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US House Opens Up to Open Source
July 31, 2015
Providers of open source software recently found another market: the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. That market easily will grow to many thousands of potential open source users when the staffs of representatives and House committees are added to the total. Certain procurement restrictions that had constrained the use of open source technology in the House have been clarified.
Tech Giants Boost Open Source Container Collaboration
July 25, 2015
The Linux Foundation this week announced the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, a consortium dedicated to the development and adoption of common container technologies. CNCF aims to make it easier for businesses to deploy containerized cloud applications oriented to microservices. Open source container-packaged applications are easier to create, manage and deploy, said tech analyst Rob Enderle.
Bridging the Front and Back Offices
July 9, 2015
I've written many times about how conventional, premises-based ERP seems to be evaporating. Configuration, pricing and quoting are business processes that illustrate the point. First, let's all agree that enterprise resource planning isn't going extinct as it evaporates -- it's too valuable -- but it is getting a haircut. Many of the functions leaving ERP are condensing back into the front office.
Red Hat, Samsung Ramp Up Enterprise Mobility
June 24, 2015
Red Hat and Samsung Business Services on Tuesday announced a strategic alliance to deliver the next generation of mobile solutions for the enterprise. The alliance, announced at the Red Hat Summit 2015, combines the strengths of each company -- Samsung's mobile device portfolio and Red Hat's open source middleware, mobile and cloud technologies.
Container Coalition Seeks Common Standard Creation
June 22, 2015
Docker and CoreOS on Monday announced the formation of a coalition of 21 industry leaders to create the Open Container Project, a nonprofit organization seeking minimal common standards for software containers for cloud storage. The two companies made the announcement on the opening day of Dockercon, a two-day conference covering all aspects of the Docker ecosystem.
Cisco, IBM Bet Big on OpenStack
June 9, 2015
OpenStack, a free and open source cloud controller package that has been struggling to gain acceptance in the enterprise, took a giant stride forward when IBM and Cisco opened up their wallets last week. IBM announced it would buy hosted OpenStack private cloud provider Blue Box Cloud. Cisco announced plans to purchase Piston Cloud Computing, developer of the CloudOS operating system.
Pega Healthcare CRM Promises 360-Degree View
June 9, 2015
Pega last week announced enhancements to Pegasystems Customer Service for Healthcare, an application that integrates customer service and care management to provide a 360-degree view of all customer interactions. The application provides call center agents with data across administrative, health and care management interactions with the goal of enabling them to provide better service.
5 Modules That Will Rock Your Business
June 3, 2015
Zuora two weeks ago announced its first acquisition, Frontleaf, and a new product, Z-Insights. This marks an important moment for both Zuora and what it has called the "subscription economy." The subscription economy has spawned a culture in which people have been conditioned to expect subscription-like performance from all their vendors -- even the conventional ones.
Xactly: From Transaction to Process
May 20, 2015
It is subtle, but in the spring conferences I see a pattern emerging around the importance of process. Admittedly, my analysis in this case is less than scientific, and I have no statistics to support my idea, but I my instinct says a trend toward process is beginning. Two conferences that support my contention include Xactly and Zuora, both of which are taking place this week in San Francisco.
Redesigning Products and Services for the Internet of Things
May 15, 2015
Nearly everyone agrees the Internet of Things will create unprecedented business opportunities that will dramatically change the way almost every industry operates. There is also universal agreement that the IoT will force organizations to rethink the fundamental nature of their products and services. One company that has become a leader in the rapidly evolving IoT market is PTC.
EMC's ViPR Slithers Into Open Source
May 6, 2015
EMC on Wednesday announced it will release its commercial ViPR software storage controller technology as an open source project called "CoprHD." The ViPR software controller puts the control functionality and the data services into separate operational planes, allowing different data services to be layered onto a set of storage hardware products and cloud storage.
Microsoft Fires Up Its Business Engines
May 5, 2015
Microsoft on Monday announced a slew of products and services for IT professionals at its first Ignite conference, being held in Chicago through Friday. Among them were the Microsoft Azure Stack, its next-generation hybrid cloud, and Windows Update for Business, a new management option for Windows 10 that will keep devices up to date with the latest security updates and Windows features.
