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... blogging on what is happening in enterprise software, with a focus on Future of Work and Next Generation Applications, sparkled with occasional musings on the the state of the industry and outlooks where we are heading.

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    Earlier this week, we learned that Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Xamarin, an already existing partner and a leading development platform for mobile applications.



    So let’s take the press release apart in our customary style – actually not a press release – but Scott Guthrie’s blog post (it can be found here):

    As the role of mobile devices in people's lives expands even further, mobile app developers have become a driving force for software innovation. At Microsoft, we are working to enable even greater developer innovation by providing the best experiences to all developers, on any device, with powerful tools, an open platform and a global cloud.
     MyPOV – Ok, nice start by Scott. What he doesn’t mention is: mobile development gets easier and easier; it’s no longer exclusively in the hands of developers but increasingly more in the hands of (less and less) tech-savvy business users.

    As part of this commitment, I am pleased to announce today that Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Xamarin, a leading platform provider for mobile app development.
    MyPOV – rabbit out of the hat.

    In conjunction with Visual Studio, Xamarin provides a rich mobile development offering that enables developers to build mobile apps using C# and deliver fully native mobile app experiences to all major devices, including iOS, Android, and Windows. Xamarin’s approach allows developers to take advantage of the productivity and power of .NET to build mobile apps and to use C# to write to the full set of native APIs and mobile capabilities provided by each device platform. This enables developers to easily share common app code across their iOS, Android and Windows apps, while still delivering fully native experiences for each of the platforms. Xamarin’s unique solution has fueled amazing growth for more than four years.
     MyPOV – Good summary of why Xamarin has been successful in the marketplace – not only partnering with Microsoft but practically all the major players in the tech-stack business. But Xamarin has always been closer to Microsoft (than say, for example, an Oracle) with its support of C# and .NET. It’s one of the ironies of mobile app development that the tooling is not in sync with the market shares of mobile devices, a higher ground that Microsoft does not want (and cannot afford) to lose. 

    Xamarin has more than 15,000 customers in 120 countries, including more than one hundred Fortune 500 companies - and more than 1.3 million unique developers have taken advantage of their offering. Top enterprises such as Alaska Airlines, Coca-Cola Bottling, Thermo Fisher, Honeywell and JetBlue use Xamarin, as do gaming companies like SuperGiant Games and Gummy Drop. Through Xamarin Test Cloud, all types of mobile developers—C#, Objective-C, Java and hybrid app builders —can also test and improve the quality of apps using thousands of cloud-hosted phones and devices. Xamarin was recently named one of the top startups that help run the Internet.
    MyPOV – Indeed impressive accolades. It’s back to Microsoft to reassure customers that they will keep the partnerships with Microsoft co-opetitors, such as IBM, Oracle and SAP.

    Microsoft has had a longstanding partnership with Xamarin, and have jointly built Xamarin integration into Visual Studio, Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and our Enterprise Mobility Suite to provide developers with an end-to-end workflow for native, secure apps across platforms. We have also worked closely together to offer the training, tools, services and workflows developers need to succeed.
    MyPOV – Both vendors have partnered and demoed at Microsoft’s developer event, Build. One could ask why Microsoft only now is acquiring Xamarin.

    With today’s acquisition announcement we will be taking this work much further to make our world class developer tools and services even better with deeper integration and enable seamless mobile app dev experiences. The combination of Xamarin, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services, and Azure delivers a complete mobile app dev solution that provides everything a developer needs to develop, test, deliver and instrument mobile apps for every device. We are really excited to see what you build with it.
    MyPOV – Surprised Scott did not put a reference into the Microsoft Universal app; however, that may not be what the more mobile audience may want to read here. Still in my view, the Universal app approach is one of the most attractive offerings in the development arsenal of Microsoft.

    We are looking forward to providing more information about our plans in the near future – starting at the Microsoft //Build conference coming up in a few weeks, followed by Xamarin Evolve in late April. Be sure to watch my Build keynote and get a front row seat at Evolve to learn more!
    MyPOV – Nice plug to the events.


    Overall MyPOV

    There is so much software that needs to be built in the next decade, along with protecting investments and making developers more productive is key. Microsoft has done a big step for the former - allowing all .NET apps to run on Azure - but it also knows it needs to work on developer productivity. The “build once, deploy everywhere” mantra is obviously powerful, and Microsoft has been an early leader in the category with the Windows Universal app. With Xamarin, Microsoft snapped up one of the leading mobile application development platforms. It will interesting to see how Microsoft will plug Xamarin into the existing tooling for mobile developers. 

    On the concern side, one can only hope that customers with other Xamarin partners will keep being supported, ideally as long as foreseeable and commercially viable. And Microsoft needs to also show its plans to not only enable developers but also (reasonably tech-savvy) business users to create cross-platform mobile applications.

    But for now good news; congrats to Microsoft on a strategic acquisition in a key area for enterprises - mobile application development.


    More about Microsoft:
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
    • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
    • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
    • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
    • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
    • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
    • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
    • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
    • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
    • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

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    This morning Oracle announced a new storage offering that extends strategic options for enterprises on how, where and when to store data, all at an attractive TCO position. But it’s for data on… mainframes. Why would Oracle go after this market, at default unlikely and unusual for the vendor, so worth a blog post. 




    So let’s take apart the press release in our customary style, it can be found here:

    Redwood Shores, Calif.– March 1, 2016 – Oracle announces the all new StorageTek Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) 7 System, the most secure and scalable data protection solution for mainframe and heterogeneous systems with the additional capability to provide fully automated tiering directly to the public cloud. Furthermore, Oracle’s StorageTek VSM 7 System has been architected to seamlessly integrate with Oracle Storage Cloud Service – Object Storage and Oracle Storage Cloud Service – Archive Service and provides storage administrators with a built-in cloud strategy. With Oracle, cloud storage is now as accessible as on-premise storage.

    MyPOV – Summarizes well what VSM is about –give (IBM) mainframe customers an option to expand storage both on premises and to the cloud. With the integration to Oracle Cloud Service - Archive Service, VSM offers the option to bring this data to the cloud, if desired or required. Giving enterprises the option between on premises / cloud storage is a key capability to allow flexible deployment scenarios of storage, while enterprises are formulating their long term systems and application strategy.

    “In the past, data protection solutions were designed to deal with exponential data growth on-premises, but an entirely different dynamic drove the design of the VSM 7,” said James Cates, senior vice president, Archive Product Development, Oracle. “The core is still there—elevated performance, twice the capacity, a higher degree of scalability, but we saw a gap in the market, so we developed Engineered Cloud Tiering to enable mainframe users to take advantage of cloud economics.”
    MyPOV – Good quote by Cates, summing up both the traditional (on premises) and new (cloud) capabilities of VSM version 7.
    Organizations can experience these benefits:

    Performance & Scalability: Oracle’s StorageTek VSM 7 System is a superior data protection solution for IBM z Systems mainframes with full data interchange across previous generation VSM systems and key features that IBM’s TS7700 virtual tape system lacks. Oracle’s StorageTek VSM 7 System delivers, 34x more capacity, significantly higher scalability to 256 StorageTek VSM 7 Systems, data deduplication and native cloud tiering that provides mainframe and heterogeneous storage users the ability to access additional capacity on demand.
     MyPOV – It’s always key for vendors to build enough new capabilities and capacity in a new offering, to make it attractive enough for enterprises to consider adopting the new offering. At the same time a substantial gain of capabilities and capacity is essential in order to make sure the offering remains attractive given the effects of Moore’s Law on all things hardware. It looks like Oracle has built in enough of a capability and capacity progression in VSM 7. 

    Enhanced Security: Powered by Oracle’s breakthrough SPARC M7 processor, Oracle’s StorageTek VSM 7 System delivers wide-key encryption for data at rest and on removable tape media without performance compromise and also uses Silicon Secured Memory for data protection.
    MyPOV – Good to see the recent hardware based security offerings being part of the offering. Another example of what Oracle can do with the integrated ‘chip to click’ technology stack - designing higher level offerings in conjunction with lower level system capabilities here taking advantage of building its own processors with SPARC M7.

    Availability: Oracle’s StorageTek VSM 7 System provides data protection solutions from on-premises to Oracle Public Cloud, with a single point of contact for all mainframe storage and heterogeneous storage requirements. Policies can be set to automatically copy or migrate files from external disk storage to low cost, off-site cloud storage. With native cloud tiering, customers benefit from end-to-end visibility and diagnostics from on-premise StorageTek VSM 7 System deployments to the Oracle Storage Cloud Service or Oracle Storage Cloud Archive Service.
    MyPOV – As data volumes explode for enterprises, keeping and protecting data is key for next generation applications that these enterprises are supporting. Being able to manage policy based – and thus automated – on premises vs cloud storage choices is very valuable.

    Disaster Recovery: Oracle’s StorageTek VSM 7 System enables a “lights out” disaster recovery strategy, as a mainframe is no longer required at remote sites, dramatically reducing costs and simplifying deployments. Electronic data sharing across separate complexes, clustering, replication, and DR to the Oracle Public Cloud provides a breadth of simple, flexible disaster recovery options.
    MyPOV – Disaster Recovery remains a must have capability for most enterprises to ensure business continuity. Oracle provides a key capability not having to mirror complete system capabilities (here a mainframe) on both sides of a DR equation, opening scenarios with system replacement, cost saving and more agile qualities.

    Oracle is also addressing the needs of mission critical heterogeneous environments
    underserved by other solutions. Extending its enterprise-proven architecture to a broader customer base, Oracle is providing robust mainframe data protection capabilities with flexible disaster recovery options.
    MyPOV – Good to hear that VSM supports scenarios beyond mainframes, while keeping mainframe quality to allow support for more heterogeneous system deployments. Enterprises have heterogeneous system landscapes, and having the option of high quality system choices at disposal is very valuable for decision makers.

    Overall MyPOV

    The cloud has brought new life to many areas of the technology stack that have lived a more quiet life in the recent decade. Storage is one of these areas, where suddenly a well understood, on the path to commoditization IT offering, has become strategic (again). All of the 7 next generation application use cases Constellation Research has identified and that enterprises are evaluating, building and looking to procure, show how strategically important storage is. In many cases, Storage is the critical path from enabling the overall use case both from a capability and / or cost perspective. So seeing innovation in the space, giving enterprise more deployment options and reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) is a positive development for CxOs making strategic next generation application platform decisions.

    Moreover, the combination of these offerings with the cloud gives enterprise key new strategic choices. Still necessary older on premises architectures can be extended while taking advantage of cloud bases technologies and deployments, while enterprises formulate their systems and platform strategy going forward. Oracle’s symmetrical architecture for both on premises and on cloud based products, increases the deployment choices and flexibility substantially: Enterprises know with higher level of confidence that they can move data from on premises to cloud and vice versa. This confidence into a capability is crucial for deployment flexibility that has risen to even more importance given the recent data residency challenges enterprises face with the invalidation of the E.U. / USA Safe harbor agreement.

    So overall VSM 7 is a further proof point of the Oracle ‘chip to click’ technology stack, deployed either seamlessly on premises or in the Oracle cloud. Enterprise with storage needs should take note / a look.



    Recent blog posts on Oracle:

    • Market Move - Oracle acquires Ravello Systems - makes good on nested hypervisor roadmap - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud - More ready than ever, now needs adoption read here
    • Event Report - Oracle Openworld 2015 - Top 3 Takeaways, Top 3 Positives & Concerns - read here
    • News Analysis - Quick Take on all 22 press releases of Oracle OpenWorld Day #1 - #3 - read here
    • First Take - Oracle OpenWorld - Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
    • Event Preview - Oracle Openworld - watch here


    Future of Work / HCM / SaaS research:
    • Event Report - Oracle HCM World - Full Steam ahead, a Learning surprise and potential growth challenges - read here
    • First Take - Oracle HCM World Day #1 Keynote - off to a good start - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle HCM gathers momentum - now it needs to build on that - read here
    • Oracle pushes modern HR - there is more than technology - read here. (Takeaways from the recent HCMWorld conference).
    • Why Applications Unlimited is good a good strategy for Oracle customers and Oracle - read here.

