OpenStack Is Moving To A New Stage

Charlie Dai

Unfortunately, visa issues prevented me from attending the OpenStack summit in Vancouver last week — despite submitting my application to the Canadian embassy in Beijing 40 days in advance! However after following extensive online discussions of the event and discussing it with vendors and peers, I would say that OpenStack is moving to a new phase, for two reasons:

  • The rise of containers is laying the foundation for the next level of enterprise readiness. Docker’s container technology has become a major factor in the evolution of OpenStack components. Docker drivers have been implemented for the key components of Nova and Heat for extended computing and orchestration capabilities, respectively. The Magnum project aiming at container services allows OpenStack to create clusters with Kubernetes (k8s) by Google and Swarm by Docker.com. The Murano project contributed by Mirantis aiming at application catalog services is also integrated with k8s.
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Cloud Foundry Is Evolving Toward Agility Via Container-Empowered Micro-services

Charlie Dai

The Cloud Foundry Foundation held its 2015 Summit recently in Santa Clara, attracting 1,500 application developers, operation experts, technical and business managers, service providers, and community contributors. After listening to the presentations and discussions, I believe that Cloud Foundry —one of the major platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings —is making a strategic shift from its traditional focus on application staging and execution to a new emphasis on micro-service composition. This is a key factor that will help companies gain the agility they need for both technology management and business transformation. Here’s what I learned:

  • Containers are critical for micro-service-based agility. Container based micro-services are getting momentum: IBM presented their latest Bluemix UI micro-services architecture; while SAP introduced their latest practice on Docker. Containers can encapsulate fine-grained business logic as micro-services for dynamic composition, which will greatly simplify development and deployment of applications, helping firms achieve continuous delivery to meet dynamic business requirements. This is why Forrester believes that the combination of containers and micro-services will prove irresistible for developers.
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Enterprise Mobile Application Technologies TechRadar

Pamela Heiligenthal

I am launching an upcoming TechRadar methodology report that will look at the technologies that enable enterprises to deploy, monitor and manage mobile applications and company-owned devices, as well best practices to help refine our research.

I've identified eight technologies in this space:

  • Beta Distribution Tools
  • Enterprise Application Stores
  • Enterprise Mobile Management
  • Image Management and Configuration
  • Mobile Application Management
  • Mobile Application Performance Management
  • Mobile Device Management
  • Mobile Operations Management

Ultimately, we hope to accurately predict the long-term viability and business value of each technology over the next 5-10 years.

Your level of insight would be invaluable for me to complete this research. If you are interested in participating, feel free to leave a comment below or send an email to pheiligenthal@forrester.com and I will send you the details.

In appreciation for your time, we will provide you with a courtesy copy of the final report. Credit for your company’s participation will also be attributed unless you wish to remain anonymous.

Systems Of Insight Will Power Digital Business

Brian  Hopkins

In digital business analytics, only delivering insight at the point of action matters. Did your customer get the right information, in context, at her moment of need? Did your firm use that engagement to make the right offer and up sell? Do your sales or call center reps have the insight they need to set priorities or meet customers needs efficiently? Talk of big data, advanced analytics, and agile BI is all about turning data into insight. But that is only part of the solution. How is your firm systematically testing insights and finding those that matter? How are you embedding insights in the software that your customers and employees use to engage? Are you even thinking about how to tap all the data that results from that engagement to find out what worked and what didn’t?

If you are not addressing all of these holistically, then Hadoop and that shiny new predictive analytics or streaming tool that sit on it are going to leave your business wanting. Don’t get caught in the trap.

My colleague Ted Schadler and I spent a year researching what it really takes to be successful; we found many companies drowning in data and starving for insight that made a difference. But a few leaders were working at the beginnings of closed loop systems to: 1) discover the insights that matter most; 2) embed them into the software their customers and employees use to engage; and 3) continuously measure and learn from the results.

We call these “systems of insight” and believe they will be the engines that power the digital business of the future.

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Microsoft Azure In China

Charlie Dai

Have you seen the movie Birdman — the one that just won the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars? It’s about a middle-aged man who was once a popular movie star but has been criticized throughout his career and how he finally achieved a breakthrough performance and found great success in a Broadway production of the play What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.

The story of Microsoft Azure is similar. Microsoft was hugely popular in the age of the PC but has sailed into troubled waters in the cloud era. But now — a year after Azure’s commercial launch in China — CIOs and EA professionals must understand how and where Azure might impact their existing MSFT technology investments to achieve business transformation. Azure is one of the leading forces driving cloud adoption in China. We attribute this to the progress that Microsoft has made by:

  • Expanding product offerings.Microsoft Azure now has local products in four key categories: compute, network, data, and application. Beyond basic components like virtual machines, websites, storage, and content delivery networks, Azure also has advanced features that are important for Chinese customers to address their unique challenges, including mobile services for the rapid development of mobile apps to accommodate the massive shift to mobile; a service bus for integration to eliminate information silos in the cloud; and HDInsight for big data capabilities to gain the customer insights necessary to compete with digital disruption from local Internet companies.
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Lexmark Acquires Kofax- Becomes A Major Force To Help Companies Digitize Operational Processes

Craig Le Clair

This latest Lexmark move is harder to assess than previous major acquisitions. Give  the Perceptive acquisition an  A, Brainware  a B -,  and Pallas maybe a  C+. The Kofax merger, on the other hand, has two legitimate views and lets start with the positive. Kofax has indeed assembled a range of complimentary components that fit well with Lexmark's market ambition. The key asset of interest is the TotalAgility (KTA) platform and its related components. These enhance Lexmark's process platform that was based on the Pallas, too low a market share and Perceptive’s document-focused workflow. KTA, by contrast,  has a true case platform and is well integrated with the industry-leading capture platform. Kofax has never had been in the ECM space. They are now with one of the strongest. And the list goes on. Brainware will boost forms processing for Kofax' invoice processing customers. The AltoSoft BI tool adds analytics strength that Lexmark did not have. Data integration is improved with Kapow. A top E-Signature product (Softpro) and a growing CCM platform from AiA are all good pickups. These last two fit well with Lexmark’s transitioning MPS business.

