While many think AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning as synonyms, it is not so. Each is distinct and so is their purpose and functionality. In fact, there is an interesting relationship between the three in a straight line. You can call machine learning as a subset of AI (Artificial Intelligence). Similarly, Deep Learning is a subset of Machine Learning. Let us see some of the algorithms and models that support this. In fact, a machine learning algorithm would be a series of actions or computations. Best way to understand this is to think of Random Forest. Think of applying random forest to a dataset. The result produces as an output will be this algorithm. The model will change if the data of the algorithm changes. Another way to look at it is to use the same data with a different algorithm.
Basically, two important steps to understand in case of Machine Learning are Training and Inference. Treat training as a process to optimize the whole mechanism. Here, we use an algorithm for a specific purpose. The purpose is to derive a mathematical function that has an ability to reduce any kind of errors in the training data. Once training is over, inference comes into the picture. It helps in making predictions on the basis of new data that is coming in. Now, let us try to understand what is Supervised Machine Learning. In Supervised Machine Learning, we use algorithms trained with labeled datasets. These datasets are highly structured or organized. Here, you use independent variables as input and get numeric or binary results as output. As a result, we use this technology to predict the future results on the basis of future inputs.
Supervised Machine Learning Is For Future Predictions
Supervised Machine Learning is of two types. First one is Classification. In this, the output is a category. Like, this or that, good or not good, relevant or not relevant, etc. The second type is Regression. Here, the output is a value. Like, dollars, temperature, etc. Support Vector Machines (SVMs) fall in the first category.
Any enterprise if not working in any of these three technologies now will certainly be in trouble tomorrow. These three technologies include Artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and Deep Learning. In fact, all three have a deep connection with each other. These three are right now the most powerful transformational technologies available in the current period. And all three are set to touch most aspects of our lives with or without us knowing about it. That is the penetration these will have on the mankind. As a matter of fact, the combination of AI and ML are taking practical shape in production rather than just demonstrating their possibilities in academics and R&D. Rather it has become a most sought after enabler in today’s technology. Industries are working on it with real-life use cases and ROIs. The adoption is increasing at an exponential rate across the globe.
Many startups working in this area are able to integrate machine learning functionality well with business requirements and draw out appropriate results to enhance and automate business processes. And the results are phenomenal. In fact, it brings a tremendous increase in power, availability, applicability, and flexibility of resources. Probably without the adoption of these technologies it would be impossible to explore the amount and accessibility of digitized data flowing from various sources. An improvement in efficiency is only possible despite an increase in complexity and volume of data. It is giving good results only because of the machine and deep learning algorithms that are the driving factors of AI. As a result, the future is appearing to be more promising with the help of fast adoption of machine learning in the enterprises. In fact, companies not adopting it even now will be out of the race automatically soon.
Machine Learning Is Changing the World Faster
In all these circumstances, control, access, and ownership of data is the key to drive your business.
Information security is the utmost priority for any business these days. While there are a number of projects that a CIO/CTO/CISO can initiate in his organization, few are important to keep on top of the agenda. These projects are not a one-time activity. These are of continuous nature. They basically work on the pattern of PDCA. Plan, do, check, and act. That means deployment is not the end of the project lifecycle in this case. Rather the real project begins from there. Once you deploy any information security projects, there is a need for regular audits and enhancement. In fact, technology is changing and progressing too fast. The same implies to its negative side too. The more you secure it, the more it becomes vulnerable. As a matter of fact, threats to an organization are not only there from the external world. It is equally threatening from inside.
To cope up with all these threats and vulnerabilities, there has to be an assessment mechanism in place in the organization. Following is the list of 22 Information Security Projects for an organization. These are all critical irrespective of the size and volume of the business. If these are not in place, ensure them to be right in place.
- Vulnerability Assessment
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
- Mobile Device Management (MDM)/Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)
- Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning for security
- Security Automation
- Security Operations Changes
- Security Awareness Initiatives
- Cloud Infrastructure Security
- Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)
- Monitoring Improvements
- Patch Management
- Multi-factor Authentication
- Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)/Security Analytics
- Application Security
- Firewall Deployment/Management
- Regulatory Compliance (e.g. PCI Compliance, GDRP, PSD2, NIST)
- Privileged User Management
- Incident Response
- Intrusion Management
- Identity As A Service (IDAAS)/Single Sign-On
- Endpoint Security
Information Security Projects If Not Started In Time Can Lead to A Big Loss
Another point to note here is for the top information security projects currently being implemented within your organization, how do you ensure to place key determinant in place to get the approval in time. Otherwise, your information security projects will remain only on papers and never will see the light of the day.
Zoho is probably among those unique businesses where the business model, business benefits, customer value, and product value remains same irrespective of the size of the business of the customer. So whether it is a single professional, single person company, or a multinational; the pricing and all business & support prepositions remain same. There is no disparity. There is no confusion. And hence there is no differentiation. That is the beauty of this international Indian company having more than 6000 employees on board working in more than 19 offices across the globe. Well, the latest news is its Financial Suite, Zoho Finance Plus is 100% GST compliant. Rather, it has a lot more to offer than a number of other popular and tremendously costlier products. Basically, it all about awareness of the beauty of the product. It offers the least investment and great benefits to the business.
Various businesses fighting with their existing business applications to cope with GST regulations and requirements must have a look at the smooth operations and outcomes Zoho Finance Plus has to offer. That too at a very nominal cost. GST is a mandatory regulatory financial requirement for all businesses. The product offers complete integration with any legacy business applications. What businesses lack while working on other expensive applications is a 360 degrees visibility into their order and fulfillment cycle. That even lacks in most of the world-class business and ERP suites. That is where this product takes the front seat ensuring zero accounting errors and a trouble-free tax period. With the launch of this GST compliant financial suite in April 2017 that too well before the official roll-out of GST by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, it demonstrated its phenomenal strength, depth, and dedication towards its customers.
Zoho Finance Plus Is A Complet Finance Suite++
Zoho Finance Plus, like its other products, being a cloud-based product, has zero capital investment and nominal operational cost. As Sivaramakrishnan Iswaran, Director of Product Management, Zoho, explains it better saying, “The proliferation of smartphones, broadband connectivity, and upcoming GST regimen is a great opportunity for businesses to move their accounting and other operations online. With Zoho Finance Plus, businesses get a beautiful interface to manage their transactions day to day and file their GST returns, all from a single platform. Zoho Finance Plus simplifies returns filing for businesses and increases compliance.”
GST is a business reform rather than merely a tax reform. Being mandatory for any business, the success of its implementation depends largely on technology infrastructure and right strategies in place for a business. Zoho Finance Plus is becoming the first choice of millions of SMEs thus empowering them with a right application for invoicing, filing tax returns and other critical transactions. That too along with being completely GST-enabled and compliant. Basically, it is not a single application that any business thrives and survives on. There are a number of financial apps that require comprehensive integration to communicate with each other and seamless exchange of data. Zoho Financial suite does the same thus ensuring management and key users have real-time information for taking fast and right business decisions. Filing return on GST portal becomes just a matter of a click of a button.
Zoho Finance Plus Includes Different Modules On Single Database
Zoho Finance Plus includes different modules like Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice, Zoho Expense, Zoho Subscriptions, and Zoho Inventory. For filing GST returns while using these modules, there is no data duplication across apps or requirement of a manual addition of transactions. Everything works in a smooth flow, flawlessly. In fact, Zoho Books create monthly returns automatically. Rather, it is just a matter of filing the return with a click of a button. In addition, there is an automatic matching and reconciliation of transactions. So, along with One Nation, One Tax, it becomes One Vendor. There are many other key features of this product. Like greater visibility into orders and payments, faster reimbursements and accurate accounting, and so on.
The pricing model of Zoho Finance Plus(https://www.zoho.com/in/financeplus/) is quite simple. It is INR 2,999 per organization per month. This includes 10 users having access to multiple Zoho Finance apps. All these capabilities of Zoho gave ample trust to GSTN to select Zoho as a GST Suvidha Provider (GSP) (https://www.gstn.org/ecosystem/). In total, there are not more than 70 GSPs in India (https://www.gstn.org/gsp-list/). Iswaran adds, “Being a GSP ourselves helps in cost optimization and providing a great experience for our business users. Furthermore, we will leverage our in-depth expertise in developing platforms and ecosystems to support a thriving community of Application Service Providers (ASP) connecting to GSTN through us.”
In fact, Zoho (https://www.zoho.com/) has made accounting and reconciliation simpler and hassle-free by partnering with banks like ICICI and Standard Chartered to give an entirely a different kind of experience to its customers using Zoho Finance Plus.
Recently Archive360 has been Included on Microsoft List of Partners Helping Customers in Their GDPR Journey. The list is a part of the Microsoft’s latest blog with the title “Leverage the Channel Ecosystem to Create GDPR Offers”. GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation is impacting all organizations across the globe that perform any kind of business with EU firms. In this context, I had a discussion with Dan Langille, Global Director, Microsoft, Microsoft P-AE, Archive360 (www.archive360.com). Here are the key components of the discussion we had:
What were the qualifying criteria for becoming Microsoft Partner in tackling customer’s GDPR issues?
Dan: Partners, such as Archive360, that have services and/or solutions which assist customers with their journeys toward GDPR compliance must be nominated for consideration by a Microsoft employee (usually the Partner Development Manager). Those nominations go to a team Microsoft has within its overall One Commercial Partner (OCP) organization which reviews and approves (or declines) the services and solutions.
What value does it add to an organization becoming Microsoft Partner?
Dan: Microsoft’s investment in curating this list of partners is yet another great example of Microsoft’s commitment to being a partner-led organization focused on collaborating with partners to drive high-value business outcomes (in this case GDPR compliance) through the Co-Sell motion between partner sellers and Microsoft sellers.
What additional responsibilities does it bring with this partnership?
Dan: Partners get recognized for inclusion in programs such as this through a company-wide understanding of (and alignment to) Microsoft’s go-to-market priorities. Archive360, as one such partner, we incur no additional responsibilities here other than to have brought to market a qualifying solution that is also listed in Microsoft’s internal OCP Catalog.
With so many partners on board, does Microsoft apply any performance measurement approach for each of their partners?
Dan: Many Microsoft programs do have performance criteria, but this is not one of them due to the complex nature of GDPR compliance and the myriad ways and means for customers to meet their obligations. (As an aside on the number of partners in this program: The list is actually quite small and exclusive relative to the sheer size of Microsoft’s global partner network and relative to the number of companies around the world that are or might be affected by GDPR.)
Recently I had a discussion with Sejal R. Dattani, Marketing Analyst, Zoho on custom apps and their impact on business. Is custom apps a costly affair for organizations? According to her, building custom apps for your business is a one-time investment. Below are her valuable views and comments on the same.
Is your organization using the right tools? For years, companies provide their employees with packaged software that’s proven and widely used. But business has begun to change. Today, custom apps are quite affordable and easy to build. More businesses make their own apps to run their daily activities. Here’s why we expect more businesses to start adopting custom applications in the next few years.
When you depend on the same packaged software as your competitor, it becomes difficult to outrank them. To get an edge, you need to update your processes and implement changes frequently to offer better services.
Since custom apps have become easier to build, even people without a technical background can build a software to manage data and automate their processes. And, when you have applications that work exactly the way you want, your teams can react faster to customers’ changing demands.
The time required to develop custom apps has drastically reduced from months to weeks. For example, with a cloud-based DIY platform like Zoho Creator, you can launch your apps without installing new software or configure servers. And if you need some expert advice, you can always get in touch with certified developers to help you out. What’s more, when you create an application on Zoho Creator, you don’t have to waste your time and money re-building it for various operating systems. Your app automatically works on mobile devices, allowing your team to access vital information and follow tasks at any time of the day.
Custom Apps is a one-time investment
Businesses nowadays realize that packaged software is rigid. They make you change your business to fit them. And to make things worse, packaged apps are often incompatible with your existing services, too. Custom apps, on the other hand, let you change them to fit your business and are even integrate with your internal applications and other third-party services. For example, think of a scenario of running a retail store. You can integrate with a logistics service like FedEx and keep your customers informed of their order status.
The number of businesses switching to custom apps will accelerate in the coming years. And judging from the benefits, it’s no surprise. Building a tailored solution that’s focused on scalability and efficiency, is an investment for life.
One of the hottest trends to emerge in the world of enterprise cloud computing is “multi-cloud data management,” which, in a nutshell, is simply keeping track of data assets that reside across multiple data centers and cloud services. As enterprises increasingly move IT operations to the cloud, ensuring the security, availability, and performance of their applications and data becomes increasingly challenging. Today, I speak with Tom Critser, co-founder, and CEO of JetStream Software, about his company launch and cross-cloud data management platform.
Q. Please tell me about JetStream Software.
JetStream Software is a new company, but we have a software engineering team that has been together since 2010, and we’ve invested more than 200 developer-years in our core technology. This April, we announced the JetStream Cross-Cloud Data Management Platform. Our mission is to give cloud service providers (CSPs) and Fortune 500 enterprise cloud architects a better way to support workload migration, resource elasticity, and business continuity across multi-cloud and multi-data center infrastructures. Currently, our platform is designed to complement VMware cloud infrastructures including VMware Cloud Provider Partners (VCPPs) and VMware Cloud on AWS. We are headquartered in San Jose, California, with a second development center in Bangalore, India.
Q. How did the company get started?
Our three co-founders and much of the engineering team have been working together for a long time. Our first startup was FlashSoft Software, which developed software for storage IO acceleration. Our objective was to enable enterprise flash memory in a host server to handle IO operations for “hot data” and to deliver the performance of enterprise flash storage, but without replacing the existing storage of the enterprise. FlashSoft was acquired by SanDisk in 2012, and then SanDisk itself was acquired by Western Digital in 2016. At SanDisk, the team grew in size, and we collaborated closely with VMware to design the vSphere APIs for IO Filters framework, which is a key technology for our new company’s cross-cloud data management platform. After Western Digital acquired SanDisk, we worked with Western Digital to establish JetStream Software as an independent company.
