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Are you bypassing CIO policies to access cloud services?

May 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Marcia Kaufman, COO and Partner at Hurwitz & Associates has joined my blog as a collaborator. Marcia has great insights into compliance, governance, and security in the cloud.


I recently spoke with a CIO of a large and highly regulated organization about his company’s experiences with cloud computing. Security and compliance issues are top priorities for this CIO causing the company’s leadership to move with caution into the cloud. He expects that all cloud implementations throughout the enterprise – from Software as a Service (SaaS) to Infrastructure as a Service  (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) will receive prior approval from his office. This CIO is implementing the same approach to security and compliance that he has taken with every project undertaken within the company. In other words, security must be implemented following a centralized approach in order to ensure that information governance policies are upheld.   The company’s cloud experiences so far have included the on-demand purchase of extra compute power and storage for development and test on two small projects as well as use of Salesforce.com in several business unit sales teams. Overall, he feels confident about the level of control he has when it comes to managing cloud security issues, and understanding the potential impact of the evolving cost and economic models of cloud computing.

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Predictions for 2010: clouds, mergers, social networks and analytics

December 15, 2009 7 comments

Yes, it is predictions time. Let me start by saying that no market change happens in a single year. Therefore, what is important is to look at the nuance of a market or a technology change in the context of its evolution. So, it is in this spirit that I will make a few predictions. I’ve decided to just list my top six predictions (I don’t like odd numbers). Next week I will add another five or six predictions.

  1. Cloud computing will move out of the fear, uncertainty and doubt phase to the reality phase for many customers. This means that large corporations will begin to move segments of their infrastructure and applications to the cloud. It will be a slow but steady movement. The biggest impact on the market is that customers will begin putting pressure on vendors to guarantee predictability and reliability and portability.
  2. Service Management will become mainstream. Over the past five years the focus of service management has been around ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) processes and certification. There is a subtle change happening as corporations are starting to take a more holistic view of how they can effectively manage how everything that has a sensor, an actuator, or a computer interface is managed. Cloud computing will have a major impact on the growing importance of service management.
  3. Cloud service providers will begin to drop their prices dramatically as competition intensifies. This will be one of the primary drivers of growth of the use of cloud services. It will put a lot of pressure on smaller niche cloud providers as the larger companies try to gain control of this emerging market.
  4. It is not a stretch to state that the pace of technology acquisitions will accelerate in 2010.  I expect that HP, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft, Google, and CA will be extremely active. While it would be foolhardy to pick a single area, I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that security, data center management, service management, and information management will be the focus of many of the acquisitions.
  5. Social Networking will become much more mainstream than it was in 2009. Marketers will finally realize that blatant sales pitches on Twitter or Facebook just won’t cut it.  We will begin to see markets learn how to integrate social networking into the fabric of marketing programs. As this happens there will be hundreds of new start ups focused on analyzing the effectiveness of these marketing efforts.
  6. Information management is at the cusp of a major change. While the individual database remains important, the issue for customers is focus on the need to manage information holistically so that they can anticipate change. As markets grow increasingly complex and competitive, the hottest products in 2010 will those that help companies anticipate what will happen next.  So expect that anything with the term predictive analytics to be hot, hot, hot.

Is there a Twitter sneak attack in our future?

November 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Last year I wrote a post about what I called the Google Sneak attack. If you don’t feel like reading that post, I’ll make it simple for you. Google comes to market as a benign helpful little search engine that threatened no one. Fast forward a decade and Google now pulls in more ad revenue than most of the television networks combined. It has attacked Microsoft’s office franchise, is playing a key role in the cloud via Platform as a Service (Google AppEngine), not to mention the importance of its entry into the book business and who knows what else.  But let’s turn our attention to Twitter.  I’ve been using Twitter since 2007. For the first several months I couldn’t quite figure out what this was all about. It was confusing and intriguing at the same time.  In fact, my first blog about Twitter suggested that the Emperor has no clothes.

So fast forward to the end of 2009 and several very interesting things are happening:

1. Twitter is becoming as much a part of the cultural and technical fabric as Google did just a few years ago

2. A partner ecosystem has grown up around Twitter. A post from February by Matt Ingram of Gigaom echos this point.

3. The number of individuals, large corporations, and small businesses are using Twitter as everything from the neighborhood water cooler to a sales channel.