VMware Draws on Open Source to Manage Cloud Micro Services
April 28, 2015
VMware last week released details about two new open source projects -- Project Lightwave and Project Photon -- that aim to bridge the divide between the company's virtualization software and other vendors' containers. Both projects integrate into VMware's unified platform for the hybrid cloud, allowing the company to create a consistent environment for cloud-native and traditional applications.
Quosal Lets Salespeople Add Video Spiels to Quotes
March 20, 2015
Quosal has announced a new feature that lets salespeople record a personal explanatory video to go with their quotes and proposals. Videos can be posted directly to Quosal's proprietary Order Porter purchasing experience for clients. "If the video can take the load off of having to read all of a proposal -- or, more likely, explain some gray areas -- then great," said analyst Denis Pombriant.
RHEL 7 Atomic Host Bolsters Container Security
March 9, 2015
Red Hat last week made Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Atomic Host generally available, following a four-month live beta test. "The beta release was very successful," said Lars Herrmann, senior director of product strategy at Red Hat. Feedback from customers and partners "helped us refine several features and tools" for the GA version. Atomic Host is a lean OS designed to run Docker containers.
Just Showing Up Won't Capture Federal Cloud Business
March 3, 2015
The observation that "80 percent of life is just showing up," generally attributed to comedian Woody Allen, has morphed into the admonition that "80 percent of success is just showing up." However, it appears that vendors who just show up with a generalized approach to marketing cloud technology to federal government agencies likely won't attract much business.
Amazon WorkMail Lifts Back-End Email Burden From IT's Shoulders
January 30, 2015
Amazon is making a play for the enterprise email market. Offered by Amazon Web Services, WorkMail targets companies that want to move their on-premises email services to the cloud. WorkMail reduces complexity and cost. With all mail infrastructure relocated to Amazon's cloud, a company no longer need be concerned with buying hardware, installing patches, and installing mail backup systems.
Customer Science
January 28, 2015
Part of my new year routine has been ordering new business cards. In this electronic age, they are the only things I actually print, and I'm a writer! In a few weeks I'll publish a book, Solve for the Customer, in paperback, and the two are related. I made a discovery while writing the book that fundamentally changes what I do for a living and the title I use, hence my need to reprint.
Engage.cx Makes Customers an Offer They Can't Lose
January 27, 2015
Engage.cx just secured $2.9 million in Series A financing. The round of participating investors is noteworthy, but for the CRM industry the real intrigue lays in Engage.cx's premise -- or rather, promise: how to present a unified cohesive customer service operationr, no matter which channel is used. Other vendors claim they can do this, but Engage.cx is taking a novel approach.
The Brave New World of Windows 10
January 23, 2015
Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled a slew of new features and capabilities coming in Windows 10: the convergence of the desktop and mobile; the advent of the killer universal app; more power and features for personal digital assistant Cortana, which will be on mobile as well as desktops and laptops; improvements to maps; a new browser; a strong emphasis on gaming; and holographic computing.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2014, Part 2
January 20, 2015
The second half of the Top 20 Bloggers list is the half that holds the most surprises and fresh faces. This year, it also has the most variety -- from non-English speakers to blogs targeted at small businesses -- as well as plenty of marketing-oriented content. There also are some re-entries to the list who have rediscovered their blogs and come roaring back.
What SMB CRM Shoppers Want
January 19, 2015
CRM is expected to grow at a steady pace, and CRM customers are sending some specific signals about the functionality they need. Thirty-seven percent of small-and-medium-sized businesses that participated in its annual survey want an integrated suite of multiple CRM applications, Software Advice reported last month. That's up from 7 percent in 2013.
Docker Security Questioned
January 15, 2015
Security questions recently have been raised about Docker, a promising technology for running applications in the cloud. Docker is an open source initiative that allows applications to be run in containers for flexibility and mobility only dreamt of in the past. "Since the 70s, programmers have been talking about reusable code and the ability to migrate applications," noted IDC analyst Al Gillen.
SCOTUS Seeks DoJ Input on Google-Oracle Java Dispute
January 13, 2015
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday invited the Obama administration to weigh in on whether it should hear arguments in the ongoing dispute between Google and Oracle over Java copyrights. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. "is invited to file a brief in this case expressing the views of the United States," reads the SCOTUS memo.

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Is Microsoft starting to get cool again?
Yes - thanks to Satya Nadella's vision.
Yes - but only in certain areas, like AI and VR.
Maybe - it doesn't seem as stodgy as before.
No - it never was.