    Also worth a look for the full picture

    • Event Report - Oracle PaaS Event - 6 PaaS Services become available, many more announced - read here
    • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud makes progress - but key work remains in the cellar - read here
    • News Analysis - Oracle discovers the power of the two socket server - or: A pivot that wasn't one - TCO still rules - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves more into DaaS - read here
    • Event Report - Oracle Openworld - Oracle's vision and remaining work become clear - they are both big - read here
    • Constellation Research Video Takeaways of Oracle Openworld 2014 - watch here
    • Is it all coming together for Oracle in 2014? Read here
    • From the fences - Oracle AR Meeting takeaways - read here (this was the last analyst meeting in spring 2013)
    • Takeaways from Oracle CloudWorld LA - read here (this was one of the first cloud world events overall, in January 2013)

    And if you want to read more of my findings on Oracle technology - I suggest:
    • Progress Report - Good cloud progress at Oracle and a two step program - read here.
    • Oracle integrates products to create its Foundation for Cloud Applications - read here.
    • Java grows up to the enterprise - read here.
    • 1st take - Oracle in memory option for its database - very organic - read here.
    • Oracle 12c makes the database elastic - read here.
    • How the cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
    • Act I - Oracle and Microsoft partner for the cloud - read here.
    • Act II - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
    • Act III - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Netsuite with a touch of Deloitte - read here

    Finally find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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    We had the opportunity to attend the 1st Hortonworks analyst summit held in San Francisco February 29th and March 1st at the beautiful Nikko hotel.

     



    This was the first analyst event held by Hortonworks and despite some substantial competition there was a good turnout of 20+ analysts in attendance, I was joined by fellow Constellationite Doug Henschen.

    So take a look at the video:



    No time to watch – here are the key takeaways:

    Momentum
    – Hortonworks is growing, doing well, a testament to the transformational power of Hadoop in the enterprise. No surprise as enterprises for the first time have the opportunity to bring together all their enterprise data in a single platform, at a fraction of the cost of maintenance of a single silo of data. And no need to know what insights and questions maybe asked later. Hortonworks execs were bullish to have passed fellow competitor Cloudera, we will see at that vendor’s analyst summit. Anyway – great proof point of the momentum.

    Next generation DB for the enterprise
    – It was very clear that the Hortonworks ambition is to become the next generation database for enterprises. And while for ‘data at rest’ the vendor has achieved that status (with all Hadoop based vendors, Hadoop has become the de-facto next gen database for the enterprise) – the verdict is all open on the ‘data in motion’ use cases (think most prominently of nothing else than IoT). And Hortonworks has now integrated last year’s acquisition of Onyara, providing an integrated product with HDF 1.2. It’s sibling for data at rest is HDP 2.4, which has Apache Spark 1.6 support. HP Enterprise ‘donated’ a re-write of the MapReduce Shuffle code in C (originally in Java), showing up to 15x performance gains - -so more performance to come for ODP at some point.

    Two release trains
    – A sign of maturation of the Hadoop market and its adoption is shown by Hortonworks now moving to two release trains…. One for the cutting edge users (called Extended Services) and one for the more conservative (often live) enterprises with Hadoop Core. A good move that should make both growing constituent groups happy.


    MyPOV

    Always good to be at the first analyst summit, especially when it the vendor sees the traction like Hortonworks does. The vendor has a clear ambition to become the next generation database for the enterprise – addressing both data at rest and in motion. These are traditional different architectures and players and bringing both together will be a challenge for anyone – so a tall ask (hence the blog post title). But it’s good for vendors to have an ambition and given the early phases it is good to see Hortonworks is off to an early start to bring these two database domains together.

    On the concern side – more is needed than a database, but a complete platform. Given the Springsource DNA in the executive team I am sure Hortonworks leadership is aware of that, but I guess it is one step at a time. And becoming more of the de-facto standard as the Hadoop distribution for an IaaS player (as Hortonworks has achieved with Microsoft Azure) is a short term priority.

    For enterprises it is clear Hortonworks is one of the two (or three if you add MapR) Hadoop distributions to work with, and the ambition of becoming the next generation enterprise database will be attractive to more enterprises than less. We will be watching, stay tuned.



    More on BigData

    • News Analysis - SAP Unveils New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop to Accelerate Digital Transformation – A key milestone for SAP - read here
    • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
    • News Analysis - Salesforce Transforms Big Data Into Customer Success with the Salesforce Analytics Cloud - read here
    • Progress Report - Teradata is alive and kicking and shows some good 'paranoid' practices - read here
    • Event Report – Couchbase Connect – Couchbase’s shows momentum - read here
    • News Analysis - Couchbase unveils N1QL and updates the NoSQL Performance Wars - read here
    • Event Report - MongoDB keeps up the momentum in product and go to market - read here
    • News Analysis - Pivotal pivots to OpenSource and Hortonworks - Or: OpenSource keeps winning - read here
    • Progress Report - Cloudera is all in with Hadoop - now off to verticals - read here
    • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves into DaaS - read here
    • Event Report - MongoDB is a showcase for the power of Open Source in the enterprise - read here
    • Musings - A manifesto: What are 'true' analytics? Read here
    • Future of Work - One Spreadsheet at the time - Informatica Springbok - read here
    • Musings - The Era of the no-design Database - Read here
    • Mendix - the other path to build software - Read here
    • Musings - Time to ditch your datawarehouse .... - Read here


    Finally find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.




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    Earlier this week, Microsoft announced new hybrid capabilities in its storage and database offerings, which are remarkable in the way the products and offerings are set up and offer the existing Microsoft install base a path to the cloud.



    So let’s take apart Mark Jewett’s blog post in our customary style (it can be found here). 

    Applications and data are at the heart of how organizations drive competitive value and improve efficiency. However, this digital transformation is resulting in an explosion of data. Enterprises have to figure out how to get a handle on this data – how to increase their storage capacity and keep their data safe and secure, without drastically increasing IT costs.
    MyPOV – Good point and in line with what we have been seeing and then saying for a while. All seven of the next generation application use cases that we track across the industries involved an explosion in data, resulting in challenges to both the database and storage tier.

    Microsoft believes a hybrid cloud approach can offer unique ways to manage this data proliferation. We believe you should be able to take advantage of the best of the public cloud and the best of your on-premises technology. Hybrid solutions should enable mission critical, recent, or latency-sensitive data to remain on-premises, while backups and archival data can seamlessly move to low cost and nearly-limitless cloud storage. Applications and tools can access the data transparently, no matter where it is - so that it’s always available to you. And you can do it all without investing in new infrastructure, saving you time and money to focus on driving innovation.
    MyPOV – Good description of the strategy. It offers enterprises an outlet to not expand infrastructure on premises, but, instead, to skip the investment cycles while satisfying the additional demand and load by moving it to the cloud, here Azure. This may be a win-win for customers and vendors; customers cannot necessarily afford to re-architect for cloud but may want to take advantage of new use cases that need to be automated. For vendors like Microsoft, this creates a way to grow cloud revenues substantially.

    Microsoft is investing in building hybrid capabilities across our product portfolio to help you take advantage of all that hybrid has to offer, simply and cost effectively. Today, we are extending that commitment with new offerings in SQL Server 2016 and StorSimple that make it even easier for you to leverage a hybrid cloud model to put you in control of how you store and protect your applications and data.
    MyPOV – Microsoft is executing a two-pronged approach. It brings its Azure technology stack to on premises with the Azure stack, and it allows customers to keep older Microsoft products operating on premises while extending them to the cloud. We see the latter here for SQL Server 2016 and StorSimple.
    Leverage the infinite capacity of Azure with SQL Server Database updates 
    This week we are introducing the SQL Server 2016 Release Candidate with new hybrid enhancements available in preview. These capabilities make it easier than ever for you to choose whether you store your data on-premises or in the cloud. These new features integrate hybrid capabilities into the market-leading Microsoft data platform product you use today, empowering you to leverage the cloud to extend capacity for your massive data growth, while ensuring your data is protected.
    MyPOV – We have given Microsoft a hard time around SQL Server scalability for a long time (looks like the longest time), but now there is a clear path to extend capacity…

    SQL Server 2016 with SQL Server Stretch Database service, a new Azure companion service, enables you to dynamically stretch your on-premises warm and cold data to Azure for virtually endless compute capacity and storage. Now you can keep as much data as you need in the cloud, up to 60 terabytes per database in preview, without the high costs of traditional enterprise storage. The Stretch Database service makes remote query processing possible by providing compute and storage in a way that’s completely transparent to the application. SQL Server Stretch Database also works with Always Encrypted technology, which encrypts data before sending to Azure and the encryption key remains on-premises to give you added piece of mind that your data is protected no matter where it’s stored. SQL Server 2016 with the new Stretch Database service enable you to keep more data accessible for deep insights at significantly lower cost.
    MyPOV – We learn a new ‘Azure companion service,’ SQL Server Stretch Database, is the enabler on the Azure side. Enterprises will be happy to learn that they can move data to the cloud based on application scenarios and data temperature. It’s very good to see the support of an external (on-premises) local key, addressing the security/privacy challenge in the post- Snowden/ NSA/PRISM age.

    Another new hybrid capability available in SQL Server 2016 is support for Transactional Replication toAzure SQL Database which expands on the existing option for replicating data to SQL Server in an Azure virtual machine (VM). With this feature you can now replicate data directly to Azure SQL Database and benefit from a fully managed database. This extends the options you have to back up your data to the cloud to ensure it’s protected in worst-case scenarios. You can also migrate data from SQL Server on-premises to Azure SQL Database – providing a simple mechanism to move data to the cloud without downtime to an on-premises database.
    MyPOV – SQL Server (to the days back of Sybase) always had very good replication capabilities; it’s good to see these capabilities now put to work for moving/replicating data from on premises to Azure – there, next generation applications can be built. Being able to go from SQL Sever in an Azure VM to an Azure SQL DB is a major step and way forward out of the (older) SQL Sever code (which we have seen as an issue for many years). Giving customers a scalable cloud-based DB outlet is a major step by Microsoft and a truly good move for customers.

    Simplifying hybrid storage with Azure StorSimple Virtual Array
     
    Azure StorSimple is another great example of how Microsoft has increased the hybrid capabilities of its products. Designed to help you increase storage capacity and data availability without investing in new infrastructure, StorSimple offers economical cloud storage or on-premises storage so you can choose where to store your data.
    MyPOV – Microsoft had a precursor of the Azure stack on the storage side with the (relatively) newer StorSimple offering. Good to see that the on-premises and cloud StorSimple are now coming together.

    Today we are extending the StorSimple offering with StorSimple Virtual Array, a version of StorSimple offered in a virtual machine form, now generally available. The VM enables additional scenarios, in particular environments with minimal IT infrastructure and management, for customers to take advantage of StorSimple. The virtual array is built on the success of existing StorSimple technology, which uses a hybrid cloud storage approach for on-demand capacity scaling in the cloud and cloud-based data protection and disaster recovery. The hybrid approach centers around your choice to store the most used data on the virtual array and optionally tier older data to Azure. The virtual array can be run as a virtual machine on your Hyper-V or VMware ESXi hypervisors and can be configured as a File Server (NAS) or as an iSCSI server. It also provides the ability to back up your data to Azure.
    MyPOV – Wait, now it reads more like Microsoft is bringing capabilities of StorSimple from Azure to on premises via virtual machines. That makes management easier for customers who have a number of VMs to manage already. Supporting not only Hyper-V but also VMware ESXi gives customers familiar choices. So a small component of the Azure cloud stack (though Microsoft does not stake it explicitly, so I am speculating a bit here) is coming to on premises.

    Both SQL Server 2016 and StorSimple enhancements are available for you to try out today. We hope that you’ll test drive these exciting new offerings and let us know what you think.

    MyPOV – Sand boxes, pilots, test drives – always a good way to get customers on board and learn about scale.

    Overall MyPOV

    We are seeing an overall industry-wide move by the established IT giants to hybrid. Last week, it was IBM partnering with VMware (see here); this week Cisco acquired CliqR (see here); and Oracle offers to move mainframe storage out of the mainframe and/or to the cloud (see here). As mentioned above, Microsoft announced the Azure stack for on premises (see here), and now important storage and database offerings are ‘stretched’ (pun intended) to the cloud.

    It’s a win-win for vendors and customers as customers can avoid discretional investment on premises. Move the investment to building new (cloud based), next generation applications, and vendors can also repurpose R&D investment and grow cloud revenue.

    Closer to Microsoft’s announcement, customers need to look at the potential license and operational implications. We are sure Microsoft will get the pricing right, but the operational cost of ‘bursting’ or replicating to the cloud can be expensive, starting on the networking side.

    But overall a good move by Microsoft. We will be watching for adoption and further developments – stay tuned.


    More about Microsoft:
    • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
    • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
    • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
    • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
    • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
    • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
    • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
    • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
    • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
    • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.


    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here



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    We are attending Ultimate’s user conference UltiConnect taking place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The conference kicked off with a welcome reception at Drais, a great location to get attendees to enjoy Las Vegas. And with over 2000 attendees and over 60% first time attendees the conference sees record attendees. 