Q. Who is your ideal customer, and what problems are you solving for them?
Our ideal customer is a cloud service provider (CSP), serving enterprise customers, and in a similar way, the enterprise cloud architect. We address two key problems for these customers:
- The first is to take friction out of the enterprise’s migration of its on-premises virtual machines (VMs) and applications to the cloud. Enterprise cloud migration today is an expensive, hands-on operation, typically requiring a lot of professional services. There are new tools that help organizations plan their data migration and prepare configurations at the cloud destination, but getting huge volumes of enterprise data to the cloud with minimal disruption remains a challenge, and that’s the problem we target.
- The second problem we address is to help CSPs and private cloud operators deliver enterprise-grade resilience, availability, scalability, performance, and manageability, even across multiple data centers and services.
Q. You say the JetStream Cross-Cloud Data Management Platform provides “built for the cloud” data management capability. What exactly does this mean?
A lot of the technologies used in today’s cloud data centers were originally designed for a single-owner, on-premises operation. But CSP operations are different, so legacy enterprise data management tools aren’t always a perfect fit for the dynamics of cloud operations, such as efficiently managing resources across multi-tenant services, supporting dynamically changing workload demands, and providing mobility, agility, and recoverability across multi-site operations. Rather than trying to adapt legacy on-premises data management tools and methods to this strange new world, we built our platform from the ground up with these dynamics in mind.
Q. Tell us more about the newest product on the platform, JetStream Migrate. What makes it unique?
JetStream Migrate is a software product that enables the live migration of virtual machines to a cloud destination. That means that the VMs and their applications continue to run on-premises while their data is being moved to the cloud destination. JetStream Migrate is the first data replication solution for cloud migration to run as an IO filter in VMware vSphere. This design gives the solution some unique capabilities:
- It supports live migration of applications, even when their data is moved to the cloud via a physical data transport device.
- It enables live migration without snapshots, which is much better for application performance.
- It’s fault tolerant, so if interrupted, the data replication process resumes from the point of interruption.
- Because of the IO filter-based design, it’s a lightweight application that runs seamlessly within a VMware-based data center.
- It gives the administrator powerful capabilities, including the ability to accurately estimate the time required for data replication and the ability to automate many tasks.
Q. There are many solutions for cloud migration, so when would an organization choose JetStream Migrate over other options?
It’s important to note that JetStream Migrate is specifically focused on ensuring reliable data replication for live migration. It will typically be used in conjunction with other cross-cloud tools, such as VMware vRealize, vCenter and NSX. The technologies are complementary, and they each play an important role in a cloud migration project.
With respect to data replication specifically, the unique design of JetStream Migrate makes it especially useful when:
- Live migration is required, but data will be transported to the cloud on a physical device.
- The data migration network has insufficient or inconsistent latency or bandwidth.
- The cloud destination is based on vSphere, but the CSP is not running the entire VMware Cloud stack.
- A lightweight deployment is preferred, at the source, on the network or at the destination.
- Network reliability concerns and high data ingest fees to make a fault-tolerant replication process preferable.
Q. You’re launching with an impressive list of partners. Can you tell us how you’re working with these partners and what about JetStream Software caught their attention?
Our team has been engaged with VMware for a long time. We previously worked as VMware’s design partner for the development of the APIs for IO Filters framework, so we have been working with these APIs to integrate our products with VMware vSphere for years. Through our partnership with VMware, we’re now also collaborating with Amazon to support the migration of VMs to the VMware Cloud on AWS.
Because of our history partnering with Dell, EMC, Cisco, IBM and HPE, we’ve also resumed and further developed our partnerships with those vendors, starting with the JetStream Accelerate product, which was familiar to our partners. And because all of these vendors are rapidly developing cloud solution portfolios, we’re discussing our new solutions with them as well.
Q. JetStream Software appears to have deep technology credentials. What is your history working with enterprises and cloud service providers?
One of the unique advantages of our particular “startup” is that we’re launching with a full development operation and a technology foundation representing over 200 developer-years of effort invested. We developed and supported a software solution that was deployed at thousands of data centers, both large and small. In doing so, we had a front-row seat to the transition from enterprises operating all-on-premises to the cloud, hybrid cloud, and cross-cloud operations.
Q. You’ve just officially launched the company and the platform with the newest product on the platform. What can we expect later this year?
Our JetStream Cross-Cloud Data Management Platform is maturing rapidly. The focus of our first product has been to remove the friction from cloud migration. Our releases in the second half of the year will bring similar advantages to cloud disaster recovery (DR) and cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS).
About Tom Critser, Co-Founder and CEO, JetStream Software
Tom Critser has more than 20 years of experience growing and launching software companies. Previously, Tom was GM of Cloud Data Center Solutions at SanDisk. Tom was a member of the founding team of FlashSoft Software which was acquired by SanDisk in 2012. Prior to FlashSoft, Tom was VP of Worldwide Sales and Business Development at RNA Networks, the memory virtualization software company, which was acquired by Dell. Prior to RNA Networks, Tom was the VP of Worldwide Sales and Business Development at Infravio, the SOA management software company, which was acquired by Software AG. Tom graduated from Oregon State University with a BS degree in International Business and where he was a Pac-10 All-Academic Team member. For more information, please visit www.jetstreamsoft.com, @JetStreamSoft and www.linkedin.com/company/jetstream-software-inc/.
I am listing 18 Information Security Pain Points that cause quite embarrassing situations in an enterprise. Each of these may cause minor to major losses to an organization. These losses may be in terms of finance, reputation, or business. In fact, all three have a deep connection. These lapses in information security may happen due to lack of knowledge of internal IT staff, lack of ownership of technology department, selecting a wrong technology partner, lack of sponsorship from top management, and so on. That is an altogether different topic to explore. Well, here are the top causes listed below:
1. Compliance related costs/requirements:
At times, your IT department is able to identify the non-complying issues. But is not able to get an approval for the deployment or mitigation. Even at times, it is not able to assess the mitigation process or actual cost for it.
There are various tools to handle it. Ensure that your organization has a strong tool. Also, ensure that it has latest patches and updates all the time.
3. User Behavior:
It is not about policing or trailing but having an eye on user behavior is important. A user might initiate a wrong practice to cause a huge damage to the organization. Another instance is about a user who might notice something unacceptable but is not initiating a reporting mechanism.
4. Keeping Up With New Technology:
This is of utmost importance to stay away from information security risks. Ensure it is not a blind chase. Include some intelligent factor in it.
5. Security Awareness Training:
Information Security is everybody’s responsibility. Right from the top executive to the delivery boy in the organization. Awareness and regular training are important in this regard.
6. Mobility Security:
A lot of business apps are not moving to mobile devices. Ensure the security factor while such deployments.
7. Application Security:
Exhaustive testing is the key to it. Have top class staff and tools for testing any loopholes or punctures in the information security framework of your organization.
8. Cloud Security:
It applies same as mobility security. Any initiative in this regard has to have in-depth analysis and assessment.
The whole world is in its grip. It, in fact, knows no boundaries. Ensure to take appropriate measures. Have regular audits and testing.
10. Third Party/Supplier Security:
Your external threads have to be as secure as you.
11. Organizational Politics/Lack of Attention To Information Security:
Engage top management in every step. Make them understand that a small gap may cause a huge damage.
12. Staffing Information Security:
Have background checks done. At least for all crucial positions.
13. Data Loss/Theft:
Data is the new currency. Treasure it and protect it as real money.
14. Accurate & Timely Processing of Security Events:
If you are not conducting any within the organization or for your external stakeholders, start it. If already doing it, ensure precision.
15. Malicious Software (Malware):
Testing, Audits, and Evaluation. It has to be a cyclic process. Regular iterations.
16. Endpoint Security:
All other information security measures will fail if you have a glitch at endpoint security.
17. Lack of Budget:
If an investment is important and crucial. Ensure it to happen. Any delay might end up in a suicide of the whole enterprise.
18. Firewall/Edge Network Security.
Hope, these 18 crucial information security pain points help in understanding the appropriate needs of your organization. Do let me know if there is a skip or miss anywhere in listing these points.
Has Internet Explorer become the most vulnerable browser? Has Microsoft lost control over it? Or Is it that Microsoft is having no more focus on it? Whatever is the case, it is not as secure to use IE. At least in your enterprise environment. In fact, it is now a legacy browser having not much attention from its creator. I think three decades is a good period for a browser to rule the internet world. There have been issues with any browser for that sake. In terms of security it is not that earlier there were no threats and vulnerabilities using IE. But the action was always prompt from Microsoft to tackle those. That is not the case now. At least after the launch of Microsoft’s new browser Edge. It is a more secure browser as the company claims. But this also has certain issues.
Edge, in fact, is missing a number of legacy capabilities that Internet Explorer was having. Even out of the two which is more vulnerable browser is difficult to say right now. But for some valid reason, Microsoft is still installing IE on all Windows operating systems it is releasing in the market. IE, in fact, is currently the most eligible soft target for attackers. Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 calls it zero-day vulnerability Double Kill. The company confirms there is an advanced persistent threat (APT) targeting these systems. Qihoo 360 explains Double Kill as follows. It is an IE vulnerability that targets Microsoft Word documents for the purpose of attacking a device. The Word documents usually goes as an attachment. This document is not clean. It contains certain malicious shellcode. The shellcode provokes IE to open in the background process. That leads to an attack.
Internet Explorer has become the most vulnerable browser
The background process thus further prompts an executable program to be downloaded and executed. In fact, all this happens with the help of Internet Explorer and without any warning signal to the user on whose machine it is happening. Once this malicious document opens with Double Kill, it immediately controls user’s computer. That is the beginning of a ransomware infection. It also starts causing eavesdropping and data leakage. That makes IE the most vulnerable browser.
Is Secure Shell or what we call it as SSH completely secure? It is almost more than two decades when Tatu Ylonen from Finland realized a strong need for security components in the online transactions. Realizing that, he created SSH, a powerful protocol to access anything on the internet. What it does is, it creates a trusted access by means of encrypting all kind of communication that takes place. In turn, that secures it from any attack in transit. So basically, SSH builds a tunnel where every communication gets encrypted. So that, there is a secure communication between any two points. It was simple yet powerful. In fact, it was an immediate need of the online world. Hence, it was popular in no time. As a result, every OS and device vendor ensured to pre-install it in their software/device. Like, all Unix, Mainframe, Mac, or Linux devices had it.
Not only that, most of the network devices also had the SSH or Secure Shell in-built. The whole story is all about access. If it is so strong, then why there are so many cases of cybersecurity? It is because of various reasons. The first and foremost is that it is taken for granted as it comes pre-installed. I don’t think there is a technical attention in any organization to monitor SSH transactions within the organization and with the outside world. Rather, everybody thinks if SSH is there, it means complete encryption and hence complete security. But who will check for flaws in the system? and what about any customization need of the organization in this regard? Who will manage it? In fact, before you think of managing it, there has to be someone who understands it. As a matter of fact, encryption alone doesn’t ensure 100% protection.
Secure Shell Needs An Enterprise Wide Technical Attention
When we talk about SSH or Secure Shell, it is basically all about authorized access. The challenge for any organization is to protect its data from illegal entities. Let us see what are the main risks of SSH. As we know, there is a private key and a public key to access any data. A public key, in fact, relates to a lock and the private key is its key. The lock remains on a door and the key is in the safe hands of a person. The main risk is of granting access to critical applications in an organization. If keys are self-provisioned, anybody can grant access having rights to do so. As a matter of fact, all security tools fail if this happens. The risk increases when people start sharing keys. In those cases, it becomes difficult to catch the culprit after a blunder.
Another high-risk factor in case of Secure Shell is no expiry date of its keys. to avoid all these blunders, it is important to have an effective SSH key management mechanism in place. this should include periodic reviews, proper documentation, and appropriate IT controls.
Data-driven cloud skills development is becoming critical for any enterprise today. Whether you are in the cloud already or are in the process, you definitely need to upskill your technical staff for the same. In fact, even if you are completely having an on-premise model currently, you need to understand the technology from its core. Keeping that in mind, Cloud Academy reveals the general availability of training plans in the relevant field. These training plans aim to help CIOs, CTOs, and technical managers to chalk out target skillsets, assign training materials for cloud transformation, assess competence, certification, upskilling, and onboarding. Any training has to have a purpose. In addition, it should be measurable. One should be able to assess the progress and development. That is where training plans come into the picture. With the help of these plans, Technical Leads can map them well with the business needs.
Not only that. Data-driven cloud skills development helps you define target skillsets for your technical staff. Because then it becomes easier to assess each individual’s competence. Also, it helps you to ascertain if there is a need for any customization for any individual. So that, you can then assign each individual unique set of training materials to draw out the results at scale. As we all know, public cloud implementations are increasing at an exponential rate. In fact, a recent study estimates the global public cloud market to touch $200B in 2018. In 2017, it was around $150B. There is a minimum growth of 20 percent annually. But that is on the lower side. In reality, it would definitely be higher than this. Even if cloud adoption is at its nascent stage, there is a serious need of preparing organizations for its challenges, risks, and vulnerabilities.
Data-driven cloud skills development Help in many ways
Data-driven cloud skills development not only prepares you well for handling the upcoming challenges well but also makes you conversant with the volume and different kinds of options available in the market. Before any kind of deployments, it becomes necessary to map it well with the complexity of IT environments.
Before coming to the re-launch of Zoho Creator, I would like to talk about some unique features of the organization Zoho. Zoho calls itself the operating system for business. This becomes apparently true after the launch of Zoho One that is a complete suite of applications for an enterprise. I think this is the only company that has at least one product to cater to every major category of the business. Like, sales, marketing, accounting, customer support, and so on. Everything that this company creates for its customers is in-house. No collaborations and no outsourcing. Interestingly, Zoho offers many of its products free of cost to its customers. None of these products have any kind of ad-revenue model. It has more than 30 million users across the globe working in hundreds of thousands of companies. In fact, Zoho runs its complete business using its own products.
