Huawei Analyst Summit 2017: Huawei, More Open Than You Think When it Comes to Big Data

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• At its annual Huawei Analyst Summit 2017, Huawei spoke of solutions built on top of two pillars: an open IaaS/PaaS cloud platform paired with an open ecosystem of partners.

• The vendor’s premise? Let Huawei handle the infrastructure (the cloud, pipes and devices, as Huawei puts it), leaving the rest to those who know business outcomes the best.

At its annual Huawei Analyst Summit 2017, the Chinese powerhouse took a surprising turn. At past events the vendor emphasized its ability to squeeze more performance from its sizable portfolio of predominantly hardware-based data center and networking offerings. The objective was simple: demonstrate a better cost/value ratio for high value workloads like video. That approach remains a solid strategy, one that is all too familiar to rival firms like Cisco. This is especially true for vendors seeking attention from the still lucrative telecom operator marketplace.
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Redefining the Law of Data Gravity, One Cloud at a Time

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• The seemingly immutable law of data gravity, which has kept most large-scale data stores tucked safely away behind the corporate firewalls, is no more.

• Cloud platform providers of all shapes and sizes are actively redefining such laws, showing that even the largest data warehouse can live happily in the clouds.

While attending the aptly named Domopalooza conference in Salt Lake City earlier this month, what struck me the most wasn’t the number of concerts, ski parties, parties and after party parties put on by the host, cloud-borne BI vendor Domo. Oh, that sort of thing is quite normal for the unconventional vendor from American Fork, Utah. I was instead dumbstruck to learn of the vendor’s seemingly crazy, all you can eat cloud business model. That’s right. Domo doesn’t care how much data you dump into its proprietary data warehouse or how many calculations, transformations, joins, etc. you perform upon said data. There’s just one price to pay, and that’s a simple, per user fee.
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AI and Machine Learning Need Developers More Than Data

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• Google wants to democratize AI and operationalize machine learning (ML) with the release of Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine, a platform that includes developer-friendly APIs and pre-trained data models.

• But what the company really needs isn’t just data, algorithms or even data scientists but instead a new breed of developers, who can build software that can anticipate outcomes.

It’s always the same at the end of a company’s keynote address. After all of the important messages have been conveyed and all of the product announcements have been made, a mid-level corporate mouthpiece will take the stage and provide the audience with some positive reinforcement of what went before. It’s like the closing credits of a film, something that may contain a nugget of interest to the cinephile. More often, it serves as filler, a thematic soundtrack to accompany attendees as they make for the exits.

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At IBM the Future of Collaboration Isn’t Rosy. It’s Pink!

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• IBM has a problem. How can it present a viable alternative to the Microsoft collaboration juggernaut that is Office 365 while simultaneously bringing its still sizable IBM Connections customer base forward?

• The answer, apparently, is to turn pink. After Connections 6 rolls out, IBM will completely reinvent its collaboration platform, quite literally throwing aside internal obligations, existing software investments and technical dependencies.

Usually I find it hard to take a man dressed in a pink linen pink suite seriously. That’s especially true if the man is standing in front of a huge PowerPoint slide adorned with an animated, dancing puffer fish. So, when I sat down this week at the IBM Connect 2017 conference in San Francisco to listen in on a session by IBM’s Baan Slavens and Jason Roy Gary on the future of IBM Connections, I was prepared for disappointment. Rather, I was prepared for “yet another” grand but ultimately unachievable view of how collaboration might be, if only IBM were free from corporate obligations, past engineering investments and technological dependencies. I was entirely mistaken. Read more of this post

What Should Avaya Do Next?

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Assuming Avaya exits Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the next few months, what should the company do to succeed going forward? We entertain five changes we feel necessary for Avaya not just to continue, but to thrive within the rapidly changing unified communications and collaboration market.
  • We emphasize a focus on the public cloud and advanced analytics as well as a return to a more unified product portfolio.

A few days have passed now since I returned from my visit with Avaya at its annual user conference (Avaya Engage) last week in Las Vegas, Nevada. And my opinion hasn’t changed substantially. Avaya is in trouble. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel of its self-administered Chapter 11 filing with the bankruptcy courts. The question, of course, concerns the type of light that awaits Avaya. Will it be the warming rays of our modest sun, or will it be the blinding glare of an oncoming train? I believe it will be the former. I believe that Avaya can succeed long-term within a marketplace that is undergoing a highly disruptive change from hardware to software and services. Read more of this post

Is BlackBerry Your Next Enterprise IoT Platform Vendor?

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • BlackBerry appears to have risen from its own ashes and now seeks to put its intelligent mobile device expertise to work within the ultra-lucrative (and ultra-competitive) IoT marketplace.
  • With a unique set of resources and technologies at the ready, BlackBerry is capable of building an end-to-end platform, but the trick will be for the vendor to work with, not against, established enterprise IoT platform players.

It’s not often that a company is able to rise from its own ashes. Like Mother Nature, the great crucible of modern capitalism doesn’t often grant a stay of execution for those found wanting. See: TWA, Atari, DeLorean Motor Company or Enron. Once-dominant forces to be reckoned with, those companies are no longer with us. For a while, it seemed that the beloved brand BlackBerry was about to join their ranks. 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 network 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

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

Top Two 2017 Priorities for Data Discovery and Visualization Vendors

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• The data discovery and visualization marketplace showed a tremendous amount of maturation in 2016 with vendors tackling major market opportunities surrounding the cloud, big data integration and collaboration.

• The coming year promises to build on this progress as vendor aim to make data discovery and visualization both widely accessible and fully trustworthy for everyday business users.

The data discovery and visualization marketplace during 2016 showed a tremendous amount of maturation as vendors tackled major market challenges. Vendors inured in on-premises software embraced the cloud as a strategic platform, not merely a loss leader. Solutions that historically operated at arm’s length from big data repositories opened up direct lines of communication with a wide array of data sources. And solutions that were once oriented toward insight dissemination began addressing insight discussion and collaboration, both within and beyond the confines of the boardroom. Read more of this post

Can Qlik Weather the Storm in Transitioning from Premises to Cloud?

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• As with many pure play software vendors reared on the slow but steady revenue stream of on-premises perpetual licensing, Qlik knows it must make the transition to the cloud.

• Now that the firm’s sale to Thoma Bravo is complete, Qlik is using hopeful that its newfound stature as a private company will allow the freedom necessary to endure short term disruptions in favor of long term benefits.

This week I had the pleasure of attending Qlik’s annual analyst meeting, the Qlik UnSummit, held in Miami Florida. Surprisingly, despite having endured a category four hurricane (Hurricane Matthew) just a fortnight earlier, local Miami businesses and beachgoers seemed entirely unchanged and unharmed by the storm (I know; I was there just prior to Matthew’s arrival). That’s the way forces of nature work. They are unpredictable in the extreme. You have to plan for and expect the worst all while hoping for the best, knowing that unseen and unknowable variables will ultimately decide the outcome. Read more of this post