    Always hard to find the top 3 - but here are my Top 3 takeaways from the keynote:
    • People Centricity remains front and central for Ultimate– Ultimate has been stressing people centricity for a long time, and no surprise it was front and center at today’s keynote. CTO Adam Rogers walked us through the three main directions for Ultimate improving people / employee experience:
        
      • Don’t waste people’s time – A good direction, see payroll innovation as key deliverable below. 
      • Build stronger leaders – Equally good – Ultimate will help leaders become more effective with the help of suggested actions.
      • Let HR focus on Strategy – Probably the best of all three – as the lack of strategic aspects is moving many HR leaders away from the executive table (and conversations). 

    • Innovation to Payroll with Pay Insights– During the keynote Martin Hartshorne walked us through the importance of getting payroll right. As we have pointed out before – everything stops when the paycheck isn’t right. For the individual employee who is talking back to HR, and for all of HR and the enterprise when a large employee group is affected. Pay Insights is being rolled out to selected customers in the next few months and more broadly in fall of this year. The general focus is on capabilities to help employees to better understand their paychecks as well aid them to interact more efficiently with HR. 

    • Ease to do business – Software vendors often get set in their action and processes as they scale their operations, revisiting best practices is a good move and Rogers announced three new initiatives:
       
      • Tierless Support – Nobody wants to wait for the next level support agent to solve an issue, so it is good to see Ultimate eliminating the tiering of support representatives. This does not raise the experience of the support representatives so it will be interesting to see how Ultimate will solve that. 
      • Learning Center – Ultimate will offer new ways to understand its software, always a good move.
      • New online service experience – The fastest way to solve support is self-service, so it’s good to see that Ultimate is making it easier for customers to resolve support issues directly, and themselves. Customers love empowerment.

    MyPOV

    A good start for Connections, which is not only a customer conference, but also a customer appreciation event and Ultimate is striking a good balance between the two. Focusing on people centricity, more specifically on employee experience is a good true north for any HR software vendor, and it is good to see Ultimate building more capabilities in that direction. Coupled with an improvement in know how transfer and customer support, Ultimate is doing the right things to become an even more attractive HCM vendor. Again a good start for the UltiConnect conference, stay tuned. 

    More on Ultimate:
    • Event Report - Ultimate Software Connection - People first and an exciting roadmap ahead - read here
    • First Take - Ultimate Software UltiConnect Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Report - Ultimate's UltiConnect - Off to a great start, but the road(map) is long - read here.
    • First Take – 3 Key Takeaways from Ultimate’s UltiConnect Conference Day 1 keynote – read here.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here



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    Today Workday announced the availability of its French Payroll capability, available imminently on March 12th 2016. This brings to an end the long ago announced road map for payroll support beyond the USA and Canada, with the delivery of UK payroll last summer and French payroll right now.



    So let’s comment on the press release in our customary style, it can be found here:

    PLEASANTON, Calif. and PARIS — March 10, 2016 — Workday, Inc. (NYSE: WDAY), a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, today announced the availability of Workday Payroll for France, a new application that enables organizations with employees in France to streamline the payroll process and address the full spectrum of enterprise payroll needs. Workday Payroll for France was built as part of Workday Financial Management and Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) to facilitate faster financial reporting, improve compliance control, and provide a more comprehensive view of global and local labor costs. 
    MyPOV – Describes well what is being announced, including the benefits. Customers want native vendor support for payroll, as they know from experience that usually less things can go wrong given the challenging legislative environment for payroll, when it is owned by their HR Core vendor. The long term Workday observer will also notice the two time mentions of Finance, the newer of the two Workday applications, that is getting a lot of marketing attention these days.


    Payroll has traditionally been challenging for global organizations due to complex regulatory requirements pertaining to each country and a lack of real-time insights on global payroll actuals. Building on the success of Workday Payroll for the U.S., Canada, and UK, Workday Payroll for France helps alleviate these pain points and equips customers with the flexibility, control, and insight required to support the unique aspects of their organizations. 
    MyPOV – Again a description of the challenges of payroll, but interesting it stresses the global perspective into payroll. There is of course a  French only perspective on a local payroll, too. Workday is walking a fine line with native / own payroll support for USA, Canada, UK and now France – versus the ‘rest of the world’ that it supports with a partnership with payroll giant ADP (read the news analysis here) and its Global Payroll Cloud Program, where Workday partners leverage Cloud Connect for Third Party Payroll – of which there are pre-built and delivered certified integrations for over 117 countries today. As Workday builds native payroll applications based on customer demand, customers may well ask for more native payroll support for further countries.

    Customers using Workday Payroll for France benefit from: 
    • Support for France-specific and Regional Legislative Requirements – For example, Workday Payroll for France automatically runs the newly-initiated Déclaration Sociale Nominative (DSN) process, making it simpler for organizations to replace a wide range of reports with a single statement. The application also supports the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) payment-integration initiative of the European Union.  
    MyPOV – Good to see support for French legislative requirements. The nature of payroll requires that you support it all – including latest developments and requirements, e.g. the support for DSN.


    • Real-time Analytics and Reporting – Organizations can now see what they are actually spending on workers via pre-built reports and analytics. In addition, the new application features a unique dashboard that enables customers to quickly identify and proactively manage high-impact compliance changes directly affecting their employee populations. 
    MyPOV – Always good to show customers what is going on in payroll. Getting pro-active on compliance changes will be appreciated functionality for both payroll managers and employees. And who does not love dashboards?

      

    • Automatic Tax Updates – With a cloud delivery model, new tax updates are automatically applied, eliminating the need for upgrades and patches required by on-premise payroll systems. 
    MyPOV – Good to read and hear, but a table stake for a cloud based payroll system.


    • Powerful and Flexible Calculation Tool – Workday’s robust calculation engine makes it easy for payroll administrators to handle complex requirements and run calculations as often as needed, with faster payroll-processing time.
    MyPOV – Good to hear about the performance of the Workday calculation tool, good that it seems to be performing well, but it would be good to see specifics.


    • High Configurability – Payroll administrators can easily configure unlimited earnings, deductions, pay groups, and pay frequencies to support calculation and reporting needs.  
    MyPOV – Always good to see configurability, but that is what customers expect from a modern payroll system.


    • Mobile Access – With one self-service application, employees can check pay slips and payment elections, and administrators have the ability to process payroll – anywhere, anytime. 
    MyPOV – Good to see mobile self-service supported, as mobile is the most popular platform to access pay check information for today’s employees. That sums up a pretty functional first payroll release, which goes beyond the very bread and butter requirements for a payroll system. 



    Comments on the News  -“Organizations in France require a modern application to simplify payroll processing and keep pace with recent legislation and a constantly-changing workforce,” said Barbry McGann, vice president, payroll and time products, Workday. “Workday Payroll for France unifies payroll and HR in the cloud, offering customers the control, flexibility, and insight required to gain complete visibility across the business and workforce to help fuel growth.”  
    MyPOV – Good quote of McGann that sums up well what Workday delivers with French payroll.


    Availability Workday Payroll for France will be generally available on March 12, 2016. […] 
    MyPOV – Good to see imminent general availability of the new French payroll.


    Screensho how Déclaration Sociale Nominative (DSN) is supported in Workday.

    Overall MyPOV

    Always good to see software vendors deliver product at the announced milestones and congrats to Workday to deliver the French payroll as announced over 2 years ago. That seemed a long way out, but time flies and French payroll is now available both for global customers with French employee populations and local French customers of Workday. It looks like the first version is a robust, functional release, the mobile capabilities even going beyond a typical V1 of a payroll product, as it is build on the same platform as its other payroll offerings. 

    On the concern side Workday will have to explain why it supports 4 country’s payroll, native in the product and no other countries, but uses the partnership to ADP instead. In recent meetings we noticed jokingly that Workday offers native payroll applications in countries with red, white and blue flags. Future will tell if Workday can keep it at 4 native payrolls in the Workday product or if it will need to support more natively in he product, we are seeing Germany and Japan as likely next candidates, but that’s our speculation and guess right now.


    But for now, congrats to Workday to deliver native payroll to French customers and global customers who want / need a native French payroll.  





    More on Workday
    • Progress Report - Workday Tech Summit - Good Progress, More Insights, Less Concerns - read here
    • News Analysis - Workday and ADP partner to Deliver a Seamless Customer Experience for Global Payroll - read here
    • Event Report - Workday Rising - Learning is there and good housekeeping - read here
    • News Analysis - Workday completes Talent Management with Learning - Finally - or too late? Read here.
    • Event Preview - What I would like Workday to address this Rising read here
    • News Analysis – Workday to Expand Suite of Applications for Healthcare Industry - with a SCM twist - read here
    • News Analysis - Workday supports UK Payroll - now speaks (British English) Payroll  - read here
    • Workday 24 - 'True' Analytics, a Vertical and more - now needs customer proof points - read here
    • First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from of Workday Rising Day 1 Keynote - The dawn of the analytics era - time to deliver Insight Apps - read here
    • Progress Report - Workday supports more cloud standard - but work remains - read here
    • Workday 22 - Recruiting and rich Workday 22 are here - read here
    • First Take - Why Workday acquired Identified - (real) Analytics matter - read here
    • Workday Update 21 - All about the user experience and some more - read here
    • Workday Update 20 - Mostly a technology release - read here
    • Takeaways from the Salesforce.com and Workday partnership - read here
    • Workday powers on - adds more to its plate - read here
    • What I would like Workday to address this Rising - read here
    • Workday Update 19 - you need to slow down to hurry up - read here
    • I am worried about... Workday - read here


    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my Youtube channel here

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    Earlier today, HPE announced the availability of a number of Haven capabilities being available on the cloud (more specifically Microsoft Azure). Given the change in cloud strategy, the partnership with Microsoft for pubic cloud and the need of enterprises to build next generation applications, it’s time to check in what is happening at HPE in general and Haven in specific.




    So let’s dissect the press release in our customary style – it can be found here:

    PALO ALTO, Calif., March 10, 2016 – Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) today announced the immediate commercial availability of HPE Haven OnDemand, an innovative cloud platform that provides advanced machine learning APIs and services that enable developers, startups and enterprises to build data-rich mobile and enterprise applications.
    Delivered as a service on Microsoft® Azure, HPE Haven OnDemand provides more than 60 APIs and services that deliver deep learning analytics on a wide range of data, including text, audio, image, social, web and video.

    MyPOV – Sums up well what is being announced, basically Haven capabilities are being moved to the cloud, more specifically to Microsoft Azure. Not only good to see for HPE to leverage software product assets, but also good to see that the announced partnership between HPE and Microsoft has lead to real deliverables.

    HPE first pioneered this effort in December 2014 with the beta launch of HPE Haven OnDemand. Today, HPE Haven OnDemand has more than 12,750 registered developers who currently generate millions of API calls per week, and have provided feedback to improve and refine the offering.

    MyPOV – Good to know where the software was originally tested – likely at the time still with plans for HP Helion (now defunct). Kudos to HP to share the number of registered developers on the platform, something not all platform offerings do – but should do.

    “The software industry is on the cusp of a new era of breakthroughs, driven by machine learning that will power data-driven applications across all facets of life,” said Colin Mahony (@cpmahony), Senior Vice President and General Manager, HPE Big Data, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “HPE Haven OnDemand democratizes big data by bringing the power of machine learning, traditionally reserved for high-end, highly trained data scientists, to the mainstream developer community. Now, anyone can leverage our easy to use cloud-based service to harness the rich variety of data available today to build applications that produce new insights, differentiate businesses, delight customers and deliver a competitive advantage.”

    MyPOV – Good quote from Mahony focusing on what we agree is the largest drive to next generation applications – the need for BigData based applications that enable ‘true’ analytics (more here) and machine learning, running in the cloud.

    HPE offers a flexible approach that starts as a freemium service, enabling development and testing for free, and extends to a usage and SLA-based commercial pricing model for enterprise class delivery to support production deployments. Some of the capabilities offered by HPE Haven OnDemand include:

    MyPOV – Good to see the ‘try / buy’ approach with no cost at entry, but that has become quickly the de-facto standard of new developer offerings.