The new avatar of Zoho Creator comes with mobile app creation feature. Zoho Creator as we know is a low-code application building platform. What that means is now you have Mobile App Creator, Page Creator, Workflow Creator all together while creating powerful web and mobile apps. This is, in fact, a major update to the product. The latest version is Creator 5. There is a complete transformation in the core functionality of the tool. In fact, there is a significant enhancement and refinement not only in its core functionality but in all other modules. Now, the developers can design and develop mobile apps in their own native custom manner. Zoho One Admin Panel has the capability of large deployments and manages apps created by Zoho Creator in a simple manner. This, in fact, provides a unified interface to deploy and manage a complete suite of enterprise applications.
Zoho Creator with Zoho One Provides A Unified Enterprise Interface
Zoho Creator is more than a decade-old product. Hyther Nizam, VP of Business Process Products, Zoho Corp. says, “Over the last 12 years, the Zoho Creator platform has enabled citizen developers to design and deploy over two million custom applications. Having refined our low-code, no-code approach to app development, Zoho Creator has become the app builder for those of us with no formal programming and deployment experience. With this update, we are raising the bar yet again by enabling mobile app creation for both smartphones and tablets, no programming skills required. On top of this, all two million existing Zoho Creator applications are now automatically mobile-enabled.”
Nizam concludes saying, “Think about that for a second. Web applications built on Zoho Creator 12 years ago—before mobile operating systems like iOS or Android even existed—are automatically mobile-enabled and ready for deployment on smartphones and tablets with no effort on the user’s end.”
A latest VMware Research in collaboration with Forbes Insights reveals a wide gap between CIOs and end users in regards to acceptability and applicability of business applications in the enterprise. As a matter of fact, the business app is becoming a point of dispute in the Asia-Pacific Region. Basically, it is not about the quality of the business app in place. Rather, it is about its deployment and availability on various platforms that are becoming a pain point amongst the employees of an organization. It could be a feature rich app. But if you are not able to access it from anywhere anytime then it becomes a productivity deterioration factor. On the other hand, it could be available on all platforms but the app is not rich and stable enough to support all platforms. This kind of scenario also will create a high level of disappointment.
The third angle to this is slightly different. The app is stable and running properly on different platforms. But is not as feature rich as the end users expect. VMware is a leader in cloud infrastructure and mobility. This particular VMware research was conducted in APJ (new Asia-Pacific and Japan) region. The purpose the study was to interpret the impact of business apps on business and end users in terms of performance, acceptability, and usability. On one hand, most of the organizations in APJ are speedily implementing business apps. On the other hand, there is a high level of dissatisfaction among their employees. While the CIOs claim that the apps are the right fit for the organization, the employees or end-users feel that are causing loss of productivity. The employees believe that the apps are incapable of meeting their business requirements or are capable of creating new business opportunities.
VMware Research in APJ highlights
VMware research clearly states there is a wide gap between CIOs and end-users. This gap needs an immediate attention. It is important to create a right kind of atmosphere for productive collaboration and employee satisfaction. The title of the research is “The Impact of The Digital Workforce: The New Equilibrium of the Digitally Transformed Enterprise”. The study includes more than 2,000 global CIOs and end-users of large enterprises. The focus of study stays on availability and accessibility of business apps and how they impact their work and business. It includes Australia, Japan, India, and China. Very few end-users are not happy with the current situation.
Digital Marketing has a close connection with Customer Experience. In fact, the sole aim of organizations adopting digital marketing is to optimize customer experience. This, as a matter of fact, is a major shift. Because businesses are talking about customized and personalized customer experiences. More than 30% business belonging to world’s largest brands according to KPMG are increasing their budgets for online and mobile advertising. Similarly, around 35% of these businesses believe in the personalization of customer experience to gain more traction. For this, the best way is to merge services with technology. Because without technology it is not possible to achieve. Buying a product is not a primary concern anymore for a consumer. The demands are changing on this front. It is all about meeting their increasing expectations. Brands need to shorten the gap between them and their consumers. The whole paradigm is changing quite fast.
In fact, customer experience includes the high quality of the product that they buy. It also includes a meaningful conversation between brand and its consumers. Loyalty, these days, is not easy to gain. It needs more transparency, closeness, promptness, and a deeper concern. As Olivier Njamfa, CEO, Eptica says, “Consumers are ever-more demanding, and expect fast, high quality and informed conversations with brands if they are to remain loyal.” Thus, when we talk about Digital Marketing, it is all about the developing a brand’s strategies with a high focus on the customer. The more is the trustworthiness of a brand, the higher are the revenues. Businesses are talking about digital footprints and digital impressions. A good amount of past data can provide in-depth analysis of their past successes and how to leverage that now to gain a rich customer experience. It is more to do with Analytics now.
Digital Marketing and Customer Experience Go Hand in Hand
As a matter of fact, enterprises are keeping their generic marketing separate from digital marketing. The strategies of two are entirely different. Therefore, businesses need to improve their current framework. They need to map it well to create a highly effective digital marketing funnel to ensure an enriching customer experience. It is, in fact, the time to discover an entirely different approach with an aim to re-optimize business infrastructure in order to cater online consumers and a drastic improvement in customer adoption. Before the execution of digital implementation, it has to have a solid base of relevant business cases. The whole purpose is to increase opportunities to build a flawless multichannel customer experience framework.
What would be an organization’s top barriers to using machine learning? Machine learning, big data, IoT, Industrial IoT, etc. are the newest trending technologies. These are becoming, in fact, global phenomenon. Rather, these are becoming a necessity for businesses to strive. the businesses that are not thinking in these terms now will have a tough time tomorrow. Like any new technology, these also have their own advantages and constraints. But early adaptors will definitely have an edge over their competitors in time to come. The same applies to individuals also. Technology professionals, CIOs, and CTOs who are not thinking about applying these technologies in their organizations will have a tough time tomorrow. They will have to answer to their management for not doing it in right time. As a matter of fact, these technologies will emerge as big differentiators among success and failure of your competitors.
What comes to your mind when we think of top barriers to using machine learning in your organization? To me, the top factors could be data, skill, applicability, budget, deployment, and approval of top management. All these points have a deep connection with each other. The core strength or the power of driving this lies in the technology leadership in your organization. You, being the technology leader, have to be the frontrunner in preparing business cases and presenting them well to the top management for their approvals. Obviously, the key lies in your hand. Thus, you only have the power to open this mysterious lock and show the world to your management. Now, let us look at these barriers one by one and see how to handle those. Accessing and preparing data is the core of machine learning, IoT, and IIoT.
It is Important to Identify Top Barriers To Using Machine Learning
An organization needs to have a clarity on the source, volume, relevance, and applicability of data. The actual task, in fact, begins once you are able to identify the top barriers to using machine learning. Merely availability of humungous historical data will not suffice the purpose. It has to be in a proper shape. As a matter of fact, preparing data is a bigger task in this direction. You won’t be able to allocate a budget in lack of clarity of your objectives. Finding relevant skill in the market or developing from your current pool is the next big decision you need to take. Running a pilot and showing good results to management is fine, but are you ready to deploy it in production? Are your operational systems ready for this? Finally, top leadership’s sponsorship and engagement is important.
What would be an organization’s top reasons for exploring machine learning? Well, it depends on the business vertical in which that organization is working. But a few business cases apply to all. Like, Workforce utilization and optimization could be one of the top reasons for any kind of industry. In the current scenario, any industry strives on performance. Market Forecasting, for instance, is always a top agenda for any production and service industry. Especially, the ones that are consumer-centric. A small glitch in the market forecasting could cause a huge damage to an industry. Not only in terms of finances but also in terms of reputation. Similarly, there are industries that strive for various other kinds of forecastings. For instance, weather forecasting. If it goes wrong, the whole farming and other businesses depending on it can go haywire.
In fact, any kind of forecasting needs to have a high level of accuracy. Without that, the system will not survive for long. It will lose its sanctity and credibility.The same is true for Marketing Analysis. A wrong kind of marketing analysis may result in wrong product recommendations and offers. Some more business cases for machine learning are Logistics Analysis, Physical Security, Price Prediction, Supply Chain, Cyber Security, Advertising, Healthcare, Scientific Research, Clinical Research, Preventive Maintenance, Customer Service, Customer Support, Fraud Detection, Social Network Analysis, Communication Analysis, and so on. This is not all. There are ample use cases. And, in fact, for a specific industry, there would be specific business cases in addition to generic business cases. As a matter of fact, while applying any of these business cases in your environment, it is important to chalk out the significant benefits your organization would draw out of it.
There are ample business cases for Machine Learning
When you think of business cases for machine learning, think of the results or gains after deployment. These could be an improvement in customer experience, increase in sales, gain in competitive advantages, reduction in errors and mistakes, reduction in risks and vulnerabilities, faster responses to opportunities and threats, faster risk mitigations, lowering of costs and expenses.
With the release of Backup and Replication v7.4, NAKIVO achieves a new landmark. The key feature is Automated VM Failover for Near-Instant Disaster Recovery. In fact, there are a number of new features like Automated VM Failover, Self-Backup, File Recovery to Source, and so on. NAKIVO Inc. is a dynamically evolving virtualization and cloud backup software enterprise. Starting its operations in 2012, this US-based organization aims to produce excellent data protection solution for Hyper-V, VMware, and various cloud environments. Its double-digit growth for the last 20 quarters consistently and consecutively demonstrates its strength in the product line it caters to. Within a short span of 5 years of its existence, it has more than 10,000 deployments across the globe. The organization banks on its post-deployment support to its customers. It is not easy to achieve more than 97% in customer satisfaction with a stringent focus on customer support.
With all this, NAKIVO www.nakivo.com is undoubtedly among the fastest-growing global organization data protection spectrum. Its customers include China Airlines, Honda, Microsemi, Coca-Cola, to name a few. Operating from 124 countries and with around 3,000 channel partners across the globe, the organization is spreading its wings fast. The latest Backup and Replication v7.4 comes with 11 new and unique features. The main purpose of these new features is to simplify existing disaster recovery mechanism by increasing convenience and comfort to the customers. Some of the prominent features are as below:
Businesses can’t afford any downtime in their mainstream applications and infrastructure. In fact, zero downtime is the demand of businesses from their vendors. NAKIVO Backup and Replication v7.4 aim to achieve this goal of their customers by helping them restore their systems in case of disaster without undesirable delays. Automated VM Failover replicates VMs to the DR location and then runs a single failover job. With the help of this feature, businesses can transfer their workloads to the DR location without the loss of critical business time. This near-instant feature thus minimizes downtime to least. Moreover, since the fully automated process performs with perfection with the help of re-IP rules and network mapping. This, in turn, happens in an automated manner without any manual interventions. In fact, there is no need for manual reconfiguration or replicas.
Though this is in Beta stage, it has a lot of promises to fulfill. The feature takes care of recovery of accidentally deleted or corrupted files to their source VMs or a different location. This, in fact, doesn’t require recovery of the entire VM first. That makes the whole recovery process fast and accurate. The recovery is performed from deduplicated VM backups.
NAKIVO Backup and Replication v7.4 protect AWS EC2 instances if so desired. By enabling and configuring this feature, it stores the backups onsite or in the cloud as per the requirements of the business. With the launch of this version, the number of recovery points per EC2 instance is scaled up to 1,000 now. That brings a high amount of reliability and different recovery options as per the suitability of the business environment.
The product has the capability of running jobs at the highest speed possible using the available bandwidth thus optimizing the whole process of Backup and Replication. Even if during the peak hours network administrator limits the bandwidth used by data protection processes, it automatically sets such limits on a per-job basis. This, therefore, allocates sufficient bandwidth for critical business applications.
This is a fantastic feature from NAKIVO Backup and Replication system. In case, there is a failure in VM or the physical server that is managing the VM backup software, a new instance can be installed within no time. As a matter of fact, it takes less than a minute. Keeping in mind that reconfiguring all the backup setting manually is a time-consuming task, v7.4 tackles this complex situation in a simple manner. It automatically backs up the complete scope of settings that exist in its web interface and as a result saves these self-backups in available backup repositories. The moment it senses the installation of a new instance, it imports all the previous settings from the backup repository instantly. This includes schedules, preferences, jobs, and inventory.
We all are aware that manually finding a VM, replica, or a job in a large setup of the virtual environment is a humungous task. It is, in fact, time consuming and painful. NAKIVO Backup and Replication v7.4 have a feature of Global Search. That helps to find any job, repository, or a transporter in a convenient manner. In fact, it is not about only finding any item. It also helps to perform individual or bulk actions straight from the search results in an instant and easy manner.
Flash VM Boot helps in many ways. It can near-instantly boot VMs directly from deduplicated and compressed VM backups thus decreasing the downtime tremendously. These VMs, in fact, can be utilized for various useful tasks like sandbox testing. This is an extended support feature of Flash VM Boot to Hyper-V VMs.
Merely availability of VM backups or replicas does not ensure their recoverability. NAKIVO Backup and Replication brings in a surety factor in this. For the purpose of ensuring recovery of VMs, it includes the Screenshot Verification mechanism. What it does is after the completion of every backup or replication job, it can automatically test the recovery of VM and take a screenshot of the OS. This screenshot can be handy for the reporting purpose. The feature now is available for Hyper-V and VMware VMs.
The product saves space and thus infrastructure, hardware and upkeep costs. It not only saves space in the backup repository but also truncates transaction logs of Microsoft SQL Server on the source VM. Actually, this truncation happens automatically after the successful completion of each VM backup or replication job. This, in turn, helps in saving a lot of disk space and thus avoiding a server crash.
As the title of this feature suggests, it allows a quick recovery of tables and databases. This recovery happens from deduplicated backups thereby not requiring the full VM recovery first. This definitely saves a huge amount of critical time of the business.
NAKIVO Backup and Replication v7.4 have a live chat feature that enables to connect with their technical support team instantly in case of any need.
Bruce Talley, CEO, NAKIVO Inc. says, “We always take our customers’ feedback into account. That’s why NAKIVO Backup and Replication v7.4 introduces cutting-edge features that we know our customers want to protect their virtual environments even more efficiently. We also work to make the product more user-friendly and convenient.”
A fully-functional free trial of NAKIVO Backup and Replication v7.4 can be downloaded at www.nakivo.com.
