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Cloud Computing News & Analysis

Corralling Non-Microsoft Content in the Cloud

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Ten years ago, Yahoo and Google offered rapid creation of free file sharing and collaboration spaces -- perfect for group papers, sports teams, families -- in short, any group of people who needed to see a common, centralized set of files.

There's no shortage of Web hosted business-oriented file services in today's cloud era: OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, Box, Google, Dropbox, Salesforce Chatter, among others.

Most recently, Amazon announced its new enterprise cloud file sharing service, Zocalo. Zocalo will offer simple document feedback, centralized repositories, offline sync to laptops, phones and tablets, security and directory integration. As with many of these services, the costs are minimal to none, allowing users to stand up a new repository in minutes for a project with a credit card.

These services pose a real challenges for the Microsoft enterprise.

Google Kicks the Productivity Stool From Under Microsoft

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It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in the document management space, made all the more interesting by the ongoing competition between Microsoft and Google around their productivity suites.

We also saw recently that most enterprises are still struggling with document management while both Metalogix and Accellion have released new products to help overcome this.

Microsoft Extends a Hand to 10 Emerging IoT Firms

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Microsoft has just announced the 10 start-ups it has selected for its home automation accelerator program. Before you yawn, consider this: home automation technologies are providing one of the cornerstones of the emerging Internet of Things (IoT).

These companies have been developing IoT technologies that specifically target the home, with the emphasis on products that are user-friendly and affordable.

EMC Syncplicity Cuts Prices and Raises Storage Caps

EMC Syncplicity wants to own the Enterprise Sync and Share market and they don’t want price or storage limits to be barriers to adoption.

“This is a mass market with hundreds of millions of users to whom our service is applicable” said Jeetu Patel, the company’s general manager.

And since both Forrester and Gartner rate Syncplicity as a best-in-class offering, the company doesn’t want other factors to keep companies from embracing all that it has to offer.

“Our singular goal is active user engagement and we don’t want storage limits to get in the way of that,” said Patel.

IT Should be Gardeners, Not Gatekeepers

Information Management, 2014-14-August-Deluge.jpgIt’s a deluge, you’ve been told. It’s a flood of biblical proportions. Data on your customers is more abundant than ever and the internet of things is only going to make it sky rocket. From terabytes to petabytes in 60 seconds!

You’ve probably also read that big data analytics tools and next generation customer information management systems mean that you, the competent but non-expert marketing analyst, can analyze these gigantic and mind-bogglingly complex datasets at the drop of a hat.

But then you look around your own company and see that customer data isn't standardized and has legacy issues, the analytics tools your company employs are beyond your comprehension and your IT department is cautious about allowing you to purchase tools for your own department.

It’s a common set of frustrations and it means that business users in departments like marketing, sales and operations have begun to take things into their own hands and are independently downloading user-friendly, efficient tools that get the job done.

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.

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