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Virginia Backaitis News & Analysis

Pivotal Leads the Charge into the Enterprise Mobile App Era

2014-20-August-Bull-Charge.jpgThe canned software era is over and the custom mobile app era is here. We know, it sounds like a bunch of marketing jive, but in reality, it’s pretty deep. Tomorrow’s enterprise applications will be mobile apps.

Think about your most common gateway to the web right now -- it’s probably not your PC. How many times a day do you use your phone for things other than making calls? And your tablet? We’d bet that you’re visiting apps a lot more often than you’re typing in URLs.

With the onset of the consumerization of IT, what you do in your personal life first, moves to the enterprise. It’s only a matter of time before the way you interact with where you do business, your workplace and its business partners will be via mobile apps too.

Look What Dropbox for Business Has Made Available Now

Dropbox doesn’t have to worry much about gaining an enterprise footprint, the reality is that it’s already huge. There are over 4 million unique companies using the service, according to Ilya Fushman, head of product, Dropbox for Business. And there are likely to be a good number of users within each one. Consider that Dropbox, as a whole, has more than 300 million users, many of whom use Dropbox in the workplace -- with or without their employers’ blessings.

We’re in an era of consumerized IT where the worker, rather than IT, chooses the tools. And according to a survey released by mobile gateway provider Wandera, Dropbox is 13 times more popular in the enterprise than file sync and share competitor Box and nine times more popular than Google Drive.

That being said, it’s only in the last 18 months that Dropbox has actively and seriously gone after business customers. This has meant rethinking what they bring to market. After all, as a consumer you own your content, in the workplace it belongs to your employer and it’s under their purview to protect, track and control it.

A Graceful Exit for Box?

2014-18-August-Exit.jpgJust a little more than two weeks from today, on Sept. 2, Box CEO Aaron Levie will host BoxWorks, the company’s biggest pep rally of the year. There’s a nice line-up of all-stars keynoting — Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, Disney’s Jeff Katzenberg, LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner and Aneesh Chopra, former CTO of the United States.

And then, of course, there’s Levie himself. Not only is he Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year, but he’s also got celebrity-like status in Silicon Valley. Never mind his Hollywood connections to the likes of Ashton Kutcher, who invested in Box, and Oscar winner Jared Leto who reportedly visited the company earlier this year.

The iPhone 6: Is it Size That Matters Most?

For those who can’t wait to see what the iPhone 6 that will (supposedly) be unveiled on Sept. 9 looks like, we’ve got photos. Ok, not really, but Hollywood gossip site TMZ says it does. It apparently got them from a friend of an ex-employee of the Foxconn factory in China where many models of iPhones are made.

Now before you click over to that well respected source of tech news, chill. You can’t really tell how big the phone is, what kind of glass it uses, and, strangely, its body looks like the iPod 5.

Re.code, whom we consider to be more credible source for news like this, suggests that there may be two iPhones, one that is 4.7 inches and another that is 5.5 inches. Both of which are expected to run speedy new A8 processors.

We’ve also heard another rumor that at least one of the phones (if there are actually two) could be called the iPhone Air instead of the iPhone 6.

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.

Whose Idea Was This? Amazon's Investment in Acquia

Amazon threw a big chunk of change at Acquia yesterday. Perhaps it wants to stake its claim in the startup that provides commercial services around the open-source Drupal content management system before it goes public, which could happen as soon as later this year or in 2015.

Though neither company is disclosing the size of the investment, it certainly makes their relationship more symbiotic than it already was. Consider that Acquia runs on more than 8,000 AWS instances and serves more than 27 billion hits a month (333 TB of bandwidth a month).

Intel, Michael J. Fox and Big Data: Fighting Parkinson's Disease

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You’ve been there. In the doctor’s office that is. You’re not feeling well and you want to tell the doc all about it, but he wants to ask you questions like: How would you rate the pain on a scale of 1 to 10? When did this start? How long does it last? How would you rate your sleep 1 to 10?

