Control and Access
  5. Approach Data Management as Value Creation

These five best practices lay a solid foundation for managing information in the Boundary-freeEnterprise .

Note: Ongoing Saugatuck subscription clients can access this premium research piece (1171STR) by clicking here, and inputting your ID and password.  Non-clients can purchase and download this premium research piece by clicking here.

The Boundary-free Enterprise™: It’s a PaaS Thing

Today’s businesses are doing their work through a new Cloud-based array of time- and location-independent computing capabilities – Collaboration, Mobile, Social and Analytics — plus Integration services which together make the Boundary-free Enterprise™ possible. We trace the evolution of PaaS from its origins through the present and anticipate how it is likely to continue to evolve in support of its multiple roles as an enabler of Cloud solutions, integrator of hybrid solutions, and extender of SaaS and open source applications.

Both enterprises and Cloud ISVs will be challenged to enhance their Cloud and hybrid business solutions through leveraging Mobile, Social/Collaborative and Analytics platforms that may also bridge on-premises data to the Cloud. Developing for this Cloud and hybrid architecture will be the primary activity of enterprise developers over the next three-to-five years, and maintaining these Cloud solutions, integrations and workflows will be the mainstay of IT for a decade or more to come. For ISV and pure play Cloud providers, this emerging new master architecture presents many new opportunities and some new challenges, if they are to compete successfully.

Over time we expect PaaS to evolve to more fully support Collaboration, Mobile, Social and Analytics:

  • Understanding and embracing the loosely-coupled solution model
  • Enabling re-architected synergies across Cloud platforms and solutions
  • Facilitating solutions designed for maintainability as the Cloud evolves

For providers of Cloud solutions targeting the Boundary-free Enterprise™, whether enterprise IT or Cloud ISV, partnering with a Cloud development platform provider will be a strategic decision.

Saugatuck Planning Position: By YE2017, Enterprises, ISVs (and pure-play Cloud providers) will require improved flexibility in developing and enhancing core business operational functionality in loosely-coupled solutions across the Boundary Free Enterprise™platforms.

Note: Ongoing Saugatuck subscription clients can access this premium research piece (1130MKT) by clicking here, and inputting your ID and password. Non-clients can purchase and download this premium research piece by clicking here.

Saugatuck Research: Windows Azure Insight from ISVs and SIs

Saugatuck has studied the Windows Azure platform in depth over the past two years. This has included briefings by Microsoft as well as extensive interviews with ISVs and global systems integrators (SIs) that have migrated or built nearly 150 SaaS solutions on the Windows Azure platform.

Based on this research, Saugatuck has found that the Windows Azure platform provides migrating ISVs (and SIs deploying primarily for corporate customers) with a highly-productive, robust and cost-effective platform for enabling efficiency, effectiveness, and innovation in delivering SaaS solutions, as one ISV commented:

  • If you’re a Microsoft house on SQL server, you might as well move to Windows Azure. Make Windows Azure your target platform and don’t maintain two separate versions.”
  • Architecture is of profound importance. Good architecture brings agility and cost-effective quality solutions.

We note that in order to realize the benefits of the platform, architecture that understands the platform and its design constraints is considered essential. However, there are significant challenges in getting up to speed on Windows Azure as a platform and in learning how to work around design constraints that can cause delays and increase expenses, for example:

  • Deployment of packages and VM roles from on-premises development still a challenge despite improvements in Azure Development Services Portal. Evolving VM roles and SQL Azure feature set are possible workaround tools.
  • Because of no certainty of achieving certifications or their timing, interim workaround solutions recommended, e.g., hybrid data storage for on-premises storage of regulated data that cannot reside on platform.

Despite these design constraints, Saugatuck believes Windows Azure remains a viable platform to accelerate an ISV into SaaS and recommends ISV consider exploring a relationship with a Windows Azure SI partner to accelerate implementation, avoid wasted expense, and implement a long-term viable solution.