    Advanced Text Analysis – extracts the key meaning from language by employing powerful concept extraction capabilities that go beyond traditional approaches to obtain key concepts, entities and sentiment from text sources. 
    Format Conversion – provides key functions to access, extract and convert information wherever it lives by supporting an extensive set of standard file formats and the ability to employ optical character recognition to extract text from an image.
    HPE Haven Search OnDemand enterprise-search-as-a-service – delivers powerful cultivated search across on-premise or cloud data to deliver superior context-sensitive search results. 
    Image Recognition and Face Detection – enables applications to detect specific image features and code around human-centric use cases to identify the gender of an individual or key information such as a brand logo from within an image.
    Knowledge Graph Analysis – automatically delivers insights and predictions related to relationships and behavioral patterns among people, places and things. These capabilities are very useful for analyzing social media and related data. 
    Predict and Recommend – enables developers to view patterns in business data to optimize business performance and build a set of self-learning functions that analyze, predict and alert based on structured datasets. 
    Speech Recognition – employs advanced neural network technology to transcribe speech to text from video or audio files with support for over 50 languages. […]

    MyPOV – A powerful set of services to build next generation applications, we see interactions with the ‘real’ world around facial, image and speech recognition to be very powerful drivers for next generation applications, as the sheer data and compute demands require a new application to be created, usually on a new platform, mostly in the cloud.


    Strong Momentum Spanning Startups to Global Enterprises
    HPE Haven OnDemand’s easy-to-use and proven service is generating strong appeal with independent developers, startups and global enterprises. HPE has fostered a global community of developers that use HPE Haven OnDemand through an active global hackathon program and comprehensive resources, docs, tutorials, code libraries and quick-start materials. This enthusiastic developer community has provided vital feedback to help HPE optimize the offering, and has leveraged HPE Haven OnDemand to create hundreds of innovative applications. A few examples include:

    Ayni – a startup that won the Hack4Europe 2015 challenge created an app for facilitating cultural exchange and foreign language education using HPE Haven OnDemand. The app uses HPE Haven OnDemand’s speech recognition API to create text transcripts of live audio streams.
    Blink – a “speed dating” mobile app startup, Blink, connects people in real time, enabling live-stream video chats. The app leverages HPE Haven OnDemand face detection and image recognition APIs to enable a more human dating app experience.
    RingDNA – an enterprise provider of advanced inside sales is using HPE Haven OnDemand machine learning APIs to power part of their “conversation analytics” capabilities. HPE Haven OnDemand allowed RingDNA’s developers to get up and running and explore a wide number of recipes and algorithms that were flexible and powerful enough for our enterprise customers.
    Social Capital – AngelHack Global Demo Day 2015 – San Francisco city winner and startup that created an app to provide human resources social assessments using the HPE Haven OnDemand Entity Extraction and Concept Extraction APIs.
    Transparent – a developer participating in the 2015 World Bank hackathon challenge created the Transparent app to understand and visualize government spending in Africa using the HPE Haven OnDemand OCR API to analyze and extract insights.

    MyPOV – Good to see that HPE has understood the importance of communities for developer success. And Hackathons are still popular to get developers motivated and creative. But most importantly seeing real world uptake of HAVEN capabilities across startups and ISVs like RingDNA.
     

    Available Globally via the Microsoft Azure Public Cloud
    All HPE Haven OnDemand APIs and Services are hosted on Microsoft Azure, leveraging the Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Microsoft strategic alliance around Azure, announced in December 2015. An industry leading public cloud platform, Azure ensures that developers building applications can benefit from easy access to HPE Haven OnDemand’s APIs and services with high performance and reliability from virtually any global location.
     

    MyPOV – Good to see the December 2015 partnership announcement between Microsoft and HPE already showing deliverables. Haven needed a public cloud to build the targeted use cases and with the old HP Helion no longer around, chosing Azure is a good platform for next generation applications. TCO is not prohibitive and data center locations are competitive compare to other IaaS options.



    “Organizations have massive quantities of information that can hold insights into business transformation, but harnessing it can be challenging,” said Garth Fort, General Manager, Partner and Channel Marketing, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft. “Leveraging the high performance and scalability of Azure, HPE Haven OnDemand brings our mutual customers a compelling solution to help turn their data into value.” 
    MyPOV – Good to see the main partner quote here. As Microsoft signs more of these partnerships it will be interesting to see and key for customers to understand the financials and costs behind these offerings, as what partners offer on Azure (here today Haven) competes with other Microsoft offerings. On the flipside we know HPE had (and has) choices in regards of IaaS partners and as a long term enterprise software player has certainly thought this through and secured favorable terms for Haven customers.
     

    Additional Information
    HPE Haven OnDemand is immediately available worldwide. More information on HPE Haven OnDemand is available here. To read a blog post on HPE Haven OnDemand, click here. […]
    MyPOV – Along with a long HP tradition HPE also announces when products are ready and available – good to see.


    Overall MyPOV

    This is a key announcement and a milestone for the new HP for enterprises, HPE. As HPE adjusted its public cloud strategy and pivoted away from the public cloud offering at Helion, it had software assets like Haven (remember it was HAVEn at some point – see below) that need a public cloud platform. Hence the partnership with Microsoft that was announced in December of last year. And with Azure the new public cloud home for Haven is certainly an attractive platform, that the ‘new’ Microsoft is working hard (and with some surprising moves) to make even more attractive.

    On the concern side HPE will have to work hard to show value for using Haven. There are many other offerings for building the same breed of next generation applications on other and the same public cloud platform, so the value proposition for enterprises and developers needs to be clear. That this is possible can be seen, e.g. on the successful Heroku on AWS offering. Closer to HPE the revenue potential and growth needs to be understood – but we will see that over the next quarters.

    But for now congratulations to HPE for putting Haven on Azure, good to see a forward strategy for the Haven software offering. Now it’s time to look at roadmap and commercial performance going forward.


    More about HP

    • News Analysis - Updates to HP Helion Portfolio - a commentary - read here
    • Market Move - HP acquires Aruba - It's about Wifi - not the Caribbean - read here
    • News Analysis - HP acquired Eucalyptus - Genius or Panic on Page Mill road? Read here
    • News Analysis - Today's Billion in Cloud Investment is HP's and goes to Helion - read here
    • A tale of two cloud GAs - Google & HP - read here
    • The cloud is growing up - 3 signs from the news - read here
    • To HAVEn and have not - or: HP Bundles away - read here

    And more about Microsoft:
    • News Analysis - Microsoft - New Hybrid Offerings Deliver Bottomless Capacity for Today's Data Explosion - read here
    • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
    • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
    • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
    • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
    • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
    • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
    • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
    • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
    • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
    • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
    • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
    • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
    • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

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    We had the opportunity to attend Ultimate Software’s user conference UltiConnect in Las Vegas, held at the beautiful Bellagio resort. The conference was well attended with over 2000 attendees, a record number for Ultimate. 


    Always tough to pick the top 3 takeaways – but take a look: 


    No time to watch – then keep on reading:

    Product Innovations – Take a look at my Day #1 Keynote takeaways (here), the two that hit the mark with me were

    • Pay Insights– Questions about correct or incorrect paychecks have been always a drag on employee performance and payroll manager efficiency. Tackling the problem with better explanations, more interaction as Ultimate is planning to do for the rest of 2016 is a welcome approach. As the keynotes referred this was inspired (amongst others) by marquee customer Google, but I am sure this will be well received across the Ultimate customer base. And it is one of the areas where we think there is room for innovation in the payroll space.
        
    • Leadership Actions– Helping people leaders with advice, training and actions is probably a plan that will lead to good outcomes. Ultimate plans to provide people leaders with a set of actions that they may want to take to become better people leaders, to get the people they lead more engaged, to solve certain people challenges etc. Almost naturally this cannot be functional with a preset bundle of actions, so it is good to see that Ultimate plans to roll out the feature with configurability from version. 

    Analytical Applications Momentum
    – Ultimate is one of the many vendors that had analytics on their product roadmap for the last 24 months, the good news is that Ultimate provides ‘real’ analytics (those who take an action or make a recommendation – more here) and has made four analytical applications available over the last 12 months. With an uptake of over 600 customers (out of a 3000+ install base) of the earliest analytical application focusing around retention risk, Ultimate probably has the largest customer base adoption for a ‘true’ analytical application. Good to see, though I would have liked to see more true analytics innovation, but on the flipside customer adoption takes time. We will be watching the next quarters.

    Platform Innovation– Every vendor that has been around for 5+ years runs into platform innovation challenges. So it is no surprise that Ultimate, in its 26th year has an older and a newer platform. The newer platform being the architecture on which the new Recruiting and Onboarding applications have been built on, the older (more Microsoft centric) platform runs the rest of the products. Ultimate has shared that it has revised it go-to platform recently, and the direction is towards Pivotal’s CloudFoundry PaaS running on OpenStack. Certainly a good update in direction, but time was lost in the process and it is time for Ultimate to build more product and move older products to the new platform. One popular approach to tackle such a transition is to expose APIs for integration purposes and that’s the mission of the new Ultipro Connect product. It is scheduled for 2017, so quite some way out, but interaction with customers is positive. So a lot of new platform coming to Ultimate product development at the moment, 2016 will be key to see its validation and uptake in the customer base, more likely even 2017. 



    Analyst Tidbits

    Ecosystem – The Ultimate ecosystem is doing well and growing fast – what started with 6 partners in 2013 is now standing at 96 partners – and it reads like a who is who of enterprise software with a large chunk of HCM players. Almost 50 exhibited at UltiConnect and from my random both check were all very happy to be there. It’s good to see that Ultimate was able to create an ecosystem in short time, creating options and value for customers.

    NetSuite – A year ago both Ultimate and NetSuite surprised us with a partnership. A year later both vendors report back and state they could not be happier. The number of joint customers is a good sign for that. The integration is advanced to the point that the Ultimate employee master replaces the employee master in NetSuite, when Ultimate is present. A single employee master in regards of CRUD operations is supported. Good to see a working partnership, and given that NetSuite has not changed its HCM partner strategy (after 3 rapid pivots before this partnership announcement) is also a testament that something is working well. Joint customers are happy with the progress of the partnership as we found out.

    Usability concerns– At the last two UltiConnects Ultimate was able to show substantial UI innovation and new user interface paradigms. The newer UI is implemented well in Recruiting, Onboarding and some new functionality, but the older user interface on the more Microsoft centric is showing its age. A new org chart and more work on the portal is coming this year, but Ultimate will need to do some work in the future, better sooner than later.

    Services Innovation– One of the key announcements of the Day #1 keynote was along a new ‘tierless’ support model. In more detailed briefings we learnt it is really about higher support levels ‘swarming’ the first level support calls, with the goal to drive to faster call resolution. A good move that should get answers to customers faster, and more importantly bring first line service representatives up to speed faster. But Ultimate is investing on the self-service side, too – with a new community offering, where customers can help customers and ultimate is only coming in when needed. Both are good moves to make a customer community successful on the support side.

    On the implementation services side Ultimate has been also offering more services, e.g. for change management and around the new analytical product offerings. Good moves that should help customers to what ultimately matters most for both customers and vendors – customer success with the vendor’s solution.

    MyPOV

    A good UltiConnect conference for Ultimate customers. The vendor is growing and doing well and that positive momentum is always felt at a user conference. And Ultimate knows how to appreciate its customers, who by themselves are passionate about culture, product and vendor. Anyone doubting that – make it to McCarran on Friday after an UltiConnect conference and see how many customers are travelling back in Ultimate conference shirts. A move encouraged by the vendor, but also easily endorsed by attendees, where acceptance of vendor and culture is getting close to cult like settings.

    It’s equally good to see that Ultimate is innovating in product, reverting back to the core of what most users leverage, payroll, it is good to see investment here with Payroll Insights. And on the ‘real’ analytics side Ultimate probably sees the largest uptake of it new analytical offerings across vendors, with over 600 customers using the retention predictor. That’s remarkable, as the first wave of adoption of analytical applications is washing along the beach of reality check and day to day proof of value.

    On the concern side the vendor needs to accelerate its move to its newer platform(s) to create a common user experience and product set. With CloudFoundry as PaaS platform and OpenStack for IaaS services, Ultimate is more likely than not heading in a good direction. With global expansion underway, Ultimate will also have to expand beyond North American data centers. And the user experience of the older, built on the Microsoft stack applications needs improvement.

    But overall a good UltiConnect user conference for Ultimate customers and the vendor, showing traction, innovation and strong indicators to be on track to reach the ‘legend’ (as CEO Scherr puts it) of reaching one billion of revenue in the near future, as it looks 2018.



    More on Ultimate:
    • First Take - First Take - Top 3 Takeaways from Ultimate’s UltiConnect Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Report - Ultimate Software Connection - People first and an exciting roadmap ahead - read here
    • First Take - Ultimate Software UltiConnect Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Event Report - Ultimate's UltiConnect - Off to a great start, but the road(map) is long - read here.
    • First Take – 3 Key Takeaways from Ultimate’s UltiConnect Conference Day 1 keynote – read here.

    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

    And here are my notes - on Twitter - of Ultimate UltiConnect 2016:

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    We had the opportunity to attend ADP’s yearly user conference ‘Meeting of the Minds’ in Fort Washington, at the beautiful Gaylord National. The conference was equally well attended as last year in Nashville with over 1000 attendees.



