Quickly: Cisco's high-definition video conferencing TelePresence system will change how large companies communicate.
Last week I avoided a trip to California by having my one-day meeting with Cisco leadership via TelePresence. This is the company's next generation video conferencing. It features high-definition video, exceptional sound, and specialized rooms with the conferenced individuals "sitting" around a table with the live participants -- the pic shows my team in Boxborough MA conversing with John Chamber's team in San Jose CA. Everyone is life-sized, and the experience is a close emulation of an in-person meeting. Cisco has deployed 240 systems worldwide and has staged 120,000 meetings -- for a claimed cost savings and productivity gain of $150 million. The company calculates that it eliminated 24 million cubic feet of carbon emissions as a result.
I'll give you five seconds to recover from your pun-induced groaning [5...4...3...2...1] Now, on to the news: Open Text announced late last week that it has acquired eMotion, a software-as-a-service digital asset management (DAM) product, from Corbis. Open Text plans to rebrand eMotion as Artesia on Demand for Marketing, complementing its full-featured, installed Artesia DAM product.
IBM's PR engine has been ratcheting up the volume about its efforts in cloud computing lately and if you are like me, I found their press releases confusing, so I got them on the phone to try and get past the hype to better understand what they are really doing in this space. Turns out they have turned on a powerful listening and learning engine.
IBM’s BlueCloud initiative isn't (at least not initially) an attempt to become a cloud services provider or to become a cloud computing platform, but rather to help their customers experiment with, try out, and custom design cloud solutions to fit their needs. Building off the IBM Innovation Center concept, IBM is providing Cloud centers that are places customers from enterprise and government accounts, as well as non-IBM customers can test out cloud computing concepts, mostly for deployment internal to their own data centers. Gerrit Huizenga, the technical solutions architect for BlueCloud for IBM's Systems & Technology Group (STG) said these efforts are helping them build out a series of cloud blueprints, or proven/standardized cloud infrastructures. "Our goal is to deliver solutions that make it much easier to deploy and manage these things," Huizenga said.
[Click these links for the first and second posts in this series.]
There's no way around discussing features. Every release, you're going to add some piece of functionality. You can come up with academic-sounding names, or cute nicknames, but at the end of the day, you're talking about a feature.
However are features the right place to start? If you had to invest your time in documenting what customers want, is it better to describe a use case or a feature? Or, to use other language, should you be writing a story, or a vignette that fits into the larger story?
Increasingly, technology companies are putting more emphasis on stories, a.k.a. use cases. (Yes, I know, many people prefer to keep stories distinct from use cases different. However, for sake of this post, I'm going to blur these differences.) That's a very good thing, but not without its costs.
Looking at the choice between (a) a use case, and (b) a list of features, there's almost no contest between them. Use cases have several immediate advantages:
As a security guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the security ramifications of wireless connectivity. Wireless has evolved from a single protocol, 802.11b, to a veritable alphabet soup loosely defined as "Mobility." We now have 11a/b/g and maybe n, Bluetooth, RFID, CDMA, Wi-Max, and a bunch of other stuff that all provides wireless access, often without even a thought of security. As people scramble to have the latest, coolest, most connected devices in the company, they are tossing security right out the window.
TechCrunchIT reported today that a Rackspace data center went down for several hours during the evening due to a power grid failure. Because Rackspace is a managed service provider (MSP), the downtime affected several businesses hosted in the data center.
Over the past few months a flurry of announcements have begun swirling around the cloud computing space, which remains a nascent market in the overall IT realm. Do these announcements portend a fast maturity for the concept or just the typical "me too" that comes with a hyped market?
In June, RightScale, a cloud management software and consulting company that has become a bit of a poster child as a cloud integrator, announced a partnership with GigaSpaces that integrates their eXtreme Application Platform (XAP) clustering and cache solution with the RightScale automated cloud management platform for Amazon EC2 clients. The value of this partnership comes from the fact that EC2 simply provides you with a VM you can populate but no availability or scalability services. XAP is a cluster architecture that delivers these values and can be quickly and easily deployed via the RightScale tool.
Next came Elastra, a San Francisco startup building a Cloud Server, a middleware layer that turns a commodity infrastructure into a cloud (similar value to what 3Tera provides today). The first iteration deploys similarly to XAP -- as a software layer you load into EC2 VMs, that enables scale and availability to the apps you lay on top of it.
Earlier this week, if you happened to read any of my research on our site, you might have been scratching your head at my "new" photo, as seen below:
You might have asked yourself, "What has happened to one of my favorite Forrester analysts?" Was it the result of a) a face lift; b) gender reassignment surgery; c) successful prayers to the patron saint of the un-photogenic (when a good friend first saw my original photo last year, she asked in her typical blunt fashion, "Why do you look so puffy and awful?")
Certain words in the technology industry lexicon are so unspecific that they obscure more than they describe. Customization is one such word. Another is customer.
Who needs your products and services? Not General Motors. Not McGill University. Not the US Department of Labor. Instead, the collection of people, procedures, and problems that constitute a project define who the "customer" really is.
I learned the importance of this distinction by way of customer references. Everyone wants to have a Name Brand Customer as a reference. However, notoriety has nothing to do with customer success. A Big Name Manufacturer had less success, due to internal politics, than Dinky Manufacturer. Of course, dazzled with the glamour of working with Big Name Car Manufacturer, we wasted a lot of effort on trying to help people who, in all frankness, didn't really value our help, because they weren't ready to receive it.