The digital workplace is changing many things. For those that have completed a digital transformation processes it has changed the way work is done, it has also probably changed not only the way you work and even where you work. And now it's starting to impact the C-Suite, according to Gartner, the position chief data officer (CDO) is mutating to reflect the growing impact of data and digital on enterprise products themselves.

This mutation is so profound that Mario Faria, VP and program director at the Gartner Research Board, said that the CDO has now reached its fourth iteration and should be known as CDO 4.0.

According to Faria, with the increased usage of data and analytics (D&A) across the enterprise, the CDO's mindset needs to shift from focusing on D&A projects and programs to driving a product-centric organization. All iterations of the CDO include:

  1. CDO 1.0 was focused exclusively on data management.
  2. CDO 2.0 started to embrace analytics.
  3. CDO 3.0 led and participated quite heavily in digital transformation.
  4. CDO 4.0 is focused on products and managing profit and loss instead of just being responsible for driving D&A projects and programs.

Traditionally, technology investments have been structured as a pool of ongoing “run the business” costs and a separate portfolio of discrete capital projects that have a clearly defined beginning and end. However, organizations are now beginning to align funding, development resources and ongoing management support around a set of enduring product lines. Gartner expects 72% of organizations to be using this product model this year. More to the point, a product-centric data and analytics organization requires new skillsets, roles, investment models and the right culture.

This is the first mention so far of CDO v.4.0 and an interesting one. However, given that there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that many digital enterprises still haven’t considered the CDO as a separate, employable position, it will be interesting to see how it all fits into the enterprise. More on this as it develops.

Microsoft Axes Skype for Business Online

Since Microsoft took its collaboration, communications and productivity ambitions to the cloud with the launch of Office 365 six years ago, it has continued its development with the addition of new products and the tweaking of others to create what it believes is close to the best you can get in terms of productivity suites.

One of the early additions to Office 365 was Skype, which Microsoft bought in 2011 for the then staggering sum of $8.5 billion. Microsoft didn’t seem to care then that it already had a communications tool bundled into Office 365 called Lync, leaving many people scratching their heads as to why Microsoft would want two communication tools in, the same suite. They didn’t have to scratch for too long because only a short time after Microsoft decided to fold Lync into Skype and make Skype the main communication tool in Office 365.

That was way back then. Now, the situation has changed again. Microsoft released Teams on March 14, 2017 and stated at the time that all its communication and workplace collaboration ambitions would be carried under the Teams banner. It didn’t look good for Skype, or the enterprise edition, Skype for Business.

Sure enough over the past week, Microsoft announced it will be closing down Skype for Business Online by July 2021. Worth noting here, however, before you start cursing Microsoft for your Skype for Business Server investments, the server edition will continue to be supported as many of its customers still "need to continue to use Skype for Business Server for some users or geographies due to their requirements." The consumer version will also be safe.

Meanwhile, give that the hatchet is falling in July 2021, the process of pushing people onto Teams is about to start happening. The announcement reads: Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021, and after that date the service will no longer be accessible. Between now and then, current Skype for Business Online customers will experience no change in service, and they’ll be able to continue to add new users as needed. However, starting September 1, 2019, we will onboard all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling. Please note that the Skype Consumer service and Skype for Business Server will both be unaffected by this announcement.

And there you have it. Everything is about Teams. In fairness there is a lot of good things about Teams, it combines chat, video, calling and document collaboration into a single, integrated app.

Here’s the thing though, while Microsoft says it will offer a comprehensive set of technical guidance and planning resources, including a proven framework, best practices, planning documents, free instructor-led training and FastTrack onboarding assistance for eligible subscriptions, you’re still going to probably have to hire, or train a migration expert and that just means more money.

There’s not a lot any enterprise can do except grin and bear it — and maybe look at other platforms before they start the migration process.

Apple Joins Data Transfer Project

Anyone remember the Data Transfer Project? Well, if you don’t — the Data Transfer Project was launched by Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter last year.

Learning Opportunities

In a blog post about the Project, Google explained that the Data Transfer Project is an open source initiative dedicated to developing tools that will enable consumers to transfer their data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and re-upload it. “With this project, we’re looking forward to working with companies across the industry to bring this type of functionality to individuals across the web.

Over the past week, the project took a major step forward when Apple announced it would be joining up and developing interoperable systems to bring data in and out of iCloud. A number of alternative social networks have also joined the project, with Tim Berners-Lee’s Solid project enabling the import and export of contacts, and Mastodon allowing for the import and export of posts.

To ensure security, data services must first agree to allow data transfer between them, and then they will require that individuals authenticate each account independently. All credentials and user data will be encrypted both in transit and at rest. More on this as it happens.

Connecting G Suite With Calendar

Over the past few years, Google has been making its G Suite productivity suite as attractive to enterprise users as possible in an attempt to again ground against Microsoft’s Office 365. Over the past week, it has announced a number of upgrades including a couple of security additions. However, everything has been about increasing productivity and the calendar release is all about that. In order to make better use of calendars Google said it is making it possible to access Google Calendar through its Voice Assistant.

Although there has been no official announcement, a Reddit user called rbf2000 posted a thread in the Google Home subreddit claiming that he can listen to his G Suite calendar appointments from Google Home. The thread reads: “I asked my Lenovo Smart Display to tell me about my day this morning, and to my surprise, it read from my G Suite calendar and told me the appointments I had coming up. I feel like I've been waiting forever for this feature to finally roll out. Hopefully it means more integrations for G Suite customers to come.”

Access disappeared soon after, but it shows that this is out there and now accessible. For those that are interested in signing up to the beta program, click here. It’s still not generally available, but it is on the way.

Dropbox Offers 100GB File Transfer

Finally, this week, Dropbox introduced a way to transfer 100GB files via a tool called Transfer, which provides access to the files using a simple link. While sharing through Dropbox is great for collaboration, sometimes you want to just hand off files.

Transfer offers the convenience of email, without the 25MB limit on attachments. With Transfer, you can send up to 100GB of files — five times what some other services allow — in just a few clicks.

Users are given the option to use drag and drop to upload files from a computer, or skip the wait by adding items stored in Dropbox. Once they’ve created the transfer, they’ll get a link that can be pasted anywhere. You can send the link to anyone, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account, or send an automatically generated email from Transfer. Recipients will receive copies of the files, so your originals will remain untouched.

OK, so it’s not going to change email or the file transfer industry, but it gives Dropbox an added functionality that many businesses and consumers will appreciate. Dropbox continues to develop its enterprise "attractiveness" in small but important steps. Expect more soon.

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