    Always tough to pick the top 3 at an event – but here you go – take a look at the video:




    No time to watch – read on:

    New UI for Enterprise and Vantage– Last year at MOTM ADP promised to bring both Enterprise and Vantage products to the new UI the vendor had already used for a number of new applications. Especially the talent management product UI, Vantage looked like ‘vintage’ (pun intended). ADP had to move to a declarative way to build its UIs, encapsulate functionality in APIs and revisit workflows and information model, so taking a year is not a bad timeline for the effort. Attendees were looking forward to use the new versions when talking to them around the conference. Almost all is done, except for the practitioner UI in Enterprise and the recruiter role in Vantage. All should be done later this year. This moves the needle from product development to sales and services, with the question how fast customers can be in a position to use the new UI. It also removes the well reported ‘frown effect’ when demoing ‘vintage Vantage’ – which shortchanged a serious look at a pretty functional rich Talent Management product due to UI concerns.

    Data Cloud powers Benchmarking– One of the more exciting products that ADP has created in the last years is the ADP Data Cloud, which is the platform not only to new reporting and visualization, but also the base for its predictive analytics and benchmarking products. And Benchmarking was the new capability showed at MOTM. As ADP pays over 30 Million people in North America it has a better data exposure to salary and more information than probably any vendor. ADP’s labor forecasts routinely beats the government’s labor forecasts. Now – as one of the first benchmarks – users can see salary and more information for a job role across the USA. Participation is very high, well in the 90ies of the customer base, as even the reluctant customers see immediate value. This puts ADP in a very good position to tap into future DaaS (Data as a Service) revenues. On the predictive analytics side things have slowed down a bit (like with other vendors), as HR practitioners remain skeptical towards analytics. All vendors (not only ADP) have to work hard to overcome this, and the path to predictive analytics success in HCM does not lead through the HR department but the business user, who needs any level of automation that works, and can right away see if a prediction / automation ‘works’ (or not).

    Market Place– Since its launch a few quarters back the ADP marketplace has been growing fast to almost 100 signed up partners and close to half of them being live. ADP’s approach of allowing competitors on the market place (e.g. Cornerstone) and to compete on merit is a healthy approach that enterprises value. The cloud allows for ‘zapping’ the sales cycle to an afternoon, the provision of free (or cheap) sand boxes to enable ‘try & buy’ sales mechanisms and a fast way of implementation. The future of enterprise software consumption and it is good to see that ADP has enabled the platform and marketplace early.

    Analyst Tidbits

    • New Onboarding– ADP has also released new Onboarding capability, a solution the vendor had the courage to onboard analysts with at the last analyst meeting in fall. The product has been delivered in a pretty functional version 1 that will be highly welcome (and is anticipated highly) be ADP customers.

    • Global Offerings– ADP keeps offering global solutions and related services like BPO. The offering has also been moved to the new UI starting with the portal, that most (international) employees see first. Partnerships are progressing, the most recent prominent one being the one with Workday (see below for News Analysis). We see ADP and NGA HR as the ‘last men standing’ to offer comprehensive BPO, whenever that market will find its prince, wakening it from now almost 10 years hibernation.
       
    • ACA keeps giving and giving– With new regulation and compliance burdens hitting enterprises and ADP’s record on compliance it is no surprise this is a well working offering for ADP. Enterprises need help with ACA, as every formal and informal poll shows, and ADP is ready to help, at a staggering scale, e.g. the vendor shared that it is providing more than an 8 digit number of 1095s this month. 

    • Development best practices– ADP has transformed the way it builds product, how it goes to market and large parts of is culture. I think this is the first time a keynote speaker wore jeans (!) on stage, ok it was a developer, but still a milestone. It is good to see ADP is not resting on its laurels and looking at more innovative ways of building products. The session was under NDA, but it was exciting to learn about very short review and product deliver cycles. Some of the products can already be found on the ADP marketplace – I encourage you to find and try them. 

    MyPOV

    A very good MOTM for ADP, the vendor has delivered what it promised a year ago and now has a competitive product, for the first time I can think of. Good to see ADP is not resting on its product laurels and has more interesting offerings and products coming. Naturally, focus now turns to sales and services, customers need to understand and adopt the new offerings. Too early to tell how well ADP will do here.

    On the concern side ADP now needs to show its sales and services muscle. With over 800 sales reps in North America that’s not a question of presence but of mentality. It’s a different sales cycle to ‘grab land’ with an aging product but market leader position vs. winning and converting customers towards newly competitive products. E.g. the ADP sales force will have to show it can sell / upsell Talent Management now. And customers will have to be converted / upgraded to the new user interface (and platform in the case of e.g. Data Cloud) – a new challenge for the services organization. ADP customers need to understand well what it takes to move to the new offerings and chart the course to the upgrade / updated. But at the end of the day a good problem to have.

    Overall good progress as ADP morphs into more of an overall global HCM software player from a North American payroll giant, a good trend for customers. We will be watching, stay tuned.





    More on ADP
    • News Analysis - Workday and ADP partner to Deliver a Seamless Customer Experience for Global Payroll - read here
    • Progress Report - ADP Analyst Day - ADP executes, kills (most) ghosts from the past - read here
    • Event Report - ADP Meeting of the Minds - It’s all coming together for ADP in 2015 - product wise - read here
    • First Take - ADP Meeting of the Minds - Day #1 Keynote - read here
    • Progress Report - ADP shows great vision, delivers product innovation - now it needs adoption - read here
    • Site Visit - ADP's new innovation lab in Chelsea - read here
    • News Analysis - ADP announces Spin-Off plans for Dealer Services, sharpens ADP's focus on HCM - read here.
    • Event Report - ADP's Meeting of the Minds - ADP has made up its mind (almost) - customers not yet - read here.
    • First take - 3 Key Takeaways from ADP's Meeting of the Minds Conference Day 1 Keynote - read here.
    • ADP innovates with with verve and good timing – read here.
    Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

    And here are my notes - on Twitter - of ADP MOTM 2016:

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      We had the chance to attend SAP Ariba's user conference Ariba Live in Las Vegas, together with colleagues Chris Kanaracus, Guy Courtin and Ray Wang. The conference was well attended with over 2500 people in attendance. 

      Guy and me recorded a short video of our key takeaways -  have a look:


      No chance to watch? Read on:

      You can find Guy's Supply Chain and Procurement's takeaways here. My next generation Applications takeaways are as as follows:

      Open APIs - As common with many vendors these days, SAP Ariba will publish APIs, starting with five areas, hierarchies and approvals the most prominent ones. Kudos to the vendor for working from a roamap going forward so customers and prospects can plan their uptake of these APIs.

      End User Enablement - We have been writing about end user enablement since a while and it is a key strategy for vendors, as it achieves a number of benefits: First it enables users with reasonable technology savviness to build their own applications. Secondly that helps enterprises to become more agile and to accelerate, critical for their future success. And lastly it protects the vendors from being disrupted from new market entrants, just using their APIs with an attractive user interface. Good to see Ariba enabling a lightweight end user PaaS, allowing to create forms and deploy them not only to the web, but also to tablets and mobile devices. 

      Platform Innovation - Ariba had one of the earliest internet scale, some may say cloud platforms and as such it shows its age. While there was not much happening two and more years ago on the platform side, its good to see that this has changed. SAP Ariba is actively using Hadoop, exploiting microservices and using popular frameworks like AngularJS. And of course HANA is more and getting though the product. The use case should also be interesting for the recently gone into GA HANA Vora (see below for news analysis when announced). 

      MyPOV

      Good to see traction on the platform side at SAP Ariba. It looks like the division has found new speed and dynamics, that attending customers noticed. Procurement is a huge opportunity for SAP and its customers and it looks like there is a better grasp at getting into a very good position in the next years to come.

      On the concern side SAP Ariba needs to execute on the new vision and roadmap. Networked applications of the scale that SAP Ariba needs to build are not trivial, even with today's advances on the cloud side. Operating this on internal data centers is a valid strategy, but can / could become also of concern as capability and TCO of the popular cloud based IaaS platforms will become more and more competitive. 

      But overall good to see the progress at SAP Ariba - we will be watching, stay tuned. 


      More on SAP:
      • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
      • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Good Progress sprinkled with innovative ideas and challenging the status quo - read here
      • News Analysis - WorkForce Software Announces Global Reseller Agreement with SAP - read here
      • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Day #1 Keynote Top 3 Takeaways - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
      • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
      • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
      • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
      • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
      • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
      • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
      • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here
      • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
      • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
      • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
      • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
      • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
      • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
      • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
      • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
      • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
      • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
      • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
      • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
      • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
      • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
      • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
      • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
      • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
      • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
      • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
      • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
      • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
      • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
      • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
      • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
      • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here

      And more about SAP technology:
      • Event Prieview - SAP TechEd 2015 - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP Unveils New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop to Accelerate Digital Transformation – A key milestone for SAP read here
      • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
      • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
      • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
      • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
      • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
      • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
      • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
      • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
      • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
      • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
      • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here.

      Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

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      Last week SAP used the largest Software and IT fair – CeBIT – to make news in a number of areas, the one of interest is around HANA Vora, announced last year in September (we attended the launch event, blog post here), and now GA in its first release.



      So let’s take apart the press release (it can be found here) in our customary style:

      HANNOVER — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced general availability of SAP HANA Vora, an in-memory query engine that brings powerful contextual analytics across all data stored in Hadoop, enterprise systems and other distributed data sources.MyPOV – Good summary, and they key step forward for SAP – as mentioned many times before, ‘Hadoop’ used to be a ‘bad’ word around SAP, that for the longest time was on the ‘in memory only’ track. We noticed the change at Sapphire 2015 and product certainty was created with Hana Vora in September last year.

      To facilitate distributed data processing across enterprise and Hadoop data, SAP has contributed part of the code for SAP HANA Vora to the Apache Spark open source ecosystem.
      MyPOV – Good to see SAP working with more open source in general, Vora maybe the largest contribution to open source that SAP has done so far. It certainly has the largest impact on SAP, as practically all next generation application use cases that enterprises are looking into, comprises BigData stored in Hadoop clusters. SAP before Vora could not address this data directly, so Vora is key for SAP to keep building 21st century applications. Even more important for Hana Cloud Platform (HCP), SAP’s PaaS tool that otherwise would not have been a competitive offering for stand alone projects, a market that SAP wants to be in and is effectively in.
      SAP also announced that CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric (CenterPoint Energy) will implement the SAP HANA platform and SAP HANA Vora to bring together its highly distributed enterprise data framework. While Hadoop will allow CenterPoint Energy to reduce information technology costs associated with increasing Big Data storage requirements, SAP HANA Vora will allow for more informed business decisions through powerful data analytics. […]
      MyPOV – Always good to see a customer on a press release, using the new announced capabilities – and good to see cost savings associated with Vora (no surprise, as HDD and SSD are cheaper than RAM).
      CenterPoint Energy to Innovate for Customers

      Delivering power to more than 2.3 million consumers, CenterPoint Energy collects electronic meter data every 15 minutes for energy usage reporting, which leads to substantial data storage costs. Within six weeks, SAP and CenterPoint Energy architected a testing environment that processed over 5 billion records of data with Hadoop, SAP HANA and SAP HANA Vora. As a result of its successful test deployment, CenterPoint Energy will implement and standardize on the SAP HANA platform and SAP HANA Vora.
      MyPOV – Great to see the use case and very clear (as we blogged and stated many times) that in memory (so HANA) cannot be the all encompassing solution for IoT scenarios.
      “Our initial analysis proved that SAP HANA paired with SAP HANA Vora is the right solution for us moving forward operationally, while allowing for innovation around our Internet of Things and predictive analytics initiatives,” said Gary Hayes, CIO and SVP of CenterPoint Energy. “With the help of SAP, we are transforming to a ‘live’ digital enterprise to better serve customers.”
      MyPOV – Good quote from the CIO, Hayes, hitting the right points here – the combination of ERP data in HANA with IoT and Analytics capabilities, that otherwise would not have been easily integrated and accessible from SAP, with SAP tools. 