· Trial Download: /resources/download/trial-download/
The key task of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is to make your machines and devices think and thus act intelligently. And this happens with the help of corresponding software that makes machines and devices to think and perform like humans. That is why it is not a misnomer to call Machine Learning a subset of AI. In this case, ML’s main focus stays on using data and respective algorithms. Because with the help of these two, it keeps learning and predicting. Organizations bend towards AI and ML initiatives is thus not a myth. It is happening. And it is happening for a reason. There are plenty of ML frameworks for enterprises to choose from. Like Caffe, SparkKML, Theano, Torch, Keras, Tensorflow, and many more. Similarly, there are a number of ML tools like Jupyter, OpenCV, NumPy, Beaker, Pillow, Pandas, Zeppelin, and Scikit.
For creating Machine Learning environment an organization needs to depend on various data sources. These could include customer data, employee data, data outsourced from data brokers, data from various government and non-government sources, location resources, market resources, and social media. This is how big data comes into consideration. To manage this volume of humungous data, you need a different set of tools and environment. There are various data brokers in the market these days providing voluminous data. These brokers include Acxiom, Experian, Oracle Data Cloud, and DataSift. Similarly, when we talk of government sources, it could be census data, for instance. Location resources like TomTom and Google maps are also quite popular these days. Social media data sources are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Non-government data sources would include Weather, Environment etc. And then there are Market sources like SymphonyIRI, Nielsen, Reuters, and so on.
Machine Learning Is a Revolution In Industry 4.0
Machine Learning can be helpful in various ways. For instance, it can help in workforce utilization and optimization. But that is not all. There are a lot more business cases for an organization for using ML.
I can build multiple use cases to depict the importance of Modern Requirements Management Tool – build on and for Microsoft Team Foundation Server. But before talking about Modern Requirements4TFS, let us understand what the biggest threat to the success of a project is. It is the business or user requirements. A minor ambiguity in requirements finalized at the initial stage of a project can create a major threat to the project at a later stage. PMI (Project Management Institute) research says there are only 3 things that can kill a project. Those are People, Process, and Communication. There are 7 factors that lie in these 3 segments. Lack in any of the 7 factors can significantly cause a delay or failure. PMI says, “Provide the project team members the tools and techniques they need to produce consistently successful projects.”
That shows the importance of a good tool like Modern Requirements4TFS in the success of a project. A tool that covers people, process, and communication to get a strong hold on the project throughout its lifecycle. “Most project problems are caused by poor planning,” says CompTIA. And mostly in all those cases, it is the requirements that play havoc. The orthodox requirements management tools have failed drastically in capturing modern day’s dynamic requirements in a crisper manner. Requirements captured only in text leave a lot of scope of loopholes and ambiguities. That is why you need a tool that captures requirements with visual contexts and use cases. This not only helps in capturing the requirements clearly and unambiguously but also helps in setting a faster pace of development of the project. Project Insight states the top four causes of project failures are:
Team Foundation Server from Microsoft is popularly known as TFS. To use it to its full potential and to draw out the maximum benefits for requirements management, you need an intelligent tool. Modern Requirements Management Tool is one of those. It is uniquely integrated into Microsoft Team Foundation Server and VSTS. Modern Requirements4TFS gains you access to a series of new hubs and features. It is a web-based tool having multiple modules. These modules empower you to have a full control of requirements management. With its help, you can define and manage quite easily and run the show efficiently. It can integrate with Microsoft Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Team Services thus giving you a great level of control on Microsoft platform. The complete setup can be arranged as per your requirement. It can reside on-premise in case you have limitations on the cloud. Else it can reside in the cloud.
Most of the organizations building for Microsoft platforms use Modern Requirements4TFS for Requirement Management. In fact, Modern Requirements Management Tool – build on and for Microsoft Team Foundation Server is the most appropriate tool in such an environment because all requirements are stored natively as work items in TFS (Team Foundation Server) / VSTS (Visual Studio Team Services). Many organizations also use TFS for tracking of development work elements, testing, and release management. In the nutshell, Modern Requirements users get following features and functionalities:
The success of any project lies on three key factors These are Open Communication, Effective Collaboration, and the use of Intelligent Systems. It is a tool like Modern Requirements4TFS that enables these three factors to help any organization in achieving effective results in project management and team collaboration. Sharing your plans visually acts as a catalyst in the process of presentation and understanding. Thus, it reduces the risks drastically. On top of it, the tool improves scope management, change management, and project quality.
DH2i, a leading provider of multi-platform high availability/disaster recovery, just released Version 17.5 of its DxEnterprise software. To gain a better understanding of this software and what it offers to Enterprise IT users, I recently sat down with Don Boxley, the co-founder, and CEO of DH2i (www.dh2i.com).
What key issues are you addressing with the v17.5 release of DxEnterprise?
Boxley: At the core, the issue comes down to how enterprises can achieve digital transformation: IT teams are under pressure to do more with limited resources. Businesses and other enterprises are increasingly dependent on data, so they require high availability – as little as 10 minutes of downtime can be disastrous. Finally, with sprawling infrastructures, IT resources are strained.
To overcome these issues, enterprises need to think strategically about integrating legacy infrastructure. For the majority of today’s enterprises, the primary obstacle is with the legacy infrastructure. It is expensive to maintain, both financially and in terms of required labor. This is the most pressing issue facing today’s enterprises.
How might v17.5 help with the legacy infrastructure constraint enterprises face?
Boxley: DxEnterprise, and more specifically, version 17.5, alleviates the legacy infrastructure issue with an application-based approach. It supports an industry-first unified Windows/Linux automatic failover and fault detection. The company initially had a Windows focus. This new release builds on earlier DxE versions, allowing management and servicing of Linux, with automatic Windows/Linux failover for SQL Server 2017. It features a single-console Windows/Linux management. SQL Server 2017+ users benefit from this multi-platform environment as it allows them to move workloads and data to and from any cloud. They can also use it to scale cloud-based data analytics and business intelligence.
Another key component of DxE v17.5 is it enables users to create a new class of distributed frameworks which allow workloads to move to the best execution venue, based on computational and budgetary considerations – we call this Smart Availability. This often means fewer operating system environments are required and reduces time spent on system maintenance. Ultimately, it frees IT, professionals, to spend their time on higher-yield activities that impact the bottom line.
You talk about Smart Availability, as opposed to high availability. Can you describe the difference and what it means for the IT user?
Boxley: High availability refers to overall uptime, while Smart Availability is an evolved, strategic approach in the direction of that same general goal. Smart Availability decouples databases, Availability Groups, and containers from the underlying infrastructure, and hence allows workloads to move to their best execution venue. High availability alone is often counterproductive: it simply adds to the infrastructural complexity without regard to the overall objectives. Smart Availability instead adapts to the overall business objectives and constraints.
Are there any other applications you see being created by this new release?
Boxley: The single cross-platform service, with its built-in HA capabilities, will be useful to managed service and public cloud providers. They’ll be able to increase recurring income by offering this service to customer applications – previously we saw many of these providers leaving it to the customer to ensure high availability. With this release, providers can include high availability as a service.
We’ve also included enhanced features such as InstanceMobility for dynamic Smart Analysis workload movement, and intelligent health and QoS performance monitoring. These help ensure DxE v17.5 cuts costs, simplifies IT administration, and frees the IT team up to do the most impactful work in the enterprise.
Performance Monitoring has become a critical factor for all business applications running in an enterprise. There are various reasons for it. Firstly, no application functions in isolation. There is always a dependency either backward or forward. It is either pushing data to another application. Or is pulling data from another application. As a matter of fact, infrastructure is not away from the scan of performance monitoring. Everything has to be in sync. Because it is the overall performance that matters in the organization. So, even if your infrastructure is modern and state-of-the-art performing at a rocket speed it loses its value if applications residing on it are under-performing. Let us have a look at the rising trends in performance monitoring for both – application as well as infrastructure. The key contributors to it are Big Data, Machine Learning, IIoT, etc. SaaS delivery model plays a significant role in this.
Overall, industrial architecture is not as simple as it was a few years back. This is the age of complex applications. Features like Containerization, Microservices, and Heterogenous clouds to tackle data overloads are becoming critical and important. Data, in fact, is flooding from all directions. It is very important to analyze it. There are various ways to adapt to a proper performance monitoring mechanism. It is necessary to learn about each. These are Code-level APM (Application Performance Monitoring), Network Performance Monitoring or NPM, Performance Testing, Real User Monitoring or RUM, and Synthetic Monitoring. Code-level APM is a good tool to report load time and response time. In fact, it smartly figures out the lines of code in the application that are causing these troubles. New technologies obviously require new approaches. For instance, technologies like containerization and microservices need tracking of the tremendous amount of data to ascertain performance.
Performance Monitoring Needs Better Tools
Looking at the complexities of performance monitoring, vendors offering APM and similar services include machine learning methodologies to attain optimum results in data mining and generate important information. After all, it is the performance that matters most in an organization. And it becomes the responsibility of the IT department to ensure the performance of any employee in the organization doesn’t get any negative impact due to the poor performance of an application or infrastructure in place. Usually, it is somebody on the top in the technology department of an organization to own this responsibility. In fact, this is the person who is answerable for any kind of issues in the performance.
An increase in the applicability of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in real life is responsible for the development of Chatbots. In fact, it has reached a maturity level where it is interestingly able to engage a prospective customer quite significantly. There is a steep growth estimation in the Chatbots industry from 2015 to 2024. The valuation as a report from Transparency Market Research is US$100 million. It is about to touch US$1000 million in 2024.That is a phenomenal jump in all respects. On a similar note, a PWC research paper states AI will be contributing US$20 trillion to the world economy by the year 2030. That signifies a tremendous potential of this market in coming years. The drastic drop in data rates is one of the key contributors to this phenomenal growth. Alibaba Group is investing a large pool of their profits in R&D, especially AI.
Note that Alibaba is having a sales growth at the rate of 20% currently amounting to US$100 million. These figures are from a report by Market Realist. In fact, such a stupendous growth in Chatbots industry is changing the whole paradigm of the business model. New avenues are coming up in infrastructure, cost-saving alternatives, and business transactions. As a matter of fact, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is contributing significantly to business development in almost all industry segments. And, in fact, that is getting quite positive results in terms of business growth and development. It is turning out to be a highly beneficial proposition. Rather, Chatbots are becoming a streamline companion of the operative system. It is, therefore, important to understand how you can augment market size through Chatbot. If you are able to do that you can easily minimize operating cost and maximize productivity.
Chatbots Industry Sees Tremendous Growth in AI
As a matter of fact, Chatbots are a clear example of a new form of collaboration between manpower and machine. That means if you are able to harness the power of artificial intelligence in business automation, especially Big Data, it can increase your operational efficiency manifold.
What is a digital transformation? Different enterprises define it in their own way. The extent of going wrong is directly proportional to the defect in understanding it rightly. The more you are away from the right definition, the more are the chances to go wrong. Basically, it is how you integrate digital technology into all areas of your business. The transformation will lead to a drastic change in your way of functioning. It will, in fact, change how you operate. In addition, it will also change the manner in which you deliver value to customers. That means when it happens at your end, your customers will also experience a huge amount of transformation in the way they are doing business with you. It demands a big cultural change within the organization. In fact, not within the organization, but also around effecting all stakeholders in one way or the other.
Digital transformation involves digital technology extensively. In fact, there will be a large amount of mobility entering into your day-to-day functionality. It also demands a continuous change involving a lot of experimentation, failures, and successes. The best way to get the best out of it is to keep challenging your status quo. The more you challenge, the more you get ideas to improvise it. Digital transformation is important for all kind of businesses. Also, for all sizes of businesses. So, whether you are a small business or a large enterprise, the importance remains the same. It is important to adopt in order to stay competitive in the market. If you don’t take appropriate steps in this direction, your competitors will leave you behind in no time. It also keeps your relevance intact. But it is just not merely moving to cloud as a lot of business leaders think.
Digital Technology Is A Lot More Than Moving To Cloud
It is important for an enterprise or a small business to understand digital technology and digital transformation correctly. What specific steps do they need to take? What changes in the job profiles might happen? Rather, what new jobs come into existence? In fact, what could be the right framework to start with? Do you need a consultant to start? What changes in business strategies will happen? And most importantly, what is the real worth of it? What are you gaining out of it? All these things are very important to understand.
“Digital technologies continue to transform the work, how we interact with colleagues, and the value we deliver to clients and customers,” says Asoke Laha, CEO, InterraIT at the event ‘The Future of Digital Transformation’ at their Noida office. “This means all decision making is data-driven, and leadership must focus on providing insights into marketing and customer engagements,” he concludes.
There are few things to notice about data breaches. Enterprises are preferring cloud over on-premise for less critical applications. That means information security trends are changing noticeably. But more important is to understand is Cloud driving shift in security spending. In fact, is that shift upward or downward. Studies reveal security budgets are rising consistently across the globe. A portion of credit should go to the grand publicity to security breaches. Especially breaches like Spectre and Meltdown. These are actually unanticipated risks that could take an extra bite than the IT budget you keep for security. In the nutshell, security has become one of the top two budget components. The first one being the cloud. As a matter of fact, it might take the top slot in time to come. Despite all constraints, security budgets are moving up. And that trend is visible in all size of companies.
Even though Cloud service providers maintain their own security controls internally or through third parties but still it is a topmost concern of businesses. Rather few enterprises depend solely on their cloud service providers to raise an alarm on data breaches. According to a report on an average, almost 20% of IT budget is allocated to Information Security by most of the organizations in 2018. Around 5% of organizations say their spending on information security will be less in 2018 than earlier years. But that is negligible. That means more than 95% of businesses are spending more on information security than the previous year. Organizations are spending more on application security than hardware and network security. The security spending trends are changing drastically. This shows a substantial impact of cloud on these spendings. Testing and Performance are becoming two major thrust areas in cloud environments for identification of data breaches.
Data Breaches Are One Of The Biggest Threats
Such proactive approaches to testing will decrease their reliance on cloud vendors. Because they would get automatic alerts before their cloud vendors notify them of data breaches.
Io-Tahoe has just announced the General Availability (GA) release of its smart data discovery platform. I sat down with Oksana Sokolovsky, CEO of Io-Tahoe, to better understand the data challenges facing modern enterprises, and how Io-Tahoe is attempting to address them.
