Microsoft brings Windows Azure to China – is this the start of a new era?

Charlie Dai

Back in October 2011, Microsoft named the initiative to introduce Windows Azure cloud platform into the Chinese market “Moon Cake,” which represents harmony and happiness in Chinese culture. On May 23, 2013, Microsoft made the announcement in Shanghai that Windows Azure will be available in Chinese market starting on June 6 —  almost half a year after its agreement with Shanghai government and 21ViaNet to operate Windows Azure together last November. Chinese customers will finally be able to “taste” this foreign moon cake.

I believe that a new chapter of cloud is going to be written by a new ecosystem in China market, and Microsoft will be the leader of this disruption. My reasons:

  • The cloud market in China will be more disrupted. Due to the regulatory limitations on data center and related telecom value-added services operations for foreign players, the cloud market for both infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) has been an easy battlefield for local players, such as Alibaba/HiChina. Microsoft’s innovative way working with both government and local service partners to break through this “great wall” shows all of the major global giants, such as Amazon.com, the great opportunity from this approach to the Chinese market. We can anticipate that they will also enter the Chinese market in the coming six to 18 months.
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Hybrid Cloud Future? Too Late!

James Staten

I've noticed a bit of a disturbing pattern of late in my cloud discussions with clients. They have been talking about hybrid cloud in the future tense. If you are planning for hybrid down the road, I have a wake up call for you. Too late, you are already hybrid. 

If your company has even a single SaaS application in use today I can almost gurantee you it's connected to something inside your data center giving you hybrid cloud. So hybrid isn't a future state after you have a private cloud in place and IT Ops chooses to connect that private cloud to a public cloud. Look at it through the lens of a business process or application service which is composed of different components, some cloud-based, some on-premise. From an Infrastructure & Operations perspective, hybrid cloud means a cloud service connected to any other corporate resource (a back office app, your web site, your intranet, another SaaS app you have under contract and yes, even your private cloud). Any of these types of connections presents the same integration impact - whether you established the connection or not.  If you are like the typical enterprise, that answered our Forrsights Q4 2012 Software Survey, then you have more than six SaaS applications in place today (that you know about) so cloud integration is likely well in place today. And about one third of the developers who responded to our Forrsights Q1 2013 Developer Survey said they have already deployed applications to the public cloud. Twenty-five percent also admitted to putting application integrations in place. 

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BPM Vendors Hint At New Ways To Navigate Complex Work

Clay Richardson

Earlier this month I attended IBM Impact in Las Vegas where the software vendor announced new enhancements and features for their BPM suite product. On the face of it, the announcement sounded a bit underwhelming, with heavy emphasis on updating core functionality that was needed to remain competitive in the market.  However, one bullet in the announcement stood out:

  • “Significant enhancements to the IBM BPM built-in dashboards to help improve business process outcomes and enable the creation of custom dashboards.”
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Healthcare – an industry transformed by technology. Could you be the Forrester analyst to cover it?

Alex Cullen

The healthcare industry is undergoing transformation.  What’s driving this?  A wide range of factors, from new regulations and government programs, to new treatments and approaches,  to perpetually rising costs.  To thrive in this environment, , Forrester believes healthcare providers and payers must embrace four critical imperatives that will provide the most transformational impact:

  • The Age of the Customer.  Health insurance has historically focused on plans and subscribers, and healthcare providers on patients in treatment.  But both of these industries – like many others, are now seeing the need to be Customer-centric, and to engage their customers in a holistic and personalized way.
  • Mobile engagement.  These customers use mobile as an extension of their daily life.  Smart healthcare providers and payers are using this to provide services to keep their customers healthy, not just treat them when they come to a clinic.
  • Insights through Big Data and analytics.  To engage these customers, healthcare firms needs more insights into who they are, how they live, and how best to serve them.  Enter the opportunities provided by the confluence of Big Data, Social, Open Data, predictive analytics and smart business processes.
  • Digital disruption.  Healthcare is big business, dominated by big firms.  But at the other end of the spectrum are nimble innovators with mobile apps, health monitoring devices and social tools.  Are they competitors or potential partners?  How should these big firms bring digital disruption techniques into their business?
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Have Your Cake And Eat It Too!

Derek Miers

 

How can your firm deliver great, loyalty-inspiring customer experience – and achieve its efficiency objectives?

Firms that want to boost Return on Equity (ROE) or Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) must improve productivity.  And in a very real sense Productivity = value / resources.  But too often, the role of IT is to reduce the denominator – resources, and usually leave the numerator – value, to someone else to worry about. So many EA professionals are expected to deliver cost or risk reduction - reducing the resources required for delivery of that value, or the risk associated with that delivery. They usually take an inside-out view with a primary focus on efficiency; and struggle to engage with the value delivery side of the equation.

But if productivity = value / resources, then the challenge is to both reduce resources and deliver enhanced value.   The opportunity for Business Architecture and BPM professionals is to connect great customer outcomes and experiences (the value side of the equation) to scalable and efficient back office operations within the organization. That’s “both/and” – not “either/or.”

But how do you do that?

Generally speaking, business people don’t really care too much for efficiency. They come to work for the value they deliver to their customers; not the reductionist philosophy of cutting costs. If you want to engage them on a journey toward performance improvement, leading with the efficiency side of the equation can be a mistake.

