The Old Guard: Out of the Frying Pan and into the Frying Pan

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

Summary Bullets:

  • The decision for HP to split into separate consumer and enterprise companies is long overdue, and done correctly it will allow both siblings to be more responsive to their respective markets.
  • By shedding low-margin business units IBM is doing the right things to allow them to continue as innovators without bogging themselves down with manufacturing considerations.

No other industry moves as fast as IT, and every vendor faces the challenge of evolving to remain current with the changing nature of this business. But the challenges for old-school industry stalwarts like IBM and HP are a little different, in part because they’re still simply perceived as “old-school” (irony intended), plus they have a legacy of products that they must continue to sell and support. Does this mean I give them a pass on everything they do? Not on your life – but I certainly admire the commitment it takes to recognize their own weaknesses and make the tough choices. Read more of this post

Big Surprise: A New Study Shows the Cost of Cyber Crime is Going Up

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • With the cost of cyber crime going up along with the amount of time it takes to contain an attack, organizations should rethink their security spending priorities to focus more on incident detection and response.
  • Assessing your security posture and making appropriate adjustments can help lower cyber crime costs.

The 2014 Global Cost of Cyber Crime Report came out this week, and the news is not good. But that shouldn’t be a surprise, given that about once a week now there is yet another headline announcing the latest big breach. And they seem to get bigger: 40 million customers affected in the Target breach in late 2013, 56 million in the Home Depot breach in mid-2014. The study, conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by HP Enterprise Security, found that the annual cost of cybercrime increased nearly 100% over the five years it has been conducted. The study looked at 257 large companies (with 1,000 or more endpoints) in seven countries, and it found that the average annual cost of a breach is $7.6 million, with a range of between $0.5 million up to $60.5 million. But what’s interesting is that the cost of cybercrime is higher for U.S. companies. A benchmark sample of U.S. companies found that the average cost per organization now stands at $12.7 million. Russian companies were added to the study this year, and they incurred the least cost – $3.3 million on average. Read more of this post

The Desktop is the New Mobile…or at Least it Should be

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• The ideal of a mobile-driven enterprise again dominated the conversation at this week’s Salesforce.com user conference with native iOS apps leading the charge.

• But wait – isn’t the good ol’ desktop browser in truth our most mobile, most consistent development mobile platform?

The ideal of a mobile-driven enterprise again dominated keynote and hallway conversations at this week’s Salesforce.com user conference, with iOS leading the charge. The goal of course is to build an engaging user experience using the low-level power that can only come from a fully native client application, written for each of the two dominant mobile platforms – i.e., Google Android and Apple iOS. The trouble of course is which rendition of those dominant platforms are we talking about? With iOS, we have a handful, thanks to its closed nature. In contrast, Android’s open nature has spawned more than 18,000 distinct Android devices currently running one or another of the many versions of Android itself (according to a recent Open Signal research report).

That’s an awful lot of screen shapes and resolutions as well as processor architectures and speeds to account for. Perhaps that’s a driving reason users of Salesforce.com’s soon-to-be-released analytics platform, Wave, will have to wait until sometime in 2015 before getting their hands on a native Android user experience to accompany iOS. But what of the desktop? Salesforce.com Wave uses a fully HTML5-based UI that is at present more feature rich than its iOS counterpart. So what of the grand ol’ web browser? Shouldn’t it truly serve as the dominant, de facto standard for today’s incredibly fragmented device market?

As it turns out, the Web is already that de facto standard for most of the native apps out there. Some of those products, such as Wave, just don’t know it yet. The trick isn’t HTML (version 5 and beyond) or any of its associated technologies such as CSS and WebRTC. It’s in how those Web standards are packaged up for developers (and even non-developers) within something called a component framework. Excellent examples include Google Polymer, Facebook React, Twitter Flight, and Mozilla Brick. By the way, you can now add Salesforce.com Lightning to that mix. These component frameworks all serve their own platforms, but each promises to let developers write once and deploy nearly anywhere using Web standards and to do so rapidly and without having to worry about how individual application elements (components) interact with one another.

ISVs employing such component frameworks should be able to build out a multiplatform mobile client application more effectively and quickly. And most importantly, that client should allow others to extend that client, to add functionality without having to rewrite the client code itself. That’s the promise of Salesforce1, Salesforce.com’s cross-product mobile client (which uses Lightning, of course). Perhaps then, we’ll see Salesforce.com Wave running within Salesforce1 before too long, perhaps well before a pure Android rendition finally finds its way to market.

Read more of this post

Verizon – Striving to Enhance Its Edge in ICT Solutions

ITCB-HarishTaoriSummary Bullets:

  • Verizon has brought a management team from SIs and IT hardware/software vendors on board to help expedite its transformation to an ICT solutions provider.
  • Verizon has refined and enhanced its focus on enterprise cloud, IoT/M2M solutions, enterprise mobility and UcaaS, with security being the core of the network.

Verizon held its annual global analyst event this year in Boston, MA. This blog post summarizes some of the key takeaways and assesses the implications on the industry as well as enterprise buyers. Read more of this post

The Growing Role of Text Analytics in Voice of the Customer Strategies

Ken Landoline

Ken Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • As customer care organizations recognize the importance of including ‘voice of the customer’ (VoC) tools in their contact center analytics toolboxes, the capture and analysis of unstructured data will grow in importance.
  • Because text analytics provides the ability to include large streams of input from a broad collection of unstructured data sources, it is a very complementary solution to other analysis tools such as speech analytics and post-call customer surveys.