You’ve just announced the GA launch of the Io-Tahoe platform. What challenges are you hoping to address with it?
Sokolovsky: I founded Rokitt Astra (Io-Tahoe) in 2014, together with Rohit Mahajan, our CTO and CPO, with the goal of providing the go-to platform for data discovery. The modern digital enterprise faces a complex set of challenges in maximizing the business value of data. For one, enterprises struggle with how to integrate a growing number of disparate platforms, with a formidable volume of data stored across databases, data lakes, and other silos. This makes it difficult or impossible for organizations to comprehensively govern, and ultimately utilize enterprise data.
How does Io-Tahoe address these challenges?
Sokolovsky: We built Io-Tahoe with the goal of providing a fundamental building block for all data discovery. This vision entails making data available to everyone inside the organization and automatically weaving through the data relationship maze to provide actionable insights to the end user.
The platform is built on a machine learning base. It uses machine learning to identify data relationships, including within both metadata and the data itself. It operates in a “platform agnostic” manner and allows organizations to uncover data resources across diverse technologies.
The platform enables a variety of disciplines in the data field – from analytics to governance, management, and beyond. It also commits to a leverageable view of data – data insights should be available to everyone in an organization. This is made possible through an easy-to-use interface, built on a scalable architecture.
We’ve also included a new Data Catalog that allows organizations to compile or enhance data information so it can be leveraged across the organization.
What do you see the future has in store for data discovery?
Sokolovsky: In two words: dramatic growth. A recent report from MarketsandMarkets (1), for instance, predicts data discovery market expansion from $4.66 billion, its 2016 estimated size, to $10.66 billion by 2021. This represents a year-on-year compound growth rate of nearly 20 percent. Most of this growth will be in Europe and North America, with retail services, financial services, and utilities as three of the largest opportunities.
The primary foundation of this demand is the increasing need for data-driven decision processes, but other factors are also playing a role in driving this explosion. A few other factors we’ve identified include regulatory pressures, such as GDPR, the rise of intelligent technology, which utilizes predictive analytics in a smart computing functionality, the shortage of qualified data scientists, the explosion of available data, increased demand for understanding it, the monetization of data assets, and unification of data platforms and management.
It sounds like it’s perfect timing for your release of the Io-Tahoe platform. Can you explain why this launch is so exciting for the end users?
Sokolovsky: I’ll be glad to. The GA launch of our data discovery platform is opening our unique algorithmic product to all enterprises. The machine learning aspect will allow them to auto-discover patterns and relationships in their data, and the Data Catalog promises to guide data owners and stewards through business rules and data policy governance.
For example, it can automatically uncover data across the entire enterprise in a matter of minutes, rather than weeks. This reduces labor costs and allows organizations to tap into potentially valuable data.
It also offers self-service features, empowering the end users to engage and share data knowledge. The Data Catalog feature, in particular, enables users to govern data across heterogeneous enterprise technologies, comply with regulations such as GDPR, and automate the previously manual process of data discovery. This will increase efficiency and use of enterprise resources.
How about a use case – can you give us a clearer picture of what Io-Tahoe looks like in practice?
Sokolovsky: Sure – we’ve actually developed three representative use cases to illustrate how customers could use Io-Tahoe. First, the systems use case: the platform can help them understand data lake and database migration. It can also help with system migration, modernization, as well as M&A system integration/divestiture. Second, the data analytics use case: this comprises analytics improvement, increased revenue potential, and improvement of complementary products. Third, the regulatory use case. The Io-Tahoe platform can assist with data governance, as well as regulatory compliance.
Has Io-Tahoe already seen an application?
Sokolovsky: It has. We have multiple successful examples to share with you. First, a customer used Io-Tahoe’s platform for data discovery and impact analysis as part of its re-platforming efforts. The customer’s analysis time was reduced three times, and cost decreased by 80 percent, with dependencies well-managed and accounted for.
A major investment bank used Io-Tahoe for data asset discovery and appointed a new Chief Data Officer (CDO) to manage data assets. The organization reported similarly positive results, with the data discovery process becoming automated, reliable, and less labor intensive. This freed staff, including the CDO, to focus on analytics.
It sounds like it’s the perfect timing for Io-Tahoe. Do you have any last words or thoughts to share?
Sokolovsky: I want to emphasize, we’re excited about the opportunity to use our technology to address growing, real-world challenges with data discovery. Few of our competitors are addressing these issues. Enterprises require effective and comprehensive access to their data, regardless of where it’s stored. They require data governance, and compliance with regulations, along with a deeper view and understanding of data and data relationships. Hence, we believe Io-Tahoe may soon be a priority purchase for every CDO.
(1) Data Discovery Market by Type (Software and Service), Service (Professional and Managed), Application (Risk Management, Sales & Marketing Optimization, and Cost Optimization), Deployment, Organization Size, Vertical, and Region – Global Forecast to 2021. marketsandmarkets.com. January 2017.
It was quite an insightful day meeting industry leaders, academicians, and students together. The event was at InterraIT. In fact, it was an in-house event but the point of discussion was no less than a topic of global relevance. The topic was – Doing business in India. We had Dr. AD Amar, Professor, USA Seton Hall University. He had come along with a team of young, energetic, and business enthusiast students of his University. Industry expert and veteran Asoke K Laha, President and CEO, Interra Information Technologies, was the key person to guide the students about all business tactics in India and the US. He is the person who has complete knowledge of both worlds. He has offices and operations in both the countries. That is what makes him a perfect choice to guide these budding entrepreneurs hailing from various countries and studying in USA Seton Hall University.
It was not only the students from the USA Seton Hall University eager to learn about Doing Business in India. We had a group of students from IIF (Indian Institute of Finance) along with their professor. The professor is also an active member of ASSOCHAM (The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India). Thus he was carrying a bountiful of information about the practicalities of opening and closing a firm in India. The opening of a company is now quite an easy process in the country. It takes hardly few minutes, in fact, to open a new company. And the whole process is online. The only hiccup that may haunt an entrepreneur is the process of closing a company in India. It still takes a number of years and involvement of High Court of India for the closure formalities. That is still a grey area.
Doing Business In India Has Become Easier
The overall motive of any country should be to facilitate young entrepreneurs from other countries to do business in India. As Mr. Laha says, learning about culture and people is the utmost thing for this.
Digital Healthcare is not a dream now. It is happening and evolving across the globe. Though the speed of evolution may vary from country to country. But every country acknowledges its potential and hence speedy adoption. It can not only help in creating a lean ecosystem but also an effective one. The manner in which industrial technology is advancing with the internet as its core backbone, pharmaceutical, and medical technology can achieve an astonishing amount of achievement. In fact, it is leading to a system that will have many benefits. Like, less labor intensive architecture will be a major thrust out of it. Also, the whole mechanism promises to be cost-effective. It will be an overall lean operation model for health institutions across the globe. The healthcare market is about to touch US$130 across the globe. By adopting digital technology, it is bound to create a new paradigm.
If you belong to this field, you must attend Digital Healthcare Conference that is happening in May 2018 in Bangkok. Health and pharmaceutical sector with the help of digital movement can definitely do wonders. It can happen with the help of cloud technologies, IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence), Big Data, VR (Virtual Reality), mobility, and automation. If it is the right adoption of technology, it can optimize its precision, efficiency, and speed to an unbeatable level. Recently, there was a survey by Microsoft in this regard. They call it Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Survey. It clearly states the importance of medical technology in everybody’s life. It states that more than 75% leaders belonging to healthcare segment in the Asia Pacific understand the importance and gravity of transformation into a digital business which is going to play a key role in future growth.
Digital Healthcare is the Solution to many issues
A modern-day wellness provider can’t think of its survival without the adoption of digital healthcare. In fact, there has to be a complete healthcare mechanism that promises to deliver seamless health services. And, as a matter of fact, it can happen only with a proper synchronization of physical, biological, and digital systems. Rather, this is the only way to tackle critical health issues across the globe. Obviously, this needs a proper training process that educates people on the changing trends of medical technology. It is important for end consumers to leverage these latest trends seamlessly. Otherwise, the whole efforts will go waste.
Enterprise cloud design is undergoing a transformation. So is the cloud service provider market. Enterprise is becoming more data hungry. The core target is to enhance their data analysis skills. Businesses are preferring to migrate their workloads to the cloud. Especially, the new businesses in the fray don’t prefer setting up their own on-premise server system. Services like PaaS (Platform as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure), and CaaS (Cloud hosting as a service) are gaining momentum at a faster pace. Organizations are understanding that a good cloud service provider will have a better performance and security provision. Actually, it is all about a matter of cost. You throw a good cost and get whatever you require. Where businesses fail in the cloud is a different story. Those seeking cheaper solutions gradually land into a compromising condition of their data. Public Cloud or IaaS is the most popular cloud service.
In fact, enterprise cloud transformation is a two-way process. It is a kind of knowledge enhancement at both the ends. There are generalists cloud providers. These are capable of building and operating public cloud platforms at a good scale. Some of the best examples in this class are Google, Microsoft, and AWS. On the other hand, we can now clearly see Specialist Cloud Service Provider market evolving at a faster pace. These specialists help enterprises understand and consume cloud service effectively and intelligently. They, in fact, have an expertise in this field. So, basically, there is a distinct line of separation between public cloud and CSP-owned. The latter would be able to manage complex environments in a better way. And definitely, enterprises will have to think of multi-cloud environments. Enterprises should always demand a delivery of breadth of product and services under a single banner.
Cloud Service Provider Must Offer a Strong Relationship
A smart cloud service provider would deliver a larger bouquet of products and services either with its own in-house capabilities or through partnerships with strong vendors.
With the inclusion of social media data, enterprises have no dearth of data available for data analysis and business intelligence. In fact, it is their internal issues that stop them to do so. There is a high risk of getting behind in the race if actually, the organizations don’t perform it. The fact is that many organizations still don’t value it. They are either unaware of the fact that this is a big thing to strive in business or they don’t know how to run the show. But the fact is that all those who jump into the fray are not doing it rightly. They might have understood the power of it, but are not encashing it properly. In fact, identification of right data is important. Because of any organization has data at multiple locations and in different forms. it could be lying in relational and non-relational databases.
As a matter of fact, it is very important for organizations or enterprises to have awareness of what data they possess and where all it resides. Unless they are clear about it, they can’t use it for immensely useful business outcomes from it with the help of data analysis and business intelligence. In fact, enterprise moving in the right direction are gaining great insights about business, customers, and competitors. Rather that is one of the reasons for cloud platforms gaining preference over on-premise storage. The fact of the matter is that wherever their data lies and in whatever shape, it has to be there at their disposal. In fact, cloud providers are adding a lot of value to attract enterprises. Any cloud provider having a better data management capabilities are high in demand against the generalists. In addition, there are third parties having specialization in this field.
Proper Data Analysis Provides An Extra Power To An Enterprise
Obviously, to ensure proper data analysis, an enterprise has to understand various data fabric functionalities.
Is it the right time for enterprises to start cloud adoption at a better speed? Is it safe to leave the boundaries of the on-premise model and jump on the cloud? We all know that innovation is the key today to perform better and thus outpace your competitors. But any delay in innovations is going to cost. And at times this cost may be heavy. But along with all this, is this the right time to take chances without focusing on commitments? Can you sacrifice latter at any cost? Is it not going to create a high risk to the business? It says mass customization is the trend these days. So is flexible pricing. You may have to leave regular trends to achieve your organizational goals. Cloud revolution, in fact, needs a top-level support to thrive and strive. If top-level is lacking confidence, nothing can help an organization.
Cloud adoption promises to deliver higher flexibility and better control to an organization. In fact, it brings in many variations along with different combinations. An organization’s burden, as a matter of fact, decreases. Like, it takes lesser energies to manage cloud provider, hardware vendor, and system integrators. All it needs is to select a right partner. With this, an organization’s running, operational, or recurring cost also stoops down. For instance, you need lesser resources, space, and infrastructure now. It is all a matter of change in culture and mindset to go for it. In fact, the cloud-procurement model is achieving maturity and hence giving higher confidence to the organizations. The best way to measure the level of your cloud adoption is the extent of infrastructure visibility in the organization. The higher is the former, the lower is the latter. Both are, in fact, inversely proportional to each other.
Cloud Adoption Is Gaining Higher Momentum
As I say, it is all a matter of mindset. Otherwise, risks and breaches happen within the four walls of an organization despite all control mechanism.
An Interview with Bruce Talley, CEO, and co-founder of NAKIVO, Inc. (https://www.nakivo.com)
Q: Please tell us about NAKIVO in two words.
BT: NAKIVO was founded in 2012, offering customers a reliable VMware backup and replication solution. Over the years, we have developed into an efficient multinational company headquartered in Sparks (Nevada, USA) with several offices worldwide. We now have a versatile product for VMware, Hyper-V, and AWS EC2 environments, used globally by thousands of companies. Our success is confirmed by 5-star online community reviews and 97.3% customer satisfaction with support.
Q: What are your company’s goals and priorities?
BT: With the amount of critical data circulating in the modern business environment, data protection is the highest priority for everyone. That is exactly what lets NAKIVO take such a strong position in the market. Over the five years of our company’s operation, we have been focused on ensuring the protection of business-critical data for customers with virtualized, cloud-based, and hybrid environments. Our primary goal is to provide everyone with a powerful, affordable, easy-to-use solution that helps ensure the protection and recoverability of business data 24/7. NAKIVO’s 85% YoY revenue growth, as well as our customer base almost doubling in 2017, clearly demonstrates that a growing number of companies understand the necessity to abandon outdated legacy backup software for modern backup solutions, such as NAKIVO Backup & Replication.
Q: These are rather impressive numbers. Could you tell us a little more about your product and its features? What exactly makes you stand out?
BT: NAKIVO Backup & Replication is a high-performance solution for AWS EC2, VMware, and Hyper-V backup that also provides near-instant disaster recovery with VM replicas. The key principle we have built our product around is “the best data protection value for the money”. While NAKIVO Backup & Replication comes at a considerably lower price tag than our competitors’ solutions, the product offers a comprehensive set of features to meet everyone’ needs, standing tall among market leaders. Our solution is fast, scalable, and user-friendly.
