RAD’s Speed, Collaboration Key to Cloud Offerings in 2017

C. Dunlap

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • RAD goes hand-in-hand with microservices architecture and container deployment scenarios.
  • RAD vendors will continue to leverage OSS technologies including Cloud Foundry and Docker.

Rapid application development (RAD) platforms are a technology whose time has finally come with the advent of platform service, microservices architecture and containers. The low-code, high-productivity tools go hand-in-hand with new cloud infrastructures, architectures and deployment capabilities, because they address DevOps’ concerns around speed and efficiency, collaboration and accessing open source software to support portability. (Please see “PaaS Cloud Providers and SIs Will Bulk Up on RAD Technology,” January 20, 2017.) Read more of this post

Customer Tracking Using WiFi and Beacons Should Be Dead in Retail

M. Fratto

M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • WiFi and Bluetooth beacons are inconsistent trackers that can tell retailers little more than ‘some device was somewhere in this vicinity for a period of time.’
  • Beacons and RFID on products open up more opportunities for many benefits, including increasing customer touch and understanding their shopping habits.

The National Retail Federation’s 2017 Big Show in New York was a cornucopia of everything retail, from smart displays to supply chain management to social media analytics. One overall theme I kept hearing was how retailers want to enhance the shopping experience with customers and ultimately sell more products. Online retailer sites like Amazon and Best Buy can gather a wealth of information about user behavior and feed that data back into their analytics to track product performance and make recommendations to customers based on past behavior and the behaviors of similar customers. Brick-and-mortar stores don’t have that advantage and are desperately trying to learn more about the buyer and increase sales. Read more of this post

I Run Applications, You’re Measuring Packets: It’s Time to Revisit Those Network SLAs

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn – Service Director, Business Network and IT Services

Summary Bullets:

  • Enterprises are increasingly focused on, and making decisions around, applications performance. WAN providers’ stock SLAs are still mired in the language of packets and frames.
  • Network partners already aren’t top of mind for enterprises’ applications performance discussions despite their key role in applications delivery.

Through our regularly conducted global ICT surveys here at Current Analysis, we caught one of the most recent purchasing trend shifts early on: enterprise lines of business are increasing their purchasing influence, even influencing networking-related decisions. More accurately, our surveys have been validating a power shift that we’d already been experiencing in our enterprise inquiries. Read more of this post

2017 – The Year of Integrated Communications and Re-platforming

T. Banting

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

• 2017 is likely to see more innovation in the field of integrated communications (embedding click to collaborate functionality within business applications) which may incorporate Communications as-a-Platform (CPaaS).

• In order to support digital transformation initiatives, enterprises will be faced with a re-platforming choice – arguably this is likely to be a cloud-based team collaboration application.

Season greetings! It’s that time of the year where analysts start looking towards the year ahead and dust off their crystal ball to offer vendors and customers an insight into what’s to come. As we look at 2017, two key collaboration and communications trends emerge:

1. There is a move away from innovation in united communications (UC) and towards a new category of integrated communications.

This trend is triggered by the need for companies to squeeze additional productivity from their businesses and this is driving a need for integrated communications. This is not merely limited to providing click to collaborate features in office productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and Google G Suite), but also to home-grown applications and mobile apps. Consequently, this requires an extensive range of APIs for developers to leverage and potentially, a new platform: CPaaS. This has the potential to disrupt the traditional UC market considerably which has hitherto focused on the unification of numerous real-time modalities (voice, video, instant messaging and conferencing) into one client. CPaaS essentially allows developers to embed real-time communications functionality directly into business applications, circumventing the need for premises-based PBXs or UC servers.

Read more of this post

Collaboration Trends for 2017: What Enterprises Should be Looking for

G. Barton

G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

• In 2017, enterprises should expect more integration between UC platforms and applications and services such as CRM, Salesforce, and workflow tools.

• Enterprises should begin to talk to ICT providers about their plans to deliver RCS-enabled collaboration services.

In many ways, 2016 has been a quiet year for unified communications and collaboration services. Although Broadsoft has made good progress in becoming the most popular vendor in the SME sector, Microsoft and Cisco remain the dominant market forces. Mitel deserves an honourable mention and remains a keen competitor, whilst Avaya’s struggle to make progress in the hosted UCC space, despite its contact centre strengths, has contributed significantly to its present challenging situation. Google enjoyed a positive 2016. Its market penetration remains modest, but publicised case studies of Google-based collaboration solutions are becoming more common, particularly in the public sector in geographies such as the UK. The newly branded G-Suite offers a genuine alternative to Microsoft Office 365. Although Google’s proposition must still sit alongside a hosted voice and UC solution from another vendor, its collaboration features make it an option that should be considered by all enterprises. Read more of this post

Partnering with Competitors Will Remain Central to Dell EMC’s Converged and Hyper-converged Solutions Strategy in 2017

C. Drake

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

• The market for hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) will be a major battleground for solutions jointly engineered by Dell Technologies group businesses.