You answer the questions with what is, at best, a guess. And the doctor makes assessments based upon your answers. But is what he calls an “8” the same thing you call an 8? And what does “sleeping well” actually mean? (And, yes, we know there’s information like heart rate, blood pressure, lab work data to consider, but we’re putting that aside for the moment.)

Now forget about yourself and think of a Parkinson’s patient. Michael J. Fox or Intel’s Andy Grove may be the ones we “know” best, unless there’s someone in our personal lives who has been affected. Their doctors probably include some physical tests in their visits, like asking them to touch their fingertips to their noses or to walk a straight line by placing one foot in front of the other.

Patient performance on activities like these varies. We all have good days and bad. And treatments and research, especially for those who deal with hard-to-manage diseases are, on a large part, based on what a doctor observes during an office visit, what data a patient provides at a specific point in time and what existing medical research suggests.

This isn’t bad medicine. It’s everyone doing their best given the available tools.

Up until now, that is.

Big Data Bits: Big Data Smarts

Yesterday Salesforce completed its acquisition of RelateIQ, a startup that combines CRM and data science to get the right messages to the right person at the right time. The sales price was $392,133,512 -- not bad for a company that was founded three years ago.

While much was reported when the sale was first announced, little has been said as to what happens next, other than Salesforce gaining improved big data, data science and analytic capabilities.

Yesterday VentureBeat wrote, without identifying its source, that Salesforce would create an R&D division, Salesforce X, where RelateIQ’s data scientists would work.

Not a bad idea considering that RelateIQ’s Chief Technology officer, DJ Patil, was named one of the 7 most powerful data scientists in the world by Forbes magazine, and is credited (along with Jeff Hammerbacher) to have coined the term “data scientist”.

Patil’s team members aren’t slackers either. Rusian Belkin, Twitter’s former VP Engineering, Search and Content, leads Engineering at RealateIQ. And then there’s Daniel Francisco, Relate IQ’s Manager of Product, he was Chief of Staff and Product Manager at Linkedin.

Even if the Salesforce X rumor is wrong, it’s a good idea. So how about it, Mr. Benioff? You have one of the best data teams in the world working for you and chances are good that they’re more into doing interesting work than money. The latter of which they probably have plenty of because all of the successful startups they’ve worked at.

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.

Adatao's Big Dreams for Big Data

Big Data, 2014-12-August-Soap-Bubble.jpgIf I had a dollar for every time I’ve written about a company that promises to deliver “big data for all” or “big data no data scientist required” or some variation thereof, I’d be rich.

OK, maybe not rich, but I could foot the bill for a pretty nice dinner.

Big promises and big ambitions aren’t a bad thing. After all, if technology vendors are hard at work trying to make data driven insights accessible to more people, then maybe everyone from medical researchers to retailers to school teachers will be able to leverage big data to make the world a better place, right?

Think Dropbox Isn't Serious About the Enterprise? Think Again

2014-11-August-Jogging.jpgWe’ve all been there: Someone sends us a document that we need to review, edit or approve and the only device we have handy is a mobile phone. Sure, there are some who schlepp around phones, iPads and laptops for this, but there’s no way I’m going to do that on a 10 mile run, while running out for coffee or at lunch with my husband or boss. And an iWatch -- even if it comes out next month -- isn’t likely to be of any help.

And though many EFSS solutions provide document previews that are accessible via a mobile device, they can still be hard to work with.

Dropbox knew this, that’s why today it's releasing a new Android app that the company says will make the “Dropbox mobile app experience as fast, seamless and efficient as possible.” That way you can get your work done on the spot, wherever you happen to be.

Big Data is Here: How About Actionable Insights? [Infographic]

By now everyone from your kid’s baseball coach to the Avon lady representative can give you an earful about how (big) data and analytics lead to better decisions. But if that’s the case, why are so many of us seeing so many lousy offers?

A few years ago we might have been able to argue that retailers, and other marketers, thought that big data was just a bunch of hype that didn’t actually lead to better returns. But we’ve come a long way since then.

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.

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.

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