NAKIVO Backup & Replication works out of the box. The product can be installed in under 1 minute on Windows or Linux, as well as deployed as a pre-configured Amazon Machine Image or VMware Virtual Appliance. Moreover, if installed on a NAS, our solution can turn the device into an all-in-one VM backup appliance. Currently, we support NAS devices by ASUSTOR, QNAP, Western Digital, and Synology, but in the future, we plan to extend the list by adding other well-known vendors.
NAKIVO Backup & Replication enables you to take full advantage of agentless, image-based, application-aware backup and replication options, decreasing the overall cost of your backup operations by 50% or more.
Incremental backups, LAN-free data transfer, and built-in network acceleration can help you achieve a 2X increase in the backup speed. Automated exclusion of swap data, global deduplication, and backup compression can reduce the size of your VM backups by several times.
Now add the abilities to verify your VM backups with screenshots and instantly recover any VM, file, or application object. As a result, you get a powerful solution which is much faster and less expensive than the alternatives. NAKIVO is truly customer oriented. We act on our customers’ feedback and continue improving NAKIVO Backup & Replication to remain the #1 VM data protection solution on the market.
Q: How many customers use NAKIVO Backup & Replication? Also, can you name some of your key customers?
BT: Over 10,000 companies throughout the world are now using NAKIVO Backup & Replication in their virtual environments. We are extremely proud of the fact that many of them were able to immediately see the advantages of using our product over our competitors’ solutions right after testing our full-featured free trial.
China Airlines is one of our key customers. With two data centers, over 900 VMs, and more than 60 VMware ESXi hosts, their critical data must stay protected at all times in order to ensure the continuity of business-critical operations. By choosing to forego a legacy solution in favor of NAKIVO Backup & Replication, they reduced their weekly backup time by 10 hours, storage space consumption by 60%, and VMware backup budget by 30%.
The Center for Scientific Computation and Mathematical Modeling (CSCAMM) at the University of Maryland has also greatly benefited from switching to NAKIVO Backup & Replication. Faculty, staff, and students required 24/7 access to research materials through their website. They also needed a powerful backup, replication, and recovery solution. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, their backup processes now take no more than an hour. What’s more, the instant file recovery feature has managed to save them from potential disaster on multiple occasions. We are proud that CSCAMM could reach these results with our help.
These are just several examples. Our customer base includes other major global companies, among them Honda, Coca-Cola, and Microsemi.
Q: What is NAKIVO’s business model?
BT: NAKIVO aims to be completely channel-based. At the moment, we have over 2,400 channel partners and a significant number of distributors in 124 countries worldwide. By partnering up with NAKIVO, they gain large discounts, sales training, deal registration, and regular promotions to drive sales.
Q: And what about your support model?
BT: If you have a problem or any question, you are welcome to contact our Customer Support Center. Also, if you are experiencing some technical difficulties, you can send us a support bundle right from the NAKIVO Backup & Replication web interface. The support bundle contains logs and system information, which is everything our specialists may need to help you resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
BT: NAKIVO is already one of the fastest-growing companies in the industry, and we don’t intend to settle. We plan to do better and go further. Our plans for the following years are to expand our market presence and focus on large enterprises by adding new highly-demanded features.
Now, you have a personal assistant whom you can call 24×7 for any purpose regarding CRM. Zia Voice comes from Zoho as a superstrong companion to your Zoho CRM. In fact, it is the first conversational artificial intelligence (AI) tool for sales teams. Along with it, you also get a hyper-customization platform for enterprises. This interactive voice and chat tool have intelligent predictive capabilities. Also, it manages your email sentiment in a unique manner. This, is basically, a framework. Over this, enterprises can create their own internal apps for their global teams. It helps in creating a universal and transparent system. For organizations using Zoho CRM, Zia is not a new entity. Only thing is its voice avatar. So, in fact, Zia gets the voice right on its first birthday anniversary. Exactly a year before, on 28th February 2017, Zia came into existence.
Zia Voice is basically a boon for sales executives who are on the move most of the time. In today’s highly competitive environment, nobody can afford to lose time. Even customers today demand a real-time kind of response in most of the cases. So, Zia is now able to proactively announce deal closures. It can also analyze email sentiment in a most intelligent manner. That probably would be a very time-consuming activity if you are doing it manually. Thus, it is definitely going to enhance your efficiency and timely decision-making capabilities. The release comes along with Catalyst which is a capability that empowers your teams to create customized mobile and web apps. These apps can integrate well with Zoho CRM. Also, the teams now can create additional capsules or modules for Zoho CRM for internal use.The whole development resides on existing Zoho framework or infrastructure.
Zia Voice Is a Powerful AI tool for Zoho CRM Users
That means Zia Voice and Catalyst are bound to transform businesses in a unique fashion. It will not only help in deepening focus on business but also enhance overall efficiency. Mani Vembu, COO Zoho Corp says, “We are delivering the first conversational AI for CRM, with Zia Voice. Zia’s enhanced AI capabilities will now help salespeople sell smarter, with contextual assistance and access customer information through a powerful voice and chat interface.” It is basically an interactive voice and chat-bot. It can quickly answer your everyday queries in a real-time environment. These queries could be on new leads, periodic forecasts, traffic status, conversion rate, average deal revenue, and so on. The conversation happens in the form of simple chat and voice messages. Here is a small demo of Zia Voice:
Let us assume that you have a number of legacy mission-critical applications serving your organization for various purposes. Currently, all these are on-premise. That means you have your own data center and servers where these applications and corresponding databases are residing. You are solely responsible for their upkeep and uptime. So, everything is under your control right now. In other words, the complete headache is yours. That includes patch management, upgrades, releases, availability, backups, restorations, security, and infrastructure. Assume the whole setup needs an overhaul. The legacy applications are not serving the business well. It could be any, all, or some of the issues like performance, availability, upkeep, security, operational costs, skilled manpower, or heterogeneous environment. The business needs an overhaul because things are getting out of control. In such conditions, what will be your decision? Before taking a decision, let us see what all possibilities you have.
Now since these are mission-critical applications, a quick decision is important. Because you can’t let the business suffer because of delay in the decision. But, on the other hand, the decision has to be the best one because it is a one-time investment. So, here are the various options you have to explore:
1. The first option is to RETAIN. That means keep the things as it basis. Of course, this is not possible.
2. You can think of MODERNIZATION. That means to retain all the legacy mission-critical applications on-premise. But at the same time explore to move to some modern application or change the infrastructure architecture. This also doesn’t seem to be a good solution.
3. You can think of what they call as Refactor and Shift. That means you will redesign the existing applications using some cloud-native environment. Then you can deploy it in some off-premise cloud system.
Various options for mission-critical applications
4. This option is Repurchase and Shift. In this case, you will replace your current mission-critical applications with Software-as-a-Service model. Or the other option would be to replace these applications with their cloud counterpart. So you would be moving from on-premise to off-premise cloud environment.
5. The last option is Lift and Shift. Ideally, this is the best option. You need to explore it in most feasible manner. In this model, you would be migrating existing on-premise mission-critical applications to off-premise or cloud environment. But in this case, there would be minimal changes in the code or logic.
Now, let me know if you have been in this kind of situation regarding your mission-critical applications ever and which model did you choose? Otherwise, imagine you are the one who has to take a call. In that case, which option will you go for?
I think no learning has come to enterprise from the famous 2017 Equifax security breach. The reason was an easy penetration through an unpatched application. 70% of enterprise worldwide are still living with this vulnerability. Merely banking on IT staff will never resolve this issue. There has to be an alert mechanism that works without fail, timely, and rather proactively. Definitely, you are safe as long as you are not the target. So, you can live happily with a safety tag on your job even if you are not deploying patches instantly on their release. Honestly, very few CIOs/CTOs would be able to answer how many of their applications are in acting as an open invitation to hackers. Because there are few of the applications functioning without latest patches. Of course, the more patches you skip, the more vulnerable your organization becomes. It just needs a hole in the balloon.
Do you have a vulnerability disclosure mechanism in your organization? Mostly it is IT department that decides new application deployments. Like, What, Where, and How. But there are a few organizations where it is a mutual consent between business and IT for this. Interestingly, there are very few where the line of business takes a decision on this. What about your organization? Who is responsible for a security breach? IT? Business? Or nobody? I think, in next couple of years there will be a big transformation in most of the organizations. It will be non-IT functions having more influence on an organization’s applications and workloads management. I am sure, most of you might not agree with this statement. But those who agree, will have to think and answer which specific non-IT business function will it be? It could be HR, R&D, Operations, Finance, Legal, Sales, Marketing, or Executive Management.
Security Breach is a top concern for most businesses
The security breach is, of course, a matter of serious concern today for most of the organizations across the globe.
The automobile industry is transforming. And it is transforming fast. Changing technology trends in the automobile industry are quite visible. On one hand, it is a pressure of saving fuel. Hence, you find automobile manufacturing companies paying more attention to fuel efficiency, better performance, higher mileage, etc. On the other hand, you find higher penetration of technology to gain these factors. Not only that, with a higher focus on customer requirements, the number of gadgets are also increasing in that respect. For instance, Bluetooth has become a basic necessity in a vehicle. There are voice command systems in the vehicles to speak commands. A commuter might use it for switching on the stereo, make a call, start global positioning system to find the most feasible route, and so on. Then, you can easily find an in-dash navigation system in almost all mid to higher segment automobiles.
What is making all this to happen at such a fast pace? Firstly, it is the internet that has become a source of revolution across the globe. The geographic barriers are over and best technologies are available easily on the internet. Secondly, because of the internet, the consumer has become quite smart. Thirdly, it is the millennials that have digital and technology flowing in their blood right since childhood. So, basically, it is a pull from a customer that is driving industries to follow the changing technology trends or leave the game and let the best players carry on. Though Head-Up Display or HUD is not that popular in India, it will be sooner or later. Like, in-dash touchscreen display is now easily available in higher segment cars in India. Similarly, the trend of automatic safety functions is increasing. So is about automation in driving.
Changing Technology Trends Are Changing Fast
Overall, it is about the customer-centric approach. Technology has no limits. It is all how you innovate or leverage the changing technology trends.
What takes Infosys to become Forrester Wave AMDOS (Applications Management and Digital Operations) Q4 2017 leader? Infosys, as we all know, is a global leader in business and technology consulting. It is, in fact, famous for providing next-generation technology solutions. So when an independent global research organization Forrester Research Inc acknowledges Infosys as the leader in their field, it means a lot. For Infosys and their customers. The scoring criteria include digital strategy, business strategy, and industry specialization. The ranking was among 12 top service providers on a global spectrum. There were, in fact, 26 different criterion of assessment. Overall, there were three broad-level categorizations of assessment. Those include offerings, business strategy, and market spread. In fact, there is a reason behind most of the global enterprises preferring Infosys as their technology partner. Rather, that creates a right level of recognition for the organization.
Ravi Kumar S, President and Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Infosys says, “Emerging technologies like AI, Automation, Cognitive Computing and Machine Learning are transforming the IT ecosystem like never before. With this rapid change, it has become imperative for every organization to adopt digitization to deliver enhanced value to its clients.”
He further adds, “Infosys believes in harnessing automation in the service of digital transformation and this recognition as a Leader by Forrester for AMDOS reaffirms our vision and strategy of focusing on our clients existing business systems and processes by leveraging newer technologies. We believe this recognition echoes our position as a partner of choice for global enterprises in this space.”
Forrester Wave Recognizes Infosys A Leader
Forrester Wave report says, “Infosys was among the first of the major global systems integrators (GSIs) to embrace design thinking, and they continue to embrace that philosophy as part of their digital transformation strategy. The firm has continually proven its strengths in legacy modernization, analytics, and ERP and we are extremely happy that our research reflects the same about Infosys.”
Startups are becoming a sore in the eye of technology firms working on legacy frameworks. In fact, most of the startups are lean in structure. Usually, all startups are like that only. But it is wonderful that at that stage, all employees are actually doers. It is later that we start planning to create a think-tank or think-pool in the organization. A hierarchy starts taking place. And then there you see layers formed in the organization. You find top-layer or C-suite, middle layer, a bottom layer, etc. Does growth mean adopting all kind of measuring tools? Which actually start creating goof-ups and confusions. It is good to see world-class Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) investing in the Data Republic. The Data Republic is a big data startup. The purpose is to enhance performance with the help of innovative techniques and advanced technology while leveraging big data analytics.
While there is no dearth of data in any established financial institutions, its usage is not appropriate in terms of data analytics and decision making. Be it any data in any form, the most important things to take care are its storage, categorization, and sharing. Leveraging cloud technology is important. In fact, organizations moving faster to the cloud are doing better and organizations still having an on-premise model. Data storage requires few things by default. It includes data safety, security, availability, and authority. Categorizing data properly can provide wonderful insights about customers and business. Sharing is the need of the hour. But it is important to understand what to share? How much to share? And where to share? In fact, sharing appropriate data with customers can save a lot of time and manpower. The key point is to get what you need out of the data you already have.
Data Analytics Can Help In Making Real-Time Smart Decisions
Rather organizations start changing their data models instead of understanding that there is already a lot of power in their hand in terms of the existing data. This existing data, in fact, can give a lot through data analytics.
A recent survey by Oracle, Intel, and Longitude Research brings out interesting figures about Indian businesses adopting and completing Cloud Strategies. It says more than 40% of the organizations in India have been able to deploy it successfully. That is, in fact, an impressive figure. What it means is that these organizations were working on an on-premise model earlier. And they able to achieve the same or higher amount of efficiency after moving their servers to the cloud. The survey says that these organizations in the successful category have more than 70% of their business applications in the cloud. That too with a betterment in performance. In fact, it is one of the reasons they are excelling faster in growth than their competitors. As a matter of fact, most of the businesses in India are realizing this fact. But before everything having right strategies in place is important.