In previous blogs I have commented on the growing importance of collecting, managing and using “big data” effectively to drive proactive efforts designed to improve overall customer service. Today many companies base their customer feedback analysis, or so-called VoC solutions, on a single data collection tool such as post-call surveys or speech analytics. While these tools can provide excellent insights into the customer’s thought process, emotions and purchase intentions, they are often limited by their focus on a single source of information or the fact that customer inputs are confined to a set of multiple choice questions posed to a customer. I am finding that as VoC campaigns mature, companies are beginning to realize that capturing the benefits of big data analytics requires broadening the collection of data to all the data that is available to them. This should include analysis of voice calls, web chats, responses to open-ended questions of customers and notes recorded by contact center agents and other front-line employees. Read more of this post

Mobility Buying Trends Vary by Industry and Size

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobility spending plans are trending up, with 73% of companies planning to increase mobility spending over the next 12 months, 25% planning to spend at the same rate, and only 2% planning to spend less.
  • Just how much companies plan to increase mobility budgets, however, varies by company size, region, and industry.

A recent Current Analysis survey, completed in August, asked 650 companies about their use of transformational services including cloud, collaboration, and mobility services. Mobility was not the highest priority for IT budgets, with cloud and IT security services ranking higher in strategic importance on a scale of 1 to 7, with “1” the highest and “7” the lowest ranking. Both big data and data center initiatives ranked about the same as mobility (averaging about a 4 out of 7), but mobility budgets were on the rise; over 70% of the companies surveyed plan to increase their spending over the next 12 months. Read more of this post

Prudence in the Wake of the FCC’s Ruling on Marriott Jamming WiFi

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • The FCC’s ruling finding Marriott guilty of jamming a conference goer’s hotspot will have a profound impact on companies of all stripes.
  • Until there is clarification on when or if over-the-air WiFi management is acceptable, not using such management techniques would be prudent.

On October 3, the FCC found that Marriott International had jammed a personal hotspot in the Nashville Gaylord Opryland resort convention center. Marriott International countered, saying it “has a strong interest in ensuring that when our guests use our WiFi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft.” Marriott went on to say that many companies use containment features – on FCC approved devices, no less – to manage airspace, making it a common and accepted practice. Read more of this post

Unified Communications: An Oxymoron That Finally Makes Sense

Tim Banting

Tim Banting

Summary Bullets:

  • Customers must clearly define what they need from a UC solution in terms of easy-to-articulate user personas. This will help them avoid overspending on end-user licensing and meeting the needs of the majority of the business.
  • Customers should also look towards defining attributes that have longevity such as reliability and simplicity. Superfluous features offer little value to end users, especially when they can be at the expense of easy administration and management.

Why has it taken so long for UC to become more focused on areas such as user experience and ease of use? The UC industry has grown into an unwieldy mix of features and functions stemming from vendor acquisitions with little thought towards meeting the needs of the customer. However, this is changing as vendors look to simplify and consolidate their portfolios, recognizing that complying with a long list of features is not the basis for a market-leading solution. Customer approaches to procuring technology have also changed. Companies are involving many areas of the business such as heads of departments, HR directors, and facilities managers, rather than allowing IT departments to make buying decisions in splendid isolation. The new CIO looks towards the strategic intent of platforms: the long-term, long-reaching visions for the business as a whole, inclusive of the things that users are going to need today and are going to need five years from now. Therefore, CIOs and IT departments should know the fundamental and persistent requirements of the business. Read more of this post

CSC Explores the Leveraged Buyout Option

Amy Larsen DeCarlo

Amy Larsen DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

  • CSC contacted a number of private equity firms in the first step toward evaluating whether a leveraged buyout that would allow the company to make further adjustments outside of the scrutiny of Wall Street would be a good option.
  • Though there are potential benefits associated with going private, even the exploration period can be risky as we all learned from Dell’s protracted 2013 leveraged buyout which put the company’s every flaw in the spotlight for months on end.

CSC has come a long way since the UK National Health Service (NHS) contract went off the rails and the shamed ITSP had to pay its client more than $1 billion for its botched job. Under the direction of current CSC President and CEO Mike Lawrie, the company implemented an extensive restructuring plan that includes some cost-cutting and some realignment of products. So when word hit the street that CSC was talking to private equity firms about a possible buyout, people took notice. After all, we are just a couple of years out from the point in time when industry watchers were speculating on whether CSC would sell itself to the highest bidder. Read more of this post

Intel Lures Away Cisco’s Security GM and a Top Sales VP, but Don’t Cry for Cisco

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • Despite Intel’s having lured Cisco security GM Chris Young to its ranks, Cisco retains a strong security bench and has already replaced its former all-star GM with a solid leader in David Goeckeler.
  • Intel is obviously looking for faster growth in security than what it has done so far with McAfee in its portfolio, but whether Young can replicate his success in a different culture remains to be seen.

Intel Security poached two high-profile executives from Cisco’s Security Business Group this month, including Chris Young, who was senior VP and general manager of the business unit. Chris Young’s hire came just two weeks after Intel tapped Scott Lovett, Cisco’s former vice president of worldwide security sales, to lead worldwide sales for McAfee. Lovett’s move followed close on the heels of the departure of David Frampton, general manager for Cisco’s Security Access Mobility Product Group. Read more of this post

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