      Digitizing Businesses with SAP HANA Vora 
      […] “As organizations begin their journey toward becoming smarter digital enterprises, the natural starting point and enabler is their core in-memory technology platform,” said Greg McStravick, general manager and global head of Platform GTM, SAP. “With SAP HANA and SAP HANA Vora, customers can turn massive amounts of Big Data into business context. We are pleased to work with companies like CenterPoint Energy who value the customer service enhancements that a single, end-to-end digital enterprise platform linking corporate data, social sentiment and other data such as weather patterns can provide.”
      MyPOV – Good quote from McStravick – but while I understand the perspective, he may have the wrong perspective in the long run. In my view it is not the Hadoop based BigData that gives context to the business data – but business data that is the context to the (heavy gravitational) BigData. SAP needs to get account for that perspective, too -  so it can create value for its customers with the need for both solutions / perspectives.
      SAP HANA Vora leverages and extends the Apache Spark execution framework to provide enriched interactive analytics on Hadoop. The core foundation of SAP HANA is complemented by SAP HANA Vora, which is designed to add insight across large volumes of operational and contextual data taken from enterprise applications, data warehouses, data lakes and edge Internet of Things sensors.
      MyPOV – Good description of what HANA Vora does – the ‘divouring’ of massive volumes of data residing in Hadoop, that in memory HANA could never hold. Keeping Vora to Spark keeps the HANA to Vora an in memory connection and thus on ‘even footing’. Good approach to keep the ‘speed’ argument going, but in most use cases we expect Vora to query data in Hadoop that is not RAM based.

      SAP HANA Vora aims to solve key Big Data challenges by providing:
      Data correlation for making precise contextual decisions — Enables mashup of operational business data with external unstructured data sources for more powerful analytics
      MyPOV – Very powerful and very important – but it’s the business data that is the context – not the unstructured data.

      Simplified management of Big Data — Allows data to be processed locally on a Hadoop cluster, removing any data ownership and integration challenges
      MyPOV – Indeed, much easier to keep e.g. IoT data in Hadoop instead of cycling it into memory via federation tools from Sybase. 

      Online analytical processing (OLAP) modeling capabilities on Hadoop data— Makes real-time drill-down analysis possible on large volumes of Hadoop data distributed across thousands of nodes
      MyPOV – Very powerful indeed, but the ‘drill up’ is equally important, just finding the business content to data stored in Hadoop clusters… even on a single occurrence level.
      SAP HANA Vora is targeted at benefiting customers in various industries where highly interactive Big Data analytics in a business process context is paramount, such as financial services, telecommunications, utilities, healthcare and manufacturing. SAP has an established partner ecosystem, including Cloudera, Databricks, Hortonworks and MapR Technologies, that plans to support SAP HANA Vora. Read what SAP partners have to say at “Partner Quotes: SAP HANA Vora Now Available to Bring Contextual Analytics Across All Enterprise and Big Data Systems.”
      MyPOV – Good to see this as an ecosystem play and good for SAP to have all key Hadoop and Spark players on board. 


      Supporting the Apache Spark Community 
      SAP has recently open-sourced new features to the Apache Spark ecosystem, one of the most active open source communities. These features include a data hierarchy capability that enables drill-down analysis on Hadoop data, and an extension to Spark’s data source application program interface (API) that improves distributed query efficiency from Spark to SAP HANA. These open source offerings are now available as a GitHub project. SAP plans to strengthen its commitment to the developer community by continuing to make more open source contributions in the future.
      MyPOV – Good to see SAP using more open source, but also supporting open source with contributions. It will be interesting to see if any other enterprises software vendors will start contributing to Vora, or if this will remain an SAP only contribution.

      Overall MyPOV

      Always good to see software vendors deliver, especially when it is a strategic piece of software, that basically allows the vendor to survive for the next decades to come. Some people may think this is exaggerated, but those should keep in mind that SAP had no Hadoop story 12 months ago. The question will now have to be if Vora is the right and the full story – but it the start of a new book for SAP, and we are in the first chapter.

      On the concern side, as elaborated above – SAP will need to make sure the perspective is not coming from the traditional (HANA based) ERP application, but from the Hadoop based Bigdata. That is where enterprises are building their next generation applications – in may use cases out of sheer necessity, because all other storage mechanisms and mediums are not cost effective or even – if cost played no role – feasible. The sooner SAP understands this – the better.

      But for now, a good day for SAP customers as their vendor has done major step to future proof offerings and to remain a key player in enterprise software going forward. Tuning is always part of an offering and I am sure SAP will sooner than later get the whole story right.





      More on SAP:
      • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
      • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Good Progress sprinkled with innovative ideas and challenging the status quo - read here
      • News Analysis - WorkForce Software Announces Global Reseller Agreement with SAP - read here
      • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Day #1 Keynote Top 3 Takeaways - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
      • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
      • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
      • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
      • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
      • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
      • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
      • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here
      • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
      • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
      • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
      • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
      • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
      • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
      • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
      • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
      • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
      • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
      • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
      • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
      • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
      • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
      • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
      • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
      • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
      • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
      • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
      • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
      • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
      • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
      • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
      • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
      • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here


      And more about SAP technology:

      • Event Prieview - SAP TechEd 2015 - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP Unveils New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop to Accelerate Digital Transformation – A key milestone for SAP read here
      • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
      • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
      • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
      • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
      • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
      • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
      • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
      • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
      • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
      • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
      • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here.


      Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

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      We had he opportunity to attend Cloudera's Analyst Days in San Franscisco this week, held at the beautiful Ritz Carlton hotel. The third analyst meeting of the vendor saw record attendance with almost 60 analysts making the trip.

      So take a look at this short video for my Top 3 takeaways:



      No time to watch -  read on:


      Company Growth while preserving culture - The vendor is doing well in all regards, significant revenue, paying customer and partner growth. Talent acquisition challenges are being addressed with a new Budapest development location. Good to see the attention to keep the culture intact, being at 1100 employees not an easy task.  

      Cloud & Cybersecurity - Always a treat to listen to Mike Olson, his main point was that Hadoop is now around for real, and moving back to where it started - into the cloud. His other strategic outlook was on cyber security - where Hadoop clearly has a key technology enabler role. 

      Quality & Support - This was an area Cloudera said a year ago it would focus further on and it was good to see that Cloudera came back, reported on progress, and showed some good results. 


      MyPOV

      Good to see the overall progress at Cloudera, the vendor is doing well, it has a plan to take advantage of the 'real' Hadoop adoption wave and it looks that it is handling product growth well. It's great to have Intel as an investor, but also as a partner to share future hardware design, so Cloudera can take advantage of them in its products. Unfortunately most of the product plans were under NDA, likely to be unwrapped in a few months, so can't comment on these. 

      On the concern side Cloudera needs to tie together the directions. The vendor went at length to make clear it understands and cares for the vertical needs of Hadoop adoption, but those needs have to find themselves in specific future product capabilities. And I am looking forward to see the first 'hard' feature uptake from Intel into Cloudera software.

      Overall Cloudera is in a very good position to keep taking advantage of the rise of Hadoop as the critical data engine for enterprises. 2016 will be (another) key year - stay tuned, we will be watching. 


      More on BigData / Hadoop / noSQL:

      • News Analysis - SAP HANA Vora now available... - A key milestone for SAP - read here
      • Progress Report - Hortonworks wants to become the next generation for the enterprise – a tall ask - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP Unveils New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop to Accelerate Digital Transformation – A key milestone for SAP - read here
      • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
      • News Analysis - Salesforce Transforms Big Data Into Customer Success with the Salesforce Analytics Cloud - read here
      • Progress Report - Teradata is alive and kicking and shows some good 'paranoid' practices - read here
      • Event Report – Couchbase Connect – Couchbase’s shows momentum - read here
      • News Analysis - Couchbase unveils N1QL and updates the NoSQL Performance Wars - read here
      • Event Report - MongoDB keeps up the momentum in product and go to market - read here
      • News Analysis - Pivotal pivots to OpenSource and Hortonworks - Or: OpenSource keeps winning - read here
      • Progress Report - Cloudera is all in with Hadoop - now off to verticals - read here
      • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves into DaaS - read here
      • Event Report - MongoDB is a showcase for the power of Open Source in the enterprise - read here
      • Musings - A manifesto: What are 'true' analytics? Read here
      • Future of Work - One Spreadsheet at the time - Informatica Springbok - read here
      • Musings - The Era of the no-design Database - Read here
      • Mendix - the other path to build software - Read here
      • Musings - Time to ditch your datawarehouse .... - Read here

      Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here



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      We have the opportunity to attend Google's Google Cloud Platform event this week in San Francisco, a key event for Google in the on going 'battle for the public cloud'.



      So take a look for my top 3 takeaways:



      No time to watch - read on:


      Greene Debut - Since Diane Greene joined Google in November last year, there has been a lot of expectation, that she will move the Goggle offerings into a better place with the enterprise. In her short remarks she hit good points in regards of investment (almost 10B in 2015 alone) and TCO savings. As an avid sailor she used the revolutionary foils as a metaphor what Google wants to do for the enterprise.

      GCP grows - Urs Hoelzle then walked us through key advancements of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), after unveiling the pitch line for GCP - better software faster. What stuck with me is once again scale, focus on security, machine learning and the new buzzword 'NoOps' vs DevOps.

      3 layers of GCP -  Then it came to Brian Stevens to share the three layers of GCP, Infrastructure and Operations, Application Development and Data and Analytics. This structure formed his part of the keynote with key announcements in each area.., couple with a major customer win.
      • Infrastructure and Operations - This year Google will add a data center in Tokyo and Oregon, and 10 more locations will come by 2017. Locations are key for speed and compliance and it is good to see that Google is ramping up GCP locations. The key product announcement was Stackdriver, the new GCP Ops Console, that interestingly not only shows GCP loads and operations, but offers insights into 3rd party clouds, too - today AWS Cloud. The key customer win was Coca-Cola.
          
      • Application Development - The key demo here was around Kubernetes, scaling a load well on GCP, more interestingly though also in hybrid mode, which Google demoed with an Intel server on stage. The key customer win was Disney Interactive.
         
      • Data & Analytics - On the product side Google showed Datastudio 360 and and then unveiled Cloud Machine Learning, a key step forward on how to build 'true' analytics applications. The key customer win was Spotify, which was demoed impressively. 

      MyPOV

      I tweeted my Top 3 questions before the event on what enterprises (and me) are looking for Google to address - here they are:


      So how did Google do?

      Ad 1 - Google was not too explicit here - but being able to monitor loads in AWSCloud and move them makes clear what the options for enterprises are. And with a strong focus on MachineLearning on top of BigData Google things it can out feature AWSCloud and Azure.

      Ad 2 - As we know from enterprises already, its hard to figure out how Google and GCP can specifically help them. There is perceived value, but it is not tangible enough. And while Coca-Cola, Disney Interactive and Spotify are great customer wins from a pure breed cloud showcase - they don't give the average CIO confidence that GCP can power their use cases.

      Ad 3 - Google did a very good job here and has probably the most impressive offering in the market. But again - how does it relate to an enterprise out there is the question. It was very impressive to see how Spotify uses the MachineLearning and BigData tools - probably a key reason for chosing GCP - but how does it relate to the average CIO out there looking at Google was not addressed.

      So overall a good start for Google, it has shown once again what it does well, work with enormous amounts of data, process with a lot of compute and a very attractive price - but we knew that before. Good to see focus and progress on security and administration, with a multicloud angle. But it is only Day #1 at the event - stay tuned for more tomorrow.




      More about Google:
      • News Analysis - Google launches Cloud Dataproc - read here
      • Musings - Google re-organizes - will it be about Alpha or Alphabet Soup? Read here
      • Event Report - Google I/O - Google wants developers to first & foremost build more Android apps - read here
      • First Take - Google I/O Day #1 Keynote - it is all about Android - read here
      • News Analysis - Google does it again (lower prices for Google Cloud Platform), enterprises take notice - read here
      • News Analyse - Google I/O Takeaways Value Propositions for the enterprise - read here 
      • Google gets serious about the cloud and it is different - read here
      • A tale of two clouds - Google and HP - read here
      • Why Google acquired Talaria - efficiency matters - read here
      Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my Youtube channel here

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      A lot has been written over the US Department of Justice and Apple sparring over unlocking the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino attackers.



      What can CxOs in charge of enterprises / enterprise functions learn from it - take a look:



      No time to watch - here are the key takeaways
      • Privacy Matters - Privacy is important for consumers as well as enterprises, guarding it is quickly becoming at Top 3 objective for CxOs.
         
      • Legal Frameworks Lag Behind - The legal frameworks have no been able to keep up with technology progress, that a device can / could be locked beyond the governments access has not happened before.
         
      • The Courts Decide - If you venture into the legal gray zone, be ready to defend your position in court.
         
      • Governments (so far) always win - Through all technologies, starting from the telegraph, the phone, the internet, etc. governments have always won the oversight battle.
         
      • Innovation implications - Apple has been so adamant to defend privacy, that it is even ready to close capabilities that it needs and just used around Error #53. When vendors are not able to correct own mistakes quickly, they need to develop capabilities more carefully, test longer - and that actually will result in slower innovation cycles. 