What does mean? Despite detractors who wonder what you can possibly accomplish in 140 characters, it is becoming clear that this company without a published business plan does have a plan to dominate.  It is, in fact, the same strategy that Google had. Which company would have been threatened by a small search company? And who could be threatened from a strange little company called Twitter that asked people to say it all in 140 characters? Today Twitter claims to have 18 Million users about 4% of adult internet users.  I suspect that we will begin to see a slow but well orchestrated roll out of services that leverage the Twitter platform. I suspect that we will see a combination of advertising plus commercial software aimed at helping companies reach new customers in new channels.

I am confident that within the next two years this small, profitless, patient company will roll out a plan targeting social networking world dominance. It will be fun to watch.

Can Twitter Trigger Innovation?

May 12, 2008 7 comments

A few months ago I wrote a blog entry criticizing Twitter . I was not sure I got the relevance of this micro-blogging site. So, I decided that it made sense to spend time getting deeply involved in a Twitter community to test it and see if my opinion would change.

Here are my thoughts now. First, I am finding myself intrigued by Twitter. It is a quirky environment. I see some comments like “I am drinking my first cup of coffee of the day” or “My airplane is delayed.” I think that I know too much about some people’s daily habits and not enough about others. I also get breaking news on twitter and find some fascinating links from political pundits. I am finding that I get some unique insights into people I know and people I don’t. Some entries are simply entertaining and make me laugh. My colleague, Robin Bloor, for example, has been posting haikus that are wonderful. I look forward to them. I exchange comments on topics with other analysts that I have gotten to know over the years. I am also reconnecting with people I haven’t talked to in years.

I was talking to John Simonds last week and he thinks that some bloggers are using Twitter in place of their regular blogs. It might be the perfect solution for bloggers with short attention spans!

So, I think I have changed my mind to a certain extent. Twitter does fill a role in a world where our time is sliced thinner and thinner and where we don’t always have the time to pick up the phone and call. It provides a way to create micro-communities that have intriguing possibilities.

I think this is just the beginning of what we will see in the next five years. It reminds me somewhat of the early commercial Internet days. It was an intriguing platform that has potential but needed to evolve. How will Twitter and other similar sites evolve? I think that we will see the refinement of specialized closed groups focused on either topics or issues. I could see, for example, a company setting up a Twitter-like capability to allow a team of scientists or researchers to ping each other with quick ideas. This is different than traditional communications methods used by these groups. In formal conversations or papers these participants feel compelled to write long and complicated explanations of ideas and concepts. If you are limited to a hundred or so characters you are forced to get the core of your idea out very, very quickly.

Like email in an older generation, Twittering could have the effect of quickening the pace of communication — but in a radically different way. Sometimes the most important innovation comes from a single phrase or idea that expands into a universe.

Twitter: Does the emperor have no clothes?

January 5, 2008 3 comments

I decided the other day that I would be cool and sign up for a Twitter account. OK, so I did it. I even added a few entries and looked at some entries of people I know. So, here is my question: why? Maybe I am too old to get this. In essence, Twitter is instant messaging that adds some multi-media splash. It is also a sort of micro-blogging tool. But I wanted to make sure that I was being fair. So, I did some checking to see how people are using this new tool. Here is where I think that Twitter does work. You are a very social person who creates a network of a few dozen of your close friends. One of the best examples of an interesting Twitter network is James Governer’s blog site that lives up to the hype by creating a broad network of chatters. Michael Krigsman in his blog has some interesting observations on Twitter.

I will continue to play around with Twitter and see how it evolves over time. Here is my take. It is an interesting idea that might be the germ of something for the future. I am not really sure where this Twitter social computing idea will go. Do you really want to know that I ate a pizza 2 minutes ago and regret that I ate the whole thing? Do I care that your electricity went out last night and you had to sit in the dark for an hour? Maybe I do care if I am working on a project with a highly distributed team and want to communicate in real time without picking up the phone or rushing to the computer.

Maybe we just don’t know yet. Remember when the first personal computers were entering the market in the late 1970s no one knew what in the world you would use one for? Those discussions seen quite silly now. But in those days there were no word processors or spreadsheets and no email for those devices. There was simply a notion that there is something that could evolve into something pretty important. Do I think that Twitter is in the same category? Probably not. I do think there is something there about real time, unified communication and real time access that has potential — but not right now and not in this form.