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Cloud Computing News & Analysis

IBM Opens Marketplace for Cloud Apps

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IBM's cloud marketplace finally went live this morning, giving users the ability to buy cloud offerings and third-party products that work on the SoftLayer platform with the swish of a credit card.

While the site has only been live for a few hours, it already has a few hundred hosted IBM applications as well as a range of middleware products from its BlueMix platform. About a quarter of those applications can be purchased by credit card directly from the online store.

The Holes in the Enterprise Cloud's Silver Lining

2014-25-April-Pop-Quiz.jpgPop quiz time.

Take out your #2 pencil and select the best answer that completes the following sentence.

Cloud services will revolutionize ______________.

  • A. the way software gets delivered.
  • B. the way software is licensed, by becoming a "pay as you go" option.
  • C. the way workers access services.
  • D. IT implementation, support and infrastructure costs.
  • E. the way business gets done, by letting mobile workers access information anytime, anywhere.
  • F. All of the above.

Unless you have been hiding out in a fallout shelter for the last five years, you probably picked “F. All of the above.” And if you did, you would be correct.

Microsoft Pushes Analytics, Collaboration Into Office 'Mix'

Microsoft is on a roll with a fast and steady stream of upgrades and offerings for its Office suite. In the latest announcement yesterday, it offered a limited preview of its new PowerPoint ‘Mix.’

PowerPoint is unlikely to set anyone’s world on fire — but the enhancements may at least gain your attention if we told you this one includes basic analytics and interactive tools like video recording and document sharing. Oh, and one more thing. The upgrades are free of charge.

Why Box's Bad Financials Might Be Right on the Money

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In the weeks surrounding Box’s initial public offering announcement, the enterprise file sync and share vendor (EFSS) and its founder, Aaron Levie, couldn’t make enough news.

There was a mention of Levie’s appearance at SXSW and his name-dropping about Ashton Kutcher being an investor. And there was boxdev, Box’s Developers conference, which intended to build a community of 1,000 plus developers and give them the tools that they need to build rich solutions around Box.

While each of the aforementioned went off fabulously well, the IPO announcement sandwiched in between left the reputations of both Levie and Box less than optimal.

Why? Because Box’s S-1 filing revealed the company is spending much more than it is making — specifically, for every one dollar the company takes in, it spends $1.38.

SharePoint Users Routinely Breach Security Policies

Research by Cryptzone shows at least 36 percent of SharePoint users are breaching security policies — and another 9 percent admit they have no idea how to prevent sensitive information from being uploaded.

The study, conducted among attendees at Microsoft’s SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas in March, is a warning to organizations that it is essential to develop adequate information security policies. It further underscores how lack of such policies are putting business critical information at risk. 

Earlier this month, Cryptzone, a provider of encryption solutions and identity and access management (IAM), was acquired by Medina Capital, an equity investment firm focused on the IT infrastructure sector.

7 Vendors Top the Forrester Wave for Customer Service Solutions

At a time when seven out of 10 online shoppers complain of unsatisfactory experiences, which vendors stand out as offering possible solutions? The authors of the latest Forrester Wave Customer Service Solutions for Enterprise Customers Q2 2014 (registration required) rated customer service vendors against 83 criteria and identified seven leaders.

According to the report, the vendors with the best strategy pursued excellence in a limited number of areas and avoided over diversified, Jack-of-All-Trade scenarios.

5 Key Steps for Migrating SharePoint to the Cloud

5 Key Steps for Migrating SharePoint to the CloudNo longer the latest IT buzzword, cloud computing has become a reality for a growing number of organizations as they seek to reduce IT costs, expand capabilities and improve their networks.

For SharePoint users in particular the cloud offers a way to replace the administrative burden and costs of managing and maintaining on-premises SharePoint platforms. Migrating to the cloud can be somewhat complex since SharePoint migration tools are limited in functionality or non-existent. So while the cloud can certainly reduce administrative burden, getting there requires having a plan that takes into consideration your overall business goals, your existing infrastructure and content, and your user’s needs.