      MyPOV

      The gap between legal frameworks and technology capability is likely to widen going forward (see Safe Harbor Debate, see FCC regulation of the internet etc.), for CxO it means to be aware of the gap and make conscious decisions. On the societal side the legislative power will have to step up, ultimately driven by voters view if (in their country) there should be unbreakable devices - for the first time. Regulatory certainty around operating businesses will become even more important going forward.

      [Update March 22nd] It looks like the DOJ has found a 3rd party to help unlock the contested iPhone. Now Apple is worried about what the 'break in' technology would be that endangers the privacy ambition. Lesson learnt: Governments find their way, one way or the other, bu we knew that before. 



      More Musings
      • Musings - Retail is the breeding ground for NextGen Apps - read here
      • Musings – Time to re-invent email – for real! Read here
      • The Dilemma with Cloud Infrrastrcture updates - read here
      • Are we witnessing the Rise of the Enterprise Cloud? Read here
      • What are true Analytics - a Manifesto. Read here
      • Is TransBoarding the Future of Talent Management? Read here
      • How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the Laggards - read here
      Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

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      We had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Google Cloud Platform conference in San Francisco March 23rd and 24th 2016. Google Cloud Platform Next. For an inaugural event the conference was well attended and situated at beautifully transformed Pier 48 on the San Francisco Waterfront.




      So take a look at my key takeaways, with with a focus on the Day #2 keynote (don’t miss my Day #1 takeaways here, if you haven’t seen them, watch them first):


      No time to watch – read on:

      The keynote was lead by Greg DeMichillie who promised that it would be ‘not marketing and all technology’ and it lived certainly up to that, in detail the audience learned:


      Google Datacenters - Joe Kava led us through the principles of Google Data Center setup and design, the session was the first time Google shared to a public and wide audience what these principles are. And they are

      • Availability – Google design for very high availability, and it needs it for its very own services, achieves it with building own hardware, networking etc.
         
      • Security – Google is committed to security, e.g. was the first major cloud provider to enable HTTPS / TLS by default (as one example).
         
      • Performance – Google’s proprietary designs are aided by e.g. by high efficiency cooling and innovative hardware designs, e.g. the new OCP announcements around 48V rack specification.
         
      • Culture – Google runs its datacenters with its own employees only. From design to built – it’s all done by Google itself, from ‘chip to chiller’. Kava shared a chart that showed that humans make more mistakes than machines, so the Google built monitoring systems are crucial.
         
      • Sustainability - Google is the only cloud provider running exclusively on renewable energy, it helps that Google is the largest private investor in renewables. Own R&D in cooling technology is another strength.
         
      • Innovation – Google is using its advances on Machine Learning to harden its data center operations further, all along the software supported operations. 
      As mentioned yesterday already, Google will open data centers in Tokyo and Oregon this year. 10 more locations by 2017. And data center locations matter, as we learnt e.g. from Google Partner Avere Systems, there is a difference in performance when you e.g.  render CGI in Iowa or Oregon when based in Southern California. Moreover locations matter for data residency and privacy, and Google is likely going to need more EU and APAC based instances (no 2017 locations were announced).

      Security matters – Next was Niels Provos walking us through the security framework of Google and then GCP. Too much for a blog post – but compare the below two pictures. Google of course re-uses its own Google App security stack, and then extends it for the needs of the GCP customers. No surprise here, good to see the synergies. 

       
      Google Security Stack
      Google Cloud Platform Security Sack


      Configuration matters– Next up was Eric Brewer, updating us that Google has been using containers since over 10 years over Borg, then Omega and now Kubernetes. He walked us through recently announced Kubernetes 1.2 and then tackled the challenge of configuration, a key DevOps problem. Making the config available via a mounted volume and gives many advantages, and that’s what Google is introducing with Helm, the package manager of Kubernetes, now on GitHub.
       

      Analyst Tidbits


      • Customer Panel– We had the chance to talk to Google customers Coca-Cola, Snapchat and Spotify. All have very different use cases, Snapchat has been native to Google from the very start, Spotify just choose GCP – mainly for its Analytics / MachineLearning abilities and Coca-Cola built a webscale soccer worldcup picture sharing application. When asked what they would like GCP to improve the mentioned IAM (Spotify), better server farm management (Snapchat) and more partner and SI support (Coca-Cola). Good to see happy customers. 
      • Partner Panel– Next was a panel of a very different set of partners with Avere (Hybrid storage, burst to cloud), PWC (building new applications on GCP), BitNami (providing the app stack to ISVs) and Fastly (a classic ISV, building a content management system). Good to see GCP being able to serve such a diverse set of partners, and good to see happy partners. 
      • Google pushes MachineLearning further – Google machine learning platform Tensorflow became more interesting given the announcements made on assisted learning. Going beyond the data scientist, machine learning specialist is a key step for advancing the overall industry. And Google know that Machine Learning creates substantial need for storage and compute – something every cloud provider wants. The portability of the Tensorflow models makes the product interesting compared to the competition where more lockin is typically in play. 


        MyPOV

        A good event for Google that has shown some very compelling arguments to use GCP. 

        There can be no doubt at this point that Google understands and operates at cloud scale. Allowing GCP customers to use the same infrastructure and architecture is very attractive for enterprises, as long as their needs fit into the Google use cases. In the executive Q&A Diane Greene was very adamant that it wants all of the enterprise load, and chairman Eric Schmidt made it clear that Google has now understood it needs to come more ‘to you’ (i.e. the enterprises). But there are loads in the enterprise (thing e.g. ERP, CRM etc. systems) that Google has no answer for – except for a re-write of the load into new applications. But that is not palatable for many enterprises, so Google is banking on a multi-cloud future. And we can agree that the future if multi cloud, the question for enterprises is – how much automation / load gets put into which cloud. Naturally they gravitate towards simplicity and to the ‘one butt to kick’ decision making, that has worked well in the past for them – and there is no reason why the same principles will not work in the future. 

        Google now needs to think hard how wide it wants to make its product offering to capture enterprise load – e.g. Google can and could go after basic cloud load like storage and DR. Not a peep in the keynotes at GCP. For now enterprises should look at GCP for their next gen Application needs that are aligned with Google’s core competencies – that by itself is a great synergy in what enterprises need to build and what Google can offer. If this will be enough for Google to catch up to current players ahead of Google in the cloud race (AWS and Azure) remains to be seen.

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        Earlier this week Oracle unveiled the Oracle Cloud Machine, its offering to run on premises what is running in the Oracle Cloud. It’s a key milestone for Oracle and for the overall industry, showing that hybrid cloud is real, and enterprises plan, want and likely will move loads between public cloud and on premises.



        So let’s do our customary news analysis of the press release, that can be found here:

        Oracle today launched a new family of offerings designed to enable organizations to easily move to the cloud and remove some of the biggest obstacles to cloud adoption. These first-of-a-kind services provide CIOs with new choices in where they deploy their enterprise software and a natural path to easily move business critical applications from on-premises to the cloud.
        MyPOV – Interesting that Oracle approaches it as a strategy / platform to move to the public cloud. Moving load back from public cloud to on premises is what is the more immediate value proposition that comes to (my) mind. 

        While organizations are eager to move their enterprise workloads to the public cloud, many have been constrained by business, legislative and regulatory requirements that have prevented them from being able to adopt the technology. Today, Oracle is making it easier for organizations in every industry to make this transition and finally reap the performance, cost and innovation benefits of Oracle Public Cloud Services and run them wherever they want—in the Oracle Cloud or in their own datacenter.
        MyPOV – Oracle touches a key point with restrictions that keep enterprises from moving to public cloud. Giving customer choice is always good and that’s what Oracle customers are now getting.
         

        "We are committed to helping our customers move to the cloud to help speed their innovation, fuel their business growth, and drive business transformation,” said Thomas Kurian, president, Oracle. “Today’s news is unprecedented. We announced a number of new cloud services and we are now the first public cloud vendor to offer organizations the ultimate in choice on where and how they want to run their Oracle Cloud.
        MyPOV – Good quote from Kurian, certainly Oracle is the first provider to run Oracle Cloud loads on Oracle Cloud Machine on premises. Who else would? Back in January Microsoft made the Azure Stack available that offers the same qualities. Going forward I am sure Microsoft and Oracle will spar with each other over who can move more load(s) and better. [Updated <60 mins of posting: Oracle correctly point out Oracle offers not only the software, but also the hardware for the offering. The sparring has begun.]
         

        Unveiled today, Oracle Cloud at Customer enables organizations to get all of the benefits of Oracle’s cloud services—agility, simplicity, performance, elastic scaling, and subscription pricing—in their datacenter. This is the first offering from a major public cloud vendor that delivers a stack that is 100 percent compatible with the Oracle Cloud but available on-premises. Since the software is seamless with the Oracle Cloud, customers can use it for a number of use cases, including disaster recovery, elastic bursting, dev/test, lift-and-shift workload migration, and a single API and scripting toolkit for DevOps. Additionally, as a fully managed Oracle offering, customers get the same experience and the latest innovations and benefits using it in their datacenter as in the Oracle Cloud.
        MyPOV – Good description of the main argument Oracle has been using since many years now: Same platform and software for both sides of the firewall and the benefit of load fluctuation between public cloud and on premises.
         

        By extending the Oracle Cloud into their data center, customers can:
        Have full control over their data and meet all data sovereignty and data residency requirements that mandate customer data remain within a company’s data center or contained within a geographic location while still taking advantage of the benefits of the cloud
        MyPOV – Control over data / privacy / compliance are key arguments for enterprises to keep loads on premises. Given the limbo enterprises are in with the invalidation of the safe harbor agreement, a very valuable offering for many of them.
         

        Enable workload portability between on-premises and cloud using identical environments, toolsets, and APIs 
        MyPOV – The main Oracle quality, Oracle showed the move of a database between on premises and the cloud back at Oracle OpenWorld last year. The question is how much dynamic load the enterprises will let float.
           

        Easily move Oracle and non-Oracle workloads between on-premises and the cloud based on their changing business requirements
        MyPOV – The interesting information bit here is ‘non Oracle workloads’ which is the strategy Oracle unveiled earlier in January this year (read here) and OpenWorld last year: With the help of a nested hypervisor infrastructure Oracle wants to attract, run and operate also non Oracle loads. Technically, an enterprise should be able to take e.g. an AWS Cloud load and take in on premises on Oracle Cloud Machine.
           

        Comply with security and privacy regulations such as PCI-DSS for the global credit and debit card industry, HIPAA for the US healthcare industry, FedRAMP for the US federal government, Germany’s Federal Data Protection Act, the United Kingdom's Data Protection Act, and other industry- and country-specific regulations
        MyPOV – Good to see Oracle has done the homework on all the data privacy and residency mandates that enterprises face – and we know enterprises struggle to stay on top of them. They sure are open for solutions that give them flexibility in regards to where the legislative bodies of their respective countries will march.
         

        Today, Oracle is announcing the availability of the following Oracle Cloud at Customer services:
        Infrastructure: Provides elastic compute, elastic block storage, virtual networking, file storage, messaging, and identity management to enable portability of Oracle and non-Oracle workloads into the cloud. Additional IaaS services that complete the portfolio, including Containers and Elastic Load Balancer will be available soon.
        MyPOV – Good enough to see a sizable enough functionality to really run some load on premises. The Load Balancer will be key, container support will be important to move next generation applications to on premises, as they take advantage of modern software construction and operation technologies like microservices.
         

        Data Management: Enables customers to use the number one database to manage data infrastructure in the cloud with the Oracle Database Cloud. The initial set of Database Cloud Service offerings will be followed by Oracle Database Exadata Cloud for extreme performance and a broad set of Big Data Cloud services, including Big Data Discovery, Big Data Preparation, Hadoop, and Big Data SQL.
        MyPOV – The list of future offerings is long, reminding us that this is a version 1. But the most common Oracle load, its database is supported and with that there is massive market potential for Oracle Cloud Machine.
         

        Application Development: Develop and deploy Java applications in the cloud using Oracle Java Cloud, soon to be followed by other services for polyglot development in Java SE, Node.Js, Ruby, and PHP.
        MyPOV – This is likely the most interesting part of Oracle Cloud Machine from a PaaS perspective. It’s practically impossible to develop on premises and use the latest development tools and technologies. This is a first option to take the location of development back inhouse, which a number of organizations will welcome.
         

