Xen.org, the open source community behind the leading IaaS cloud computing hypervisor finally made a bold move today by stepping up to the plate of delivering a complete open source virtual infrastructure for cloud platforms. Prior to this release, Xen.org had been content to manage and maintain the core Xen hypervisor and let its partners all build solutions around it. The problem with this approach was that while the hypervisor itself was compatible between these solutions the infrastructure and how you managed it were not.
Here’s a funny finding: The youngest members of the workforce aren’t the drivers of social technology use in business. How can this be? Haven’t we been told that the generation that made MySpace and Facebook popular would be the one that dragged stodgy, old companies kicking and screaming into a 21st century where corporate hierarchy is flattened through Web 2.0? Don’t companies need to adopt wikis and blogs in order to recruit and retain Gen Yers? Well, the early returns say the answer is, “no.”
I am so glad that my Information Week article BI in Healthcare is receiving interest and mostly positive feedback. I believe that this is indeed a very important topic to write about, especially considering how behind the times the industry is, and what a unique opportunity we have right now to get it right. We so strongly believe that this is such a critical IT issue and challenge, that Forrester is even bending its own rules slightly – typically all our research is “role” based, not industry based, as we most often find that challenges and requirements by role are almost always very similar across industries. Healthcare and public sectors seem to be a big exception, and therefore, I and some of my colleagues do plan to publish more Healthcare IT specific research. For example, I am currently in the middle of surveying top 30+ BI vendors specializing in Healthcare against 40+ criteria. Stay tuned to the results of this research. And my colleague, Craig LeClair (http://www.forrester.com/rb/search/results.jsp?N=0+11226), is in the midst of conducting research on EMR best practices.
Even in the toughest times, winners will invariably emerge. With the way expectations are changing regarding corporate controls and disclosure, risk management professionals (whose lack of influence was seen as a substantial cause of our current state of affairs to begin with) will likely be among the first beneficiaries of our new outlook on business.
Forrester customer inquiries seem to have taken a step back when it comes to risk management. While there are still plenty of incoming technology and vendor selection questions, there has been a noticeable spike in calls about fundamental issues, such as how to build and organize risk management programs. Knowledge and experience in risk management basics is in high demand.
I heard an interesting comment from an executive at one of the big services firms - that application portfolio management (APM) efforts must begin by mapping business processes for the applications. I really don't agree, but thought it would make an interesting topic to discuss here. Part of the argument stems from how services firms are routinely engaged - to take action against one application or a group of applications to transform, re-engineer business processes, reengineer, refactor or otherwise modernize an application. All are useful activities and techniques, but they are not portfolio management techniques - they are modernization techniques. Modernization and APM live together on a continuum of application activity that includes in order:
Modernization - the actions we can take against an existing application - monitor & maintain, modernize in some way, replace (rewrite/pkg) or retire.
While most IT decision-makers are still quite reluctant towards the implementation of enterprise-level cloud services, a growing number of firms is nevertheless currently investigating and running pilots to establish whether those would be suitable and economically viable solutions for their businesses. With this new market opening, it's inevitable for vendors to come rushing in, and Forrester sees both IT service providers and telcos gearing up to offer cloud services to enterprise clients. Unsurprisingly, potential savings are one of drivers behind this growth in interest — and with shorter ROIs, these are particularly appealing to enterprises needing to upgrade in this climate. This emerging services technology is typically based on the concept of standardized, billing based on consumption, scalability, and access, but can vary considerably from one provider to another at this day. Web-based offerings, SaaS, PaaS and IaaS represent the typical general types of cloud services, but those are more-or-less covered depending on the current vendor capacity. On top of this, as with any emerging technology, the lack of maturity can be a hindrance. In this case, enterprise IT decision makers need to analyze vendor offerings in detail to make sure their provider has the necessary real latent capacity, that can easily be turned on or off, and that the offering is not merely a claimed utility or on-demand service capability, with the appeal of cloud services but lacking the core processes.
You can read more about this in Paul Roehrig’s series of documents "Cloud IT Services Market Overview — Real Enterprise Value Or Just Vapor?"
I had the privilege to speak to the call center director, JoAnne at InfusionSoft.com when I first started my research on the affects of social media on customer service. I had asked some of the luminaries in social CRM, like Paul Greenberg, who I should talk to. He suggested I should speak to Helpstream. Bob Warfield, the CEO of Helpstream.com connected me to JoAnne.