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Why Maturity Models for Data Governance are irrelevant in the Data Economy?

Henry Peyret

 

There are multiple maturity models and associated assessments for Data Governance on the market. Some are from software vendors, or from consulting companies, which use these as the basis for selling services.  Others are from professional groups like the one from the Data Governance Council.

They are all good – but frankly not adequate for the data economy many companies are entering into.  I think it is useful to reshuffle some too well established ideas...

Maturity models in general are attractive because:

-                       Using a maturity model is nearly a ‘no-brainer’ exercise. You run an assessment and determine your current maturity level. Then you can make a list of the actions which will drive you to the next level. You do not need to ask your business for advice, nor involve too many people for interviews.

-                       Most data governance maturity models are modeled on the very well known CMMI. That means that they are similar at least in terms of structure/levels. So the debate between the advantages of one vs another is limited to its level of detail.

But as firms move into the data economy – with what this means for their sourcing, analyzing and leveraging data, I think that today’s maturity models for data governance are becoming less relevant – and even an impediment:

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MDM Is About Golden Profiles

Michele Goetz

There is a shift underway with master data management (MDM) that can't be ignored. It is no longer good enough to master domains in a silo and think of MDM as an integration tool. First-generation implementations have provided success to companies seeking to manage duplication, establishing a master definition, and consolidating data into a data warehouse. All good things. However, as organizations embrace federated environments and put big data architectures into wider use, these built-for-purpose MDM implementations are too narrowly focused and at times as rigid as the traditional data management platforms they support.

Yet, it doesn't have to be that way. By nature, MDM is meant to provide flexibility and elasticity to managing both single and multiple master domains. First, MDM has to be redefined from a data integration tool to a data modeling tool. Then, MDM is better aligned to business patterns and information needs, as it is designed by business context.

Enter The Golden Profile

When the business wants to put master data to use it is about how to have a view of a domain. The business doesn't think in terms of records, it thinks about using the data to improve customer relationships, grow the business, improve processes, or any host of other business tasks and objectives. A golden profile fits this need by providing the definition and framework that flexes to deliver master data based on context. It can do so because it is driven by data relationships.  

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2012 EA Award Winners — Where Are They Now?

Alex Cullen

The InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards recognize excellent EA programs — ones that due to their business focus, and strategic yet pragmatic orientation, provide sustained value to their business. I caught up with two of our 2012 winners to find out what they have been doing in the year since their award submission. I was specifically interested in hearing:

  • Have there been changes to business strategy or IT strategy since one year ago that they’ve had to respond to? 
  • What would they say has been their greatest accomplishment over the past year?
  • The priorities for their EA programs today — changes in the scope, mission, or organization?
  • What would they say is a key learning of their EA program, or the larger IT organization about making EA effective?
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Big Data: The Big Divide Between IT and Business

Michele Goetz

 

I met with a group of clients recently on the evolution of data management and big data.  One retailer asked, “Are you seeing the business going to external sources to do Big Data?”

My first reaction was, “NO!” Yet, as I thought about it more and went back to my own roots as an analyst, the answer is most likely, “YES!”

Ignoring nomenclature, the reality is that the business is not only going to external sources for big data, but they have been doing it for years.  Think about it; organizations that have considered data a strategic tool have invested heavily in big data going back to when mainframes came into vogue.  More recently, banking, retail, consumer packaged goods, and logistics have marquis case studies on what sophisticated data use can do. 

Before Hadoop, before massive parallel processing, where did the business turn?  Many have had relationships with market research organizations, consultancies, and agencies to get them the sophisticated analysis that they need. 

Think about the fact, too, that at the beginning of social media, it was PR agencies that developed the first big data analysis and visualization of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook influence.  In a past life, I worked at ComScore Networks, an aggregator and market research firm analyzing and trending online behavior.  When I joined, they had the largest and fastest growing private cloud to collect web traffic globally. Now, that was big data.

Today, the data paints a split picture.  When surveying IT across various surveys, social media and online analysis is a small percentage of business intelligence and analytics that is supported.  However, when we look to the marketing and strategy clients at Forrester, there is a completely opposite picture. 

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What’s Cooking – Emerging Tech Update 2013 (Part 1)

Brian  Hopkins

 

As the analyst covering all things emerging information technology, I spend a bit of time watching web and social feeds looking for interesting and potentially disruptive stuff. Fortunately, it’s a good time for me to be doing this, as there are all kinds of things going on. I’ve decided to pass some of the best on to my readers in periodic “What’s Cooking” posts.

Here are a few items you might want to check out:

  • Major updates in battery technology will redefine what it means to be mobile. Mobile devices must be, well, mobile so they need a battery. Current technology limits the time a mobile device can spend away from a charging station and put some shape limitations on device shapes. This will change – check out: 1) Flexible Battery Could Lead to Gadgets That Fold Up, and 2) Battery Breakthrough Offers 30 Times More Power, Charges 1,000 Times Faster.
  • Digital currency will turn retail and financial services on its head, eventually. Digital currency fascinates me, especially the enigmatic Bitcoin creator and its so far unbreakable code*. Also the way you have to mine for more coins is very interesting. Whether or not Bitcoin succeeds as the de facto standard, I think digital currency is inevitable and the more firms that accept is, the crazier things will get. Check out The Antisocial Network of Bitcoins.
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