Make the Customer the Focus of Online Experiences

Nearly seven in 10 customers have had an unsatisfactory e-commerce experience in the past year, according to a new Forrester Wave on customer service solutions. That's a disturbing and eye-opening statistic, noted Kate Leggett, primary author of The Forrester Wave Customer Service Solutions For Enterprise Organizations Q2 2014 (registration required).

Leggett and co-authors Stephen Powers, Michael Facemire and Victoria Boutan identified the 11 most significant customer service solutions, but also warned that not all vendors are making the grade.

We're Still Playing at Work - and IT Admins are Still Unhappy

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Knock me over with a feather: A new survey shows a lot of people waste time at the office doing all sorts of things they shouldn't … including playing games, browsing social networks and looking for new jobs. 

Last month, TeamViewer, a provider of remote control and online meeting software, asked 300 IT administrators to list some common behaviors of office workers and explain how those behaviors have affected both IT administration and the company’s bottom line.

The only thing surprising about the resulting IT Admin Behavioral Study is that the company described the results as surprising — and the fact that only 92 percent of IT admins report troublesome habits among office workers using company computers. Are the other 8 percent of IT admins ignorant or just naïve?

Why Microsoft's Reign Will Continue

Leave it to Box CEO and chief Microsoft critic Aaron Levie to spread the word, check out his tweet yesterday:

Obviously Levie was tuned into the same Microsoft Customer data event as we were, and we agree with his conclusion -- Microsoft has an impressive (data) play.

Microsoft Takes Office to the Chrome Store

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Only two weeks after Office landed on iPad and about eight weeks since it made it easy to find through the launch of Office.com, Microsoft is chasing users wherever it can find them -- and in this case it's Chrome Web Store, right in the middle of Google’s own stomping ground.

It also appears to have quietly retired its Scroogled campaign.

It would probably be a bit silly to overestimate the real impact of this, given that users were always able to access Office apps through the Office.com in the Chrome browser. But with a new CEO on board, any sign of changes in the way Microsoft is doing business should be paid attention to. 
 

Gartner's 10 Technologies That Make Government Smarter

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You may think it's an oxymoron, but Gartner says it is possible to have a smart government. The temptation to be facetious is pretty strong here, but after initial skepticism, we found that what Gartner was talking about is 10 different technologies that can make government more efficient.

Smart governments, Gartner says, are governments that integrate information, communication and operational technologies across multiple domains, process areas and jurisdictions to generate “sustainable public value.”

By using these emerging technologies, which were identified at the recent Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Dubai, the taxpayers should get some bigger bangs for their bucks.

Dream On Salesforce, SAP Prez Unimpressed by Your Threats

Dream On Salesforce, SAP Prez Unimpressed by Your ThreatsSAP is too classy to laugh at Salesforce president Keith Block’s pretentious remarks, as he runs from city to city saying things like “You’re going down SAP.”

“It's great that Salesforce.com has aspirations to be bigger than SAP,” said Steve Lucas, president, SAP Platform Solutions. “But ultimately we don't care what competitors think, we only care about what our customers and partners think and how to make them successful.”

“If we stick to that,” added Lucas, “we will win.” 

Huddle Cofounder on SharePoint's Mobile Challenges

2014-10-April-McLoughlin.jpgIf Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella thought he was doing iPad users a favor by offering them Office support, all he accomplished was opening up a great big can of worms called collaboration, prompting some to argue that SharePoint has had its day.

And while changes to Office don't equate changes to SharePoint, the iPad launch spurred on a broader discussion amongst critics of the faults with SharePoint's mobile collaboration capabilities.

Oracle Launches Enhanced Mobile Cloud Access

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Sales force automation (SFA) and user experience management have pitted Oracle and Salesforce against each other with Marketo snapping at their heels. All three have been piling the pressure on with new releases and announcements as they battle to dominate the market.

Yesterday, at its Collaborate annual conference for the Oracle application and technology community, Oracle added some major enhancements to its CPQ Cloud. It also announced a number of upgrades to it sales cloud that are focused principally on making SFA more mobile.

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