Adopting innovative technologies like open source as part of your cloud strategies is possible. But ensure that open source doesn’t mean necessarily free. In fact, in absence of proper research, adoption of an unsuitable open source tool might become a costly affair for the organization. Costly in terms of time, money, and resources. Cloud vendors are quite capable to handle an organization’s multi-platform requirements. Obviously, no organization runs on a single application. There are always some legacy and supporting applications in addition to the key or core business application. And for this kind of environment, you always need integration tools, techniques, and developers. Around 25% of CIOs/CTOs understand the need for automation. They feel it is the right time to go for it. In fact, around 20% of top IT executives are ready to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in their respective organizations.
Right Time To Implement Cloud Strategies
So, that means, AI, ML, Big Data Analytics, etc. are by default becoming an integral part of cloud strategies of Indian organizations.
Digital disruption has been able to bring a lot of opportunities for new business spectrum. Internet was probably the biggest disruption in bringing the whole world connecting with each other so easily with each other. In fact, different time zones and geographic distances are no longer an issue.Travel itself has come down drastically. Organizations are leveraging technology to use video and audio conferencing tools for conducting serious meetings and interviews. A simple rule of business is that problem for one is an opportunity for the other. Look at the phenomenal consumption of media today. Using Gigabytes of data in a single day is normal. On the other hand, look at the huge amount of videos and podcasts adding to the internet on daily basis. Storage space, internet availability, bandwidth, online streaming, backups, and least downtimes are the new perimeters of the digital world.
Obviously, when we talk about digital disruption and digital transformation, security is a big concern. That itself creates a large demand for security solutions. This includes encryption, malware, and other issues. The travel industry is another example of digital transformation. Flight and hotel bookings are happening more online than offline. Accessing data has become a most critical requirement of any business. Every business needs real-time environment. More than business, it is, in fact, consumer’s requirement. Customer-centric businesses are doing better than others. Creating a flawless revenue stream without much investment has become easier now. In fact, all services are now data-based services. Every transaction is data-driven. IoT and connected devices are creating new innovative avenues for businesses and consumers. Those businesses not leveraging this technology today will find themselves far behind than others. It is, in fact, all about changing mindsets and moving ahead.
Digital Disruption Is A Big Differentiator
Digital disruption will transform businesses like never before. It all depends on how you innovate to leverage it.
Digital Transformation is the key to redefine business. Definitely, any transformation must have a positive impact on any or all of the business factors. Like, growth, revenue, customer retention or acquisition, etc. And this impact has to be substantial. Overall, the purpose of any transformation is to get appropriate returns on your efforts in terms of these tangible or intangible factors. Flexibility in the business to accommodate the unstoppable demand for rapid changes is very critical. In fact, if you have an ERP in place which is rigid in nature, it is going to be dangerous for your business. It might freeze your processes thus forcing you to walk a tightrope without a scope of an iota of flexibility. Obviously, this increases the number of threats and vulnerabilities in the whole ecosystem. This, in turn, makes the whole system quite cumbersome and incoherent thus creating high confusion.
If that is the phase your business is passing through right now, you need a digital transformation to redefine business. It is not merely a buzzword. In fact, you need to understand it well before deploying it. The best way to understand it is to see where your business is right now and what you want to achieve. Basically, you must be able to figure out the most daunting issues in business. Connecting the dots with the help of latest technology then becomes easier. The big picture is that digital transformation is already transforming businesses across the globe. Yet most of the businesses are not ready to leverage its power. Strategically, your business processes, activities, and competencies need to accelerate to pace up with the transformation. The things are actually changing faster than you could anticipate. Imagine manufacturing units in a portable format. That is a phenomenal transformation.
Digital Transformation is not merely a Buzzword
A recent example of digital transformation is Boeing. To create its airframes, it now uses all-virtual design framework. This has been a huge transformation in the organization reducing its time to market by 50%. This is important to redefine business.
Blockchain has become a widely discussed topic, but what exactly does “blockchain” mean to an enterprise? Today, I speak with Jim Scott, Director, Enterprise Strategy & Architecture, MapR Technologies on what it is, why it’s important and the rules that govern its use within the enterprise.
1.) With the creation of Bitcoin, “blockchain” has become a popular topic. Could you discuss why you believe blockchain has or soon will become critical in enterprise environments?
Blockchain brings with it a capability that simplifies regulatory oversight. The concept of irrevocable proof is valuable to most enterprises who need to prove that what they say happened actually did in fact happen. This can be done with a blockchain solution, thus simplifying regulatory processes which require this type of detail. In addition, blockchain solutions reduce the friction in enabling the exchange of information. Because of the simplicity in the exchange of information, there is also a reduced latency in the completion of exchanges leveraging this approach.
2.) What laws and regulations are enterprises facing in regards to its use? And, do you feel these will impact its adoption?
This technology does not conflict with any laws or regulations, but instead aids in the support of those laws and regulations thrust onto businesses. Being able to provide highly available, fault tolerant and immutable storage for events that occurred is tremendously useful in many industries and will assist in proving the difference between facts and data which has been tampered with.
3.) Could you break down the three key areas related to blockchain?
a. Shared Distributed Ledger – a blockchain is really nothing more than a shared distributed ledger. In its simplest form a ledger is appended only, and for this use case, it is highly available, where multiple people can write to it. It can easily be compared to that of a checkbook ledger, except in this case it is digital, runs on multiple machines at the same time, is highly available and allows many people to write to it, which is considerably different than an actual checkbook ledger.
b. The concept of consensus – in order to allow things to be placed on a blockchain there must be a notion of consensus or agreement for when things may be placed onto the blockchain. Interestingly, voting is a form of consensus and is also considerably simpler than something like proof-of-work which is more broadly applicable to public blockchains for cryptocurrencies.
c. The concept of smart contracts – this is a unit of code which runs when some event triggers it and is fully audited. This no more complicated than any other piece of software written within any organization. It can be simple, or complex. The key is that there is a trigger event, and a full audit history on the blockchain to prove that the work occurred and when.
4.) What advice would you offer to organizations beginning their blockchain journey?
Realize that education about this topic to stakeholders is critical to the success of a blockchain solution. Data is accessed and managed in a way that may be somewhat awkward when compared with data management systems of the past. This model is more akin to a streaming architecture and brings with it many benefits. Expect from the onset of any project in this technology space that you will be required to perform large-scale analytics, as well as apply enterprise level security practices to the data being placed on a blockchain. Any attempt to ignore those details will yield certain failure down the road.
5.) Anything else you would like to add?
Do not ignore people within the business who have concerns about this technology stack. Education is critical and driving this with a culture of inclusion is required for success. They can be assured that while blockchain as a concept is relatively young, it is really just a repackaging of concepts that have been around for quite a while, and due to this it delivers a new set of business benefits.
About Jim Scott, Director, Enterprise Strategy & Architecture, MapR Technologies
Jim Scott is an experienced leader having worked in financial services, regulatory, digital advertising, IoT, manufacturing, healthcare, chemicals and geographical management systems. He is a co-founder of the Chicago Hadoop Users Group (CHUG) where he helped grow a now flourishing community around next-generation technologies. Scott has built systems scaling to 50+ billion transactions per day, and his work with high-throughput computing at Dow Chemical was a precursor to more standardized big data concepts. His passion is in building combined big data and blockchain solutions.
If you are heading technology in an enterprise you must read this. Enterprise Data is a futuristic deal. What you enter today may not reap fruits tomorrow but later. Especially in case of analytics. There has to be a substantial data in place if you want to drive business decisions leveraging technology. Moreover, if your workflow proves flawless data going into various databases through different processes built on technology platforms, it is a semi-relief. There are various important aspects that you need to take care of some very basic things right from the beginning. Firstly, is it accurate? Secondly, is it complete? Is it inserting in right columns in right places with right values? Above all, does it take care of data integrity and entity relationship at that juncture? Now, this is on the simpler side where data goes in your databases via business applications. What about manual data?
Two immediate real-life enterprise scenarios that come to my mind in this context are as follows. First is about an education company having multiple centers across India. After 30 years of their operations, they realize that they don’t have any concrete data in a structured manner of their alumni. That looks quite weird? Isn’t it? A technology education company doing this kind of stupid thing. Even after one year of hard effort by their IT and operations teams, they couldn’t get that data. That is the harsh reality of how organizations work. And for namesake, that organization has an in-house student lifecycle core business application. On top of that, they have SAP in place. In fact, that is the respect of Enterprise Data they had for so many years. How can such a severe carelessness fetch some benefits for that organization?
Enterprise Data Needs Protection and Care Right From Inception
Another case is a government organization managing skill building of youth of the country and preparing them for an upcoming international competition next year. The enrollment process is in two ways. One, through their online portal, that is nice. Second, on paper, in a manual process. Now, this manual data is a sleeping volcano in the making. There is no discipline of ensuring that this manual data goes right at the place where online data is residing. With such anomalies, how can you expect to get some useful reports at a later stage displaying complete data? In fact, being a big organization doesn’t ensure you will not make stupid mistakes to repent later for life.
ManageEngine is one of the three divisions of Zoho Corp. It is the real-time IT Management division. Today, it launches Patch Management on Cloud thereby strengthening Endpoint Security. Zoho is few of those companies in the world that work on 80:20 rule in a reverse manner. While most of the organizations spend higher amounts on marketing and least amount on R&D, Zoho does exactly the opposite of this. It is those of the rarest companies that spend the highest share of their business on R&D and least on marketing.
That is one of the reasons for their plenty of success stories. In fact, that is the reason that has helped them sustain their profitable organization right from the first year of their launch in the late 90s. There is another great exception in this great business house. That creates a higher level of confidence in the organization.
That is also one of the reasons that they have a full control on all the products. All their products (and they have a large bouquet of it) are in-house with no acquisitions and buy-outs. No external collaborations and third-party products in the product range they offer. With the launch of Patch Management on Cloud, ManageEngine will help organizations protect against cyber attacks. And that too for less than a Dollar per device per month.
The devices include a laptop, desktop, and server. I think that is too nominal to spend on a device for the utmost security and safety of the organization. This is an automated patch management solution. The solution is available currently for Windows platform and most of the third-party applications. Admins will have complete control of Patch Manager Plus on Cloud to help them in automating the overall patch management mechanism.
Patch Management on Cloud from ManageEngine Is Proactive
The whole process begins with patch detection and finishes with successful deployment. The best part is that there is no infrastructure investment in Patch Management on Cloud from ManageEngine. That is how it secures enterprise devices from enormous vulnerabilities and cyber attacks at a very nominal expense. In fact, it is less than a dollar per device per month. A recent report by Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) states that more than 4,000 ransomware attacks occur every day since 2016.
Ransomware like WannaCry and Petya were strong enough to create panic in organizations worldwide. In fact, the basic reason for these attacks being successful is not because patches were not available. It is because of not executing those patches in a timely manner. Human lethargy or ignorance is rather one of the biggest threats to an enterprise. That is why there has to be an alert mechanism.
It is a failure to react in time that causes biggest losses to an organization in terms of cyber attacks and ransomware. Most of the organizations that fall prey to it have either no mechanism in place or the controllers of that mechanism has is not responsible enough to understand the gravity of the matter and thus no accountability. That is why CCIPS strongly recommends that there has to be an automated and centralized patch management mechanism.
This will help in creating a better control of the whole ecosystem of the organization. On the same note, Patch Management on Cloud from ManageEngine takes the reigns of an effective prevention system and timely response mechanism. It definitely helps in mitigating the risks in a significant manner. That is how it prevents organizations from cyber attacks. In fact, it also controls human careless or ignorance by creating timely alerts.
Patch Management on Cloud from ManageEngine Is A Smart Solution
Another reason for the necessity of a strong solution like Patch Management on Cloud from ManageEngine is the increase in the numbers of the mobile workforce. While on one hand, the world has become data sensitive and on the other hand, there is a tremendous increase in mobility. On top of it, the efficiency and productivity of an employee should not compromise due to his or her increased mobility. For such kind of stringent and risky environment, security is of utmost importance for an organization.
Also, there is a continuous increase in the number of organizations moving to the cloud partially or completely. That calls for a change in strategies to manage their business continuity plan. Overall, it is a question of high security, least downtime, and timely actions. Patch Manager Plus on Cloud does the same for organizations. It instantly procures, tests, and approves patches for deployment.
The beauty of Patch Management on Cloud solution from ManageEngine doesn’t end here. It not only does this for Windows but also for more than 850 third-party applications in an automatic manner. In fact, it is quite proactive in terms of vigilance. It runs a health check of the all the systems every 90 minutes. Hence every 90 minutes there is a report indicating vulnerabilities in machines and raising an alert for the same. The cloud version thus ensures timely action and zero-day delays.
IT teams can remotely patch devices like servers, desktops, VMs, laptops, etc. from anywhere by installing agents remotely. The product is available at www.manageengine.com/patch-management. Pricing begins at $34.50 per month for 50 computers. That means it costs $0.69 per device per month. If you are not aware of the strength of Zoho products so far, you can go for a fully functional 30-day trial.
Patch Management on Cloud Comes With Automation in the Endpoint Management
Rajesh Ganesan, director of product management, ManageEngine says, “With dynamics of digitalization fast changing and massive adoption of cloud technology, there is a greater need for automation in the endpoint management space, as endpoints are the major entry points of cyber attacks. ManageEngine’s new cloud-based patch management solution is engineered to meticulously look out for such threats on the move, thereby keeping both data and endpoints secured.”
There is a free edition of Patch Management on Cloud available. This free version of Patch Manager Plus on Cloud is for startups and small businesses. In fact, it offers a solution for 25 devices for free. That has been a policy from Zoho right from the inception of this company. They are very customer-centric with less focus on price and profits.
Every business has a core application that covers the key business processes. It also engages most of the key users. These key users are actually the key drivers of this application. They are responsible for keying in the data inputs. On the basis of timely and correct inputs, they draw out the relevant reports. These users, in fact, also ensure that if there is a change in any of the business processes, a patch or an update in the application takes care of it. In any case, the application has to behave as per the current business process. But that doesn’t mean that if you run a report of a previous period when the business rules were different than current, it will give you a wrong report. The coding, in fact, has to take care of every rule and period for that matter. Everything is fine so far.