The drawback here is that Kofax’s go to market positioning and execution is nowhere near complete, and needs entrepreneurial energy and execution to get there. Perhaps Lexmark can help - but Kofax will now be part of a larger company that has transition issues of its own. Perhaps more importantly, Lexmark may find itself devoting significant investment dollars to purchase a legacy document capture business that has moderate long term value. We estimate around $200m of Kofax’ current business derives from this market with revenue in this area more likely to decline then accelerate. Lexmark would then find itself devoting a lot of management attention to minimizing the impact of that decline.

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EA And Transformation - And The 2015 Enterprise Architecture Awards

Alex Cullen

Enterprise architecture programs deal in change – that’s where EA provides value.  And the businesses and government organizations they are part of are in the midst of a lot of change.  Witness the accelerating turnover in the Fortune 1000, or how Apple is poised to be a powerhouse in electronic payments, or how healthcare is being transformed by new technologies and new entrants.  Market dynamics and digitally-powered competitors are forcing organizations to find new ways to acquire and retain their customers. That means change, and change brings opportunity and risk.  Successful firms navigate these changes better when they have the insights that a high-performance, business-focused enterprise architecture program provides. 

For this year’s Enterprise Architecture Awards, sponsored by InfoWorld and Forrester Research with the Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Enterprise Architecture, we are seeking entries from EA leaders who have helped their business change.  For example:

  • Helping their organization engage more agilely with their business and customer ecosystem
  • Translating high level business strategies into plans of change
  • Guiding a business’s digital transformation
  • Engaging with product, marketing, sales and customer experience initiatives to accelerate results

We’re also looking for EA programs who have transformed themselves to make their value easier to consume by the organization they are part of – for example, by:

  • Restructuring their operating model away from the traditional data, application and technology domains to the new competencies of digital customer experience architecture or  digital operational excellence
  • Enabling more flexible architecture practices through architecture zoning or greater federation with other resources
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Big Data, Welcome To Those Awkward Teenage Years

Brian  Hopkins

Just a few years ago, when big data was associated primarily with Hadoop, it was like a precocious child…fun for adults, but nobody took it seriously. I’m attending Strata in San Jose this February, and I can see things have changed. Attendance doubled from last year and many of the attendees are the business casual managers – not the blue jeaned developers and admins of days gone by. Big data is maturing and nobody takes it lightly anymore.

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Big Changes In Information-related Roles And Processes -- Evolution Or Apocalypse?

Gene Leganza
It’s not news that business user self-service for access to information and analytics is hot. What might not be as obvious is the overhaul of information-related roles that is happening now as a result. What’s driving this? The hunger for data (big, fast, and otherwise) to feed insights, very popular data visualization tools, and new but rapidly spreading technology that puts sophisticated data exploration and manipulation tools in the hands of business users. 
 
One impact is that classic tech management functions such as data modeling and data integration are moving into business-side roles. I can’t help but be reminded of Bill Murray’s apocalyptic vision from “Ghostbusters:” “Dogs and cats, living together… mass hysteria!” Is this the end of rational, orderly data management as we know it? Haven’t central tech management organizations always seen business-side tech decision-making (and purchasing, and implementation) as “rogue” behavior that needed to be governed out of existence? If organizations have trouble now keeping data for analytics at the right level of quality in data warehouses, won’t all this introduction of new data sources and data lakes and whatnot just make things worse?
 
Well, my answers are “no,” “yes,” and “no” in that order. The big changes that are afoot are not the end of order and even though “business empowerment” translates to “rogue IT” in some circles, data lakes/hubs and the infusion of 3rd party data have actually been delivering on their promise of faster, better business insights for the organizations doing it right. 
 
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This Time, AI Is Truly Here To Help Build Intelligent Applications

Diego Lo Giudice

What’s taken artificial intelligence (AI) so long? We invented AI capabilities like first-order logical reasoning, natural-language processing, speech/voice/vision recognition, neural networks, machine-learning algorithms, and expert systems more than 30 years ago, but aside from a few marginal applications in business systems, AI hasn’t made much of a difference. The business doesn’t understand how or why it could make a difference; it thinks we can program anything, which is almost true. But there’s one thing we fail at programming: our own brain — we simply don’t know how it works.

What’s changed now? While some AI research still tries to simulate our brain or certain regions of it — and is frankly unlikely to deliver concrete results anytime soon — most of it now leverages a less human, but more effective, approach revolving around machine learning and smart integration with other AI capabilities.

What is machine learning? Simply put, sophisticated software algorithms that learn to do something on their own by repeated training using big data. In fact, big data is what’s making the difference in machine learning, along with great improvements in many of the above AI disciplines (see the AI market overview that I coauthored with Mike Gualtieri and Michele Goetz on why AI is better and consumable today). As a result, AI is undergoing a renaissance, developing new “cognitive” capabilities to help in our daily lives.

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