MWC16: Be Careful What You Wish For

Summary Bullets:

• The security versus privacy security is a growing threat to mobile operators, so they need to enter the debate to ensure customers continue to trust them.

• Success may be an even more pernicious problem, but the industry is showing its mettle in finding solutions.

As you read this, the madness and mayhem of MWC16 is winding down. But one of the key debates that will shape the future of the industry was taking place in the US between Apple, Google and Facebook, and the FBI. The issue is the balance between public security and personal privacy. Read more of this post

Microsoft’s UC Commander Acquisition Boosts Skype for Business and Increases the Squeeze on Service Providers

G. Barton

G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

• Microsoft’s acquisition of Event Zero’s ‘UC Commander’ analytics platform strengthens its UC solutions.

• The decision of who to work with for UC solutions is not easy and there are many good options – but integration is key and end users should consider who is best placed to work with their telecoms and IT estate.

Microsoft recently announced the acquisition of the ‘technology assets’ underlying Event Zero’s ‘UC Commander’ product suite. The UC Commander suite provides a series of management and analytics tools specifically for Microsoft Skype for Business (Skype). Presently, Skype users can already use the Office 365 administration centre to assign phone numbers, view usage reporting for audio and video calls/conferences, and to monitor call quality. The new acquisition will add further diagnostic and troubleshooting tools within a single new portal. Microsoft also envisages that its SP partners will be able to more easily connect on-premise Skype deployments with Office 365 and hybrid environments in general. Read more of this post

McAfee Must Die: Why the Brand Has Outlived Its Usefulness to Intel Security

Summary Bullets:
• The once-strong McAfee brand now does Intel Security more harm than good.
• The vendor missed an opportunity for a portfolio-wide rebranding in late 2015 when it launched a new threat-centric product strategy.

Intel Security has a branding conundrum on its hands. The once-strong McAfee label, for decades associated with a venerable line of consumer and business security products, has been slowly losing its luster for years, but has now reached the point where it does the vendor more harm than good.

Read more of this post

Verizon Pulls the Plug on Two Public Cloud Services

A. DeCarlo

A. DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

• Verizon told customers it is discontinuing its Public Cloud Reserved Performance and Marketplace public cloud services in April and that clients of the former will need to migrate their virtual machines to another environment, preferably its own Virtual Private Cloud.

• While the company is sunsetting its credit card cloud service, Verizon will continue to support other IaaS solutions including Cloud Storage

More changes are afoot in the public cloud as yet another provider pulls the plug on its credit card payment-accepting IaaS offer. Verizon is ending support for its Public Cloud Reserved Performance on-demand compute service this spring. The provider is also shutting down its cloud marketplace in April, ending the company’s first shot at building an online catalog that would compete against similar cloud storefronts from the likes of Amazon and Microsoft. Read more of this post

Jive’s WorkHub: Why a Social Collaboration Platform Is Different from an App

T. Banting

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

  • Jive’s WorkHub branding aligns well with the vendor’s strategy to allow businesses to connect, communicate and collaborate based on their unique needs and personal workstyle.
  • There needs to be a distinction drawn in the market between the pervasive and integrative nature of social collaboration platforms and lightweight enterprise team applications such as Slack.

Recently, Jive announced its WorkHub branding alongside new packaged solutions (Jive for Healthcare Collaboration, Jive for Employee Engagement and Jive for Customer Engagement) designed for vertical markets and use cases. Jive Software was, I believe, one of the first vendors to introduce us to the concept of hubs and the social intranet being central to collaboration within an organization. A successful social collaboration platform supports all areas of the business and all employees; however, Jive Software’s focus on new line-of-business segments (e.g., HR and marketing) is likely to cut through some of the broader and more historical concerns associated with adoption (e.g., behavioral change, cultural fit and changes to working practices) and clearly aims to provide specific solutions to broken business processes. Consequently, this is likely to accelerate Jive’s marketplace momentum and (once an initial use-case is secured) establish a beachhead for wider employee adoption. Read more of this post

TEM Services are Evolving in Both Predictable and Unpredictable Directions

K. Weldon

K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

• TEM Services have been useful for enterprises to track usage and mobile service expenditures, reconcile invoices across carriers, and optimize service plans

• The latest crop of TEM services encompass fixed and mobile, IT expenses, unified communications usage analytics, and usage and expense management for market data by investment firms

A recent set of Current Analysis company reports analyzing telecom expense management (TEM) services by independent providers such as Asentinel, Tangoe, Ezwim, Calero and MDSL show a fascinating evolution. These companies used to offer software that aggregated expenses from multiple mobile operators used by their business customers, and performed invoice reconciliation together with outsourced dispute management and service plan optimization. Looking at these companies’ latest sets of services, it is clear that their portfolios have changed considerably. For example:

• Predictably, TEM providers now offer their platforms as SaaS, which they tend to call lifecycle management services

• Not only do TEM providers analyze both fixed and mobile service usage and expenditures; most providers now offer IT expense management, looking at items such as data center/hosting charges and cloud services. Read more of this post

Why Design Thinking is Important to Collaboration

B. Page

B. Page

Summary Bullets:

• IBM’s Connect 2016 conference highlights industrial design and user experience (UX) excellence as differentiators in its Collaboration portfolio

• UX is important across all types of IT products and services, but is especially relevant to achieving success in enterprise collaboration initiatives

“’Easy to Use’ is easy to say,” as generations of programmers have heard and then learned – often the hard way. Read more of this post

Why Is IBM So Averse to Screaming About Verse and Other Innovations?

T. Banting

T. Banting

Summary Bullets:

  • IBM has changed itself around from a product-focused company to one which is more asset-led through the application of its ‘design thinking’ approach.
  • However, IBM must ensure its differentiation gets heard above established and emerging competitors in the collaboration and communications marketplace.

Last week’s IBM Connect 2016 (IBM’s annual collaboration conference) was somewhat of a revelation for me. What stood out for me was how IBM has changed itself from a company that was more product-focused to one which is more asset-led. Asset-led companies tend to make decisions based on the needs of the user and the assets of the solution. The perfect situation is, of course, for a business to relate customer needs to the business’s own strengths. This, then, is where IBM’s design thinking approach to solution development is key to success. Read more of this post

IBM’s UX Handholding Drives Business to Digital Marketing Cloud Portfolio

C. Dunlap

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

• IBM’s three design acquisitions in one week strengthen its marketing cloud clout

• IBM will glean knowledge through partnership with Adobe Marketing Cloud

Do you know how many calorie-counting apps are out there? A lot. But I’ve never cared for most of them until I came across MyFitnessPal, which is a quick set-up, helps me track daily calories, and includes slick graphics like pie charts to make sure I’m taking in the correct ratio of calories between carbs, fats, and proteins. Read more of this post

Whither Cognitive Collaboration? IBM’s Embarrassment of Riches

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • IBM hopes to move beyond its legacy Notes/Domino customer base and establish a forward-looking customer base through the liberal application of IBM Watson analytics capabilities across its entire collaborative portfolio.
  • However, IBM must move carefully and quickly lest it squander this unique and sizable opportunity.

This week saw IBM’s annual collaboration conference (IBM Connect 2016) break from a longstanding tradition and move to a new venue. On the surface, this may not seem like much. Companies always shop around for the best venue. But, this is a big deal for IBM, which had heretofore held its collaboration conference (which you may recognize by its former name, Lotusphere) at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotel for more than 20 consecutive years. That’s an awful lot of stability. Maybe too much stability. Read more of this post