Note1: Ongoing Saugatuck subscription clients can access this premium research piece (1023MKT) by clicking here, and inputting your ID and password. Non-clients can purchase and download this premium research piece by clicking here.

Note 2: For more on Saugatuck’s assessment of Windows Azure, see companion Strategic Perspective 1016MKT 10 Things To Know About Windows Azure, 27 January 2012, or Lens360 blog post Microsoft Azure Update: Ten Things You Need to Know, 01 February 2012.

Cloud-based Data Integration Changes Business for Enterprises and Providers

What Is Happening?

Cloud-based technologies and offerings are the arena in which data integration is evolving from a simple means of transmitting information between applications into complex business capabilities that enable improved competitive necessities and advantages for enterprises. Enterprise choices of how to leverage this new role will affect their own costs, their abilities to improve business operations, and their abilities to compete effectively. Providers’ choices of how to utilize this new role, and what to offer, will affect their core business positioning and profitability. Continue reading

Microsoft Azure Update: Ten Things You Need to Know

In 2010, Microsoft launched the Windows Azure platform. Since then, Saugatuck has been actively tracking Windows Azure through regular Microsoft briefings, interviews with ISVs and with SIs that have migrated their solutions or workloads to Windows Azure or that have built natively on Windows Azure.

ISVs migrating to the Cloud and enterprise developers should understand the evolution and maturity of the Windows Azure platform, and the solutions and workloads it was designed for. Not all work well on Windows Azure. In a recently published premium Saugatuck research deliverable (1016MKT, 10 Things to Know about Windows Azure Two Years after Release, 29Jan2012) we provide an update and overview of the platform, and its suitability for Cloud solutions. In this Lens360 blog post, we highlight some of the takeaways from this 6-page Strategic Perspective.

Overall, significant progress has already been made, and it is important to note several important advances on the horizon for Windows Azure platform:

SQL Azure:
  • 2012 will see SQL Server 2012 and SQL Azure move closer to parity, as the once-significant functionality gap continues to close.
  • 2012 will see SQL Server 2012 and SQL Azure share development tools.
  • New federated partitioning for SQL Azure provides the means to handle issues related to managing customers separately.
Windows Azure:
  • System Center 2012 makes management of Azure solutions part of the overall systems management capability.
Regulatory Certifications:
  • Microsoft is currently in the process of completing the SSAE 16 audit.
  • Work is also under way to Deliver on HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA).
  • PCI certification, not in place today, is next on the roadmap.

At the same time, however, Windows Azure presents significant challenges to enterprise developers or to ISVs with enterprise customers migrating to the Cloud because of persistent design constraints. While we don’t have the room in this blog post to flesh these issues out in full, we discuss these in some detail in the Strategic Perspective, and what to do about it.

One area we do want to highlight is that despite considerable recent attention to achieving certifications, Windows Azure still lacks FISMA, GLBI, HIPAA, PCI, and SSAE16 – a key constraint if an enterprise or an ISV needed to store medical information or consumer credit card data, for example. While we believe many of the key certifications are on the roadmap, it takes time to fully address all of the certification issues. Stay tuned.

Complicating things further, Windows Azure is a rapidly moving target of functionality. The progress Microsoft has made in enhancing the platform continues at a fairly rapid pace. Therefore, it is important to understand the technical direction that the Windows Azure platform will take and continue to take as it evolves further. 2012 holds several very promising new additions to the Windows Azure platform, including development and testing capability.

Fortunately for migrating ISVs and enterprise developers, leading SIs such as Accenture, Avanade, Cognizant and Wipro, for example, have partnered with Microsoft to enable Windows Azure ISV workloads and solutions, and in doing so have amassed deep knowledge of the platform, its architecture and its future directions. These SIs have also developed solutions that fill in some of the gaps in the platform today.

Note: Ongoing Saugatuck subscription clients can access this premium research piece (1016MKT) by clicking here, and inputting your ID and password. Non-clients can purchase and download this premium research piece by clicking here.