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Cloud Computing News & Analysis

How SMBs Can Tap Into Big Data

2014-14-August-Big-Top.jpgBig Data isn’t as big as Big Data Hype. Yes, big data is doing some pretty cool stuff out there. But things are getting frothy. Can big data cure cancer? Will big data destroy privacy? Big data will yield millions in revenues! It is easy to feel like you have to jump onto big data now or you’re likely to get left behind.

Here’s the rub: big data won’t do any of these things. Highly skilled clinicians and biochemists will cure cancer. Bad privacy policies and poor data security will destroy your privacy. And skilled business people will find ways to capture millions in revenues. Yes, big data will help. But the machines can’t do it alone.

How the Internet of Things Drives Customer Engagement

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Now that we've accepted the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT), researchers are starting to look at when, where, how, why and who will use it. They're also looking into potential risks.

Recent research from IDC, for example, shows that retailers are leading the charge to the IoT in the quest for better customer experiences.

According to IDC, retailers see the IoT as a way to improve customer experiences. Specifically, they are using it to pull consumers into one of their channels, where they will entice them with products that have been contextualized and personalized for the customers’ gratification.

Sync and Share Providers Change Their Games

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Take a good look at the leaders in Gartner’s quadrant for Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) and you’ll see some big differentiators. Box, for example, is a purely a public cloud play. Accellion’s kiteworks, at least up until now, has insisted that private cloud or on premise is the best way to go if you want to keep your information secure.

But things change.

This morning Accellion announced content connectors for Google Drive for Work and for Microsoft’s One Drive for Business. “It shouldn’t matter where you store your content, IT can track and manage it from anywhere,” said Paula Skokowski, Accellion’s Chief Marketing Officer.

While we might have seen this as an “about face” or even somewhat sacrilegious a few months ago, Skokowski insists that it has been in the works for some time.  “It’s an important next chapter for us,” she explains. With connectors to Google Drive and OneDrive, kiteworks can provide EFSS capabilities outside of the firewall. “Users need access to content regardless of where it is stored,” she added.

The Enterprise of the Future: Not as Cloudy as You Think?

The enterprise is “all in” on the (public) cloud, right? That’s certainly what all the hype leads us to believe.

After all, hardly a week goes by without Amazon, Google or Microsoft dropping their prices as they race to the bottom in the cloud wars. Not only that but there are also a host of celebrity-like CEO’s such as Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Amazon’s Werner Vogels and Box’s Aaron Levie. They’re constantly in front of crowds preaching cloud-only gospels.

And there are the more recently converted to consider as well, such as IBM’s Ginni Rometty, who bought Cloudant, Silverpop and SoftLayer over the past 18 months and launched the IBM’s cloud Marketplace in April. Never mind SAP’s Bill McDermott, who started to refer the company he now single-handedly reins as “the cloud company”.

But all of that being said, there’s a newer trend in the enterprise now taking hold that indicates that the future may actually be hybrid. It seems that some managers don’t want or can’t have their data floating around “in the heavens” for reasons of security and compliance reasons, despite the cost savings.

The Enterprise Cloud is Finally Moving Beyond Storage

2014-08-August-Storage-Sheds.jpg“Build it, and they will come. And stay.” That statement sums up why Box, Dropbox, Amazon, Google and Apple are fighting to win the enterprise cloud storage space. These providers know that once users store their data in one cloud, they won’t want to move it elsewhere. While adding new features and service tiers might monetize some consumers, the enterprise, with its charge-by-the-user model, is far more lucrative.

7 Pain Points For Doc Management

Even after all the years of document and enterprise content management, enterprises are still buckling under the stress of trying to manage even their basic structured data. We saw yesterday, for example, in new research from Docurated, that 68 percent of organizations have five or more repositories.

We also saw that despite the rise of cloud computing and storage, the majority of content is being kept on premises and that workers spend up to nine hours per week just finding documents.

Why Your Doc Management Strategy Isn't Working

There’s no getting away from document management chaos. Even with the development of file sharing technology, cloud computing and agile document management, workers are still drowning in sea of untraceable and hard to track documents.

In fact, according to recent research from document management vendor Docurated, the average sales or marketing professional is spending up to nine hours every week just looking for documents as they wrestle with legacy and contemporary file system architectures that haven’t been overhauled in years.

