Investors Bank and Trust CSO Jeff Bardin wrote an interesting blog post in May about how companies "taken private" by private-equity firms were cutting back on audit and security staff now that they were no longer subject to Sarbanes-Oxley.
This got me thinking that perhaps the recent credit crunch might be good for us security people in a couple of ways. First of all, less credit means less cash available to finance these deals that endanger the security budget. More importantly though, businesses are going to be more attuned to how making risky business decisions can have far ranging effects, and before taking these decisions they should be more informed about how big those risks are. Heightened awareness of risk-reward principles can only be a good thing for a security guy who is able to talk about risks in business language, and draw parallels between what is happening in the marketplace with the way an organization takes decisions around security.
When Forrester first published the report The Information Workplace Will Redefine The World Of Work At Last in June of 2005, we described the Information Workplace as contextual, role-based, seamless, guided, visual, and multimodal. We included some Web 2.0 technologies like blogs and wikis in our discussion about the elements of the Information Workplace. But the impact Web 2.0 will have on the way people work goes way beyond new collaboration tools. With Web 2.0:
The question of measuring ROI of social computing is hot because it's so much a part of enterprise software acquisition. As information and knowledge management professionals move to get ahead of this emerging technology curve, they find a very consistent pattern:
People are using this stuff! Blogs and wikis in particular are popping up everywhere. Why not? They are easy to access, often free, and they are dead simple to use. It's one of those permission / forgiveness things. We've all done it.
If people are using these things that IT doesn't know about, there is no way of ensuring security, privacy, availability, governance, compliance, risk mitigation and all of those good things that keep the organization running and employees out of trouble (maybe even jail!).
Most really don't want to shut it down because in many instances these are more efficient solutions than those provided by the organization. These tools are often just easier and better for generating and publishing content.
The natural inclination in this situation would be to bring in the tradtional software vendors and see if they can support these new technology directions. Not surprisingly, a number of big vendors are ready and willing to help, including BEA, IBM/Lotus, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP.
Sounds great. Lots of reasons to go with one of the big vendors (see bullet 2).
How much will it cost? How much will it give back? In other words, can the acquisition be justified with a strong return on investment analysis?
I get many questions on dashboards and scorecards and the role these tools play in BI (Business Intelligence). If we use Forrester’s definition of BI — a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information — then we see that dashboards are just the tip of the BI iceberg. One cannot build “just a dashboard”, without considering, architecting and implementing many other necessary BI layers and components such as data integration (ETL, data quality, etc), analytics (OLAP), metrics management, and many supporting components such as collaboration, knowledge management, metadata and master data management, and others. So that’s the first key takeaway: do not be fooled by 2nd tier dashboard vendor claims that one can implement an enterprise wide dashboard easily and inexpensively.
Let’s start with definitions, since I see the terms dashboards and scorecards used interchangeably:
Dashboards are just one style of interactive user interface, designed to deliver historical, current, and predictive information typically represented by key performance indicators (KPIs) using visual cues to focus user attention on important conditions, trends and exceptions.
Scorecards are a type of a dashboard which link KPIs to goals, objectives and strategies. Many scorecards follow a certain methodology, such as Balanced Scorecard, Six Sigma, Capability Maturity Models, etc.
Other types of dashboards include Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) dashboards and visualizations of data / text mining operations.
I met with emerging storage vendor Compellent this week at their brand new eco-friendly headquarters in Eden Prairie, MN, outside of Minneapolis, and I was excited. I have thought of Compellent in terms of SMB to mid-market solutions that leverage industry standard server components and advanced software to create feature rich storage solutions at low cost. The fact that a third of the Compellent customer base uses single controller systems pushed my thinking towards SMB, in spite of advanced features like unlimited snapshots, thin provisioning, and broad functional convergence.
Thin client market leader Wyse Technology announced on Monday a partnership with Novell to supply the SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client OS on “next generation” Wyse terminals. The announcement comes fresh off the heals of its primary competitor’s acquisition of Neoware, a significant development for Linux on a thin client. Wyse’s move allows customers a better choice of Linux operating systems and also enables companies to standardize on a common Linux platform across desktops and thin clients.
Oracle, this week at LinuxWorld in San Francisco, announced an enhancement to its Oracle Enterprise Manager that gives DBAs and application administrators full ability to manipulate and manage the Linux operating system. While not a breakthrough by any means, it does allow these administrators to move down the stack into the realm of the server admin. Its most common use will be in test and dev environments, where server administrators would rather not spend their time, but doesn't preclude these admins from managing the OS in production, something that rattles most server administrators.
Do we need an open file format standard? ABSOLUTELY! We've published in the past why enterprises need an open file format standard to address longevity concerns. And I believe having an open file format will lead to greater innovation. Just imagine the new tools and applications that can be developed knowing that the mountains of information captured and stored in documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other office documents could be accessed and manipulated through supported and adopted standard means.
In today's LinuxWorld session by Simon Crosby, CTO of XenSource, and shepherd of the Xen open source project made the contention that the open source community is holding itself back by not ensuring compatibility between Xen, KVM and the other open source virtualization efforts. He's right to a degree in that standards for foundation functions would allow the greater community to enhance virtualization for all, but should we honestly hold out hope of this happening? As is always the case in the open source world, the crowd goes where the excitement is and popularity wins. It would be a waste of the community's efforts to try and drive standardization where it isn't wanted and to try and ensure compatibility between competing implementations when everyone expects a winner to emerge.
Enterprise customers want things they can count on, especially if they are pitched for use in production. The fickleness of the open source community runs counter to this desire which keeps open source technologies in the fringe until a commercial entity hardens them and wraps them in professional support offerings. This commercialization collects the interest of the community that wants to make a profit and, voila, the winner emerges. It's not the community that holds back open source projects its failure to bridge the desires of the commercial customers and ISVs and the community enthusiasts - the key to this is collective advancement of the chosen project.
LinuxWorld — In the opening keynote today, the CTO of Amazon came on stage to talk about next generation data centers but stopped to draw attention to what he called "the elephant in the room."
He said the elephant was that in our pursuit of delivering business value we spend 70 percent of our time on undifferentiating heavy lifting — data center management. His answer: Get out of the data center business because he has space in his own to sell you in the form of their Elastic Compute Cloud.