        Enterprise Integration: Simplify integration of on-premises applications to cloud applications and cloud application to cloud application integration using the Oracle Integration Cloud Service. Additional capabilities for SOA, API Management, and IoT will be added soon.
        MyPOV – While AppDev was interesting, this is the most impactful capability, as Oracle moves the boundary of integration between the firewall on premises and public cloud based systems to inside the firewall. And with that is open to control and inspection completely in the realm of the enterprise. Something most enterprise IT shops have done for many decades and in many countries are more comfortable to keep doing, then having the interface happening before / after data passes the firewall.
         

        Management: Unifies the experience of managing workloads seamlessly on-premises and in the Oracle Cloud.
        MyPOV – Ok – no brainer, needed to be there, more details on how to move load would be interesting. When could load ‘burst’ to the cloud, one of the ‘holy grails’ of cloud computing, could data be split based on statutory requirements etc. many more questions.
         

        The Oracle Cloud has shown strong adoption, supporting 70+ million users and more than 34 billion transactions each day. It runs in 19 data centers around the world.
        MyPOV – Impressive stats, a fortune for how many servers run Oracle on premises, how many users do they serve and how many transactions do they run. I am sure some smart people in Redwood Shores have assessed this…


        MyPOV

        Not a surprising move by Oracle, as it has been talking on symmetrical setup, products and capabilities between its cloud and on premise products since many years. That Oracle makes the move only now (and recently Microsoft, too) shows that Oracle thinks it cloud architecture is so mature, that it can ship it out to customers. At the same time it is clear that customers cannot replicate the full extend (and complexity) of Oracle’s Cloud platform across multiple servers and system landscapes – so offering the same on premises is the logical consequence. No surprise Oracle will have to offer the management of the Oracle Cloud Machines, something CxOs should definitively consider using as a service.

        For enterprises it comes back to : Is the ability to run loads that may move to the (Oracle) cloud sometime in the future worth buying Oracle Cloud Machine and services today – versus using existing setups in machines and people. Every enterprise will have a different answer to the equation. 

        But with many enterprise boards looking at the Capex vs Opex ration, CIOs and CTOs know they need to have more Opex options, so we expect some reasonable interest from the enterprise side. If Oracle now can show TCO superiority (something the vendor usually isn’t shy on) to other, also cloud based solutions, Oracle Cloud machine maybe the on premise route for Oracle to ‘steal’ load from other IaaS providers (thanks to the nested hypervisor). 

        But speculation, certainly exciting times ahead, we will be watching, stay tuned.



        Recent blog posts on Oracle:
        • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud - More ready than ever, now needs adoption - read here
        • Event Report - Oracle Openworld 2015 - Top 3 Takeaways, Top 3 Positives & Concerns - read here
        • News Analysis - Quick Take on all 22 press releases of Oracle OpenWorld Day #1 - #3 - read here
        • First Take - Oracle OpenWorld - Day 1 Keynote - Top 3 Takeaways - read here
        • Event Preview - Oracle Openworld - watch here

        Future of Work / HCM / SaaS research:

        • Event Report - Oracle HCM World - Full Steam ahead, a Learning surprise and potential growth challenges - read here
        • First Take - Oracle HCM World Day #1 Keynote - off to a good start - read here
        • Progress Report - Oracle HCM gathers momentum - now it needs to build on that - read here
        • Oracle pushes modern HR - there is more than technology - read here. (Takeaways from the recent HCMWorld conference).
        • Why Applications Unlimited is good a good strategy for Oracle customers and Oracle - read here.

        Also worth a look for the full picture
        • Event Report - Oracle PaaS Event - 6 PaaS Services become available, many more announced - read here
        • Progress Report - Oracle Cloud makes progress - but key work remains in the cellar - read here
        • News Analysis - Oracle discovers the power of the two socket server - or: A pivot that wasn't one - TCO still rules - read here
        • Market Move - Oracle buys Datalogix - moves more into DaaS - read here
        • Event Report - Oracle Openworld - Oracle's vision and remaining work become clear - they are both big - read here
        • Constellation Research Video Takeaways of Oracle Openworld 2014 - watch here
        • Is it all coming together for Oracle in 2014? Read here
        • From the fences - Oracle AR Meeting takeaways - read here (this was the last analyst meeting in spring 2013)
        • Takeaways from Oracle CloudWorld LA - read here (this was one of the first cloud world events overall, in January 2013)

        And if you want to read more of my findings on Oracle technology - I suggest:

        • Progress Report - Good cloud progress at Oracle and a two step program - read here.
        • Oracle integrates products to create its Foundation for Cloud Applications - read here.
        • Java grows up to the enterprise - read here.
        • 1st take - Oracle in memory option for its database - very organic - read here.
        • Oracle 12c makes the database elastic - read here.
        • How the cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
        • Act I - Oracle and Microsoft partner for the cloud - read here.
        • Act II - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Salesforce.com - read here.
        • Act III - The cloud changes everything - Oracle and Netsuite with a touch of Deloitte - read here

        Finally find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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        Microsoft's Developer Conference Build is starting tomorrow in San Francisco, and will run through the rest of the week. Well worth a little event preview...



        So take a look on what I think are the Top 3 things to watch for the key communities attending: Developers, Managers and Executives:


        No time to watch - well here are all key areas to watch in one slide:

        Holger Mueller Microsoft Build 2016 Developers, Managers, Executives

        Check out my Contellation Research colleague Alan Lepofsky's preview of Build (here), too!


        More about Microsoft:
        • News Analysis - Microsoft - New Hybrid Offerings Deliver Bottomless Capacity for Today's Data Explosion - read here
        • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
        • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
        • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
        • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
        • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
        • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
        • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
        • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
        • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
        • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
        • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
        • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
        • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.
        Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

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        We have the opportunity to attend Microsoft's developer conference Build in San Francisco. The attend is well attended with over 5000 participants.



        Here are my colleague's Alan Lepofsky and my takeaways from Day #1, take a look:


        No time to watch - we have summarized our findings in one slide:


        Want to learn more - check out the Storify collection of my tweets below.

        MyPOV

        A good start for Microsoft at Build. Microsoft has been often behind the latest trends and then had to catch up - this time with Conversation as a Platform the vendor maybe ahead of the curve. Good to see and good to see that all of the Day #1 keynote was - apart from the general availability of Hololens - all centered on Conversation as a Platform. 

        There is no surprise why Microsoft has a focus on this, CEO Nadella at one point called the new offering 'Computation as a Platform' - which is clear all along, as a lot of compute is required to power the artificial intelligence, machine learning and bots behind Conversation as a Platform. And Microsoft needs to find more load for Azure - once the current wave of Office conversions runs out. 

        For customers overall it is good news that Microsoft has aligned on a vision for product that is more specific and measurable than the 30k+ feet 'mobile first / cloud first' moniker. Making workers more productive is something that matters to enterprises, and with a lot of innovation happening in email (!) right now we maybe up to the next generation of applications, or as Nadella puts it - up to a new platform.

        For developers the good news is that Microsoft has shipped SDKs and frameworks that make the daunting task of building these applications easy. And Microsoft has to make it easy for the developer community, as it is proficient in the general aspects of the Microsoft stack, but not on the more advanced BigData, Machine Learning, Language processing etc. skills that are needed to built these next generation conversational platforms. 

        A good start for Build - looking forward to Day #2, stay tuned. 


        More about Microsoft:
        • Event Preview - Microsoft Build 2016 - Top 3 Things to watch for developers, managers and execs...  read here
        • News Analysis - Microsoft - New Hybrid Offerings Deliver Bottomless Capacity for Today's Data Explosion - read here
        • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
        • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
        • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
        • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
        • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
        • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
        • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
        • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
        • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
        • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
        • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
        • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
        • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.

        Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here






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        We had the opportunity to attend Microsoft's developer conference Build in San Francisco, held (where else) at Moscone. Attended by other 5000 participants, it was a different Microsoft Build, with crystal clear focus on developers, tools to increase their productivity and most importantly - build for the new platform CEO Nadella unveiled, Conversations as a Platform.


        My colleague Alan Lepofsky earlier recorded this video on our key Day #2 keynote and overall event takeaways - so have a look (if you haven't seen it - Day #1 can be found here):




        Our video went already way too long, I did not get to the IoT announcements that Microsoft shared - the Azure IoT Hub Device Management (in preview) and Azure IoT Gateway SDK (also in preview). In combination with the Azure IoT starter kits both offerings make it easier for enterprises to build their IoT applications, so a good move.

        Event Report - Microsoft Build 2016 - All about building next generation applications from Holger Mueller


        MyPOV

        A clear focus on what Microsoft thinks is the emerging, next platform, Conversations as a Platform. Microsoft shared the vision and importantly, had the tools available already to build the applications for the new platform. A welcome difference to vendors putting out a vision only at first, and then a road map to when things will be delivered. 

        Hololens has made great progress in the last 12 months (see my First take from Build 2015 here), and for the first time Microsoft has created a new platform in the market, for a new type of applications. And it's no surprise - it is a PC - an it is a headable (if you didn't get it combination of header and wearable, I made this up). 

        In the past Microsoft has often been behind the market innovators on platform changes, so its a welcome difference to see Microsoft laying out an innovative vision for a software application platform (Conversations as a Platform), and creating a new hardware platform with Hololens. Now it needs to execute on both, we will be watching. 


        More about Microsoft:
        • First Take - Microsoft Build 2016 - Day 1 Keynote Takeaways - read here
        • Event Preview - Microsoft Build 2016 - Top 3 Things to watch for developers, managers and execs...  read here
        • News Analysis - Microsoft - New Hybrid Offerings Deliver Bottomless Capacity for Today's Data Explosion - read here
        • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
        • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
        • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
        • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
        • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
        • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
        • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
        • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
        • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
        • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
        • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
        • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
        • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.


        Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

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        Last week we had the opportunity to take a look at the latest release of Microsoft's last version of the Hololens, the same device the vendor is now releasing to developers to build applications for the platform.



        My Constellation Research Colleague Alan Lepofsky and me recorded a video earlier, take a look:


        No time to read, here are my key takeaways and views in two slides:


        MyPOV
        It's the first time Microsoft has completely built and designed a enterprise platform, contrary before where it partnered, provided know how etc. And probably such a radical 'wearable' - I like to call it 'headable' requires close ownership. And all the tools are there to build Hololens apps, as Microsoft was able to show developers present at the Build conference. 

        On the concern side it looks like Microsoft isn't fully sure what can be done with it. At points our interactions were like that of an adventure racer who made it to stage two and now needs to figure out what to do in stage two. Fair enough, as it was far from clear if Microsoft could pull this off 15 months ago. The device was fidgy, needed a portable 'life support unit' and was tough to use. 12 months made a big difference, it can no be used as a platform. 

        On the positive side Microsoft has garnered large interest from enterprises. Now it comes back to get the business case right and get developers going on building the applications for the platform. There is more game development in these applications than traditional enterprise software development so it will be interesting to watch in the coming quarters where the protypical Hololens developer will come from. 

        But for now definitively a platform that is relevant for the enterprise space, High end productivity situations, education, engineering come to mind first. We will be watching. 



        More about Microsoft:
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build 2016 - A platform vision and plenty of tools for next generation applications - read here
        • First Take - Microsoft Build 2016 - Day 1 Keynote Takeaways - read here
        • Event Preview - Microsoft Build 2016 - Top 3 Things to watch for developers, managers and execs...  read here
        • News Analysis - Microsoft - New Hybrid Offerings Deliver Bottomless Capacity for Today's Data Explosion - read here
        • News Analysis - Welcoming the Xamarin team to Microsoft - read here
        • News Analysis - Microsoft announcements at Convergence Barcelona - Office365. Dynamics CRM and Power Apps 
        • News Analysis - Microsoft expands Azure Data Lake to unleash big data productivity - Good move - time to catch up - read here
        • News Analysis - Microsoft and Salesforce Strengthen Strategic Partnership at Dreamforce 2015 - Good for joint customers - read here
        • News Analyis - NetSuite announced Cloud Alliance with Microsoft - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Microsoft really wants to make developers' lives easier - read here
        • First Hand with Microsoft Hololens - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft TechEd - Top 3 Enterprise takeaways - read here
        • First Take - Microsoft discovers data ambience and delivers an organic approach to in memory database - read here
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build - Azure grows and blossoms - enough for enterprises (yet)? Read here.
        • Event Report - Microsoft Build Day 1 Keynote - Top Enterprise Takeaways - read here.
        • Microsoft gets even more serious about devices - acquire Nokia - read here.
        • Microsoft does not need one new CEO - but six - read here.
        • Microsoft makes the cloud a platform play - Or: Azure and her 7 friends - read here.
        • How the Cloud can make the unlikeliest bedfellows - read here.
        • How hard is multi-channel CRM in 2013? - Read here.
        • How hard is it to install Office 365? Or: The harsh reality of customer support - read here.
        Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here

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