But in reality, there are two different termites that start hallowing this beautiful and efficient business application. These are the frequent change of users and non-serious attitude in the documentation. In fact, both these factors are interdependent. The key users are the main knowledge banks of this application. They know which function takes care of which business process. Initially, the documentation like user manual and technical documents could be up to the mark. But as the time passes, new requirements pop up thus requiring code changes. But a recording of these code changes in relevant documents misses most of the time. Basically, it is a matter of discipline that starts diminishing and causing this situation. And that is the time when a core business application starts becoming painful and headache. The management stands in a dilemma.
Check Minutely When A Business Application Becomes A Headache
There are easier ways to find it out. When you have more than one meeting in a week for discussing user issues and handholding, it means the water is above the danger mark. If your improvements get stuck because developers are spending all their time in troubleshooting, that is a serious concern. That is the right moment when you need to divorce your legacy business application and go for a fresh one. Though it is simple to identify an infected or diseased business application, most enterprises prefer to ignore it and live with it despite it creating a lot of troubles for everyone.
The migration to the Enterprise Project Management Office or EPMO model is gaining higher success. There are plenty of valid reasons for that. In fact, the model emphasizes a higher level of focus on projects, programs, and portfolio management. In addition, it aligns well all these with the organizational goals. Project Management is still a pain for many organizations across the globe. At times, despite their best efforts, project teams and thus organizations are not able to achieve success. There remains a wide gap between anticipations, aspirations, and actual achievements. That is where this model becomes handy and proves to be helpful in organizing the things in a better way. Of course, there is no harm in trying something good in that direction if it seems to be fruitful. Now, there are ample case studies and business cases showing it to be a success and a better option.
A PMI report released in 2017 state the success stories in that regard. Organizations that have a matured Enterprise Project Management Office in place have around 40% higher success rates in their projects. Similarly such organizations have around 35% less failures in projects if they compare it with their success or failure rates prior to adoption of this model. The best part is that the model is suitable for almost everybody seeking success in their projects. That may include startups, small or medium enterprises, and of course, large enterprises. Every organization of whatever size wants to map projects with organizational goals and visions. Rather the success is more critical for startups. And also for the large enterprises who have higher stake in the success of failure of their projects. It obviously impacts a lot in acquiring new business and clients, retaining existing clients, meeting business goals, and gaining profits.
Enterprise Project Management Office Model Is Evolving Fast
The Enterprise Project Management Office suits large organizations well. But it is for every organization that want to be champion in project management.
Before going deeper into the ocean we call as an enterprise, it is important to understand what is the sole purpose of an enterprise application. In my opinion, it is to ease the life of business, management, and employees. If any of these three dimensions pain, bleed or cry; then the purpose fails. Many times enterprises invest in technology without proper assessment. Obviously, an improper assessment would lead to the improper roadmap. You might begin a beautiful concept and purpose in case of an in-house development of an enterprise application but there are two glitches that make it a failure in the longer term. Usually, these development projects are of a longer tenure. At times infinite. Especially when an organization starts with evolving strategies and requirements. In such cases, two things matter most.
Firstly, retaining the key knowledge holders of the business, product, and coding. In most of the cases, people move in and move out of the organizations. Thus making it a difficult task to retain them. Especially good people are high in demand in the outside world. And everyone is not loyal to the organization. But there are ways to engage and retain them for long. Secondly, since the first factor is not hundred percent under control and has higher risks and vulnerabilities, documentation is of utmost importance which most of the organizations either don’t understand or ignore. As a matter of fact, ignorance is not a bliss. Especially in this case. But mostly realization comes at a very late stage.
Enterprise Application Can Become Killing
Usually, at that juncture, it is like a deadlock at both ends. You neither can go back and restart. Because that will impact business badly. Nor can you continue. Because the same set of people are not there in the organization now. There is no dearth of knowledge and technology. Only thing is right people, a right strategy, and timely execution.
Enterprises that don’t leverage technology fail fast. Sometimes to the extent of death or an organization. Actually, it is a kind of slow death. The organization, in a way, starts phasing out against their competitors in the market. Gradually, profits start dipping. That creates pressure within the organization. Good people start moving out finding better opportunities. The organization can’t afford to hire new people in lack of profits. Ultimately, the organization starts getting slimmer but not for the sake of good. Because it leaves them only with lazy people who either are happy in any kind of atmosphere. Or they are bad enough to find any opportunity elsewhere. That kind of people have nothing to do with the growth of the organization. They are cool as long as they are getting their salaries. That starts spoiling the internal atmosphere. Finally, the organization reaches to a stage of closure.
Now, this is quite strange that technology is there and an organization is not able to leverage it. It is, in fact, a misnomer that technology solutions are always costly. There are cost effective solution, as a matter of fact. Rather, it depends on the awareness. Also, it all depends on the C-suite to drive their organization towards technology. The faster you align technology with business, the better it is. The fault doesn’t always lie with technology wing of the organization. At times, a CIO/CTO wants to propose some solutions but it lacks conviction and clarity. That is another reason of failure. Your technology wing has to be strong not only in technology but their knowledge about the business also should be up to the mark. On the other hand, various function heads have to be demanding and tech savvy. They should demand for process automation and enterprise solutions.
How Do You Leverage Technology Defines The Fate Of Your Business
Obviously, how you leverage technology and to what extent defines the ultimate fate of your business. And even if you have been doing a lot in that direction, you can’t sit idle after some achievements. In fact, it becomes more important to take another leap in that direction. After all, you can’t sit on your laurels.
Recruitment of new team members is a normal and ongoing activity in project management. You have new projects, and you require a new team. Also, you need to replace the team members leaving the organization for a better prospect or for some other reason. On the other hand, engaging existing team members within projects is also another task. Actually, there is no alternative to it. When there is a vacancy and you have to fill it, you have to recruit new people. More important is to understand what to prefer at the time of recruitment. Like, I prefer to hire smarter people than those having plenty of knowledge. I find that people with more knowledge are difficult to convince or change. And we all know that circumstances demand change in work style, strategy, and even the plan. Smarter people are easier to convince and fast to drive.
In fact, I find that the new team members are easier to shuffle between tasks. In addition they are quicker to find a solution. Of course, the basic knowledge has to be there about the role and responsibility. In today’s world higher education or a graduate from a better institute doesn’t guarantee best results. That is why there has been a tremendous change in recruitment mechanism and selection criteria. In fact, now a days we need team members who have higher rate of adaptability. Because technology is changing very fast. You might have excellent team members. But what about those who are expert only in a single technology. They have, in fact, a higher vulnerability of phasing out faster. Even the best of the best can’t guarantee their berth. The moment you switch to another technology, the whole paradigm changes. It is the Smart who Wins.
Selection Of Right Team Members Is Critical
Above all, it is not the knowledge that runs a project. It is the smartness that makes you a winner. Of course, basic knowledge has to be there in place.
It was all about ICO, virtual economy, India digital economy, high-speed internet, e-commerce, data, smartphones and a lot more at 2-day India Digital Summit 2018 in New Delhi. India aims to build a trillion digital economy in next 4 years from now that is by 2022. As we all know 2017 was a revolutionary year for India. It was about a availability of high-speed mobile internet in the country. That includes a penetration to rural India. So now India has become a broadband nation. A mobile data consumer in India consumes about 4 GB of data per month. Soon it will increase to 11 GB per user per month. Now that is phenomenal. That is only possible because 1 GB of 4G data costs just for Rs 10. There are 425 million internet users in the country. Additionally, there are 335 million mobile users.
Going further YouTube has 225 million users per month currently. It is growing astonishingly at a rate of 400% year on year. That is phenomenal. Do you know a fact that 235 million internet users in India access it in local languages? Another amazing fact is that 95% of video consummation in India is non-English. UPI transactions are growing 40% month on month. In fact, India is the only country in the world where you can open a bank account in just 3 minutes. And you can get a personal loan in 5 seconds. This is the country where marriage portals make profits and dating sites fail to establish. E-commerce has become omnichannel. Food tech is back. ET start-up of the year was Swiggy, a food tech online company. More than 10 billion funding went into startups in India. So much learning at India Digital Summit.
India Digital Summit 2018 was Very Insightful
Hearing Rajan Anandan, Chairman & founder IAMAI and Vice President, Google India & South-East Asia is always insightful and delightful. In Leadercast session 1 Isobar India MD Shamsuddin Jasani was talking about what went behind making it India’s leading digital agency. Firstly, he says, you should be honest to your clients and partners. That, in fact, can’t happen without creating a strong culture within the organization first. Because only then every employee of your organization will automatically become an ambassador for his or he organization. There was a lot more at the India Digital Summit 2-day event.
An Interview with Connor Cox, Director of Business Development, DH2i (http://www.dh2i.com/)
Q: Tell us a little bit about Microsoft SQL Server—both its benefits and its pain points.
While Microsoft SQL Server is among the most widely deployed database management system (DBMS) platforms, it’s true that until recently, its benefits came along with challenges that once seemed unavoidable. So let’s start with some research on SQL Server: Gartner has found that of the $34.4 billion DBMS market, SQL Server captures more than 20 percent of it, behind only Oracle. It’s also growing rapidly—in fact, faster than the overall market and faster than even Oracle. Microsoft SQL Server revenue expanded 10.3 percent in 2016 alone.
Q: Impressive growth for the category, but what have the primary problems historically been when enterprises use SQL Server?
CC: A major pain point that enterprise users have experienced is something termed “SQL Server Sprawl,” which is a lot like it sounds—it’s the uncoordinated, explosive growth of SQL Servers. The reason this sprawled environment develops is that many enterprise customers have new database demands, and as part of that they may find themselves requiring a new instance of SQL Server. To support a new instance, a new physical or virtual server is typically deployed. As the SQL Server footprint multiplies, this can rapidly spiral out of control, as most IT organizations deploy only one instance per server.
Q: Can you talk about the types of pain that result for the enterprise from SQL Server Sprawl?
CC: There are a couple of possible negative outcomes that enterprises can experience from sprawl. First, it can become very expensive, especially when you consider the costs of SQL Server licensing. Even though these line items are much more cost-effective than Oracle, this can still be pricey in light of licensing rules that have changed in recent years. As you can imagine, the SQL Server bill often goes up as the number of SQL Servers rises. Plus, since large multi-core servers are common these days, it can be expensive to pay for per-core SQL Server licensing.
That’s not all, though—there is also the drawback of management complexity. IT administrators in charge of managing SQL Servers also suffer in sense of the time required for managing and maintenance, from patching and updating to troubleshooting, maintaining security, and doing migrations. These generally less desirable IT activities take up more and more of admin’s bandwidth, and also end up needing to be scheduled on nights or weekends during planned outage windows.
Q: What options do enterprises have to deal with these troublesome issues caused by sprawl?
CC: Organizations have tried more than one approach to counter the effects of sprawl, but some work better than others. So let’s start with the one that I believe is the most effective: DH2i’s software-based approach, DxEnterprise, which offers both consolidation and cost savings. It works by helping users safely stack 5 to 15 SQL Server instances, on average, per licensed operating system—you can stack even more than that, though, depending on needs, so some organizations run as many as 50 instances.
Q: How does that work in practice?
CC: The key is that the DH2i solution lets users quickly move instances—either automatically due to failure or manually—between hosts. And when it comes to the hard cost savings that result from both physical and logical consolidation, these are actually twofold. First, enterprises save on an operational level since less IT management time is required—administrators don’t have as many servers to manage. Second, fewer cores to license for SQL Server means that enterprises enjoy significant cost savings.
Q: Beyond combatting sprawl, are there other benefits that organizations might experience if they use the DH2i solution?
CC: Yes, there are several other advantages with DH2i. The biggest ones that come to mind are avoiding expensive SQL Server Enterprise Edition, and support for mixed-version clusters. Other benefits include built-in high availability (HA), easy disaster recovery, and simplified patch and upgrade management. In short, it’s a way to avoid compromises for SQL Server users—not only do they have a simplified management framework for their workloads, but they can also achieve HA and cost savings. And since it’s a software solution, enterprises need not change their infrastructure—they can use their existing infrastructure and SQL Server instances.
Q: You mentioned that there are other fixes that companies sometimes try to use in an effort to combat sprawl, presumably with less luck. Can you talk about these other options and what’s problematic about them?
CC: Companies can try different types of approaches to help to push back against sprawl, but some of the other solutions go hand in hand with high costs—both hard costs and soft ones. There are three other types of solutions that I’ll mention: instance stacking, database merging, and large Enterprise Edition WSFC Clusters. So let’s take them one by one:
Sometimes IT shops use instance stacking to help reduce the number of operating systems and licensed core counts, since Microsoft allows up to 50 SQL Server instances per OS to be installed. The problem here, though, is the creation of a scenario where all of an enterprise’s eggs end up in a single basket, and one outage can thus impact many instances. If you get the stacking ratio wrong the first time, it’s also hard to move instances.
The technique of database merging, on the other hand, centers around moving many databases into the same instance. This approach can help to reduce the number of instances and also lower how many servers are needed. The issue here, however, is that database merging is somewhat high-risk as a strategy, since it gets harder and harder to coordinate planned outages. What’s more, if a server or an instance fails unexpectedly, it can affect many users.
Another approach that some organizations use is large Enterprise Edition WSFC Clusters. Here, companies can create a consolidation platform when they create large Windows Server Failover Clusters with multiple nodes. This too comes with a high cost, since every server involved must be licensed for Enterprise Edition and run the same version. WSFC also has numerous other complexities when it comes to both management and deployment.
Q: So clearly, you recommend the DH2i solution as an alternative to those three techniques. With that in mind, can you share a use case of DxEnterprise?
CC: One great example of a customer using DxEnterprise is a large health system called Asante. Before deploying the DH2i solution, Asante tried other approaches—specifically, they had large WSFC clusters, and a pending Microsoft true-up priced at around $400,000. After deploying DxEnterprise and consolidating on the platform, Asante is now running about 15 to 20 instances per server. After they consolidated with DH2i, the price of their true-up dropped to a relatively inexpensive $20K—a huge cost savings from their original quote. Not to mention the fact that Asante received the bonus of getting built-in HA.
That’s one example, but DH2i works with companies big and small across diverse industries. Regardless of the differences between these organizations, what they all have in common is that they all get to enjoy the benefits of using SQL Server, and can now manage SQL Server costs and availability much more effectively.