Hey NetApp & Syncplicity: Look What EMC and Egnyte are Doing

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Based on what the tech press said, present company included, you’d think every enterprise on the planet is rushing to lob its files into the heavens.

But that’s not the case, said Bart Giordano, Vice President of Business Development at Egnyte, which provides enterprise file sharing solutions built from the cloud down.

Instead, he said, many companies are looking at mixed solutions, meaning that they’ll keep their most private and strategic files behind the firewall, other files in the cloud, and still others will take advantage of hybrid architectures.

Not only that, but enterprises will also be able to leverage their existing storage investments without sacrifice.

What Happens to Documentum If Elliott Mgmt. Breaks-Up EMC?

If you follow EMC investment news, you’ve seen the headlines.

The Wall Street Journal ran with “Activist Investor Pushes EMC to Break Up”. Bloomberg news headlinedwith “EMC Said to Be Targeted for Breakup by Activist Elliott.” Business Insider went with “An Activist Investor Takes Aim At A Multi-Billion Dollar Tech Company.”

We could go on, but the point is already well made. Elliott Management, an activist hedge fund which generates a 14.6 percent net compound annual return for its investors, compared to 10.9 percent for the S&P 500, has loaded up on EMC shares and wants to split the “EMC Federation” (made up of EMC,VMWare and Pivotal) up into parts.

Microsoft Matches Google By Upgrading Office for iPad

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Microsoft Office is part of the iPad arsenal and 35 million users have downloaded since it was launched in March. Now Microsoft has issued several updates, which it describes as the features users request most often.

The upgrades — improvements for the Word, PowerPoint and Excel applications — are designed to enhance the user experience.

EMC Syncplicity Redefines Work for the Mobile-First Era

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If there’s anything EMC Syncplicity General Manager Jeetu Patel is more passionate about than security and functionality of his company’s Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) solution, it’s Syncplicity’s app.

“Have you seen it?” he asked the last time his team unveiled one.

He was as enthusiastic as a dad whose kid had just hit his first home run.

And though Patel’s passion goes a long way, it’s the app itself that’s the real story. You don’t wish that you were using a hip, consumer solution when you work with it. Instead you wish that the app you use to share photos, files, and messages with your friends and family was more like Syncplicity. And that’s exactly what Patel wants.

Mac News: OneNote Upgraded, But What About Office?

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Microsoft has just announced major upgrades for OneNote for Mac and iOS. They're interesting upgrades and point to a future where Microsoft works on cross-platform development, offering everyone access to everything.

It’s a great vision. And while Microsoft is making progress, it is still far from reality. While upgrades and access to OneNote will be a major plus for users, there’s still nothing for Office for Mac.

Support Teamwork in a Mobile and Cloud Environment

2014-30-July-Teamwork.jpgWe work today in a world of unparalleled teamwork. Think back 10 years: most organizational projects were completed by people that worked together in the same location. Now collaboration makes it possible for teams to work together across time zones and locations -- communicating with partners internally and externally. Reaching out has never been so simple.

Technology has made such teamwork possible. But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. The emergence of mobile and cloud computing have muddied the waters somewhat, making it far more difficult for IT departments to keep systems locked down and secure. So how do you take the confusion out of teamwork in our 24/7 connected world and make sure it delivers value for your organization? 

Google Smacks MS Office With Better Docs Collaboration

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Google is making it even easier to move from Microsoft Office to Google Docs.

At last month’s Google I/O conference, Google gave Office users the ability to edit documents in Docs, which was one of the sticking points for those considering a jump to Google.

We didn’t think it could do much more to make Docs attractive, but it has. Like last month’s QuickOffice integration, this enhancement is small but significant. The upgrade comes in the shape of tracking changes.

Startup Offers Free Collaboration Option for Any Web Page

Just as Microsoft blends Yammer into Office365, a startup is offering a free service to add a Facebook-like collaboration tool to any web page.

Lifestreams Technologies, a 2-year-old company based in New Haven, Conn., said the widget can be used on any intranet or public-facing website by adding a snippet of code to the html.

"Most websites today are relatively static," said Peter Prosol, business development director for the 10-person SaaS firm. "You'll find pictures and images and text, but it's more or less as it is. It doesn't change much. But adding a timeline to your site ... it lets you be more dynamic, add new content, refresh and be a little more interactive and engaging to the user."

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