• Dell EMC will maintain partnerships with competitors in relation to specific converged and hyper-converged solutions as long as customer demand for these solutions continues.

The launch in December of a new VxRack solution based on Dell EMC’s PowerEdge servers and VMware’s software-defined data center platform, gives us only a partial indication of how Dell EMC’s HCI will evolve in 2017. For a fuller understanding, it is necessary to look at the broader range of decisions and announcements the company has made both prior to and since its September merger. It can be argued that the launch of a new HCI solution based entirely on infrastructure provided by Dell Technologies group businesses – together with a move to drop the VCE brand for all of Dell EMC’s converged and hyper-converged solutions – points to a change of strategy for the vendor. They also note the way in which Dell’s PowerEdge servers have been steadily incorporated into several EMC solutions since the completion of the merger – including the company’s VxRail hyper-converged appliance. Read more of this post

The Demise of Intercloud Services Provides an Opportunity for Cisco’s Cloud Strategy

C. Drake

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • With the termination of its Intercloud Services, Cisco will now focus on helping enterprise customers build and manage their own hybrid environments.
  • Cisco stands to benefit from the closure of Intercloud, which provides it with an opportunity to streamline and redefine its cloud strategy.

The announcement by Cisco that it plans to terminate its Intercloud Services (CIS) public cloud on March 31, 2017 has been widely criticized as a failure of Cisco’s attempt to compete against hyper-scale public cloud providers and further evidence of the comparative weakness of public cloud offerings based on OpenStack open source technology. However, the decision by Cisco to put to bed an initiative which it launched in September 2014 can also be seen as a positive move by the vendor to realign its resources and refocus its cloud business, the latter having been historically criticized for being disjointed, lacking clarity and failing to deliver momentum. Read more of this post

IoT for Air Quality, Behold the Power of Cooperation

Brad Shimmin - Research Director, Business Technology and Software

Brad Shimmin – Research Director, Business Technology and Software

Summary Bullets:

• There may be no such thing as true altruism, but it’s safe to say that the multifaceted demands of IoT are creating a perfect storm of advantageous cooperation among technology and service providers, data producers and insight consumers.

• Case in point is IoT environmental sensor vendor Aclima, which is using Google Street View cars to measure pollution levels within key urban areas in California. Aclima’s use case reveals how companies, residents and governments can help one another by sharing facilities, personal and environmental data.

Maybe it’s just the holiday spirit talking, but I think I “almost” believe in altruism. Don’t get me wrong. I remain a card carrying realist. To me, acts of kindness are indeed kind because they happen to benefit both giver and receiver. There’s nothing wrong with that, really. We give because it makes us feel good, because we anticipate some future reward or reciprocation, or because we feel obligated, which is oddly how one feels both giving and receiving a holiday fruitcake. Read more of this post

Symantec’s Strategic Merry-Go-Round: Questionable Short-Term Moves Hinder Long-Term Objectives

E. Parizo

E. Parizo

Summary Bullets:

  • Symantec’s moves to buy LifeLock and sue Zscaler will offer little effective support for Symantec’s stated strategic objectives.
  • Symantec instead should seek small, tuck-in acquisitions and find new niches in which to foster innovation.

Symantec has long been a company searching for a strategy, or at least a good strategy. Over the years, it has suffered through several failed reinventions that sought to address an ongoing dearth of disparate products, a lack of organizational cohesion and focus, and an inability to foster competitive momentum through innovation. Read more of this post

The Three Laws of Enterprise AI, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Machine Intelligence

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Microsoft’s venture fund for AI includes a number of stipulations concerning not just what AI can do, but also how it might impact humans and the future of humanity itself.
  • In the spirit of Isaac Asimov, we’ve translated Microsoft’s AI venture funding stipulations into our own three laws of robotics in the enterprise, positing some questions of our own regarding whether or not AI can actually save us from ourselves when it comes to cognitive bias.

I’m a big fan of science fiction authors like Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov because these gentlemen teach me over and over to believe fully in technology but also recognize the dangers in rushing headlong into a future predicated upon the unbridled application of that technology. The outcome for fictional techno-eager civilizations is often a full-on dystopia (as in Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Alternatively, and perhaps more terrifyingly, the resulting society might appear quite utopian on the surface but in fact operate as a dystopia. With Asimov’s ‘Foundation Trilogy,’ we definitely see that nice ice cream swirl combining both outcomes in one tasty treat, stemming from the development of a new branch of science called psychohistory, which could be used to predict the future for large groups of people by merging statistic, sociology and history. Read more of this post