The modern business world echoes with the sound of time-tested business models being shattered by digital upstarts, while the rate of disruption is accelerating. Organizations that will win in this world must hone their ability to deliver high-value experiences, based on high quality software with very short refresh cycles. Customers are driving this shift; every experience raises their expectations and their choices are no longer limited. Like trust, loyalty takes years to build and only a moment to lose. The threat is existential: Organizations need to drive innovation and disrupt their competitors or they will cease to exist.
Yesterday, Proofpoint announced it will acquire social risk and compliance (SRC) vendor Nexgate for approximately $35 million.
The Acquisition Signals The SRC Market Is Maturing
This acquisition points to a budding and rapidly evolving SRC market. With the proliferation of social media, organizations face a slew of emerging regulatory challenges, brand threats, and security vulnerabilities – just look at recent incidents with Cole Haan, Zarbee’s, US Airways, British Gas, among countless others, even including our own US military. While once a niche market helping financial services firms meet FINRA obligations, SRC solutions now offer more than just compliance support, helping organizations better manage today’s wide gamut of social risks with social threat detection, account protection, and risk monitoring.
Proofpoint Has To Prove The Sum Is Greater Than Its Parts
On October 20 at TechEd, Microsoft quietly slipped in what looks like a potential game-changing announcement in the private/hybrid cloud world when they rolled out Microsoft Cloud Platform System (CPS), an integrated hardware/software system that combines an Azure-consistent on premise cloud with an optimized hardware stack from Dell.
Last week Salesforce.com (SFDC) hosted its annual Dreamforce Conference in San Francisco, and for the first time, the cloud giant’s products could soon have some major implications in the governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) market.
Amidst the chaos of keynotes, partner sessions, guest speakers like Hilary Clinton, wil.i.am, Al Gore, and our very own George Colony, two of SFDC’s major announcements demonstrated how its new offerings and future strategy will position the company to compete in the very big business intelligence market:
CRM solutions have been on the market for a long time. The first products were introduced over two decades ago, and many features are commoditized. New vendors are continually pushing the envelope on CRM capabilities and exploring the “white space” of capabilities that are not necessarily core to CRM. Old stalwarts are working on capabilities that differentiate them from others - like verticalized offerings, offerings tuned to to mobile user, offerings tuned to a certain size or complexity of organization.
CRM buyers need to remember that more capabilities these days is not better; more is simply more. In fact, when you don't need — or perhaps can't use — extra functionality, more is sometimes worse. Small businesses — and small customer-facing teams in larger enterprises — need to carefully evaluate vendors that they are evaluating in order to pick a solution that is right-sized for their needs. Categories and criteria that should be closely evaluated include:
Ease of use. Our research finds that 58% of employees interface directly or indirectly with customers. Small customer-facing teams don't have the luxury of deeply configuring or customizing CRM user experiences. Make sure the user experiences that come "out-of'the-box" from your CRM vendor are highly intuitive; that they work on the devices and platforms that your team use; and that they don't impede your productivity in any way.
As we predicted in May 2012, user directories are moving into the cloud. Cloud workloads require that users who are authorized to access them are stored near the cloud workload and not just on-premises. While this offering announced now by AWS is not necessary technically groundbreaking (Cloud IAM vendors and Microsoft Azure have been offering AD integration for a relatively long time), obviously this announcement is relevant because of AWS's broad presence in IaaS. We urge Forrester's clients that plan to use AWS AD service to ask AWS the following questions:
1. What safeguards are there to protect information (user, computer, etc.) in AWS AD?
2. How does AWS integrate in real time with on-premises AD and shared folder infrastructures?
3. What types of true identity management (access governance and provisioning) services does AWS offer to complement this new AD service?
Check AWS's blog entry at http://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-aws-directory-service/ for more details.
I've been on the road all month talking about business technology speed. The age of the customer is all about speed. Faster time to market, more frequent software releases, automated server deployments, instant cloud scaling…anything that removes friction from the app dev process is hot as we move into 2015.
Docker, the container management juggernaut, has generated some of the most breathless buzz in cloud-land this year. And for once, all the buzz is justified, for a few reasons. Docker's new, but containers are not. Docker makes containers easier to use, so more companies can get the benefits some of the big cloud providers already enjoy. Those include near-instantaneous app launch, rapid scale-out, and server efficiencies much better than traditional virtualization.
Were you surprised by HP's decision to acquire Eucalyptus last month? You weren't alone. HP's move to snap up one of the first open source cloud platform projects left many scratching their heads, especially since Eucalyptus had lost much of its momentum in the last 5 years.
Now that OpenStack has effectively won the battle to be the open source alternative to Amazon Web Services, why would HP, already a major contributor to and vendor of a public cloud platform built on OpenStack, want Eucalyptus? It's not the technology. We think the value lies in the company's AWS API experience, Marten Mickos' open source credibility, and the depth of engineering skill.
Are you ahead of the cloud curve or falling behind your peers?
We are definitely in the hypergrowth phase of cloud computing, and 2015 will be a critical year: spending will jump, platforms will mature and consolidate, and cloud will enter the formal IT portfolio, whether IT likes it or not. Where are you on your journey to cloud?
Over the last decade, the colocation market has expanded and flourished – with more customers looking to outsource new facilities and more vendors emerging and expanding to meet this demand.
Colocation providers now offer a myriad of services beyond the expected physical space. Infrastructure is now table stakes, including enhanced power efficiency and physical security. The more impressive solutions offer a full portfolio of managed services to cloud, or host and steward a marketplace of third party services, offering close proximity to business partners and primary communications services. By “close” we mean VERY close, as in the same building, sometimes only meters away. Depending on the use case, proximity like this can make the difference between success or failure of a business function – financial trading is an obvious example but there are many more.
To get better acquainted with this ever expanding landscape of vendors and solutions, about this time last year I began a lengthy exercise to investigate and analyze the US colocation market. After three months, I identified 430 organizations through search engines and public profile sites. I then weeded out 112 firms that had inactive websites, were acquired, or did not clearly provide retail or wholesale colocation. Over the subsequent 3 months, I attempted to quantify the footprint of all qualifying facilities. Some key findings from this research include:
There are over 1430 data center facilities in more than 330 cities across the US, but 53% of vendors surveyed operated only 1 facility.
There is over 68 million square feet of reported data center space, and an estimated 90-120 million square feet in total. This projection includes a fair amount of assumptions as many vendors did not provide facility sizes.