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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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

That’s Right, IoT Needs the Outdated Notion of Middleware

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• One of the greatest challenges with IoT isn’t device instrumentation or even data storage or analysis. It’s integration and how you move instrumented data (at speed) between endpoint, edge device, gateway, processing engine, data lake and analytics software.

• This focus on data integration coupled with the emergence of cloud-born software development/deployment practices will lead to a resurgence among traditional middleware vendors TIBCO, Software AG and Red Hat.

Memory deceives us so gently sometimes, like an old friend whispering in our ear, telling us that what has gone was so much nicer than what we have now. For me, I miss my childhood friends and home, my days at college, and most certainly my clear case Apple Newton. My recollections of those times and artifacts are so real, so warm and reassuring. And of course they’re each an absolute lie, as proven time and again by scientific research. We create the past anew each time we draw a memory to the forefront of our attention. Read more of this post

Dear HPE, When it Comes to Big Data, All Software is “Core”

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• HPE is no longer burdened by application delivery management, IT operations management, big data, enterprise security, and information management software, all of which it termed to be “non-core.”

• Unfortunately, with the sale of these offerings to Micro Focus, HPE has dropped the very thing that would have driven forward its newfound remaining portfolio, namely business value.

Not even a full year has passed since HPE broke off from Hewlett-Packard Company and re-launched as HPE last November, creating a standalone company equipped with a pretty impressive software portfolio covering the cloud, data center infrastructure, and workplace applications. That was a lot to take in, given the storied history of Hewlett-Packard Company. But I think the data and analytics industry looked favorably on the idea of HPE as an enterprise-oriented firm, especially one in possession of software assets like Vertica, IDOL, and Haven.
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Let Public Cloud Platforms be Your Last Battlefield

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

• SAP has just announced that its new, real-time data warehouse, SAP BW/4HANA, will run equally well on both SAP- and Amazon-run cloud platforms.

• This push to use the public cloud, not as a point of exclusion (our software only runs on our cloud!), but as a point of value on its own will benefit both SAP and its customers through a virtuous circle of choice.

I proudly admit that I’m a serious Trekkie (not to be confused with those oddballs who call themselves Trekkers) and that many of my expectations of how technology and society should work are colored by my exposure to the idealistic stories created by Gene Roddenberry. For instance, I believe technology should make our lives better and that it should serve as a symbiotic partner rather than as an end unto itself, or worse as a means of exclusion. I’m talking to you, Facebook! But I also understand that at this stage in our cultural evolution, money drives innovation, and competitive differentiation, in turn, drives money. Exclusion and inclusion each push and pull value (read money and innovation) in a seemingly virtuous cycle. Read more of this post