We flagged it recently that IBM was about to spin-off its managed infrastructure services into a separate company. That has now happened, and all those services are now under a new company called Kyndryl. The spin-off will see IBM examining the services it is offering and focusing on its consultancy operations. This leaves Arvind Krishnan, who took over as IBM CEO in April 2020, to shape the company and continue to develop its strategy, as it looks to monetize its expertise and software offerings. To explain exactly what that means, Krishnan has posted an open letter on the IBM website to outline the challenges in the coming months, as he sees them.
IBM, he said, has taken decisive strategic actions to meet the unique needs of this moment, including its acquisition of Red Hat in 2019. The goal, he added, is to break down today’s most common barriers to innovation, which he sees as closed systems, proprietary technologies, untrustworthy AI, and insufficient security. The three major strategic objectives that the company will carry the company into the future include:
- Refocusing the company to optimize its technology and business expertise.
- Reorienting its entire portfolio around hybrid cloud and AI.
- Reinvigorating its ecosystem with an expanded network of business partners.
The focus on AI and hybrid is a smart one. According to recent IBM research as hybrid cloud is a key underpinning for AI-powered intelligent workflows, the number of CIOs surveyed reporting high maturity in their hybrid cloud operations increased 700% compared to 2019.
The research also reported that the number of CIOs surveyed reporting high maturity in AI-enabled workflows increased 560% compared to two years ago, and 37% of CIOs surveyed cite process automation as the top opportunity for positive impact within their organizations. Respondents indicated the greatest use of automation is in IT, finance, and manufacturing — at 40%, 35%, and 35% of workloads, respectively.
Many CIOs are also looking to use technology to drive progress against corporate objectives like sustainability. 42% of CIOs surveyed expect technology to have a significant impact on sustainability in the next three years — highest of all areas of impact.
The bottom line is that IBM has identified a problem in enterprises that the new slimmed-down company is gearing up to manage. What will be interesting, is how it solves this problem, whether it is in a better situation to do so without the weight of Kyndryl and where this will take IBM? More to come.
Microsoft OneDrive and Windows 7 & 8 Are Parting Company
There was a lot take in last week at Microsoft Ignite, and it’s probably a good idea to stand back for a week. However, there is one snippet that didn’t make Ignite but which many digital workplace employees should keep in mind. According to a Microsoft TechCommunity post, Microsoft will no longer be updating OneDrive desktop applications on personal Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 devices from the beginning of next March. And there’s more. For those users that want to preserve the backup and sync functionality of OneDrive, they will have to move to Windows 10 or 11.
Microsoft OneDrive is a file hosting service and synchronization service operated by Microsoft as part of its web version of Office. First launched in August 2007, OneDrive allows users to store files and personal data like Windows settings, share files, and sync files across Android, Windows Phone, and iOS mobile devices, Windows and macOS computers among others. And like just about every other Microsoft product, it needs support and updates, which the Redmond, WA-based company is happy to offer, but not indefinitely.
However, before the millions of OneDrive users start panicking, keep in mind that this is just Microsoft’s not-so-subtle nudge for users to move from the older operating systems to the new ones. The actual content will not disappear, and you will not lose access. However, you won’t be able to share as you usually do, and the sync functionality, which brings many people to OneDrive, will no longer available.
Microsoft also points out that for machines that do not meet system requirements for Windows 10 or Windows 11 operating system upgrade, users can back up and protect their files by manually uploading them to OneDrive on the web, and continue to access, edit, and share your files on all your devices.
If you are using the OneDrive desktop application for business, starting January 1, 2022, support for this application will be aligned with the Windows support lifecycle.
How this actually impacts on users is hard to gauge, but certainly a lot of business and personal customers use OneDrive as their principal storage area of business and person documents. Nor is it out of the question that people just move everything out into something like Dropbox, Box or Google It’s a minor Microsoft footnote after last week’s conference, but it’s one that will have an impact on millions of users.
Google Workspace Gets FedRamp Secured
Leaving aside the purely communications and collaborative needs of the digital workplace, there is another layer of "need" that has become increasingly important since the explosion in remote and hybrid workplace where sensitive content is regularly pushed around the enterprise. That need, of course is security, and all the major vendors in the space have spent a great deal of time boosting security and looking for ways to convince enterprises that might otherwise be open to remote work, that it is possible to secure data.
One of the ways of raising enterprise leaders is through the different certifications that are currently available. Google Workspace has just taken a major step forward and achieved FedRAMP High authorization, something that will give it a lot more traction in the public sector, especially in sensitive areas like defense, security, and health.
For the sake of clarity, Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRamp) is a US government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. FedRAMP guarantees that the entire scope of authorization already encompasses the full spectrum of services. Low-level systems have exactly 125 controls, moderate level systems have 325 controls, while high-level systems are required to comply with 421 controls.
And Workspace has achieved the "High" certification. Google Workspace is the company’s suite of cloud-based collaboration tools, including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive and other applications. Workspace was formerly known as G Suite.
The U.S. federal government has made its ambition for multi-cloud solutions clear, but in many cases has remained strapped to legacy offerings. Having this new choice of a full suite, cloud-first productivity vendor will give access to modern tools and technologies that help them connect, create, and collaborate.
With FedRAMP High authorization across Workspace’s public cloud offering users in the public and private sector can assured that they are collaborating at this high level of security, without having to purchase and deploy a separate “gov cloud” instance. It also means they can operate seamlessly with relevant government agencies without additional overheads.
NetDocuments Buys Afterpattern for Automation
Salt Lake City-based NetDocuments, which develops a cloud content management platform for the legal industry, has said that it is to buy Afterpattern, a no-code automation toolkit that law firms and legal teams use to produce hundreds of thousands of documents and workflow automation.
By integrating Afterpattern into the NetDocuments platform, users will be able to focus on the “create” aspect of the document lifecycle and be empowered to automate documents at scale and more efficiently than they were able to do in the past.
The focus here is on enhancing legal professionals’ productivity from within NetDocuments and, in particular, automating as many repetitive processes as possible. The acquisition of Afterpattern is just the latest in a number of acquisitions and platform developments. Keep in mind that NetDocuments recently integrated DocuSign eSignature as well as the introduction of NetDocuments Highlights powered by LexisNexis.
Similar to previous acquisitions including ThreadKM and Chapman and Cutler’s Closing Room, Afterpattern will be natively integrated into the NetDocuments platform.
Specific details about availability will be shared in early 2022.
Accenture Buys ClearEdge
Finally, this week, Boston-based, Accenture has announced that it has bought ClearEdge Partners, a firm specializing in procurement spend management, to help clients better manage their digital transformation spend. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
ClearEdge brings proprietary methodologies, solutions and deep expertise in information technology (IT) spend management and software asset management. These capabilities combined with Accenture’s SynOps platform will give Accenture the ability to extend insights and purchasing expertise to enable users extract greater value out of existing IT investments.
Expanding digital transformation agendas continue to drive rising IT spending among enterprise organizations. An industry forecast by Gartner projects worldwide IT spending to reach $4.1 trillion by the end of 2021, up 8.4% from 2020. However, Accenture estimates that as much as 30% of value from IT spending gets lost to licensing complexities and lack of spending controls.
Last month, Accenture announced it had bought Xoomworks, a procurement consultancy and technology firm based in London. Terms of that deal were not disclosed.