I’ve recently returned from IBM Global Services Annual Analyst Event held May 1-2, 2008 in New York City. At this event, IBM leadership revealed an extensive study titled “The Enterprise of The Future”. IBM conducted detailed interviews with over 1,100 CEOs, general managers, and senior public sector and business leaders, across 40 countries and 32 industries. Their discussions revealed a clear correlation between organizations’ ability to execute within constant change and their financial performance. The study also identified five key elements in the corporate DNA of companies who successfully navigating the constant sea of business change:
• Hungry for change. Firms not only survive it, but accept it as a constant, seek it out and thrive on it.
• Innovative beyond customer imagination. Firms constantly delight their customers and constantly raise their own bar, and thus their customers (and thus outpace their competition).
• Globally integrated*. Firms actively work their global network, establishing and leveraging global Centers of Excellence and applying their resources seamlessly across their value chain.
• Disruptive by nature. Firms constantly reinvent themselves and position their business and process models to quickly shift (and anticipate) market demands.
• Genuine, not just generous. Firms engage stakeholders—NGOs, customers, their own employees—to “do well by doing good”.
Virtualization is a term that gets plenty of press and even more refinement in terms of its definition. It is valid, however, to cite virtualization, in its many forms, as a driver of IT imperatives. In terms of Cisco's recent announcement of its Cisco Motion offering, I'm not referring to the virtualization of operating systems or enterprise to run on consolidated hardware, or the use of AJAX to bring rich applications to your desktop via a browser and eschewing a hard drive footprint, in Cisco's case I'm talking about what could be called "de-virtualization."
Cisco Motion, through its Mobility Services Engine (MSE) takes many of the interoperability benefits previously achieved thorough the use of mobile middleware software such as Sybase's iAnywhere solution, and places these capabilities in an appliance server that resides in the network closet. Mobility? In hardware? In short, yes. There is a lot under the hood that makes this announcement by Cisco more than just another appliance.
Imagine the ability to account for information on device whereabouts, capabilities and readiness published from all devices interacting with the network -- wired and wireless -- regardless of network egress point. This is possible as the MSE makes use of a protocol, an overlay of sorts, the Cisco Network Mobility Services Protocol (NMSP) to unite applications making them "wireless aware" across a number of devices, protocols and networks.
With June 30th just one month away, your business may be feeling pressure to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista. But don't panic if you're not ready. Three of the world's largest PC manufacturers have announced that they will continue support for Windows XP on new PCs when customers exercise their Windows Vista downgrade rights. The best part of the downgrade process is that when you're ready to move to Windows Vista, you have already purchased the license for it. So the upgrade should be "free." And why is Microsoft allowing this? Because machines shipping after a Windows Vista downgrade (hence, with Windows XP) still count as shipped Windows Vista licenses, which allows Microsoft to continue touting how well Vista is selling.
Here's a quick guide to the Windows Vista downgrade process by PC manufacturer for all of the businesses that aren't yet ready for Windows Vista.
Moody’s recently launched their Vendor Information Risk (VIR) ratings service. The main objective of this service is to reduce the overall burden of conducting risk assessments for organizations, as well as their service providers. The whole idea being that if Moody’s can do a risk assessment on behalf of multiple subscribers, it can make the assessment process a lot more efficient. The service provider will not have to go through multiple assessments and the subscribers will share the cost, and therefore have a much lower price point.
Many CISOs I talk to are sick of performing third party risk assessments; it takes up valuable time, is expensive, and most importantly, pulls resources away from doing actual security work within the company. On the other hand service providers are also having a hard time keeping up with these assessments. A compliance manager at a large service provider estimated that they responded to over 300 audit requests in 2007, and that number would be around 400 in 2008. Thus, a service like this could potentially save millions of dollars for service providers and subscribers.
Research In Motion (RIM) and SAP’s recent announcement of a strategic partnership means more choices for SAP CRM users and buyers. By offering a native Blackberry™ application for SAP CRM, sales users no longer have to rely on carrier networks and sub-optimal browser experiences to access critical CRM data. Previous handheld solutions for SAP CRM required users to access information via a browser. The experience was often kluge, and cumbersome. Separately, from an overall market perspective, browser based solutions are losing favor in the handheld CRM solution space. A supply-side shift is occurring in the market to offer mobile apps that natively reside on the app. This is primarily due to user demands for rich, higher performing apps that deliver sub-second results and don’t require users to perform the same activity multiple times; like sending the same http request by repeatedly clicking a “submit” or “save” button on a web page because the request times out, or the device’s wireless signal is interrupted.
The last of the service packs for Windows XP (SP3) was released to manufacturing last month and to the Web on May 6 after a delay to fix compatibility with Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS). SP3 contains the usual rollup of all the fixes and patches along with several (mainly security) enhancements including black hole router detection and network access protection (NAP). Don’t expect any new features or new versions of Internet Explorer or Media Player, however, given that Microsoft has turned its focus to Windows Vista and subsequently "Windows 7."
As with any SP release, the Microsoft support forums were immediately flooded with some irate consumers. The most consistent complaint was of endless reboot cycles on AMD-powered machines. This error was quickly traced back to mistakes made on the part of HP that have still not been resolved. However, the majority of consumers and businesses alike should expect a non-event in upgrading.
Wow. Microsoft opened up today, taking a nearly 180-degree turn to announce its intent to support ODF, PDF, and XPS. Overall, this is a great, positive move. While unexpected, it's not surprising. Microsoft has been moving towards more open standards, like with its recent DAISY XML initiative. But it's also a no-brainer. Sticking exclusively with its competing Open XML was divisive, complicating IT's efforts to leverage the benefits that open source XML provides.
But before we get too warm and fuzzy about this change of heart, remember: It's only an announcement of intent. The relationships with the OASIS Technical Committee and the ISO/IEC are not official and confirmed. The success of this strategy will only be realized if there are no hard feelings, and Microsoft doesn't try to bully into the committees' efforts. I suspect that Microsoft will be welcomed aboard, however. Certainly because the resources will be welcomed, but also because these organizations would be hard-pressed to deny Microsoft a seat at the table without looking divisive themselves.
There are three major components to today's announcement:
NAC is an ever evolving topic in its
definition and understanding. For me, NAC remains a curiosity. Our clients
crave deploying it, but remain stymied by its ever evolving nature. NAC today
is about enforcement, policy, and posture. Adding to the mix of these features
is better identity for your users and asset management for your non-computing
network attached end points. This last issue is actually becoming a real sore
point as more IP enabled devices start to show up on your network. IT managers
are brainstorming ways to track, monitor and manage end point devices such as
printers, faxes, IP phones, badge readers, HVAC systems, wireless access
points, etc. Yet most NAC solutions
today don’t adequately extend access control to these non-computing endpoints.
In fact, many just require you create a white-list and allow these devices to
bypass any authentication and access control framework.
How is your organization preparing to adopt and implement its
roadmap for IP telephony? Although IP telephony adoption has reached the
mainstream and most organizations have deployed it in several locations, future
planning should also consider how unified communications (UC) will transform
enterprise communications by offering new capabilities that facilitate business
processes and integrate voice into the desktop.
The workplace landscape is dramatically changing -- fueling
new requirements for voice communication and mobility within most organizations.
Top trends fueling this change include rapid growth in remote workforce, expanding
global coverage, proliferation of mobile devices, and the onslaught of various social