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Virginia Backaitis News & Analysis

Faking Big Data #strataconf

Sorry folks, but this shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise. Anytime a new technology or field emerges, so does a group of posers. They’re typically software vendors, consulting firms and “experts” who claim to be able to help you cross the chasm between where you are and where you need to go to remain viable in the future.

These aren’t, for the most part, evil companies, snake oil salesman or under educated individuals. Vendors iterate products as quickly as they can and push them out too early, they take shortcuts and rationalize them and sometimes they simply don’t know that they don’t know what they’re doing.

Big data is still an emerging field.

Will Salesforce's New Analytics Cloud Make Waves? #DF14

2014-15-October-Bolivia-Salt-Flats.jpgData Science is hard. Ditto for Big Data. You can add analytics to that list as well.

But “difficulty” and “complexity,” as they relate to data, aren’t the bogeymen of this day and age. Partly because it’s too expensive to let them play that role when the difference between winning and losing, success and failure, on a macro scale might come down to how well you leverage your data. And partly because a new generation of startups has emerged to put a smart, user friendly face on big data analytics.

Real Bedfellows? Salesforce, Office 365, OneDrive & Power BI #DF14

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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff knew the conversation would be special, so on the opening day of Dreamforce, Salesforce’s user conference in San Francisco this week, he brought Microsoft Windows Vice President Tony Prophet on stage for a fireside chat.

After some genuine, inspirational, heart-to-heart talk about their mutual charitable work at Benioff’s Children’s Hospital at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), among other things, Benioff dropped his jaw.

"A year ago at Dreamforce we would not have thought Microsoft would have been here, on stage,” he said. “It's a shock."

And to him it certainly seemed to be, and for good reason. But are things always what they seem? 

We Weren't Hacked, Dropbox Claims

Forget the headlines you may have seen. Dropbox wasn't hacked. Seven million Dropbox accounts were not compromised.

That’s the word from the cloud-based storage service provider, which, quite frankly, doesn't seem too  worried that customers accounts have been compromised. “We have proactive measures to prevent those kinds of things,” said a company spokesperson. “And when we see suspicious activity, we automatically reset passwords.”

And in this case, the vast majority of the passwords that hackers claimed could be used to log into Dropbox accounts had expired. Any that weren’t are expired now.

Benioff Spills Beans Early: Salesforce Intros Analytics Cloud #DF14

Apparently Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff couldn’t resist. Almost 12 hours before the embargo was scheduled to lift, he announced, via Twitter, that his company is launching Salesforce Analytics Cloud, Wave. 

He clearly wanted the most enthusiastic of his 123,000 followers to check it out in the App Store, and to give reporters a heads-up that he, himself, was breaking the embargo.

The launch of Salesforce’s sixth cloud wasn’t actually a secret, anyways. Benioff had leaked that it was coming, again via Twitter, last month.

Will Cloud Foundry Be Key to Computing's History?

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“The times they are a changin’.” For anyone who’s not a fan of rock music history that quote may not resonate, but it comes from a song that Bob Dylan wrote in the 1960s. It describes a period when the world began to change how it looked at issues like women’s rights, racism, poverty and social policy.

Though the term wasn’t used at the time, "more democratized" fits the bill pretty well. More people had an opportunity to play a role in their own future. And people began to learn that when they worked together they could get more, and often more significant things, done with greater satisfaction.

It’s interesting to note that at around this same period IBM decided to unbundle the way it sold computing to the world. Rather than offer hardware, services and software exclusively in one expensive package, where you had to buy the whole thing or nothing at all, marketers "unbundled" the components and offered them for sale individually.

It was a defining moment in computing’s history that gave birth to the multibillion-dollar software and services industries. If it hadn’t happened, all the software and consulting services in the world would have been sold by three or four vendors who, let’s face it, probably wouldn’t have been able to harness the creativity that the current market provides.

Will SAP HANA + Birst Blow Salesforce and Oracle Analytics Away?

2014-09-October-jet-Pack.jpgSalesforce boss Mark Benioff better have a pretty remarkable rabbit in his hat next week when he makes a much anticipated announcement about how his company will deliver big data analytics in the cloud. If not, Birst and SAP have just partnered to steal his thunder.

Cloudera + Teradata = Big Data Love?

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Hadoop may make many promises, but Teradata delivers solutions that enterprises trust.

We’re not saying this to ruffle any feathers because it isn’t an either or game. Every now and then we see headlines that say things like “Cloudera Declares End Of Data Warehousing Era” or see pictures of tombstones with RDBMS written on them, but the reality is that a good many of Teradata’s  users ignore  them or figure that Teradata will deliver big data capabilities, in a palatable doses, when the time is right.

And that’s essentially what Teradata and Hadoop pioneer Cloudera are banging the drums about this morning as they announce an expanded partnership around technology integration, sales and support. In other words, the two companies will work together to integrate Teradata’s integrated data warehouse and Cloudera’s enterprise data hub so that customers can work with multiple data sources (Cloudera’s Enterprise Data Hub being one of them) through the Teradata Unified Data Architecture (TDA).

