It’s no surprise that digital disruption is everywhere. Empowered customers are disrupting every industry, and infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders must adapt to this new reality. We believe that technology management is in the middle of a new evolutionary cycle that will transform I&O from its traditional role as infrastructure provider to a new role as a broker and manager of technology services.
It’s should also be no surprise, then, that cloud and mobile disruption is putting a strain on traditional infrastructure team organizational structures. Consolidated and hybrid cloud infrastructure needs a new organization, and you need to prepare your team for the new business technology era. To do so, you need to encourage your team to develop service management, automation, collaboration, and marketing skills, to name a few. We’re seeing a spike in inquiries about new organization models to speed the path to cloud.
Two years ago, I published one of my most popular reports, Understand The True Cost Of Cloud Services. In it I laid out a model to help compare current infrastructure costs against the costs of running equivalent workloads at a traditional hosting provider and in the AWS public cloud. This type of comparison is often the first step in a company’s journey to cloud. Before you start moving workloads to any cloud provider, are you sure the cost savings are really there? The answer isn’t always obvious, and depends on measuring a set of critical metrics, including:
· Your application load patterns
· Your current operations team staff costs
· Your virtualization consolidation ratio
· Your storage and network hardware, license and administrative costs
· Your facilities (space, power, cooling) costs
The problem with cloud cost modeling is that it can be hard to get accurate estimates for current costs – find the right people, ask them for cost details, work through the numbers, verify accuracy, project future costs, etc. – and things that take too long just don’t get done. In our model, we used our Relative Cost of Operations methodology to simplify analysis and focus on what changes when you shift to cloud infrastructure. I also faulted some of the public cloud providers for low-balling cloud costs or hiding assumptions in their own on-line cost comparison tools.
I doubt most savvy cloud buyers (or VMware admins, for that matter) will think this new plug-in for vCenter is a cloud management tool. It’s not. Like other vCenter plug-ins, it makes it easier for an admin using vCenter to get something done without leaving the wildly popular virtualization management portal (like the P2V or V2V tools of yore). In this case, that something includes VMware-to-EC2 conversions and some basic housekeeping tasks: create an AWS virtual private cloud, launch an instance, etc. Image creation, migration, and basic configuration does not a complete cloud management solution make – there’s a lot more to do to create and manage a hybrid cloud implementation and enable workload portability. But this will make it easier to run conversions to AWS and that irks VMware a bit, since it offers its own public cloud option in vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS).
Rather than draw attention to how limited the AWS Management Portal is, VMware should use its existence to drive home three important points about the company’s overall cloud positioning:
1) allowing competitors to add plug-ins to manage competing public cloud instances shows that VMware’s not scared to compete for your cloud VMs;
2) vCenter is obviously very sticky and widely used, and AWS wants to get in front of those eyeballs – VMware still has critical admin mindshare; and
Master data management is a hot topic. And, this is at times surprising to me because the noise of big data is deafening. Big data is certainly sexier. MDM is like mom nagging to clean up the room - necessary, but a total buzz kill.
Here is some of the anecdotal evidence that is raising my eyebrows:
Our Forrester Wave for MDM was at the top of most read reports during Q1.
MDM inquiries from clients keep me very busy.
Vendors see MDM as a key growth area in their portfolios.
Consultancies are consistently pointing to client gaps in data governance and data architectures that point toward a master data problem.
Yesterday in San Francisco, Apple showed once again that it cares about developers. And well it should. With Flurry reporting consumers spending 86% of their smartphone time in apps, not Web sites, the 1.14 million apps in the US App Store are just a drop in the bucket. We expect to see that number swell to 10 million apps by 2020. But that will only happen if Apple and the rest of the mobile industry focus relentlessly on developers.
Apple's goal is winning all the mobile moments. [See our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift, for much more on this important way of looking at the mobile revolution.] Developers are key to reaching that goal. Here are the things that struck me from Apple's announcements yesterday:
More tools for developers. A new development language, "4,000" new APIs, a new testbed capability, and access to Touch ID, basic Siri language processing, and look-ahead typing are just the most obvious new capabilities that Apple is offering developers. To build innovative new apps, developers need all the tools and support they can get. These announcements reflect Apple's paced but steady rollout of things developers care about.
More access to more sensors, hence context. Though Apple downplayed the healthcare opportunities a bit, it knows that developers need access to all the sensors on the devices in order to build interesting mobile moments in health, fitness, and location-based applications. These applications need to take advantage of all the context of that moment.
Following the adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" we produced this infographic to support my keynote speech at the Technology Management Forum in Orlando (and the CMO CIO CX breakfast in Sydney). If you'd like to see the keynote, I'll be delivering it again at the London Technology Management Forum in June. Feel free to tweet and share the unedited graphic. (Click image to download a higher res PDF; also free to share unedited).
In the Cisco Collaboration Connection event for Asia Pacific early this week, I had the opportunity to try newly designed Cisco collaboration products, as well has have in-depth discussions with senior executives from Cisco. And I was also able to observe the response from the partners and customers I met from across APAC, including China, India, Singapore and Indonesia, and exchange my thoughts with them as well. I feel that the DNA of Cisco is changing, from technology-centric toward customer experience focused, starting with the collaboration business. Here is evidence beyond slogans on their Power Point slides.
Design. When people talk about the design of Cisco’s collaboration products, usually it would be with words like high-tech, standardized or professional, but seldom about fashionable design, beauty, simplicity, or ease of use – attributes typically used to describe the leading consumer electronic appliances from Apple or Samsung. Now, with the latest product announcements, it’s totally different, and Cisco has won several Red Dot industrial design awards in 2014.
The business press has come alive over the past few weeks as companies as diverse as Delta, Facebook, and Tesla have publicly declared that they want to own software development for key applications. What should catch your attention about these announcements is the types of software these firms want to control. Delta is acquiring the software IP and data associated with an application that affects 180 of its customer and flight operations systems. Facebook is building proprietary software to simplify interactions between its sales teams and the advertisers posting ads on the social networking site. And Tesla has developed its own enterprise resource management (ERP) and commerce platform that links the manufacturing history of a vehicle with important sales and customer support systems. Tesla's CIO Jay Vijayan, in describing his organization's system, sums up the sentiment behind many of these business decisions: "It helps the company move really fast."
Yesterday, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), a third-party advisor to Target Corp. investors, recommended ousting Target’s Audit Committee because they failed to do appropriate risk management, resulting in a breach of customer data. According to Twin Cities Business Magazine, ISS stated that “… in light of the company’s significant exposure to customer credit card information and online retailing, these committees should have been aware of, and more closely monitoring, the possibility of theft of sensitive information, especially since it involves shoppers and the communities in which the company operates, as well as the overall impact on brand reputation and brand value.” This suggests a fundamental lack of understanding of both the nature of the breach and who should be held responsible for the outcome.
First, let's understand what really happened here: Target updated their point of sale (POS) systems before the holiday season. There was a known vulnerability in those POS systems that let credit card data travel between the POS system and the register before it was encrypted and sent off to the clearinghouse for approval. Target’s technology team was warned of the vulnerability and DECIDED that the risk was worth accepting – not the board, not the auditors; it was the people involved in the project who accepted the risk of losing 70 million records. When departments accept that level of risk, they in essence, end the conversation. The audit committee and board of directors would be none the wiser. When was the last time you notified your board about how you were disposing of hard drives?
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