This means that not only will Teradata customers be able to “buy” Cloudera’s products and services from Teradata, but that they’ll be tuned to work together and mutually supported.

Syncplicity Defines File Sharing Success [Video]

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How do software vendors measure success? It depends whom you ask. Sales managers will brag about record-breaking quarters. CFOs will extol big bottom lines. Product development managers will rave about functions and features.

Jeetu Patel, general manager of EMC Syncplicity, has an entirely different answer. “Engagement,” he said. “Deep user engagement is our first and our most important metric,” he says. He’s deliberate as he speaks. “Syncplicity is not interested in selling shelfware.”

Why Alteryx Won a Whopping $60M in New Funding

Data is the currency of today’s business world, when it’s leveraged to the hilt it can separate winners from losers when all else is equal. And even when it’s not.

We’re moving into a new world in which how a company uses its information may impact the bottom line as much as the product itself.

The folks at data-blending and analytics startup Alteryx know this, so they’ve built data blending and predictive analytics tools to help their customers leverage their data to a hilt. And you won’t have to be a data scientist or a know-it-all to blow someone like Mad Money’s Jim Kramer away. Alteryx democratizes big data.

Couchbase Claims It'll Lead the NoSQL Market by 2015

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Don’t tell Oracle's Larry Ellison, but NoSQL databases are the future of the enterprise. Yesterday’s databases weren’t built to handle today’s avalanches of data streaming from social, mobile, web transactions, the Internet of Things and God knows what’s next.

And Couchbase will be the NoSQL database that enterprises who are serious about winning the future will choose, according to Bob Wiederhold, CEO of Couchbase. He said that NoSQL databases have gone through an evolution that began four or five years ago when developers discovered and downloaded technologies like MongoDB to play with at home.

“They liked the ease of development, so they brought them to work and built lightweight applications,” he added.

This was an important period in NoSQL adoption, he continued. It set the stage for 2013 when enterprises decided that NoSQL was ready for prime time and that it could be used for mission critical applications.

“This is when Couchbase took off as company,” he said. “It’s when companies like AT&T, Walmart and eBay began to rely on us, the enterprise NoSQL leader for running high performance mission critical applications."

Is it the Market or is it Box? More IPO Woes

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Everyone from Bloomberg to the Wall Street Journal to TechCrunch is reporting that Box has delayed its initial public offering (IPO), yet again. Most cite market volatility as the reason.

It’s the same rationale the company has (reportedly) used in the past, though we don’t know for sure because at this stage of the game Box isn’t offering much more than boilerplate answers like, “Our plan continues to go public when it makes the most sense for Box and the market. As always, investing in our customers, technology and future growth remains our top priority.”

Gartner MQ for ECM: Why the Leaders Stand Out

It’s not unusual for an analyst to describe Enterprise Content Management as a mature technology. Or even to go so far as to call it “boring,” as analyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe did a few years ago when he was employed by the Real Story Group.

And he meant it in a good way. For many years ECM systems were huge headaches that seldom delivered as promised and now, for the most part, they do. The basic requirements, as you’ll see as you read on, are practically a given.

But as new technologies emerge and the way people work changes, so must the solutions that ECM vendors deliver. While Social was brought into the mix a few years ago, the direction now is toward “content in context” which means that user experiences will be personalized according to individual needs. Gartner said that by 2017 as much half of all business content will be nontextual, which will necessitate that analytics be part of content management.

In addition Gartner sees the requirements of an ECM solution evolving from “the right information, to the right person, in the right format, at the right time, on the right devices" to include the context of a particular business process.

It’s worth noting too that the ECM market grew 8.6 percent in 2013 meaning that it is continuing to bring new value and win interest from new customers.

Are Analytics Firms Undervalued? TIBCO Sells at a Premium

Stop the presses -- or at least the rumors. We now know who will buy middleware analytics provider Tibco: Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm.

At $4.3 billion, it is the largest tech buyout this year.

And worried Tibco shareholders who have seen their investments slide by as much as 23 percent in the past year, should be relieved to cut their losses a bit. In the last week the stock was trading as high as $20 per share. Vista is paying $24.
 

Is Box Too Distracted to Care About Deal with Oracle?

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You’d think that Aaron Levie would find it significant that Oracle has announced the integration of its Marketing Cloud with Box. But we haven’t heard a peep about it from Levie or anyone else at his Los Altos, Calif.-based Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) start-up.

Box didn’t put out a press release about the “expanded” relationship, which it did in the past with other big deals like Samsung and AT&T.

Box responded to our request for comment late today by stressing how excited everyone was about the deal, despite the notable lack of publicity about it.

The company’s communications team added that Niall Wall, senior vice president of business development at Box, had included a supporting quote in Oracle’s press release — which noted that he, too, was "excited to extend our partnership with Oracle.”

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